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WV License Plates Lookup



WV License Plates Lookup

In WV, if you want to search for information about a certain vehicle, use the services of West Virginia License Plates Lookup. No matter why you want to do the lookup, you will get a report, which contains info on:

  • Title and registration of the car
  • Vehicle’s condition and manufacturer
  • Involvement in road accidents and natural disasters
  • History of repairs

These services will help you a lot in the process of buying a pre-owned car or reporting a bad driver. The reason for this is that they contain complete information derived from public resources. You may also check the availability of your preferred numbers through the search.

The West Virginia license plates lookup also reveals info on the engagement of the car in public services.

It is very easy to use the online lookup databases. You only need to fill out the number of the license plate and the name of the state. Click the search button and wait for the report.

Note: Generally, you cannot find the personal information of the previous owner in the report, as it is protected by the legislation. The state follows the rules and procedures of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA). Any violation of these laws brings legal consequences. So, you’ll know if the owner is an individual or a company, nothing more.

To know more about automobile specifications, like the type, engine specs, readings of the odometer, salvage, and data of the repairs, use the VIN, if available. This searching method does not provide personal information either. That data is under the protection of the state. However, lookups protect you from reckless purchases. Owning background information about the vehicle prevents any illegal actions by private sellers.

Keep reading to know more about WV License Plates-related legal procedures and regulations.

How to get WV License Plates?

If you are new to WV and are not familiar with the local motor vehicle laws, we are here to explain all the rules and procedures to you. First of all, you have no legal right to operate a car without state authorization. Starting from 1905, each vehicle must have legal state licensing. So, when purchasing an automobile, title and register it as soon as possible. In Virginia, you are allowed to drive without permanent authorization for only 30 days (starting from the actual date of the vehicle’s purchase or establishing residency).

You have to do the registration by personally visiting the nearest office of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Show completed form of application, valid title, driver’s permit, and proof of needed payments. If you newly established your residency in this state, also have documents that prove it and take your out-of-state warrant too.

After finalizing this procedure, the Division of Motor Vehicles will give you license plates, registration cards, and the decal. For automobiles, the state issues two plates: one for the rear and another one for the front. Both of them have to be firmly attached and noticeable. Only motorcycles, tractors, semi-trailers, or trailers operate with one plate. Decals show the date of expiry and they also have to be displayed.

As for the card, keep it inside the automobile with your valid insurance.

The title cost is $15. For registration, you have to pay $51.50. There is also a $10 lien fee (if applicable).

Vehicle Inspection Details

The next action following the registration is the vehicle inspection. Once a year, you have to apply for this procedure. If you bought a car from another state, after getting the West Virginia authorization, you have only 10 days to organize a safety inspection. In the case of buying a car in West Virginia, you have to inspect your automobile within 3 days after registration.

Available Types of WV License Plates

On a standard plate, you are to find a blue, white, and yellow striped background. The colors of the characters are navy and yellow. Slogan “Wild, Wonderful” appears on the bottom, and you can also see “West Virginia” written on the top.

Besides standard tags, there are many specialty types available. Before applying for them, you must have regular WV registration.

You may apply for such types as:

  • Special
  • Personalized
  • Temporary
  • Disability


The special category is designed for companies, foundations, universities, etc. There are more than 200 subcategories within this category. The main groups are Associations and Organizations, Colleges and Universities, General Interests, Military.


Personalized tags contain up to 8 characters. You are allowed to indicate both digits and letters. You must indicate a minimum of 2 letters. Check availability of preferred combinations through DMV’s official website. The combination has to lay under the accepted norms, as you have no right to include offensive and vulgar writings.

Within a personalized category, you are to find 3 subcategories: standard, scenic, wildlife. The fee for the standard subcategory is $66.50, the scenic is $76.50, and the cost of the wildlife tag is $91.50.

DMV’s official website allows you to order your personalized stickers online. You have to choose the style of your future tag and check its availability. Then complete the application form by entering the necessary data on the car specifications. You have to provide insurance details too. Then, after approval of your preferred writing, pay the fees, sign the application and send it to the local office.


If, under some circumstances, you haven’t registered your automobile, you have a right to apply for the temporary tags. They have a validity of 30 days and within that period you may legally drive on the streets. However, do the registration before the expiration of these tags. Otherwise, you will get legal penalties.


The tags designed for people with disabilities allow them to park in special areas. There are available permanent and temporary placards and plates. The permanent ones have a validity of 5 years, and the temporary ones have 6 months validity. The registrant must be eligible for this category and have medical authorization.

Renewal Procedure

Approximately 30 days before the registration expires, you are to receive a reminder sent by the state. Even if you haven’t received it, you should do the renewal. Otherwise, it will cause late fees and penalties.

There are 3 options available for the renewal:

  • First of all, you can organize the renewal through DMV Online Portal. Fill out all the needed data on the insurance, property taxes, and manage the payment via credit card.
  • Secondly, Use the renewal notice, complete required gaps, put a certain amount of the fee, property tax receipt, and proof of insurance, and mail it to:

West Virginia Department of Transportation

1900 Kanawha Blvd, East

Building 5, Room A-722

Charleston WV, 25305-0330

Tell: 1-800-642-9096

Or mail to the nearest DMV office.

  • Thirdly, pay a personal visit to the DMV regional office. You have to provide the same documents as in the above-mentioned cases. You may also visit the County Sheriff’s office for the renewal. It depends on the county you live in.

The cost of the renewal for one year is $51.50, and for two years you have to pay $103.

Replacement process

You have to replace your tags if you find them damaged, lost, or stolen. For this procedure, you may apply even by mail or in-person. But in case of theft, you should visit the nearest police station first. There, you are to file a report. Only after completing this procedure in the police station, can you apply for the replacement.

First of all, you have to fill out a special form (DMV-4-TR), providing basic information about yourself and your automobile. Then, manage the payment of $10.50, and wait for the replacement.

Transferring and Surrendering

In West Virginia, the state allows you to transfer your plates to your newly purchased car. Submit a special application form and do the necessary payment. If the registration expires within 60 days, it is more acceptable to manage the transfer and the renewal simultaneously. Provide ownership tax receipt and proof of insurance to complete the procedure.

In the case of personalized stickers, you have a right to transfer them from one car to another one. The husband may transfer them to the wife, and the wife to the husband. The transfer fee is $5. But make sure you also have $50 for the insurance.

Only you can use your tags, and you have no permission to transfer them to a new person.

If you don’t need them anymore, you have to surrender them. The reason for surrendering may be the replacement, upgrade to a specialty category, leaving the state, or canceling the insurance. In case of having one of these reasons, leave your tags at the local DMV office, as they are considered property of DOT.

For more questions and clarifications, contact DMV at (800) 642-9066.

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