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  • License Plates & Placards in Ohio

    SUMMARY: Ohio License Plates

    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.

    NOTE: 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.

    Temporary Tags

    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 15 business days.

    You can apply in person at your local deputy registrar’s office. To make the process easier, you should take:

    To send a request by mail, you must send:

    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 (614) 752-7500 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.
    • Replacements:
      • 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).

    Specialty License Plates

    You can order your special plates in four ways: in person, by phone, by mail, or online.

    NOTE: If you'd like an antique or historic license plate, please follow the instructions in "Antique or Historic Plates" below. 

    In person: Submit a Request for Special License Plates BMV 4705 at any deputy registrar's branch.

    Many plates, such as disability, special interest, military, and collegiate, are actually available at the branch. For the others, you may put in your order, and the plates will be mailed to you when they're finished.

    If need be, you may be given a permit to operate your vehicle while you're waiting for your plates to arrive.

    Also, the branches usually have a pamphlet available that contains pictures of available plate designs. Or, you can also see them online.

    By phone: Call in your request at 1-800-589-TAGS (1-800-589-8247).

    By mail: Send in a Request for Special License Plates (Form BMV 4705) to the address on the request.

    Online: Oplates is the state's online license plate ordering system. This is perhaps the easiest method. Ordering online will enable you to see all the logo and design choices available, as well as play with different letter and number combinations to see if your personalization preference is still available.

    Personalized Plates

    It's important to note here that personalized plates are different from special plates, or rather, special plates can be numbered consecutively or personalized according to your desire. Also, you can order personalized standard Ohio plates.

    For additional information, visit the BMV's Frequently Asked Questions page, and also Oplates.

    Antique or Historic Plates

    A vehicle must be at least 25 years old to qualify for antique plates. In addition, the vehicle must only be used for antique exhibitions, parades, and related activities, not for routine transportation. Of course, the vehicle must be in sound enough condition to drive safely.

    To apply for the plates, complete the  Application and Affidavit Historic License Plate (Form BMV 4806). Bring it to a license agency, or mail it to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles listed on the bottom of the form.

    The plates cost $21, plus the additional BMV fees. However, all costs are one-time only, as the plates don't need to be renewed.

    Historical Model-Year Plates

    If your vehicle qualifies as an antique vehicle, it may display the vehicle's original Ohio model-year plates. You'll only need one plate (to affix to the rear of the vehicle), but the plate must be in a usable condition.

    To apply, complete the   Historic "Model Year" License Plate Affidavit (Form BMV 4853) and a BMV 4806. Submit these forms along with a copy of the original plate(s) to a license agency, or mail everything to the address listed on the form.

    There's a one-time $4.50 fee (plus mailing costs, if necessary) to use the plates. The plates don't need to be renewed.

    The BMV provides additional, detailed information concerning model-year plates.

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