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Tennessee License Plate Lookup


Tennessee License Plate Lookup

In Tennessee, as all around America, it is illegal to drive a car without public authorization. So, if you are newly establishing a residency here or buying a pre-owned car and want to get authorization for it, you should use Tennessee License Plate Lookup services. With its help, you are to get an accurate picture of the vehicle’s past and present.

You have the opportunity to carry out the Tennessee License Plate lookup online, in person, or with the support of private investigators.

  1. Many private online databases buy, unify and sell information. This is the easiest and quickest way to carry out a lookup as it involves minimal effort. But you have to choose a website that obtains data from reliable resources such as public institutions or insurance companies.
    The process of searching requires only several minutes. You have to fill out the tag numbers in the gap, choose the state and by submitting this info you will reach the complete history of the automobile.
  2. You have a right to request information from governmental bodies. The Motor Vehicle Agency is a public body where you may apply for the records.
    Motor Vehicle Agency
    500 James Robertson Pkwy #2
    Nashville, TN 37243
  3. The service of private investigators is the most expensive, however, it could be effective.

What info you will get through the record?

No matter which searching method you choose, you will get a record that contains such info as:

  • Ownership details (if the owner is an individual or a company)
  • Main specifications of the automobile (such as year of production and the name of the manufacturer, conditions, odometer readings, and so on)
  • Report on the engagement in accidents and involvement in natural disasters
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

NOTE: The DPPA (Driver’s Privacy Protection Act) laws are strictly followed by the state, and no personal details of ownership are available.

Registration Process

To use TN roads and highways legally, you need to title and register your car. Here the titling and registering procedure is the same and you can organize them simultaneously.

The public body that is responsible for this procedure is The Department of Revenue. However, you may also apply for the certification at County Clerk’s office.

No matter if you are a new resident in this region or you have just bought a car, you will need the following documents:

  • Photo ID
  • Proof of residency
  • Payment for the required taxes and fees

If you are a newcomer you will also need data on the Emissions test of the car and your out-of-state registration and title.

As a resident of TN that wants to authorize a new car, you will need a Producer’s Certificate of Origin and invoice from the dealership (in addition to general documents).

When registering an already used automobile, you have to provide a valid title and odometer disclosure statement.


The payment for the certification of a personal automobile is $21.50.
For commercial vehicles, the fee may start from $39.88 (seats 7 or less) and reach $320.38 (seats 35+).

Available Types of TN license plates

TN is among the 20 states that do not require front tags. You have to display only one for the rear. The first slogan that appeared on the placard was “Volunteer State”. The state introduced it 62 years after issuing placards. However, the modern slogan of “The Volunteer State in God WE Trust” is not mandatory.

Every 10 years the government introduces new Tennessee license plates. The last update was in 2011, and in 2022 the residents will receive the new design of the tags. The latter may consist of a maximum of 7 characters. It has to start with a letter, then 2 numbers and a hyphen, and again 2 numbers and a letter as the last character.

Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR) is a public body that handles all the above-mentioned procedures. Particularly Vehicle Services Division is accountable for the procedure. Besides generally issued placards the DOR also allows personalizing the tags and applying for the specialty ones.

Personalized type

To do customization of the placard you have to check the availability of your preferred combination and follow the guidelines set by the Department of Revenue.

You have a right to choose up to 7 characters, both digits, and letters. You are not allowed to indicate vulgar or offensive writings as the government can ban them. Finally, the writing has to be unique and have no resemblance with any combination chosen by the public agencies.

To personalize the standard category, you have to pay $35. The fee for the customization of the specialty category varies for each type. The service fee is $1.

Specialty type

Among this category, you are to find 100 subcategories. This group is here to support charities and serve organizational interests.

We specify the following subtypes:

  • Collegiate
  • Sporting
  • Military
  • Special Causes
  • Occupational

For some of these categories, you should show proof of eligibility.

To get details on the costs contact your local DOR agency.

Disability type

TN also offers disability permits for all the residents that have permanent or temporary disabilities. It gives the advantage to park in special parking zones.

You can appeal for this category in person or by mail. Complete an application form (RV-F1310301), show proof of eligibility given by the certified physician and manage the payments.

For a provisional permit, you have to pay $10, a permanent permit costs $26.50.

Temporary Permits

You are eligible to obtain temporary tags when you don’t manage the paperwork. The DOR issues them with 30 days of validity. You just have to prove that you are working in direction of fixing titling/registration issues and submit:

There are 3 types of temporary permits available:

  1. The first one is the temporary operation permit. It is also known as a red tag. It has the validation of a month. You have to pay $10 for it. Submit your application for this authorization at County Clerk’s local office. Make sure you have proof of ownership and driving ID with you.
  2. The second type is the dealer drive-out tag. It is also known as a green tag. It also has validity for a month. The cost of this certification is $5.50. Only the certified dealers have a right to issue this authorization to the owners waiting for the completion of their registration.
  3. Another one is a trailer temporary tag, known as a yellow one. It is for the transferring of trailers. It is valid for only 5 days and the cost is $9. Only trailer manufacturers may issue this certification.

For more details on provisional authorizations, contact DOR (615) 741-3101.

Renewal Process

You have to renew your registration before its actual expiration. This procedure handles the Department of Revenue, particularly the Vehicle Services Division. Several days before the actual expiration date the government sends reminders by mail. Even if you have not received it the renewal is still under your accountability.

You may organize it by mail, in person, or online. Mail or take in person your documents (renewal notice and necessary payments) to your local licensing office. If your county is on the list of counties that offer online renewal you can do it via the official website of the Department of Revenue. Visit the website, choose your county, apply the details of your automobile, pay the fees and apply for the renewal.

The fee for the standard class is $26.50. For a personalized class, you have to pay $56.50 and $19.50 for motorcycles.

Transferring and Surrendering

When you are purchasing a new automobile, you have a right to transfer your old tag to it. The state attaches the distinctive auto numbers to the name of the owner. That means, that for transferring procedure the cars need to be titled under the name of the same person.

The cost of transferring is $1.

There are many situations when you no longer need your placards. So, you have to surrender them to the DOR.

There are many cases when people have to surrender the placards. For example, when they are personalizing their plates, the old standard ones have to be surrendered.

Replacement Procedure

TN has a service of the placard’s replacement. You may apply for this service when you find your plates lost or you have accidentally damaged them. There can be a situation when someone has stolen your tag. In case of theft, you have to visit the nearest police station as soon as possible. There file a report and take it to the DOR with other paperwork.

You can apply for the replacement by personally visiting the local county clerk’s office or sending documents by mail. Make sure you provide the following paperwork:

  • Certificate of the automobile registration
  • Completed application form on the Replacement
  • A report (given by the police in case of theft)
  • Your notarized signature
  • Proof of necessary payments

The payment for the replacement of standard tags is $11.75. The replacement of the decals is free of charge.