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Vehicle tabs and license plates
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
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.
Can I renew my plate without going to a Secretary of State office?
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 on Online Services 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
Internal Services Section
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, Michigan 48918
How can I renew my registration while I am out of state?
Go to Online Services and then to Vehicle Services. If you go to ‘More Online Vehicle Services’, you can renew your license 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 the Quick Renewal option will be mailed to the vehicle’s residential address on record.
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
Information about your renewal fee can be obtained by calling 517-636-5872. 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.
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 cancelled 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.
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.
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 calculated for the new expiration date. Changes to plate expiration dates must be submitted at a Secretary of State office.
How do I change my address on my registration?
When you move, you must change the address on your driver's license as soon as possible. A change of address may be submitted at a Secretary of State office, online through online services or by mail using the change-of-address form. Until all system upgrades can be completed, changing the address on your driver’s license will not update the address on your vehicle registration. Changing your driver’s license address will update the address for your voter registration.
When you renew your license plate by mail and the address needs to be corrected, check "yes" for a change of address on the front of the renewal notice and write your new address on the back of the form in the space provided. This will alert the Michigan Department of State to correct the address when renewing your registration. If you are renewing your vehicle registration online and you are logged into your account, then you may also submit a change of address at the same time. Change of address cannot be submitted when using the Quick Renewal option.
How do I apply for a Veteran plate or a Veteran Campaign/Service Medal plate?
Veteran plates are available in the standard Pure Michigan 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.
I'm on active duty. Do I qualify for a Veteran Campaign/Service Medal plate?
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.
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.
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, on at Online Services or by mail. The Mackinac Bridge plate replaces the Spectacular Peninsulas plate, which is being slowly phased out.
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.
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), a $10 transfer fee and a $5 stand alone transaction fee will be due. 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.
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.
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.
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 or on Online Services. Additionally, Michigan requires plates that are 10 years old or older to be replaced upon renewal.
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 Online Services. 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.
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.
How long will it take before I receive my plate and/or tab?
Allow at least 14 days when renewing a license plate online or by 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. Many Secretary of State offices and other locations also feature a Self-service station - another convenient method for immediately renewing license plates. You must have insurance that has been electronically verified indicated 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.
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; (888-767-6424).
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.
What license plates are available for order?
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.
How can my organization create a fundraising license plateUnder Michigan law, organizations can pursue the creation of a specialty fundraising license plate to recognize the work of their organization and contribute some of the revenue from plate sales to their special cause. The process of creating a special cause fundraising license plate begins in the state legislature, where legislation must be introduced and passed by both the House and Senate to authorize the state to create the plate. Once the legislation is signed by the governor and enacted into law, the Michigan Department of State is then permitted to begin working with the organization and state vendors to design, test, and produce the license plate for sale.
Special cause fundraising license plates are $35. $25 from each license plate sale is donated to the cause when the plate is issued. The cause will then receive an additional $10 when the plate is renewed.
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.
Where on my new plate does the registration tab go?
With the exception of the motorcycle and Water-Winter Wonderland plates, 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..