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Pennsylvania License Plate Lookup


Pennsylvania License Plate Lookup

Probably, you are aware that to drive a vehicle you must register it. If you are the first owner, the steps are much easier. But if you buy a pre-owned auto in Pennsylvania, license plate lookup should be of utmost importance.

If you don’t know why and how to do that, then keep reading this article. It will help you to make the process as smooth as possible.

Advantages of Pennsylvania License Plate Lookup

Possessing a preowned car is not simple. Sure, you want to have the real history of that machine to avoid malfunctions. Vanity plate search reveals its previous ownership, odometer reading, accidents, etc. Likewise, when you have your auto, you are to take a new number tablet. Someone interested in purchasing it can order a full record using those digits.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provides two kinds of reports:

  • Driver’s details
  • Vehicle information

To obtain the first one you should complete the DL-503 application form. Then submit it on PennDOT’s official page. Don’t forget to mention the period for which you want to get it. There are 3 variants:

  • 3 years
  • 10 years
  • Full

Yet, insurance companies, agents, courts, and attorneys are eligible to receive such info. You can check the charges listed in the forms which you may download online.

And what about the second one, it gives you the following data:

  • Address and name of the current owner
  • VIN
  • Title
  • Model
  • Age

To apply, you need to fill up a DL-135. They will maintain more info if you specify it in the letter. But what data do they ask to process your request? A sole tag digit is not enough in this case. Be ready to Include VIN or title too. This is important for citizens’ privacy protection.

Types of Custom Plates

There are 7 main versions offered:

  1. Standard issue
    This involves ordinary serial numbers. The fee is $85 added to the regular registration charge.
  2. Special fund
    Proceeds from sales go to various charity institutions. These metal tablets have a unique background and design. Sometimes a small picture is in the background. Fees range from $38 to $57. You should pay it in addition to the standard enrollment fee. To personalize them, you are to give an extra amount.
  3. Military
    The Department allows veterans and military officers to qualify for this type. The evidence of being eligible is discharge papers and MID. Fees vary, for example:
  • Army veteran- $23 plus $112 to individualize
  • Ex-POW- $11 and $56 if personalized

4. Vintage
This refers to historical cars considered:

  • An antique that is more than 25 years old. It should be close to its factory appearance despite restoration or maintenance.
  • A classic that is a minimum of 15 y/o. Most of the original design is maintained.
  • A vintage if produced in 1906 – 1976.

The first two variants cost $84 and added $112 for personalization. The last one requires you to pay $84 and $81.

5. Personalized
In general, you can personalize most of the plates for an additional fee. Combinations consist of letters and numbers without any special symbols. Custom tags may contain a maximum of 7 characters. You may separate them with a hyphen or space. They don’t count as characters.

Remember to not use them together in 1 configuration. Exclude profanity and words having abusive meanings. There is a list of prohibited conjectures. Be sure that you didn’t choose any of them.

6. Special organizations
PennDOT sells organizational tags via sponsor institutions, such as:

  • Universities and colleges
  • Interest groups, like Appalachian Trail Conservancy and PA Choose Life
  • Youth and veterans’ associations
  • Service organizations
  • Professional and professions groups

To see the complete list, visit DOT online platform. Upon ordering you have to contact them directly. Only members of organizations are eligible for these tags. Supplementary charges go to the supporter companies.

7. Disability
To apply, you need to hold documentation proving your disability. These tags are for permanently disabled people. PA issues free placards for them depending on the level of handicap. All the regions recognize disability permits of other states. So, if you get it once, it operates everywhere. It is mandatory to display placards from the rearview mirror. Having it you are to park in:

  • Designated places
  • Anywhere else with a limit of an hour

You need to maintain medical certification from your doctor. It determines which permits you qualify for. Veterans also pass verification at VA. Your application MV-145A must be:

  • Notarized
  • Certified by a physician, VA, and police


The background of the common type is a mixture of blue, white, and yellow. On the white part, there are blue symbols. The colors and fonts of other versions differ a lot.


Before this, you are to check the availability of the configuration. If it is free, continue to fulfill the next steps. But take into account that it will be fully yours after payment.

The process is different for each kind. For any of them, there is a particular sample. For individual numbers, you are to complete MV-904 online. Otherwise, you have to write it down on paper and direct it by mail. After that, send the money payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They accept checks and not cash.

Once you prepare everything, the approval message will not be late. They will reserve and deliver issued tags within ten weeks. In the case of refusal, they explain to you the reason by notifying you.

Applicants have to earn a valid enrollment tag and save their pending receipt. It is impossible to request personal combinations for:

Passenger vehicle
Motor homes
Trucks with up to 14000-pound gross weight

Renewal and Replacing

You have to refresh it together with your auto registration. Indeed, they require you to pay tolls per time. You need to surrender invalid and no longer usable tags via mail.

And finally, when and what to do for a replacement? This includes three situations: theft, loss, and damage. For this reason, fill up a suitable request sample. Then, pay $11 and be ready to show proof of possession.


When you purchase your machine from a dealer, he is to handle all the paperwork. It means title transfer and registration. Note that it is mandatory to have PA insurance. In private sales, both sides have to appear in person at DOT. They are responsible for the whole procedure. Bring with you your driver’s license. If you are the seller you must:

  • report mileage of machine on the back of the title
  • print and sign your name in front of the agent
  • provide lien holder details (if financing the auto)

Do not leave your plate to the buyer. Pick up and hand it to the nearest point. You have the right to demand written acknowledgment from the buyer.
Someone who purchases an auto is to inspect the car for 10 days. Inspection stickers must be valid. After that, he writes his name and address and puts his signature. Besides all this, you are to have with you a copy of MV-4ST.

Out-of-state deals

For this, you visit a PennDOT agent. There you should have with you:

  • The other state title assigned to you
  • Form MV-1 (available in local offices)
  • VIN
  • Your DL or ID
  • Evidence of insurance
  • Payment of $58
  • Paid sales tax invoice (prices depend on the region)

Mailing Address

Bureau of Mot. Vehicles
Unit of Return Tag
P.O. box: 68597
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17106