License Plates & Placards in AlabamaPage Overview
You’ll find more information about Alabama license plates and tags below.
NOTE: Need help applying for disabled parking? Visit our Disability Placards and Plates guide for information.
If you live in AL, your vehicle must have a license plate from the Alabama Department of Revenue (DOR).
You will be issued a license plate for the back of your vehicle with stickers showing the month and year your tags expire.
The state’s standard license plate design changes every 5 years. You can also apply for:
- Specialty plates.
- Disability placards and plates (if you meet the qualifications).
Temporary License Plates
When you buy a car in Alabama, you can get a temporary tag from your vehicle dealer or financial institution to use until your permanent plate arrives.
The temporary tag is valid for 20 days and must be displayed in your back window until you receive your license plate.
You’ll apply for your license plates in AL by registering your vehicle with the AL DOR.
To avoid late fees or citations, you must register within:
- 30 days of moving to Alabama.
- 20 days of buying a vehicle.
Learn more from our Vehicle Registration page, where you’ll find information about documentation, fees, and other requirements.
To make sure your AL tags are valid, you must renew them by renewing your vehicle registration, which may be done:
- By mail.
- In person.
The AL DOR will send you a renewal reminder before your tags expire.
After you renew, you’ll get a new expiration sticker to place over the old sticker on your plate.
Find complete details on our Registration Renewal page.
If your Alabama license plate or decals are damaged, lost, or stolen, you can request replacements from the AL DOR.
You will need:
- The Application For Replacement Credentials (Form MV 40-12-265-1).
- Payment for the applicable fees:
- License plate: $2.
- Decal: $2.
Submit your application in person at your local Alabama DOR licensing office.
NOTE: The AL DOR will report lost or stolen tags to the police for you.
If you find your license plates after ordering replacements, you must surrender them to the AL DOR immediately.
When you sell, trade, donate, or otherwise no longer use your vehicle, you’ll need to remove the license plate and either transfer it or surrender it to the AL DOR.
Transfer License Plates
You may be able to transfer a license plate from one vehicle to another. The transfer fee is $1.25, plus any local fees or taxes due.
Contact your local licensing office to see if you can transfer your tags.
Surrender License Plates
You DO NOT have to surrender your license plates if you move to another state.
However, the Alabama DOR may require you to surrender your tags if you:
- Cancel your car insurance.
- Get a new type of license plate.
You MUST surrender any license plates you find that have previously been reported lost, stolen, or damaged.
The fees below DO NOT include service fees, taxes, or fees for other transactions, such as titling a vehicle, that may be required for vehicle registration.
- Standard license plates: $23 (annual fee).
- You may pay a prorated fee the first time you register your vehicle in Alabama.
- Replacement license plate: $2.
- Replacement decal: $2.
- Transfer fee: $1.25.
Personalized license plates can add another level of uniqueness to your vehicle. You can search for, and reserve, a personalized license plate online at the Department of Revenue. There is a $2 fee to reserve a license plate online.
If this license is available, the department must approve it. You have 5 days from requesting a specific message to visit your local tag office, place your order for that tag, and pay the appropriate fees.
You will be given a temporary tag along with the month and year decals to be placed on the new tag when it arrives within 6 weeks.
For a personalized license plate, you must pay the standard registration fees based on your type of vehicle, plus an additional yearly fee of $50 for passenger cars or motorcycles.
Distinctive License Plates
Another option you have for licensing your car is one of many distinctive plates offered by various organizations. If you want to show support for the military, education, wildlife, a college, or even a sorority, Alabama has license plates to help. Visit the Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division website and click on the "License Plate Information" tab to select your choice of tags.
Some distinctive plates are not available to the general public. You must belong to a particular organization to purchase its distinctive license plates.
Antique Vehicle (Vintage) License Plates
- You must be an Alabama resident.
- Your vehicle must be over 30 years old.
- You cannot use the vehicle for commercial purposes, or for general purposes such as driving to work, school or running errands.
- Your vehicle is a private passenger car, trucK (under 26,000 lbs), motorcycle, or fire truck with its original body, chassis, engine and transmission. The state will accept replicas and close approximations to the original model's body and parts.
How to ApplyOther Topics in This Section
- Specialty plates.