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Idaho License Plate Lookup


Idaho License Plate Lookup

If you plan to purchase a vehicle, you need to do a special investigation first. That is to say, it is important to know every detail, especially when the car is a used one.

The Idaho Transportation Department can be a great help to find the necessary information. You may either contact them by calling (208) 334-8000 or through the request page.

However, there is one more option. You may use free online lookup tools. One of them is the Idaho license plate lookup. Here you can enter the license plate number and do your research.

The lookup will reveal every detail, be that title information, salvage records, or past ownership.

Don’t cause a costly mistake when buying an already used car. Just run a free search to learn the full story of your truck. Through our lookup you can check for:

  • Accidents: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about 6 million auto accidents annually.
  • Title brands: Among the critical ones are hail-damage, flood, and salvage titles.
  • Designation of special purpose: Examples can be rental, police, or taxi use.
  • Thefts: Through the VIN lookup you may find out previously recorded or active theft records.

History of license plates

From 1909 to 1912 each county government registered motor vehicles on one’s own. At first brass, steel and porcelain were used to make ID license tags. They began issuing ID tags in 1913.
Here are some interesting points about the historical development of tags:

  1. In 1928, the first slogan, the word ‘POTATO’ appeared on vanity plates. It was stamped at the bottom, together with the image of potato.
  2. In 1940 the design was changed. At the top was the expression ’50 YEARS OF STATEHOOD’ and at the bottom ‘1890 IDAHO 1940’.
  3. During the years 1941 to 1946, the word ‘SCENIC’ was used.
  4. The 1947 vanity plate had the expression ‘VACATION WONDERLAND’ on it. Also, there was an image of skiers.
  5. In 1948 the image of the potato was between tag number and the code. The written thing was then ‘WORLD FAMOUS POTATOES’. This slogan remained the same during the 1953-1956 years as well.
  6. Since 1957 the slogan changed into ‘FAMOUS POTATOES’.
  7. 1972 was the year when retro-reflective numberplates appeared in the state. It was continuous since 1972.
  8. The 1985 number plate was similar to the 1983 one but had also snow-capped mountains on it.
  9. Since now, the most famous number plate has been the 1928 one with its de-possed potato ‘eyes’.
  10. The ones issued in 1928, 1947, and 1948 appear very few in public.

Nowadays the designs are various and each driver can get the one he/she prefers. Usually, they introduce various awards, services, interests, and car statuses. In today’s Idaho, you may meet many classic automobiles with classic tags on the roads. Check How can you search a license plate in several states: Alabama, Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Maine, Delaware and Georgia.

Is ID a two-plate state?

The vanity plates on the motor vehicles must be attached both in the front and in the rear. Yet, there are some exceptions.

  1. Tags are required to be only in the rear in case of:
  • Motorcycle
  • Utility type vehicle
  • All-terrain vehicle
  • Semitrailer or motorbike
  • Motor truck (operated by repossession agent/dealer or a manufacturer)
  • Cars displaying the year of manufacture

2. In the case of a tractor, the tag must be displayed in the front.

The display of a tag must be during the present registration year. The annual registration stickers must be on the tag as well. They shall be displayed following the section 49-443(4) code.

It is important to make sure that the tag is securely fastened to prevent it from getting lost or swinging. It must also be not less than 12 inches in height (from the ground). The tag is to be in such a position so that it can be clearly visible and maintained free from foreign substances.


New residents must apply for car registration and title within 90 days. There should be a VIN inspection. Besides, the following paperwork is necessary when applying:

  • The applicant’s personal identification
  • Current truck registration
  • Present automobile title

Afterward, all the fees and associated charges must be paid. The ID Transportation Department issues tags for drivers.

Plate types

The department provides 5 main types:

  • Agriculture
  • Standard
  • Military
  • Wildlife
  • Other

If you want to apply for a personalized plate fill in this form and submit the registration through:

Idaho Transportation Department
Special Plates
P.O. Box 7129
Boise ID 83707-1129

You can also order them through their website. There are two categories of tags:

  • Standard personalized
  • Special Personalized

The state allows them to be on passenger cars, pickup trucks, motorcycles, and motor homes.


The fees for tags vary depending on the type:

  • Standard: $25 initially and $15 for annual renewal
  • Special: $60 initially and $40 for annual renewal

NOTE: These charges are in addition to the initial and annual update fees for non-personalized (normal) license tags.

Registration payments are done every year for passenger automobiles that are 8,000 lbs. (or under). The vehicle’s age and the residence county also have an impact on the amount of money.


There is a special limit on the number of characters on each tag type:

  1. Standard: on the whole 7 letters, spaces, and numbers (in case of passenger autos, trucks, and motor homes).
  2. Special: 5 letters, spaces, and numbers (for all auto models)
  3. Standard: a total of 6 letters, numbers, and spaces (for motorcycles).


Tags are not allowed to contain:

  • A term of, prejudice, hostility, insult, profanity, vulgarity obscenity, contempt, or racial/ethnic degradation
  • A sexual term that is vulgar, in poor taste, or obscene

What do the letters on license plates mean?

To clarify, each letter matches with the county name’s first letter. What refers to the number, it represents the alphabetical order of the counties numerically. Idaho has 44 counties. Two of them begin with the letter “A”.

NOTE: 1A is Ada County and 2A is Adams County.

EXCEPTION: Seven of them (Nez Perce, Shoshone, Valley, Washington, Idaho, Kootenai, and Elmore) have no letter repetition with others, that’s why they don’t have numbers in front.

See the following list of the counties and their representing initials on license tags:

  • Boise: 1A Ada
  • Council: 2A Adams
  • Pocatello: 1B Bannock
  • Paris: 2B Bear Lake
  • St. Maries: 3B Benewah
  • Blackfoot: 4B Bingham
  • Hailey: 5B Blaine
  • Idaho City: 6B Boise
  • Sandpoint: 7B Bonner
  • Idaho Falls: 8B Bonneville
  • Bonners Ferry: 9B boundary
  • Arco: 10B Butte
  • Fairfield: 1C Camas
  • Caldwell: 2C Canyon
  • Soda Springs: 3C Caribou
  • Burley: 4C Cassia
  • Dubois: 5C Clark
  • Orofino: 6C Clearwater
  • Challis: 7C Custer
  • Mountain Home: E Elmore
  • Preston: 1F Franklin
  • St. Anthony: 2F Fremont
  • Emmett: 1G Gem
  • Gooding: 2G Gooding
  • Grangeville: I Idaho
  • Rigby: 1J Jefferson
  • Jerome: 2J Jerome
  • Coeur d’Alene: K Kootenai
  • Moscow: 1L Latah
  • Salmon: 2L Lemhi
  • Nez Perce: 3L Lewis
  • Shoshone: 4L Lincoln
  • Rexburg: 1M Madison
  • Rupert: 2M Minidoka
  • Lewiston: N Nez Perce
  • Malad City: 1O Oneida
  • Murphy: 2O Owyhee
  • Payette: 1P Payette
  • American Falls: 2P Power
  • Wallace: S Shoshone
  • Driggs: 1T Teton
  • Twin Falls: 2T Twin Falls
  • Cascade: V Valley
  • Weiser: W Washington

In 1928 the word “Potato” appeared on the ID license tag for the first time. Yet, nowadays popular “Famous Potatoes” words emerged in 1957.


In standard number plates, you may have 7 letters and numbers. Alternative designs offer 3-6, according to the design. In case you buy tags for special interests, the organization gets a portion of the payment.

The state offers drivers multiple choices:

  • 4H
  • Agriculture
  • Appaloosa (the Idaho state horse)
  • Mountain Biking
  • Wildlife
    Cutthroat Trout
  • Collegiate
    Boise State University
    Idaho State University
    University of Idaho
    Brigham Young University-Idaho
    College of Eastern Idaho
    College of Idaho
    College of Southern Idaho
    Lewis-Clark State College
    North Idaho College
    Northwest Nazarene University
  • Veteran
    All 5 service branches with various military campaigns and reservists
    National Guard
    Disabled veteran
    Gold Star family
    Medal of Honor
    Purple Heart and Purple Heart disability
    Pearl Harbor Survivor
  • Capitol Restoration
  • Centennial (if the plate was purchased in 1990)
  • Classic Cars
    Classic Car (white with 7 characters)
    Street Rod
    Year of Manufacture
  • Corvette
  • Firefighters
  • Friends of the NRA
  • Idaho Aviation
  • Idaho Rangeland
  • Lewis and Clark
  • North American Trailer (for trailers)
  • Peace Officer
  • Pet Friendly
  • Famous Potatoes
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Rotary
  • Sawtooth Mountains
  • Wilderness
  • Snowmobile
  • Snow Skier
  • Idaho Timber
  • Support the Troops
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Youth