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Georgia License Plate Lookup

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License Plate Search

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License Plate Lookup in Georgia

In Georgia, license plate lookup entails using a license plate lookup service to do a background check on a vehicle and its owner before purchasing it. It is important to conduct a Georgia license plate lookup when buying a used car in the state. Individuals may conduct license plate lookups online using license plate lookup tools. A license plate lookup is typically conducted using a license plate number and state as search entries. There are several paid and free license plate lookup tools available in Georgia. The Motor Vehicle Division of the Georgia Department of Revenue handles vehicle registration and license plate issuance and renewal. A Georgia resident looking to get a license plate for their vehicle must have a valid Georgia driver's license or ID obtained from the Georgia Department of Driver Services.

While free license plate lookup tools are available in Georgia, these tools only provide limited information, such as a vehicle owner's name or the vehicle type. Some essential information like the detailed driving criminal history and repossession history may only be available with paid license plate lookup tools. A license plate lookup provides Georgia traffic records including:

  • Title Information
  • Vehicle registration details
  • Vehicle information and description
  • Repossession history
  • Weather/natural damage
  • Maintenance history
  • Driver criminal history
  • Accident history
  • Date and results of the last inspection
  • Mileage and odometer readings

What is a Georgia License Plate?

A Georgia license plate is a vehicle registration plate comprising an embossed serial of letters and numbers. Generally, the name of the county where the license plate was issued, the state's name (Georgia), and the state's slogan (Peach State) are also included on a license plate. However, specific details on Georgia license plates vary depending on their category. Georgia is one of the states in the United States that do not require two license plates. The state only requires each vehicle (including passenger and non-passenger vehicles) to have one license, placed at the rear of the vehicle. A license plate is issued by the Motor Vehicle Division of the Georgia Department of Revenue for official identification purposes, and all vehicles must possess it. The Georgia Department of Revenue issues a license plate after a vehicle has been registered. Categories of license plates in Georgia include:

  • Alternative Fuel
  • Georgia Colleges and State Universities
  • Military Veteran
  • Military Veteran - Air Force
  • Military Veteran - Motorcycle
  • Military Veteran - Army
  • Military Veteran - Coast Guard
  • Military Veteran - Navy
  • Military Veteran - Marine
  • Motorcycle
  • National Guard and US Reserve
  • Retired Legislators (Emeritus)
  • Special Interest - Apply through County Tag Office - Issuing
  • Special Interest - Apply through Sponsor - Issuing
  • Standard
  • US Army Ranger

How Do I Get a License Plate in Georgia?

When an existing Georgia resident purchases a motor vehicle, tractor, motorcycle, or trailer, they will be required to register the vehicle within seven business days at their County Tag Office. After the registration, a license plate will be issued. A new Georgia resident must register their vehicle within 30 days from the date they moved to Georgia. The state law does not mandate dealers to submit registration applications on behalf of their clients. Hence if your dealer does not begin the registration application process on your behalf, you have 30 days from the date of purchase to begin the registration process. You must initiate the application for registration within 30 days of the date of purchase regardless of your Temporary Operating Permit being valid for 45 days.

The registration location per vehicle type are as follows:

  • Individuals - County Tag Office where the customer resides
  • Business owned or operated vehicles - County Tag Office where the business is located
  • Leased vehicles - County Tag Office where the lessee resides
  • Commercial vehicles operating in Georgia - County Tag Office where the vehicle is based
  • Commercial vehicles registered (IRP and IFTA) - Georgia Trucking Portal online
  • Dealers, Distributors, Manufacturers, and Transporters - Business Registration Unit of MVD

When registering a newly purchased vehicle to obtain a license plate in Georgia, you will be required to provide the following:

  • Valid Georgia driver's license or ID card.
  • Proof of Ownership.
    • Vehicle's original valid title
      • The buyer/seller information must be completed
      • The title assigned to you must bear your full legal name as it appears on your driver's license
      • Submit Bill of Sale if the vehicle is 1985 or older and does not require a title
    • If the title is not available, you must be issued a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MSO) or a registration certification from a non-title state/county, using your full legal name
    • If transferred from a non-title country or state, submit a well completed Form T-22B Certification of Inspection
  • Proof of insurance by any of the following:
    • Insurance Binder indicating insurance liability coverage
    • Filed by your insurance company directly in the database of the Department
  • Form MV-1 Title/Tag Application (you can print and complete this form at home or the County Tag Office. Your signature will be required).

You can also complete the registration process by mail to your County Tag Office. Use the Find Your Local County Tag Office tool to get the mail address and contact information of your County Tag Office.

The fee for license plate registration or renewal in Georgia is $20, but extra charges may apply depending on the type of license plate you are applying for. For example, Prestige and Specialty license plates (allowed only on private passenger vehicles) cost more.

A person who newly relocated to Georgia or moves from one county to another must apply for their vehicle registration within 30 days of their relocation. Such persons may update the address on their Georgia driver's licenses or ID cards online through the Georgia Department of Driver Services. After this, they can change the address on their registration online using DRIVES e-Services or at their County Tag Office.

New legislation was passed in 2018, allowing residents to register authentic historical license plates from the vehicle's model year up to 1989. This registration must be done in person at the owner's local county tag office. Register by submitting the authentic historical license plate and a completed form T-224 Authentic Historical License Plate Affidavit of Ownership to your local county tag office. There, you will be issued a current license plate and registration. Be sure to keep the current license plate and registration in the vehicle at all times. However, it does not need to be displayed. You will only need to place the authentic license plate in the license plate holder on the back of the vehicle.

Third-party aggregate sites are a reliable alternative for obtaining license plate information. These sites are maintained by independent establishments which collate the information from government-run repositories. Obtaining records from these sites often proves substantially easier than government alternatives. However, requestors may be required to provide any information required to facilitate the record search and pay any required fees to access the record of interest.

Passenger License Plates vs Commercial License Plates

Passenger license plates are issued to passenger vehicles such as pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles. Passenger vehicles refer to every motor vehicle designed to carry less than ten passengers in Georgia. Passenger vehicles do not include motor-driven cycles or motorcycles, off-road vehicles, buses, and pickup trucks used by an owner, driver, or occupant aged 18 or older for farming operations. On the other hand, commercial vehicle license plates are issued to commercial vehicles in Georgia. Commercial vehicles are vehicles weighing 10,001 lbs or more and vehicles used for all forms of commercial purposes, such as taxis, commercial trailers, farm labor transport, etc.

The major difference between commercial license plates and passenger vehicle license plates is that commercial license plates typically indicate the type of vehicle registered by words inscribed vertically beside the license plate number. The vehicle's weight in pounds (lbs) is also inscribed on the license plate number. However, passenger license plates do not have these inscriptions. The same requirements apply for both standard license plate registrations and passenger license plate registrations in Georgia. An applicant must provide a valid Georgia driver's license or ID card, proof of ownership, proof of insurance, and a completed form obtained from the County Tag Office. The requirements of commercial license plate applications vary depending on the type of commercial license plate required. Generally, commercial license plate applicants are required to possess acceptable proof of residency and an established place of business. Other requirements are provided on the Commercial Vehicles Registration Checklists.

How Can I Find the Owner of a License Plate in Georgia

To find a license plate owner in Georgia, you may use a license plate lookup tool. A license plate lookup tool requires a user to provide the license plate number and state on the license plate. The search will reveal the owner of the license plate and other details on the vehicle and its owner, such as the title information and car registration details. The search results of a license plate lookup tool may also be used to find the owner of a license plate through a phone number lookup or by searching through the records of Georgia's Motor Vehicle Division.

Georgia License Plate Renewal

The Motor Vehicle Division of the Georgia Department of Revenue provides three options for renewing license plates. These include:

  • Online using DRIVES e-Services
  • At a Self-Serve Kiosk (if your county participates)
  • In-person or by mail at your County Tag Office

Online Registration Renewal using DRIVES e-Services

This option is available in some counties. If your county provides online registration renewal, it will be indicated in the renewal notice you receive. The following must be provided during renewal:

  • License plate number or VIN number.
  • Driver's License number or Letter ID (Letter IDs are included on your renewal notice).
  • Registration fees, convenience fees, and taxes. These fees must be paid by debit card, credit card, or electronic check. If you did not receive a renewal notice, look up the Renewal Fee Estimate before commencing the renewal process. (The actual cost will be determined before completing the transaction, and you can terminate the process at any time before the transaction is complete).
  • A passing emissions inspection (only in counties that require emission testing).

Self-Serve Kiosk

Persons that reside in counties where Self-Serve Kiosks are available can use this option to renew their license plates. The requirements for using a Self-Service Tag Kiosk include:

  • The applicant must have a valid Georgia State driver's license.
  • The applicant's vehicle(s) must be registered in a participating county.
  • The applicant must have proof of liability insurance on file (if applicable).
  • The applicant's address must be accurate on your renewal notice.
  • The applicant must have a Vehicle Emission Inspection on file (if applicable).

Follow the step-by-step guidelines displayed on the screen. Documents print immediately after a successful renewal at the kiosk.

In-Person or Mail-in Renewal

You can renew your vehicle registration at your County Tag Office by visiting the office or mail based on your county's requirements. The requirements include:

  • Renewal notice.
  • Proof that your vehicle has passed emission inspection (if you reside in a participating county.
  • For an in-person application, you must show your valid Georgia driver's license or ID card.
  • Proof of Georgia liability insurance (if applicable).
  • Payment for all fees and taxes due. Find out the acceptable payment types in your county.

For Commercial Vehicle Renewal, use the IRP application on the Georgia Trucking Portal.

Can You Look Up License Plates with VIN?

Yes, a vehicle's license plate number is linked to its VIN in public vehicle records in Georgia. Hence, anyone can look up a license plate number with a VIN if a VIN lookup service that performs such function is used.

Georgia VIN Number Lookup

VIN, known as a vehicle identification number, is a unique code comprising letters and numbers given to a vehicle when it is manufactured. It serves as a car's special identifier or fingerprint. A Georgia VIN lookup is done using a VIN lookup service to find specific information on a vehicle, such as the accident history, sale history, ownership history, market value, and estimated ownership costs. Individuals can also check VIN using the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS). The NMVTIS is a national consumer protection database that provides title information from states across the US.

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found on the windshield on the driver-side dashboard. It may also be printed on a sticker on the driver's side door or door jamb. You can find a motorcycle's VIN on the steering neck below the handlebars or the frame close to the motor. The VIN of a semi-trailer can be found on the front part of the semi-trailer on the left side.

Can Civilians Lookup License Plates in Georgia?

Yes. The State of Georgia does not prohibit civilians from performing license plate searches. As a result, anyone can obtain license plate information from the DMV or another reputable provider. However, federal law, namely the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), regulates the disclosure of personal information in motor vehicle records.

Per the law, parties who do not have "permissible use," as described in 18 U.S.C. §2721(b), cannot request or access personally identifiable information from the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). Section 2721(b) of the DPPA describes eligible circumstances that may warrant such disclosure by the Georgia DOR, such as when the personal information will aid a government agency (e.g., a law enforcement agency) in performing its duties, when the data is necessary for a legal proceeding, and for research or statistical purposes.

What Do Police See When They Run Your Plates in Georgia?

When the police run a person's plates in Georgia, they obtain a registered owner's details, such as their legal name, residential address, phone number, computerized image, Social Security number, medical/disability information, and driver identification number. Law enforcement officers can also acquire the following vehicle details:

  • Make, model, and year
  • Color
  • Theft record(s)
  • Outstanding warrant information
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Title registration
  • Driver's license status (valid, expired, revoked, or suspended)
  • Insurance provider and policy number, etc.

Members of the public can also obtain vehicle information after a license plate search. However, as noted earlier, a driver's personal information is confidential and releasable only under specific circumstances.

Free License Plate Lookup in Georgia

Georgians who want to execute a free license plate lookup can utilize a third-party or approved NMVTIS data provider's website. Such websites can be searched with a license plate number and plate state to obtain information about a vehicle's condition and history. However, while some third-party sites provide basic vehicle information at no cost, others require users to register or pay before access can be granted.

Notably, the Georgia DMV offers an e-Services portal where interested persons can look up certain information (registration and title status) with a license plate number for free.

How to Search for Ticket by License Plate in Georgia

Cities in Georgia have several ways for people to pay for traffic and parking tickets issued by law enforcement. In Georgia, the municipal courts resolve traffic violation tickets. Hence, an individual who wants to find an unpaid traffic ticket should contact/visit the court responsible for their ticket. Courts also provide ticket payment portals on their websites (if a court has no independent payment portal, one can use the Georgia courts' centralized database to search traffic citations). However, a requester must accompany their traffic ticket query with a ticketed party's citation number, date of birth, last name, case number, or driver's license number. These are the usual search keywords the courts use to find outstanding traffic tickets. Courts in Georgia do not process a license plate search for a traffic ticket.

Individuals who may be able to search for a ticket by license plate number in Georgia are those looking for parking tickets. For example, a person searching for a parking ticket in the City of Atlanta, Georgia, can access the city's Parking Division's payment portal to search for unpaid tickets with a license plate number and plate state/province. This formula can be replicated in several other municipalities to find unpaid parking tickets by license plate number.