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Rhode Island License Plate Lookup


Rhode Island License Plate Lookup

Every resident of Rhode Island knows, that here the drivers pay much more attention to the license plates than in other states of the US. But they have to know that besides being fancy, RI license plates may also provide valuable insights into the background of the automobile.

Nowadays, when buying a pre-owned automobile, it is easy to reveal all the substantial defects. With the help of Rhode Island License Plate lookup mechanisms, you are to avoid fraud dealerships and reveal all the details that matter about your new means of transport.

Moreover, you will be sure that you get the quality you pay for.

The common problems that drivers worry about most are:

· Odometer misreading
· Damage caused by flood, fire, or hail damage: sometimes it’s hard to detect it as after repair the truck may look quite fine.
· Being engaged in illegal procedures: for example, no one wants to buy a stolen car, but without checking it’s hard to disclose it.

This is not the whole list of the problems. Rhode Island license plate lookup also provides information on engagement in accidents and previous ownership. You are to obtain details of the manufacturer and main specifications of the car.

In addition, there is also data showing if the car has been used as a taxi or served in a police sector.
Having all the above-mentioned details in mind, the role of background checks becomes more important. Let’s discuss what methods are available for the check.

Lookup Options

There are three lookup options available: online, in person, or with the help of private investigators.


This search method is the easiest one as it requires minimum effort. Besides getting the results after several minutes, it also doesn’t require personal details; all the information that you need to provide is the number of the plate and the state.

Conducting this method of search is completely legal unless you are trying to repossess personally identifiable information. You also have to check the sources from where these private online databases get the information from. Trustful websites obtain data mainly from public institutions and insurance companies.


Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is a public institution where you may apply for the necessary records. You just need to have a credit card to pay $20.50 for the record, provide your name, date of birth, zip code, and the 7-digit number of your driving permit.

After filling out the gaps submit the request form and wait for the arrival of the record. By requesting a record from the state, you have to agree on the legitimate use of the record.

The RI follows Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws and any misuse of the obtained data brings legal consequences. Personal details of the automobile’s owner won’t be provided through the record.

Private Investigators

Some residents apply for the support of private investigators. Their services are expensive, but also effective and the results would be satisfying.

Registration Procedure

After establishing a residency in RI or buying a car you have only 30 days to register your automobile. The Division of Motor Vehicles handles all the procedures connected with titling, registration, and license-plates.

To apply for this procedure, you have to visit the nearest licensing agency with:

· A completed application form on Registration and Certificate of Title
· Valid auto insurance
· Current Title
· Proof of Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): this point applies to the cars that are the model year 2001 or newer. They also have to show their out-of-state title and authorization.
· Your photo ID or Driving Permit
· If the truck is leased you should also bring a special Certificate on Sales or Use Tax Exemption (Form T-33-1).
· Proof of required charges

After acquiring an automobile registration certificate, you have to inspect your vehicle within 5 days. The validity of registration is 2 years.

NOTE: The requirements and processes for the authorization are based on whether you bought a car from a private individual or a dealer. In case of purchasing it from a dealership, the dealer does all the paperwork for you.


Fees for the registration are based on the weight of the vehicle. To calculate a certain amount of the fee, check out the chart of the registration fee.

Available types

After completing the authorization, the state issues two placards; one for the rear and another one for the front.

The standard tags are white with a blue wave and dark blue numbers. Legally, all the vehicles (except motorcycles and trailers) must have both tags firmly and visibly displayed on them.

In addition to standard tags, the government also offers a variety of personalized and specialty tags to fit the individual and organizational interests of its residents.

Personalized type

The government allows its residents to customize vanity tags. However, the DMV sets certain requirements that have to be followed during personalization.

The custom tag combination has to contain up to 6 characters (both digits and letters). You are not allowed to use vulgar or offensive writings. Your combination has to be unique and hasn’t been used before.

Besides, you can’t choose the combination that is connected with any public institution or police. In addition to standard costs, you have to pay $82.50 for a sailboat tag and $68.50 for a wave.

Specialty type

This category has special designs and supports charities and non-profit organizations. There are many subtypes within this category.

For example, the sailboat placard is an alternative to the standard type that features a design of wave. The cost of this subtype is $47.50 in addition to standard payments.

You may also find other subtypes as:

1. Charity
2. Occupational
3. Military
4. Antique Autos

Some of these types require eligibility proof.

Disability type

This permit allows its holders to park in specially designed parking zones. There are available options for people with permanent, long-term, or temporary disabilities and disabled veterans.

The validity of the temporary category is 2 to 12 months. The long-term placard expires within 1-3 years. The permanent category lasts more than 3 years.

The RI recognizes all out-of-state disability decals and does not require foreign visitors to apply for a local one.

You may apply for this category only by mail. Fill out a special Application Form on Disability Parking Placard by completing the name of a disabled individual and providing proof of eligibility given by a certified physician. Then send the application to:


Disability Parking Placards Office

600 New London Ave

Cranston, RI 02920

The process lasts up to 4 weeks.

Temporary tags

When purchasing an automobile from a dealer you should apply for a temporary tag. You are to use it until the arrival of your permanent decals. You need to bring the following paperwork to DMV:

· Driver’s Permit
· Proof of insurance
· Title
· Sales agreement
· $10 for certification

This tag is available for five days and you are not allowed to renew it.

Renewal Procedure

The Rhode Island DMV sends reminders to its residents before the actual expiry of current authorization. The tags of non-commercial vehicles have to be renewed every 2 years. For commercial automobiles, the authorization is valid only 1 year.

Pass safety and emission inspection before the renewal procedure.

If your authorization has been expired for more than 3 months you will need to register your truck again. The renewal procedure can be done online, by mail, or in person.

While conducting online renewal, you must provide:

· Your name and address
· Distinctive car numbers
· Renewal notice
· Valid insurance
· Proof of payments

The printed receipt of the completed online renewal is proof of certification.

The process may last up to 2 weeks and you will receive your documents and tags through the mail.

If you choose to manage the process by mail or in-person you have to use a DMV drop-box. During this process, you will need the renewal notice and a money check for the payments.

Take the documents to a drop-box at a local licensing agency or post them to:


600 New London Ave

Cranston, RI 02920


When you find your tags missing or damaged, you have to replace them. You should either file a crime report if you suspect theft or you must fill out a special form of replacement. If you find only one plate missing you have to return the other one and obtain new placards with a number.

If you want to re-order the same numbers, you have to wait mandatory 90 days to get them.

Visit local licensing agency and bring such documents as:

· Auto Insurance
· Driver’s permit
· Power of Attorney, if applicable

Transferring and Surrendering

When purchasing a new truck, you have a right to transfer your old tags to it, without any legal problems. If the name changes, you will be required to surrender them.

The cost for the transfer is $51.50.

You will need to surrender your placards if you are moving to another state or upgrading your customized ones. You just have to bring them in person to the nearest DMV or a AAA office.