Alabama License Plate Search

The license plate will be one of your priorities, together with a driver license and insurance, if you're a new owner planning to get a motor vehicle in Alabama. Learn how to perform an Alabama license plate search, options, validity, and more.

It will help you as a vehicle owner in any Alabama county to get license plate information. If you’re already an Alabama resident, you can also use the Alabama license plate lookup to report drivers on the road.

How to lookup an Alabama license plate

There are several ways to do an Alabama license plate lookup. You can either visit the Alabama Department of Revenue (DOR) motor vehicle division personally, by mail, by phone, or online vehicle lookup. However, due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the issuing office is advising transactions to be done electronically.

Another convenient way to do a search on a license plate number is to get all the information you need in one place.

 Alabama custom license plate options (types of custom and vanity license plate)

Several specialty tag or license plate options are available if you're interested in getting a custom or vanity type plate. You can perform a license plate search and see the design and information if you visit the Alabama Department of Revenue online. The personalized license plate or personalized tag are ordered on demand through the Plate Reservation and Ordering System.

 Some of the distinctive license plate types that you can see there are the collegiate, vintage, and other personalized plate designs. There is an accompanying fee for these personalized tags and it may also vary depending on the vehicle type.

Alabama VIN lookup

It's wise to do a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) lookup search in Alabama especially if you are planning to buy a used vehicle. VIN is a unique identification of a car that is different from the plate number. It shows the details about your motor vehicle such as manufacturer, specifications, and features.

 
Aside from that, VIN can be used to get the history of a car like a vehicle registration, lienholder, original title, maintenance and accident history, and more. This information is also used by law enforcement and insurance companies.

Alabama License Plate Sizes

The license plate sizes and other design specifications are either given by Alabama law or based on the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) guidelines. The size of license plates for passenger vehicles, trucks, tractors and trailers are standard 6” X 12” while motorcycle license plates are 4” X 7”.

Alabama License Plate Validity

Anyone who is about to purchase a brand new or used vehicle in Alabama is given 20 days from the date of purchase to get a car tag or license plate. However, a temporary tag that lasts for 60 days may be issued by a licensing official when a permanent license tag cannot be given immediately. Alabama plate design changes every 5 years and is not transferable between owners.

Applying for Alabama License Plates

Once you have done an Alabama license plate lookup, you can download the application for the government license form. Complete the vehicle and registrant information requested to get your license plate number. Depending on your vehicle status, other forms and certificates like Alabama title, credit voucher, lease agreement, and more.

Another way is to submit a pre-commitment license plate application online. Registration fee and ad valorem tax may apply for certain vehicles. Once done, you'll get a copy of your tag receipt.

Surrendering License Plates in Alabama

You can surrender your Alabama license plate to your local license plate issuing officials from your county. If you receive a Mandatory Liability Insurance (MLI) verification notice you need to surrender the license plate within 30 days. The vehicle registration will be suspended if not done within the given period.

Renewing License Plates in Alabama

Alabama plates are renewed yearly. The renewal month schedule varies depending on the first letter of your surname. However, the renewal month for new IRP (International Registration Plan) accounts are now every February.

You can do this by visiting your Alabama county local license plate issuing officials or from the Alabama department portal. Prepare your car registration documents, driver's license, renewal notice, and renewal fee.