Maryland License Plate Lookup

Maryland License Plate Lookup

Maryland was the first state in the East and the 4th state in the US to implement a pilot program in 2019. It was for testing the potential of digital license plates. The program should have last 2 years. Accordingly, we are almost there! However, there is no current news about the decision of the state.

Now, let’s make a sharp turn from the digitalized world to the old but gold days when license plates were made of metal.

For the first time, MD required its residents to register their motor vehicles in 1904. But till 1910 residents had to provide their own license plates. It was only in 1910 when MD started to provide license plates to its residents.

The material used for the first license plates in MD was a thin metal.  Then, porcelain and steel were used for MD license plates.

“TERCENTENARY” was the first phrase MD used as a license plate slogan. The slogan was for the celebration of 300 years of MD statehood. There was also the “Old Line State” slogan. Nowadays, you will not find “Old Line State” on any of the MD plates. This is because slogans are very few in MD. Nevertheless, there are still official mottos and nicknames you can choose for your license plate.

Everything You Need to Know about Maryland License Plate Lookups

MD requires all motor vehicle owners to register their vehicles. They should obtain license plates before they drive the vehicle on the roads.

Currently, you can order your MD license plate from the Maryland Department of Transportation. Particularly, Motor Vehicle Administration is responsible for the process.

MD requires both front and rear license plates for almost all types of vehicles. But there are some exceptions as well. For example, motorcycles and trailers must have only rear plates.

Getting Maryland License Plate is Easier than You Can Think

To make your MD License plate lookup easier, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) created Interactive Title and Registration Manual. The title serves as a guide for getting your MD license plate. Moreover, you can find almost everything related to your vehicle. To tell the truth, it is fairly easy to find your desired information there. And it is rather reader-friendly.

Now, let’s start from the beginning and finally understand how you can get your MD license plate.

You can apply for the MD license plate at MVA’s branch offices. You must go there in person. Sending documents by mail to the MVA’s Title Unit is an alternative option.

You can get some guidance from MVA.

Documents you need to submit for getting Maryland license plate

Generally, you will need to submit the following documents for obtaining an MD license plate:

  1. Firstly, you should prove that the vehicle belongs to you.
  2. You should also complete the Application for Certificate of Title.
  3. Maryland Safety certificate is also a must. It is valid for 3 months from the date you got it.

Perhaps, there will be a need to provide some additional documents as well. For instance, the committee will ask you to provide proof of the vehicle’s value. Yoy may even need to provide information about the lien.

Fees for Getting Maryland License Plates

There is no fixed price applying to each license plate. It may differ based on registration duration and vehicle type.

2-year registration fee

2-year registration applies to almost all types of vehicles. The only exceptions are trucks (1-ton and larger) and tractors. For them, you pay a 1-year registration fee. For having a better understanding of the exact fees you can check the Guide to Motor Vehicle Fees in the State of Maryland.

The month of getting the license plate will be the month for the renewal. However, you have a chance to choose specific registration months.

1/2 year registration fee

If there are less than 6 months left before the renewal, you can choose a 1/2 year registration. The fee will also be for 6 months.

1/4 fees

1/4 fee applies to some vehicle types. For instance, vehicles that are 27,000 pounds or more fall into this category. Some of the examples are dump and tow trucks.


The surcharge fee is $17. It applies to almost all vehicle classes. But the surcharge doesn’t apply to temporary license plates.

For getting more information about the fees for license plates check MVA Fee Listing.

Looking up for the Right Maryland License Plate

Are you still looking up the license plate and wonder what license plate type to order? For helping you decide quickly let’s begin with the license plate types lookup. Fortunately, you will not get exhausted as there’s not that much variety to choose from.

Specialty plates in MD

There are only 6 specialty plates you can choose from in MD.

Chesapeake Bay plate

It is also known as an “agricultural” license plate. It has some colorful background scenes.

Application form- Application for Bay Plate

Vehicles availability for the plats – A (passenger car), EFT (farm trucks), EPO (truck which is 26,000 pounds or less) G (trailers which are none-fright), M (vehicles having various purposes).

Combat license plate

It is for the drivers, who have some military award or honor.

Application form- Application for Military License Plates

Vehicles availability for the plate- A (passenger car), M (multi-purpose vehicle), EPO (truck with 1 ton or less capacity). It is rated by the manufacturer.

Disabled veteran’s license plate

It is for the drivers, who have some disability. It should be related to the service they provide.

Application form- Application for Maryland License Plates for Individuals with a Disability

Vehicles availability for the plate- A, M, EPO.

Amateur radio operator (Ham) license plate

Ham is for the drivers, who have an amateur radio operator’s license. It should be issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Application form- Application for Special Registration Plates

Vehicles availability for the plate- A, M, EPO

Organizational license plate

It is for members of organizations that have MVA approved license plate designs

Application form- You must ask it from your organization

Vehicles availability for the plate- A, M, EPO, and D (motorcycle).

Personalized license plates

They are also known as vanity plates. It is for drivers, who want to add their own message to their autos.

To clarify, these plates have a message created by a vehicle owner. You may request your own plate, having at least 2 characters. It can have a maximum of 7 characters. The number is based on the type of vehicle.

There are 3 ways you can apply for getting vanity license plates. First, you can apply online.   It is also possible to apply in person or by mail.

Application form- Application for Special Registration Plates

Vehicles availability for the plate- A, M, D, EPO, G, N (street rod), and L(historic vehicle).

It takes almost 4 to 6 weeks to receive the plates.

Note: The MVA has the right to not approve a license plate. The reasons may vary. For example, the reason can be already being issued or, perhaps, it is offensive. Check out our Maryland banned license plates page for more details.

Temporary plates in Maryland

For obtaining a vehicle safety inspection you will need a 30-day temporary plate in MD. Keep in mind that you can ask for a temporary plate only once. Therefore, you should apply when your vehicle is ready to be inspected.

The temporary license plate will be available for 50 days. It is counted from the issue date. There will also be additional 30 days from the original expiration date.

The fee is $20.

Obtaining different Tags in Maryland

If you want to obtain historic tags, street road tags, or vintage tags you are at the right place. However, not everyone is eligible for having these tags. There are some core laws for displaying them.

Maryland has two different categories of Antique tags. They are Historic tags and Street Rod tags.

Historic Tags

You are eligible to obtain historic tags in the following cases.

  1. The vehicle should be 20 years old or more.
  2. You managed to keep the original design of the vehicle. You haven’t changed anything. Otherwise, it will not be possible to have the historic tag.
  3. Your vehicle must be a vehicle or truck. The tag is also possible for a motorcycle.

You should complete the Application for a Historic Tag form.

You can also get permanent registration. It means you will need no registration renewal. Nonetheless, it is only possible if the vehicle is 60 years old.

The fee is $25.

Street Rod Tags

Vehicles having these tags are for use in tours, parades, or exhibitions.

You are qualified to obtain street rod tags in the following cases:

  1. It should be 25 years old or more.
  2. It shouldn’t be the original design of the vehicle: You changed it, altered, remanufactured, or remodeled it.

You should complete the Application for a Street Rod Tag.

The fee is $25.

Vintage Tags

Vintage tags should be issued in the same year of the vehicle production. Only vehicles that have historic or street rods, can have these tags.

You should complete the Application for a Vintage Tag.

The fee is $25,50.

Returning License Plates in Maryland

License plates belong to the MD. That’s why if you no longer need your license plate, you should return it to MVA. In this case, you should just visit your local tag return box. It works 24 hours a day.

Besides, you can return your tags in other ways. For example, you can use DropBox, Mail, or do it in person.

Transferring License Plates in Maryland

There are some cases when you can transfer your license plate from one vehicle to another. Moreover, you can transfer it to your family member. However, it can be possible only if the vehicle is a gift.

There may be some fees for transferring your license plate. Generally, it depends on the registration.

Manush K

Manush K

Manush considers writing as a form of art. Mixing facts with good grammar and the right punctuation is not enough for having unique content. She is sure, that you can't be a good writer if you are not able to leave the traces of your individuality in your work. She is a freelance content writer, translator, and voice talent in Upwork. She also works as a freelance writer on and has written many academic essays and literature reviews. Her educational background in social studies and linguistics give her the chance to find the right approach for each written material.