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North Carolina License Plate Lookup


North Carolina License Plate Lookup

Those who live in North Carolina may get their vanity plate through the state Division of Motor Vehicles. First of all, you must title and register it with the division. In addition, if you need a safety inspection, you have to pass it (an emissions inspection, as well).

In case you are a new resident, you must do the same as the previous residents (application process). New residents have two months to apply for new registration.

Every vehicle owner has to register the car before driving it on highways. The registration process is quite easy. You should submit some paperwork beforehand. Those are:

  • Proof of residency (e.g. driver’s license)
  • Proof of car insurance
  • The completed application form

You might as well present proof of ownership. That is the title. Additionally, you should pay for vanity-plate production. There could be any other taxes included in the payment.

Using North Carolina License Plate Lookup

Whenever you decide to buy a vehicle, you should first register it. Once you get your license plate, you have the opportunity to look it up. It helps to receive details about the machine. Accordingly, this tool provides you with the information needed. It can be the history, former owner, accident records, manufacturer, etc.

Now, let’s talk about Vehicle Identification Numbers. VIN is a unique code consisting of a line of 11-17 numbers and letters for each automobile. In addition, it is preferable to do a VIN lookup. As mentioned above, you will find enough information about the automobile’s history records. Yet, the easiest way is an online check. You may also order that via mail. The whole data about your automobile includes:

  • Accident records
  • Register and title history
  • Report of sale
  • Machine suspensions

It is also possible to order a history test through DMV. In this case, you have to give extra fees for each section of the data. Meanwhile, if you order a VIN check online, the whole information will be shown on the page.

Registration and Application

The most important thing after purchasing a car is to get a temporary tag. Drivers need to complete an application form. They also should submit the following paperwork:

  • Title certificate or the copy of the title application
  • Proof of state residency
  • Automobile’s original certificate

Therefore, pay all the required payments. There may also be some taxes. In fact, you will need to apply for a permanent registry and vanity plate. You should present the registry paper completed. That may be done in two ways:

  • In-person
  • By mail

In case you prefer to register it in person, visit the NC DMV office. Together with the above-mentioned documents, you need the bill of sale and an Odometer Disclosure Statement. Accordingly, you must pay the city/town fees. For your information, the weight of the car matters in the registration payment.

Then, you ought to confirm your residency and the ownership of the machine. You must pay all the necessary taxes and fees. In some cases, you may have to pay both local and state fees.

Rejected enrollment

There are cases where the registration might be rejected. This happens when the vehicle does not have insurance.

Another reason for rejection may be some mistakes and errors in the documents presented. To complete the enrollment, correct or remove the inaccuracies.

Types of Vanity-Plates in North Carolina

First things first, the state suggests various types of plates. The ordinary and standard versions are passenger ones. The main types are:

  • Specialty placards. This type has more than a hundred types (interest groups). They represent a special group or community. Specialty numberplates demand additional fees. They differ according to the chosen design.

Some companies possess their specialty plates. For that, they should complete an application to the DMV. The latter submits the sheet to the North Carolina General Assembly annually. They are issued to companies if only the General Assembly approves their applications. Whenever a corporation gets approval, the Division issues them within 180 days.

  • Personalized placards. Everyone has the right to personalize their standard plates. You can do it both in person or by computer. Personalization requires an additional charge. After no more than eight weeks, they will be ready.

In addition, you might receive completed application forms to the mentioned address by mail. Whether you have a standard or special placard, you can easily personalize them online. They just should submit the current numberplate figures. You have the right to select from eight characters. Applicants that decide to get a personalized one support several state charity programs. This costs $30.

NOTE: Make sure you check the list of banned license plates. So, you had better do that before submitting your application.

  • Disability placards: For disabled drivers, NC suggests disability placards. This is something to show assistance to the drivers who:
  • are not able to walk without help
  • have problems moving because of their health condition/disorder

These are usually placed on the back of the machine. That is to show that the driver is disabled. As for placards, they are stuck in the rearview mirror.

North Carolina Vehicle Registration Renewal

Renewal in this state is something you should do annually. Before the expiration date, vehicle owners receive a notification from the DMV office. In fact, it is sent to the email address found in the registration records. In the renewal notice, you can see all the fees and taxes required and included.

State residents can renew their car enrollment in person or by mail. Some online services allow drivers to save time and money to complete this process online. For the registry renewal, you need to provide:

  • the last 5 digits of the automobile title number
  • numberplate digits

In fact, you will find this data in the notice. Mainly, you receive it 60 days before the expiry date. Before that, all cars undergo a safety inspection.


According to the North Carolina DMV office’s decision plates that are older than 6 years must be replaced. This decision was the reason for the aluminum shortage. This initiative was to start at the beginning of 2020. But, due to the COVID19 pandemic, that was delayed.

Following the last calculations, approximately 2.4 million old ones will be replaced in the future. Starting from 2022, there are some plans to replace a huge number of personalized, specialty, and commercial ones.

Their design may not change. Even so, the letters and numbers are going to be flat.

It is the owner’s choice whether he/she wants to keep their old numbers. In any case, the replaced one should be returned to the office. Additionally, applicants do not have to pay an additional fee for that (only the annual enrollment fee).

Lost, Damaged, and Stolen Plates

It may not be possible to replace lost, damaged, and stolen license plates. One can easily do it in person. For the replacement, all drivers ought to fill in an MVR-18A Form.

Replacements can also be done by mail, computer, or in person. In case you want to do this process by mail, you ought to present:

  • a completed version of MVR-18A Form
  • certification of insurance
  • a charge of $21.50

However, in the case of online services, the requirements will be:

  • vanity-plate number
  • car title digits (the last 5 characters)
  • a credit or debit card for a $21.50 charge

As for replacements in person, you should submit the below-mentioned ones:

  • A completed version of MVR-18 Form
  • Identification card
  • Vehicle insurance certificate
  • A charge of $21.50

DMV will not require passengers to report their robbery cases. However, it is your choice to file a report. This ensures your own safety and prevents those kinds of incidents.

Transfer and Surrender

A person may easily transfer placards from the old machine to a new one. It is preferable to do it during the enrollment of the new car. The process is possible if only:

  • There is insurance proof.
  • The license name and vehicle title match.
  • The vehicle has undergone an inspection.

Surrendering is a must if you:

  • have decided to sell or donate your machine
  • are going to move to another state

Additional Information

As you might know, car insurance is one of the most important things now. New Carolina offers various kinds of auto insurance. So, for extra information, you must visit the official governmental website to gain details about auto insurance.

Automobile owners also have the chance to apply for temporary registration. The procedure lasts 20 or 50 days. This type of enrollment is issued by special constitutions or legal dealers.

For more information, you can apply…
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles

3155 Mail Service Center
Raleigh North Carolina 27697-3155