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Washington‌ ‌License‌ ‌Plate‌ ‌Lookup‌ ‌

Washington‌ ‌License‌ ‌Plate‌ ‌Lookup‌ ‌


Washington is widely known for its complicated automobile dealer world. Some gaps in local laws form the basis for fraud. The main issue is inside the dealer’s certification. A person may become a wholesale dealer without taking into account the main specifications of the work. So, to help drivers and automobile buyers to avoid fraud, Washington license plate lookup services arise.

Washington license plate lookup mechanisms allow the residents to get short info on the main specifications of the vehicle. In minutes you are to get the vehicle’s title, theft report, the identification number of the vehicle, rollback of the odometer, recalls, and so on.

Moreover, you’ll get data that is driven from public databases and insurance agencies. These reliable sources provide accident and inspection records and reports of the repairs. With the help of Washington state license plate lookup mechanisms, examine each detail of the automobile and before actual purchase think if it is worth your money or not.

NOTE: The government follows the laws of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). This means that you are not able to obtain personal information on ownership. Any violation of these laws or misuse of obtained data causes legal penalties.

Search Options

There are three available options to conduct the lookup:

  1. The first option is the use of online private databases. It is time saving and easy method to get the necessary info. Just fill out the vehicle’s distinctive number in the gap, select the state and by pressing “enter” have a full report in front of you.
  2. Secondly, you may request data from the State Motor Vehicle Agency. Fill out a special Request Form and send it to the Agency.

Department of Transportation

310 Maple Park Avenue SE

Olympia, WA 98504

TELL: 1-866-936-8246

      3. Finally, you can apply for the services of a private investigator. This way is expensive; however, the results will be quick and satisfying.

Registration Process

Legally, all the residents cannot drive on the roads of WA without public authorization. So, if you have a newly established residency here or bought a new automobile, title and register it as soon as possible.

The new residents have 30 days to manage these processes. However, after buying a car, you have only 15 days to authorize it. Starting from the 16th day the government operates penalties of $2 for each day. The maximum amount of the penalty is $125.

New residents can register their automobiles through Driver’s licensing offices. Conduct the procedure in person or by mail.

By mail

To complete this procedure through the post, the new residents have to send the following documents to licensing agency:

  • Certificate on ownership (It has to be filled out, signed, and notarized.)
  • The title of the automobile
  • Report on odometer disclosure (These criteria work for the cars of 2011 or newer.)
  • Sales agreement (In case you owe the car less than 3 months.)
  • Proof of the necessary payments

Mail the above-mentioned documents to:


PO Box 9043

Olympia, WA 98507

Receive the authorization for up to 10 weeks.


Bring the above-mentioned documents to the licensing or Quick title offices. The first provides the registration immediately but sends the title within 10 weeks. The second provides the authorization papers on the spot, but you have to pay an additional $50.

NOTE: You don’t have to show valid insurance during these procedures, but legally you must have it to avoid penalties.

If you bought a new truck, you have to title and register it with the use of the same options. However, if you purchase it from a certified dealer, he/she will manage all the paperwork. Dealing with a private party will make you do registration by yourself.

The fees

The weight, type of the vehicle, category of the tag, and home address determine the amount of the fees. You have the opportunity to calculate a certain amount for a specific car with the use of a fee calculator and an excise tax calculator. Find them through the available list of DOL online services.

The service cost of titling is $15, and the cost for registration service is $8.

NOTE: The state requires plates both for the rear and the front. They have a specific color that is designed for a concrete year. So the color for 2020 was white, 2021 was blue. This year the color is red. For 2023 it is going to be green and for 2024 it should be black. After that, the cycle repeats.

Available Types

Besides general recalls, you have the right to apply for special and personalized vanity types. These types are here to describe your interests and help organizations in fundraising.

Personalized Type

The State allows its residents to apply for personalized tags and indicate preferred messages on them. To have a personalized plate on your automobile, you have to follow these steps:

  • First of all, you should think about the preferred combinations of letters and numbers. You have to indicate hyphens and spaces too. You are allowed to choose up to 7 characters. Never indicate vulgar or offensive writings, as the state may ban them.
  • Secondly, check the availability of the preferred lettering through the website of the Department of Licensing.
  • If the combination is available, choose its background. You have the opportunity to choose between standard mountain or special design backgrounds.
  • Then find a certain amount of the payment. For standard background tag the costs are: $89.25 (Passenger truck), $88.50 (truck), $77.25 (trailer), $71.25 (motorcycle).
  • For a tag with a special background design you have to pay; $129.25 (passenger car), $128.50 (truck), $117.25 (trailer), $111.25 (motorcycle).
  • Finally submit the payment and the application form. You may send the documents to the local certifying office through post:

Licensing Department

PO Box 9909

Olympia, WA 98507-8500

Or visit personally to King County Licensing Center, 500 4th Ave. #404, Seattle WA, 98104.
For additional information on personalized tags make a call at 360-902-3770.

Specialty Category

Within this category, you are to find such subcategories as:

  • Military
  • Collegiate
  • Distinct Interest and Organization
  • Wildlife and Parks
  • Classic Autos


In Washington, there are distinct tags for people with disabilities. They can apply for a temporary placard that is valid for 5 months or for a tag that has to be renewed each year. The organizations that transfer people with disabilities may also apply for a placard.

The owners of these tags have a right to park in special areas. Note that only certified physicians have a permit to verify a person as eligible for this category.

What does the letter “B” mean on WA License Plates?

Starting from 1935 the state started to issue plates by county, so each letter shows corresponds to the concrete county. For example, the letter “B” corresponds to Pierce, the letter “G” to Clark, and so on.

Renewal Process

The residents of this region, have to renew their tags once a year. Several weeks before the actual expiry, the DOL sends reminders on the date of the expiry and the fees. You are to receive the reminder by mail or through email.

However, even if you have not received the renewal notice, you still have to organize the renewal on time, otherwise, the government will operate late fees and penalties.

There are three renewal options available: online, in-person, or by mail.


To renew online, you have to be sure that your registration is current or has been expired in less than 12 months. Besides, your current address has to be the same as on the reminder notice.

To manage the process, visit the website of the DOL. You need to provide data on your current address, your distinctive number, your postal address, and payment for fees.

You are to receive your distinctive car numbers during 5 working days or you can pick them up at the nearest certifying agency.


To renew your tags in person, visit the nearest DOL agency. You have to have the following documents with you:

  • Photo ID or Driving License
  • Documents on residency
  • Reminder on expiry
  • Renewal payment
  • Service cost of $4.50
  • Cost for registry of $30

The advantage of this option is that you will receive an authorization certificate and the tags on the spot.

By Mail

Check the accuracy of the data in the reminder notice, put in the latter and the fees (only check or money order) inside the envelope, and send them to the address listed in the renewal notice.

The tags will reach you within 5 working days.

Transferring and Surrendering

It is possible to transfer your tags to another vehicle that is registered under your name. It is possible to manage this process by post or in-person.

If you don’t need your tags you can surrender them to the local DOL office. Take them personally to the office or send them to:

Department of Licensing

1125 Washington ST SE

Olympia, WA 98504

You may also recycle them on your own, but first of all, invalidate them, and make them unusable. Make sure, that your tags are not included in a special list, as in that case, you can’t recycle them by yourself, you may only surrender them to the DOL office.