1. Get Started With License Plate Assistance Online

In most states, you cannot apply for or replace a license plate online. Instead, most states require you to request a new or duplicate license plate in person at a DMV office. However, certain states or counties may allow you to complete these transactions online. In any case, you must apply for a new license plate within a few days of your vehicle’s date of purchase. To do so, you must provide a certificate of title, odometer disclosure, smog certification (if applicable) and bill of sale (if needed). Then, you must pay any applicable DMV service fees. To prepare for this procedure and save time, download our informative online guide. Our guide contains everything you need to know about standard and custom license plates. In it, you will also learn about requesting, renewing and replacing a car registration.

2. By Mail

In most states, you cannot apply for a license plate by mail. However, many states allow you to replace or surrender a license plate by sending the required materials through the mail. When replacing a plate, you will be required to send a completed application form containing personal details and vehicle specifications to the appropriate DMV mailing address. If you wish to surrender an existing license plate after selling your vehicle, you may do so by mailing the plate to the correct DMV branch in your state. Due to mailing and processing times, be mindful that the mail-in method may subject you to certain delays.

3. In Person at a DMV Office

You will most likely need to visit a DMV office in person to apply for a license plate in your state. During your visit, you will be asked to provide proof of identity, documents that verify your car ownership and a completed application form. In addition, you will be required to pay the applicable DMV fees, which vary depending on whether you apply for a standard or personalized license plate. When visiting a DMV, you may also replace or transfer an existing license plate, as long as those procedures are offered in your state. To avoid mistakes or taking additional trips to the DMV, make sure that you are fully prepared for license plate transactions prior to filing your application.


An Ohio DMV license plate shows proof that a vehicle has been correctly registered with the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). When a vehicle has valid car registration plates in OH, it signals to law enforcement officers that the car or truck has passed all of the state-mandated standards to be safely operated on state streets and highways. Therefore, clearly visible car registration tags help police officers to identify both the vehicle and its owner within minutes.

All car owners have the responsibility to renew license plate stickers on an annual basis, as well as to replace license plate tags that have become damaged or lost. To learn more about how to get a license plate, as well as the various other services offered by the BMV in relation to car tags, review the sections below.

Types of License Plates in Ohio

Motorists who wish to obtain new registration plates in Ohio can choose from a variety of plates to meet their individual needs or interests. For instance, common types of OH license plates include:

  • Standard BMV license plate: Standard car tags appear on the majority of vehicles in the state, and feature a simple red, white and blue design.
  • Specialized interest plates: As the name implies, these BMV car tags support a special interest group or bear special character combinations requested by a car owner. Moreover, disability plates are considered part of this category in Ohio, but are only issued to motorists who qualify.
  • Initial reserve plates: These car registration plates include certain specific letter combinations, which are arranged in a particular sequence that is established by the state.
  • Personalized plates: Vehicle owners may opt for spelling out certain words or phrases that use between four and eight characters. However, these character variations may not spell anything that is deemed profane.

Furthermore, if you bought your vehicle from a dealership, it may bear temporary new registration plates for a few weeks. Dealers are permitted to issue temporary tags that provide you up to 45 days of legal driving. This is done in order to allow time for your permanent BMV license plate to arrive in the mail.

How to Apply for a License Plate in Ohio

Ohio car registration plates are easily obtained by visiting a local licensing agency and applying for them in person. Beforehand, make sure to gather all of the required documents for this procedure, such as your car title, a signed financial responsibility statement and your OH driver’s license or Social Security card.

Furthermore, if you live in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage or Summit counties and have a vehicle up to 25 years old, you must have it inspected with the BMV as part of the registration process. Moreover, BMV license plate applicants in these counties may request a multi-year registration period between two and five years, if desired.

How to Renew License Plate Tags in Ohio

When renewing a license plate in Ohio, you must sign a financial responsibility statement and provide a valid state-issued driver’s license. If you are applying for a car registration renewal in person at a local licensing agency, be sure to bring your current inspection report, if applicable.

In the event that the vehicle is leased, you will need to bring the lease agreement and power of attorney that provides permission for you to renew a license plate on behalf of the lender. Applicants wondering how to renew license plate tags online have the option of using the state’s official system for renewals.

Furthermore, this service is also offered via mail. To do so, you must send your car tag renewal notification card and accompanying documents to a specific BMV mailing address.

How to Replace License Plates in Ohio

Ohio drivers are responsible for replacing license plate tags that are lost, stolen or damaged. If you are wondering how to replace license plate tags quickly, note that the process is similar to the steps for renewing license plate tags outlined in the previous section.

You may use the state’s online system, or you have the option to apply in person or by mail. In general, you must allow up to 10 business days to receive your replacement plates. However, it may take significantly longer to receive your new car tags if you choose to request a replacement by mail.

How to Transfer License Plates in Ohio

You may transfer your OH BMV license plate from an old vehicle to a new one, if desired. To do so, you must bring the old car registration plates to a deputy registrar’s office and pay the applicable fees. Then, you will be given a new registration card that transfers the plates to your new car.

However, despite the fact that you can transfer your vehicle title, you are not allowed to transfer your Ohio car tags to another person. If you choose to obtain new registration plates for your new car instead of transferring your current car tags, you must surrender these old credentials to the BMV.

Ohio License Plate Fees

There are different costs related to license plates in Ohio. For instance, motorists must pay a $10.50 fee to replace one plate, or an $11.75 fee to replace two plates.

License Plate Lookups in Ohio

In Ohio, it is illegal to get license plate lookups on anyone other than yourself. If you wish to obtain a copy of your BMV license plate history or driving record, you may contact the BMV to receive a free 2-year copy, or you may purchase a 3-year copy. Furthermore, OH BMV driving records are also available through the state’s official online portal.

Last updated on Thursday, January 17 2019.

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