• Home
  • /
  • Wisconsin License Plate Lookup

Wisconsin License Plate Lookup

Wisconsin License Plate LookupThis article provides complete info on the Wisconsin License Plate Lookup mechanisms. It covers such topics as registration of the vehicle, renewal procedure, transferring and surrendering options of the car tags, fees, etc.

We are especially underlining the importance of Wisconsin License Plate Lookup in the process of buying a secondhand truck. As the latter can look quite normal from the outside but have serious problems behind it. These searching tools help to reveal many “secrets” about the car. They show its engagement in accidents and disasters. Moreover, they provide info on the automobile’s past ownership (if it is an organization or an individual), on the car’s records, and so on. By knowing the history of the car, before processing the payment, you are to decide if it is meaningful or not.

Why do we need license Plate Lookup?

If you bought a new car or are newly settled in Wisconsin, you should register your vehicle and apply for the distinctive numbers. The state doesn’t allow you to drive without authorization. Otherwise, it uses fees and penalties.

Wisconsin License Plate Lookup provides data on the car’s specifications and history. It reveals the status of the automobile and the history of the accidents. Moreover, it protects the residents from buying stolen or damaged cars.

Like other US states, Wisconsin also has very strict Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) laws. This means that you are not able to obtain the personal information of the owner. Besides, you should show an acceptable purpose of asking and receiving some records. For example, Iowa uses legal penalties for violations of the DPPA laws.

There are three lookup methods available to choose from.

  • Firstly, visit the DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) office in person. Drive to the nearest office, spend some time waiting, but receive all the requested data on the spot. This is a reliable and quick method. However, it is not acceptable due to the pandemic outbreak.
  • Secondly, use the Wisconsin License Plate Lookup services suggested by the online portals. Have the vehicle’s number, your IA Driver’s permit, and enter the official website of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Find the application form, complete the necessary data, and request the record. Department sends you the record via mail.

The info included in the record is:

  • Title of the Vehicle
  • Engagement in accidents, disasters, and thefts
  • Data on loans
  • Odometer’s status
  • A complete record of the defects
  • Ownership, etc.
  • Finally, use the provision suggested by the local tag agents. It is an expensive method, but reliable and time-saving too. By hiring an agent all the process goes under his/her control.

Where and how to register a vehicle in Wisconsin?

As we have already mentioned, the first thing after buying an automobile or settling down in IA is to title and register your car. Without these warrants, you cannot operate on the roads.

The state body which handles all the above-mentioned procedures is DMV. A wide range of issues is under the responsibility of this division.

You have only 2 days to do the registration or to display a temporary identifier. The law also claims to replace all out-of-state numbers.

Proceed titling and registration via three options:

  • Go to the nearest local office personally.
  • Do it via online provision, by using the MV1 application form that is available on the official website.
  • Choose the option of doing it via mail.

NOTE: Each of these options requires a finalized MV1 form. Just answer the questions, which are included in the form. By answering them the system automatically fills out the appropriate application form. It also provides you with a list of additional documents necessary during the procedure. After having completed the application form and documents, send them online or print out the paper sample and send it to the Division via Mail.

You may also bring them to the DMV office personally. Make sure that you have the whole package of the documents and a valid ID (or Driver’s Permit ). It requires a police report on the car’s status and a filled MV1 application form.

There is also a possibility to choose the period of valid registration. The options are:

  • Annual
  • Biennial
  • Quarterly
  • Consecutive Monthly

Different factors form the amount of the payment for the registration. To know a certain amount of the payments, check the website of the Department of Transportation.

Categories of the plates

To describe the residents’ personal and organizational interests, the government offers various categories for the distinctive combination of letters and digits. However, most of the residents choose standard ones.

The main categories are:

  • Specialty
  • Disability
  • Personalized

You can find both letters and numbers on the personalized tags. It contains up to 7 characters. Persons are allowed to indicate preferable words or writings. You might not use offensive or vulgar words on it. The writing should be acceptable to the public. Moreover, the state should verify it. There are some cases when it bans vulgar or offensive writings. This category requires an additional $15 payment each year.

To ensure the free mobility of people with disabilities, there is a special category for them. This category is for people with temporary or permanent disabilities and veterans with disabilities. It is here to provide proper realization of the needs of disabled people. They freely park in specially designed parking zones.

The specialty category is identifying the organizations, universities, military, or other groups.

Renewal Process

You obtain the renewal notice on the expiration at least one month before the registration expires. Even if you have not got the notice, you still have to renew it. For automobiles, you have to do the renewal once a year. You can’t drive with an expired registration, as the police may catch you and operate some penalties. Besides, late registration causes late dues.

3 options are available for the renewal:

  • First of all, pay a personal visit to the local DMV office or apply for the service of local tag agents. The documents that you need during the procedure are a renewal notice, valid insurance, and money for the payment. The best thing about this option is that you receive the certificate immediately on the spot. The fee is $3. In the case of applying for a local tag agent, you get the tag and the certificate from the agent. The service payment varies and can be a little bit expensive.
  • Use the info on the renewal notice and the details of your banking card to perform online renewal. After filling out a special form and providing the required data at the official website of DMV, you receive a new tag and certificate within a week.
  • Send the renewal notice and the required fees to the division by mail. Within 10 days, you will receive your new tag.

Replacement procedure

You may replace your damaged, stolen, or lost stickers very quickly and easily. When tackling this frustrating process, contact the nearest department as soon as possible. Pay a personal visit or make a call.

In case of having your identifiers or stickers stolen, first of all, pay a visit to the nearest police station. There you should fill out a report. Take that report with you to the local office.

At the office you are to show the following documents:

  • Police Report
  • Valid ID and social security number
  • Completed request for the replacement
  • Required fees

Verify the plate’s number and the VIN to replace the tag with the phone. The new tag will reach you within 24 hours.

How to Transfer or Surrender Vanity Plates in Wisconsin?


There is a possibility to transfer your tag to another vehicle at the same time. In Wisconsin, the state does not link the numbers to the automobile. It attaches them to the owner. The owner can transfer them to the wife/husband or a family member of same-sex.

In the system, the expiration date remains the same. Moreover, there is no transferring fee, this service is free.

Do the transferring via online services of the Department of Transportation. You need to answer the questions of the MV1 online form. It automatically completes the necessary application form. Obtain your transfer request.

If you choose to do the transfer personally, you will probably need the following documents:

  • Valid ID
  • Insurance
  • The vehicle’s title
  • Proof about the undergone inspection


In Wisconsin, the vanity plates belong to the state. You may surrender them if they are old enough or damaged. You also may surrender them if you donated your car and don’t need them anymore.

The DMV suggests three options of surrendering: online, in-person, or by calling. If you choose to surrender online, you are to fill out the same request form for a replacement. Then, the old warrant is taken, and the government issues new ones for you. It will be sent to you by mail.

If you just don’t need your numbers, you may personally visit the division and leave the identifiers there. Only after completing the procedure of surrendering, will you be able to cancel the insurance.

If you need to get more detailed info on the above-mentioned procedures, call the Central DMV office. The telephone number is (608) 264-7447. Driving without authorization is illegal and you will get penalties for that.