FAQ
License Plates and Tabs
How do I apply for a Veteran plate or a Veteran Campaign/Service Medal plate?

Afghanistan Plate with Medal Vietnam Pure MI Plate no MedalIraq Spectacular Peninsulas Plate with Medal Afghanistan Spectacular Peninsulas Personalized Plate No Medal
Veteran plates are available in either the standard Pure Michigan or Spectacular Peninsulas design. Campaign and Service Medal Veteran plates are available for veterans who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam and earned a medal. Veterans must provide their Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty form (DD-214), indicating a medal award, for a Campaign or Service Medal Veteran plate. The official Service Medal Award Certificate issued by any of the Armed Forces branches will also be accepted for the Vietnam Service Medal plate. Veteran plates may be ordered at any Secretary of State office or by mailing in a completed Application for Veteran Plate form.

 

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I'm on active duty. Do I qualify for a Veteran Campaign/Service Medal plate?

Afghanistan Conflict Plate Iraq Spectacular Peninsula with medalVietnam Pure MI Plate with medal
Yes, if you have been decorated with a campaign/service medal for serving in Afghanistan, Iraq or Vietnam, you are eligible for this special veteran plate. Please bring your Officer Record Brief or Enlisted Record Brief when submitting your plate application. The Veteran Campaign/Service Medal plate is available in the standard Pure Michigan and Spectacular Peninsulas designs.

 

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What is the Mackinac Bridge plate?

The latest in graphic plates, the Mackinac Bridge plate offers residents a chance to show their state pride in a way that is Pure Michigan. Featuring one of the most iconic of Michigan landmarks, the Mackinac Bridge is featured front and center on this beautifully designed plate. It is available in disability and personalized versions and for motorcycles. A one-time fee of $5 is charged when purchasing a plate (in addition to any other registration or fees that may apply). Order it at any Secretary of State office or by mail. The Mackinac Bridge plate replaces the Spectacular Peninsulas plate, which is being slowly phased out.

 

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Do I need to show proof of insurance each time I renew my plate?

Yes, proof of Michigan no-fault insurance is required when renewing at a Secretary of State office or by mail.

 

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Can I renew my plate without going to a Secretary of State office?

Yes, if your plate renewal notice includes a nine-character Personal Information Number (PIN) OR the phrase "insurance verified electronically" in the lower left corner.

You may renew online using either Online Renewal PLUS or Express Renewal. Renewals may also be completed at any Secretary of State Self-Service Station. A nominal processing fee may be charged.

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I did not receive my renewal form, can you resend me another renewal form?

Renewal forms not received cannot be resent. However, you may renew your license plate without a renewal form at ExpressSOS.com or at our Self-Service Stations if your insurance can be verified electronically. You may also renew without the renewal form at any Secretary of State branch office. Documents needed for renewals are:

  • Old registration for each registration (or plate configuration)
  • Proof of Michigan no-fault insurance for each registration
  • Driver's license
  • Cash, check, money order, or a Discover, MasterCard or Visa debit or credit card.

You may also mail a photocopy of your current registration, proof of valid Michigan no-fault insurance, and a check or money order payable to the State of Michigan to:

Michigan Department of State
Renewal by Mail Unit
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48980

If paying by VISA, MasterCard, or Discover credit card, you may fax the information to 517-322-6822. Please provide your credit card number, credit card expiration date, printed name, signature, and dollar amount.

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How can I renew my registration while I am out of state?

Online

Go to the ExpressSOS home page and click on Renew Vehicle Plate. Selecting Online Renewal PLUS will allow you to renew your plate and submit a one-time mailing address so that your new tab and registration can be mailed directly to you. Tabs and registrations renewed using Express Renewal will be mailed to your home mailing address.

By mail

Send a photocopy of your current registration, proof of valid Michigan no-fault insurance, and a check or money order payable to the "State of Michigan" to:

Michigan Department of State
Renewal by Mail Unit
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48980

You may charge the renewal with a valid Visa, MasterCard or Discover card. Information about your renewal fee can be obtained by calling 517-322-1271. Please provide an out-of-state address if you want your registration receipt and new license plate tab mailed to you while you are out-of-state.

By fax

Fax a photocopy of your current registration, proof of valid Michigan no-fault insurance to 517-322-6822. Pay with Visa, MasterCard or Discover. Include your printed name, signature, the renewal fee, credit card number and expiration date with your fax.

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How soon should I put my new license plate and tab on my vehicle?

Under Michigan law, you are obligated to have a valid license plate and registration for your vehicle. Therefore, whenever you are issued a new license plate and tab, you must put them on your vehicle as soon as you receive them. Your old plate is canceled once the new one is assigned to you - no matter when your old plate was set to expire. There is no grace period under Michigan law. If you continue driving with your old plate, the license plate and tab on your vehicle will not match what is on file with the Secretary of State. This may be considered an improper plate violation. It could result in a ticket from law enforcement, a fine and having your vehicle impounded. Registration and insurance. Always make sure to have the proper registration and insurance certificates with you when driving. Failure to do so can result in tickets.

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Should I notify anyone about my new license plate?

If you provided your license plate number to an employer or to an apartment, housing complex or parking facility manager, make sure you update them when you receive a different plate number.

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I really like the number and letter configuration on my Auto Centennial plate. Can I get a replacement plate with the same numbers and letters?

The number and letter configurations used on Auto Centennial plates are not used on any other type of plates and therefore may be incorporated into a personalized plate. Owners of an Auto Centennial plate who wish to personalize a different type of plate using the number and letter configuration of their Auto Centennial plate may do so before the plate expires. The original personalized plate service fee is due in addition to the regular renewal fee. Once the Auto Centennial plate expires, the number and letter configuration are no longer reserved to the original owner and anyone seeking a personalized plate may use them.

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Can I still keep my Great Lakes Splendor or Auto Centennial license plate?

Beginning in June 2015, All Auto Centennial and any Great Lakes Splendor plates older than 10 years old can no longer be renewed. Michigan law requires plates that are 10 years old or older to be replaced upon renewal. Check your plate renewal notice for a statement informing you that your plate must be replaced.

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When am I required to replace a license plate?

Plates that are rusted, damaged or illegible due to age or wear-and-tear should be replaced. A replacement plate can be obtained at any Secretary of State office. Additionally, Michigan requires plates that are 10 years old or older to be replaced upon renewal. Check your plate renewal notice for a statement informing you that your plate must be replaced.

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I sold my vehicle and there are no plans to replace it. What do I do with the license plate?

If there are no plans to use the license plate and you decide to dispose of it, please destroy it by cutting it in half or bending off a corner to discourage theft and fraud. Recycling might also be another option. Check with your local recycler for more information.

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How long will it take before I receive my plate and/or tab?

Allow at least 14 days when renewing a license plate online, by telephone or mail. If your plate expires in 14 days or less, you should renew at a branch office rather than online, by telephone or mail. A branch office can process your renewal immediately (proof of Michigan no-fault insurance will be required), but at least two weeks is needed when renewing by these alternate systems. All Secretary of State PLUS offices and SUPER!Centers also feature a Self-Service Station - another convenient method for immediately renewing license plates. You must have a special personal identification number on your renewal notice and pay by credit card to use a Self-Service Station. (Note: Please refer to the Frequently Asked Question topic of "New Standard and Spectacular Peninsulas Plates" for information about renewing a standard license plate.)

Keep your valid registration and insurance certificate with you when driving. Neglecting to carry your vehicle's registration and insurance certificate are two more violations that can result in tickets, fines and fees.

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What license plates are available for order?

If you renew by mail or at a branch office, you may select from a variety of license plates, such as the Mackinac Bridge, Spectacular Peninsulas or fund-raising plates. Although you may renew your plate through ExpressSOS online or at a Self-Service Station, if you wish to order a new plate, you will need to visit a branch office or mail in a license plate order form. Order forms are listed on the Secretary of State website under forms.

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Do I need a commercial plate on my vehicle?

The Department has two types of commercial plates available - a "regular" commercial plate and an elected gross vehicle weight (GVW) commercial plate.

The following vehicles use the "regular" commercial plate:

  • A vehicle used to transport persons for hire (e.g., taxi, bus, limousine)
  • Company-owned pickups and vans up to 8,000 pounds
  • A vehicle up to 8,000 pounds used commercially to transport goods, wares, or merchandise (e.g., stake truck, tank, dump, utility) including passenger vehicles used commercially
  • Ambulances and hearses

The following vehicles require GVW plates:

  • All trucks weighing over 8,000 pounds (empty) used commercially
  • All semi tractors used commercially
  • Trucks weighing 8,000 pounds or less (empty) towing a trailer or any other vehicle for commercial purposes (This does not include pickups and vans under 8,001 lbs. towing a trailer. They use regular fees as if there was no trailer).

The GVW plate fee is based on the truck's maximum elected gross vehicle weight (GVW). Elected gross vehicle weight is the empty weight of the vehicle or combination of vehicles, fully equipped for service, plus the weight of the maximum load that the owner has elected to carry.

 

 

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What is the Spectacular Peninsulas license plate?

On Jan.1, 2007, the Spectacular Peninsulas license plate replaced the Great Lakes Splendor plate. This new graphic plate showcases the best features of Michigan in an eye-catching design of blues, greens and whites. It has a dynamic cityscape in the upper-left corner, a wheat field swaying in the breeze in the top center and a majestic forest in the upper right. An outline of Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes highlights the plate's center while the mighty Mackinac Bridge arches across the bottom. The slogan "Spectacular Peninsulas" is to the right of the Bridge. A $5 fee is due when you purchase an original Spectacular Peninsulas plate in addition to regular registration or transfer fees.

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My license plate was lost or stolen. How do I obtain a new one?

You may obtain a replacement license plate at a Secretary of State office. Bring the vehicle registration or the license plate number and your identification. A replacement plate and tab will be issued for $5, along with a new registration. Additional fees are due if you personalize your replacement plate or if you purchase a different type of plate.

If your plate was stolen, contact your local police or sheriff's office. The agency will enter a message into the Law Enforcement Information Network alerting officers that the plate was reported as stolen.

A license plate can only be replaced by the vehicle owner, by a member of the owner's family living at the same address or by a representative of the owner with an Appointment of Agent form completed by the vehicle owner.

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I have lost my registration. What should I do?

If your license plate has not expired, you can obtain a duplicate registration at any Secretary of State office or by using ExpressSOS. When requesting a duplicate registration at a branch office or online, make sure to have the license plate number or registration number ready. There is no fee for a duplicate vehicle registration. A duplicate watercraft or moped registration is $2 and a duplicate snowmobile registration is $5.

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How do I transfer my license plate onto my new car?

You may transfer a license plate issued in your name at any Secretary of State branch office. You will need your current registration or license plate number, your title to the vehicle to which you want to transfer the license plate (your copy of the title application will be sufficient if you recently applied for your title), and $8. Additional fees may be due if transferring a plate to a different type of vehicle (such as from a car to a motor home). Additional fees will be due if you apply for a new title at the same time. The owner of the registration must be one of the owners shown on the title. If you are purchasing a vehicle from a Michigan dealer, the dealer will handle the plate transfer for you.

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How do I correct the license plates on my vehicle?

Your registration receipt will show the license plate number and the vehicle to which your license plate is registered. If any of this information is incorrect, you should visit a Secretary of State branch office for assistance or check with our Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424) for further information. Some corrections, such as for name or vehicle information, may require that you also bring in the vehicle title.

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How do I change my address on my registration?

If you move, you must change the address on your driver's license as soon as possible at a Secretary of State office or by using ExpressSOS. By changing the address on your driver's license, all other Secretary of State files associated with your name will also be updated.

When you renew your license plate by mail and the address needs to be corrected, simply cross out the previous address and write the new address on the registration. This will alert the Department of State to correct the address when renewing your registration. If you are renewing a vehicle or watercraft registration online using Online Renewal PLUS, then you may also submit a change of address at the same time. Change of address cannot be submitted when using Express Renewal online.

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How do I change the expiration date on my license plate?

On individually owned passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, and vans the license plate expires on the owner's birthday. For vehicles owned by more than one person, either owner's birthday may be used as the expiration date. If the license plate expiration date is not on one of the owner's birthday, it can be changed at renewal time at the request of the owner. A new license plate fee will be computed for the new expiration date. You may call our Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH  (1-888-767-6424) at renewal time.

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Do you have any advice for attaching a new license plate?

If you are using a license plate frame, please make sure that it does not cover or obscure any of the information on the plate or tab.

At the start of 2007, some of the state's license plates were inadvertently stamped with the two bottom bolt holes slightly out of line. This problem was immediately corrected. It may not be possible for you to use all four bolts if you have one of these plates. However, your plate will still be held securely on your vehicle even if you use only the top or bottom two bolts. If you have any questions about your plate or are having trouble fastening it to your vehicle, please contact the Department of State Information Center at (888) SOS-MICH; (767-6424).

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How soon should I put my new standard license plate and tab on my vehicle?

Under Michigan law, you are obligated to have a valid license plate and registration for your vehicle. Therefore, whenever you are issued a new license plate and tab, you must put them on your vehicle as soon as you receive them. Your old plate is canceled once the new one is assigned to you - no matter when your old plate was set to expire. There is no grace period under Michigan law. If you continue driving with your old plate, the license plate and tab on your vehicle will not match what is on file with the Secretary of State. This may be considered an improper plate violation. It could result in a ticket from law enforcement, a fine and having your vehicle impounded.

Registration and insurance
Always make sure to have the proper registration and insurance certificates with you when driving. Failure to do so can result in tickets.  

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Where on my new plate does the registration tab go?

With the exception of motorcycles, registration tabs should be placed on the upper right-hand corner of your metal license plate (see illustration). For motorcycle plates, place the tab in the lower right-hand corner.

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How much will my license plate cost and how are the license plate fees calculated?

License plate fees for 1984 or newer model year passenger vehicles and light trucks are calculated using a percentage of the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) at the time the vehicle is first titled. This is also known as the base price. It is then reduced by a percentage of that registration fee for the following three years. Under the present law, no further reduction is provided.

If the vehicle is older than 1984, the fee is based on the weight of the vehicle. You may contact our Information Center at 1-888-SOS-MICH (1-888-767-6424) and someone will help you figure the fee for your particular vehicle, or visit a Secretary of State branch office for assistance.

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What are personalized license plates and how do I apply for one?

Personalized license plates, sometimes referred to as vanity plates, allow the owner of a vehicle to choose the letter/number combination that will be on their license plate. Personalized license plates may be purchased for passenger vehicles, motor homes, buses, pickups, vans, hearses, and motorcycles. Personalized license plates can be applied for at any Secretary of State branch office. Owners receive a receipt pending approval of their selection of letter/number combination. Approved personalized license plates are mailed to the owner within 45 days.

All other vehicles listed above can have up to seven letters and/or numbers. Motorcycles can have up to five letters and/or numbers. Requests for personalized license plates cannot have a letter/number combination that is the same as any series of regular license plates. Lower case (small) letters or punctuation marks are not allowed. Each personalized license plate must have a unique letter/number combination; they cannot be the same configuration as any other Michigan license plate.

Personalized license plates cost the same as regular license plate plus a $30 service fee for a year. The service fee is prorated at $8 for the first month and $2 for each additional month up to 17 months. There is a $15 service fee for each year the personalized license plate is renewed. If the applicant already has a regular license plate on his/her vehicle, it can be credited towards the personalized plate.

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I've moved out of Michigan, what do I do with my Michigan plate and renewal notice?

If you have titled and registered your vehicle in another state, Michigan does not require the return of the Michigan license plate. The plate should be destroyed before disposal to prevent misuse. If you receive a Michigan registration renewal notice after you have registered your vehicle in another state, it can be ignored.

 

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