Washington License Plate Lookup

Washington License Plate Lookup

The state of Washington, like the other US States, has strict requirements for residents, who register their vehicles within its area. This Washington license plate lookup will help you to get introduced to all the nuances of the process.

What do you need to get a Washington license plate?

The Washington State Department of Licensing manages all vehicle licensing processes in Washington. In addition, if you are a Washington state resident, you should pass a different registration process than that of non-residents. The categories of registration processes for residents might also differ. Thus, it depends on the type of your vehicle. To find out more about the registration process and clarify all the details, visit the local DOL office. If you have purchased your car from a dealer’s office, they should manage all the documentation for you. If you have bought your vehicle for a private seller, you must do the paperwork by yourself.

You can register your car either by mail or in person. Take notes to submit the following documents:

  • Your car title
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Sale’s check
  • Odometer records(if applicable)
  • Release certificate
  • Payment for fees

Take notes to have insurance for your car’s license plates and registration. You can register your car and get a license plate at the same time.

If you are a new resident, Washington law demands that you register your car within 30 days from the stay. Still, those who will register their cars within other states to escape from taxes will be liable. A year of imprisonment and a fine in the amount of 1.529 is possible.

Vehicle registration for out of state residents

If you are not a Washington resident, you can get a title for your car and operate within the state legally. The registration is available in person or by mail. For in-person registration, you can visit your local car licensing office. It is worth mentioning that you will get your license plate within 10 days. Still, if you want to get it in a shorter period, an additional fee is necessary. To get the license plate on the spot, visit the Quick Title office.

Nonresidents should provide the following documents for the application:

  • Vehicle tag from another state (if a lienor holds the car, he should mail the front and back tags)
  • A Vehicle Certificate of Ownership (Title) Application (Form TD-420-001) signed by the possessors of the car
  • Sale’s check or dealer purchase agreement (if you bought the car three months ago)
  • Fee payment
  • Emissions testing report (based on your vehicle type)
  • Odometer report (if the vehicle is 10 years old or older)
  • Car insurance (necessary only if you are already operating it)

The re-registration of salvaged cars

According to state law, salvaged cars are vehicles that carried serious damage. Hence, these types of vehicles are subject to serious repair, which is above their actual market cost. Insurance companies consider its compensation a total loss for the company.

So, the following type of vehicles ranks under the category “salvaged”:

  • The vehicle is a passenger car, car-derived van, or commercial vehicle
  • The retail value of the vehicle was at least $7,880
  • It is between 6 to 20 years old

To rank your vehicle among the category salvaged and to re-register it, you need a car inspection. The first institution to carry out the inspection is Washington State Patrol. The car is thoroughly checked.

To pass the inspection, car owners should submit the following documents:

  • License plate certificate
  • Check from the purchase of principal components of the car
  • A valid ID photo of your driver’s license
  • Washington State Patrol Inspection Request form

The re-titling is available only for those, who have bought a salvaged car. If your car has crashed and you do not want to sell it, no need to re-title it again.

The procedure of getting new license plates for salvaged cars is the same as applying for regular titling. Still, if you have questions, contact the department of licensing for further information.

What to do with an old license plate in Washington state?

If you do not know what to do with your old license plates, there are a few options.

  1. Remove tabs on which the data is written. Crank the tags to make them unavailable for use. You can also recycle them so that they are not confused with a valid license plate.
  2. Take them to your nearest vehicle licensing office.
  3. Make sure to give back old license tags to the Vehicle licensing office if you replace any of the mentioned tags.
    • Collector Vehicle plates
    • Commercial Vehicle plates
    • Disabled Parking plates
    • Gold Star plates
    • Personalized plates
    • Disabled American Veteran plates
    • Medal of Honor plates
    • Horseless carriage plates
    • Baseball Stadium plates
    • Amateur Radio Operator (HAM) plates
    • Purple Heart plates
    • Pearl Harbor survivor plates

How to renew my car license plates in Washington?

The renewal of license plates in Washington is an annual procedure. Three months before the expiry, you can renew your plates without returning them to the DOL. The department of licensing mails a notice or sends an email message a few weeks before the expiry date.

The notification includes renewal fees, the registry deadline, and the release testing notice. The renewal procedure is available online, by mail, or personally.

Online renewal

To renew your license plates online, you must submit:

  • Email address
  • License plate number
  • Current address
  • Payment for fees

Take notes that online renewal of your license plate is available if:

  • The car does not need a DOT number or has had one for more than a year
  • The plate expired less than a year ago

Renewal in person

If you want to renew your tags in person, you should visit your local DOL office. To start the process, bring with you:

  • Residence documents
  • Photo ID
  • Emissions test records (if applicable)
  • Renewal notice or your valid registration
  • Payment for renewal fees
  • Fees for renewal
  • Filing fee of $4.50
  • Registration fee of $30

How many characters are on the Washington license plate?

Washington state law allows the operation of seven-character license plates. Accordingly, the country recently went to 7-character plates from 6-digit tags. The reason is that they have been using 6-character tags for a long time.

The state of Washington has changed the number of digits on a license plate twice since 1968.

Currently, it produces tags by digital printing. Earlier, the tags were stamped by an embossing device. According to the official announcement, digital printing is a way faster process than stamping.

Important to realize is that all license plates in Washington are made at the Walla Walla prison. During the previous eight years, the institute gained $5.8 million in the license tag business.

Where can I put my front license plate in Washington?

The state of Washington demands that you stick your license plates on the front and back sides of your car. Still, according to state laws, there are some exceptions. It is impossible to stick two tags when the manufacturer did not provide a license plate bracket. In this case, the car owner should contact the manufacturer and see whether it is possible to get brackets. However, if the manufacturer denies the proposal, the car owner might get a front license plate waiver.

To apply for the license plate waiver, the applicant should make a written proposal to Washington State Patrol. The application should contain data about the car, including:

  • model
  • year
  • make
  • license plate number
  • VIN
  • a photo of the part of the car for which the waiver is necessary
  • any extra information that would support the request

Types of plates

The state of Washington suggests several types of license plates. To enumerate, these are handicap, specialty, and personalized (vanity) plates.

Vanity license plates

Vanity plates will give some tricky character to your car. It is fun to have personalized plates designed on your own. They speak about the identity of the owner. The process of getting a personalized car is easy and quick. However, you need to match some state requirements. The quantity of digits in vanity plates is limited to 1-7 characters. They should not contain words that are vulgar, discriminating, and indecent. Tags also should not contain unusual characters like hashtags.

Your vanity license plate application may be rejected for various reasons, check out our banned Washington license plates page for more details.

Fees for personalized plates are added to the regular registration costs.

  • Trailer: $117.75
  • Truck: $128.50
  • Car: $129.25
  • Motorcycle: $111.25

Handicap license plate

Handicap license plates are available for those entities, who suffer from certain diseases. These types of tags can provide a special parking area for the owners. To qualify for handicap license plates, turn to a physician or a certified nurse. They will give you a special permit to qualify for the handicap license.

The diseases meant for the provision of handicap licenses are as follows:

  • Loss of one or both legs or loss of both hands
  • Problems with eye-sight
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Use of a brace, wheelchair, or cane
  • A disease, that restricts your ability to move

Special interest plates

The Washington department of vehicle licensing provides special interest plates for:

  • Parks
  • Organizations and charities
  • Colleges and universities

The fees for special interest tags might differ based on the vehicle type.

  • $65.25 for trailers
  • $59.25 for motorcycles
  • $77.25 for cars
  • $76.50 for trucks
Satenik T

Satenik T

Satenik has just stepped into the sphere of content writing. Initially it seemed something difficult to overcome, however within time she got introduced with the nuances of the job. She has started the long road of introduction with English in 2010. Linguistic University after V. Bryusov served a good background for approving her skills and revealing new horizons of a foreign language. During the studentship she tried her luck at news agencies both as journalist and translator of the English language. Satenik has had internship at Armenpress news agency, Yerkir Media TV channel, News.am news agency and other local news websites. After the graduation she got the opportunity of working as an interpreter at police departments. She also cooperated with the Investigative committee of Armenia and translated for foreigners at court hearings. Working with foreigners enriched her professional vocabulary and helped to navigate at any unexpectable and stressful situations. Besides, different situations with various people seemed an interesting adventure where she was someone to help find the solution. Satenik also did written translations in the law sphere. Detailed and challenging tasks taught her self-discipline and introduced with the key terms of the sphere. Currently she hopes that evolving in content writing will add new skills to her professional background and upgrade her as a professional. As for hobbies, Satenik has had experience in professional hip hop dancing for 4 years. During that time she had participated at local dance competitions and battles.