License Plates & Placards in Ohio
If you're an Ohio resident and use your vehicle on public roads, you must apply for a license plate by registering your car. To renew your plates and keep your validation sticker up to date, you'll just need to renew your registration, which can be done online. The OH BMV offers many online services on Oplates.com. You can replace license plates and stickers and look up available plates for personalized tags.
Continue reading below for more details about Ohio license plates.
Applying for disabled parking? Learn more from our Disabled Plates and Placards page.
Types of Ohio License Plates
All motor vehicles owned by Ohio residents and operated on public roads are required to display license plates issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Most vehicles will have 2 license plates. Some vehicles, such as motorcycles and mopeds, only need 1 license plate.
Rear license plates must have clearly visible expiration stickers.
Special & Personalized Plates
The OH BMV offers a selection of special license plates as well as personalized plates. Most of these plates can be ordered on the BMV's online registration system, OPLATES.com.
The BMV also issues disability parking tags to those with qualifying disabilities. To learn more about disability parking plates, see our Disability Placards and Plates page.
When you buy a car from a dealership, you will usually receive a temporary tag that is valid for up to 30 days.
This temporary tag allows you to drive your car while you wait for the title from the dealer. Once you have the title, you can then register your vehicle.
If you buy a car in private sale, you should register it with the Ohio BMV before you operate it.
Apply for Ohio Tags
To get Ohio license plates, you must register your vehicle with the OH BMV.
You are required to register your car once you become an OH resident or as soon as you have the vehicle title from the seller.
For more information about registering a vehicle in Ohio, including ways to register and applicable fees, see our Vehicle Registration page.
Renew Your License Plates
Before your vehicle registration expires, you must renew it and get new validation stickers for your license plate.
The OH BMV offers several renewal methods, including the online via the OPLATES website. You can also use OPLATES.com to check your registration status.
NOTE: OH license plate design changes periodically. When the design changes, you can pay $10 to keep your previous plate number.
Replace OH License Plates
You can replace a lost, stolen, or damaged license plate or expiration decal:
The fees for replacements plates are:
- $10.50 for 1 license plate.
- $11.75 for 2 license plates.
- $4.50 for a decal.
- Postage costs for online or mailed-in applications.
For online requests, go to the OPLATES website and enter the required information. You should receive your replacements within 10 business days.
You can apply in person at your local deputy registrar's office. To make the process easier, you should take:
- A completed Duplicate Registration Card, Transfer, Replacement Plates/Validation Sticker Application (Form BMV 4809).
- Your damaged plates, if you have them.
- Payment for fees (see above).
To send a request by mail, you must send:
- The Duplicate Registration Card, Transfer, Replacement Plates/Validation Sticker Application (Form BMV 4809).
- A check or money order payable to “Ohio Treasurer of State" for applicable fees (see above for fees).
Mailed applications are usually processed within 4 weeks.
Transfer & Surrender Tags
When you purchase a new car, you can transfer your Ohio license plates to your new vehicle. You cannot transfer your plates to any other person.
You'll transfer your tags when you title and register your new vehicle. The transfer fee is $4.50. You'll also pay title transfer fees and taxes.
You may be required to surrender your license plates if you replace them with a new type of plate or otherwise no longer need them.
Contact the Ohio BMV at (844) 644-6268 or your deputy registrar's office for more information about surrendering license plates.
Fees for License Plates
The fees for Ohio license plates below may not reflect all fees due when you register a vehicle, such as title fees or taxes. You may also be responsible for additional service, processing, or postage fees.
- New registration/standard plates & registration/plate renewal:
- Passenger vehicle: $34.50.
- Motorcycle: $28.50.
- House vehicle/moped: $24.50.
- Non-commercial trailer: Fee is based on weight.
- 1 license plate: $10.50.
- 2 license plates: $11.75.
- Decals: $4.50.
- Plate transfer: $4.50.
Search for License Plates
The only license plate search offered by the Ohio BMV is a search for available personalized license plates.
You can use the OPLATES website to check availability of plate numbers and order personalized and special plates.
OPLATES also allows you to check your registration status and other vehicle information, but it DOES NOT allow you to access other vehicle or owner records.
For more information about a vehicle, you can order a vehicle history report using its vehicle identification number (VIN).