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How Much Are Alabama License Plates?

In Alabama, license plate fees depend on the type of plate you choose. The standard Alabama passenger vehicle plate costs $23 on top of registration fees. But drivers have over 100 specialty and personalized plates to choose from, which cost more.

Quick links:

Steps to get AL plates?

How much is an AL vehicle tag?

How much is a personalized plate?

How much is a specialty plate?

How much is a handicap car tag?

Do I need a front license plate in AL?

What do I do with old license plates in AL?

How do I transfer a title in Alabama?

How much does it cost to register a vehicle in AL?

Alabama license plate replacement fees

Additional taxes and fees apply to both new and renewal registrations. Let’s get into the details of Alabama license plates.

Steps for Getting Alabama License Plates

Here are the steps for getting a new license plate from the Alabama county treasurer's office.

  1. Gather required documents like proof of ownership, insurance, and valid Alabama driver's license.
  2. Fill out and submit vehicle registration and license plate forms at the county treasurer's office.
  3. Pay the $23 standard plate fee plus any vehicle registration fees to the county treasurer's office.
  4. You will receive your new license plate and registration from your local license plate issuing office upon approval.
  5. Attach the new plate to the rear of your vehicle.

The Cost of License Plates in Alabama

There are different types of license plates: passenger license plates, commercial vehicle plates, special license plates, trailer plates, and motorcycle plates.

Leather wallet on top of a bed

License plates measure 6 by 12 inches and are rectangular (motorcycle license plates are smaller, measuring 4 by 7 inches).

The Alabama license plate has seven characters (across the 50 states, license plates have anywhere from six to eight characters).

Let’s look at the different Alabama license plate offerings and their costs.

How Much is a Standard License Plate in Alabama?

Alabama keeps it simple when it comes to regular passenger vehicle license plates. The cost is only $23. This covers your standard plate with basic numbering when registering a new or used car, truck, RV, or motorcycle.

A standard license plate is issued in any of the following scenarios:

Alabama Personalized Plate

Want to make a statement? Personalized plates, sometimes known as vanity plates, let you customize your ride with a unique letter and number combo. There's a $50 production fee plus the $23 standard plate cost. The county treasurer's office can walk you through getting a customized 7-character Alabama plate.

When selecting the lettering for your custom Alabama plate, there are some restrictions:

  • You are limited to no more than 7 total characters and spaces
  • No special characters or punctuation can be used
  • Offensive or inappropriate words/phrases are prohibited

Alabama Specialty License Plate

Show some team spirit or support a cause with specialty plates available in Alabama. Choices include college mascots, military service plates, and conservation themes. An Alabama specialty plate costs $55.

Here are the available designs.

Colleges and Universities

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Causes/Health Awareness

  • Autism Acceptance
  • Breast Cancer Research
  • Curing Childhood Cancer
  • Fighting Cystic Fibrosis
  • A Pink Breast Cancer Tag (Fight Breast Cancer-Joy to Life)
  • Hope for Kids With Diabetes
  • Law Enforcement Memorial
  • Mending Kids’ Hearts
  • Ovarian Cancer Research
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama
  • Save the Saturn V
  • Sickle Cell Awareness
  • Stop Domestic Violence


  • Alabama Forests
  • Alabama Treasure Forest Association
  • Cahaba River
  • Environmental
  • Forever Wild
  • Freshwater Fishing
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Saltwater Fishing
  • Spay-Neuter
  • State Parks
  • Wildlife Federation
  • National Wild Turkey Federation

Professional Associations

  • Alabama Cattlemen
  • Alabama Nurses Foundation
  • Realtor

Public Service

  • Educator/Retired Educator
  • Firefighter
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • Professional Firefighter
  • Rescue Squad
  • Retired Firefighter

General Interest

  • Alabama Bicentennial
  • Alabama Gold Star Family
  • Amateur Radio
  • Choose Life/Support Adoption
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Farming Feeds
  • Freemason
  • God Bless America
  • Helping Schools
  • In Memory Of Shriners
  • Sons of Confederate Veterans

For more info about specialty license plates, visit Alabama's official website.

Alabama Military License Plate

Alabama offers over 40 different military license plate designs, most of which cost the standard $23 plate fee with no additional fees. By displaying a military plate, drivers can showcase their service and support veterans programs through their purchase.

Alabama Military License Plate

A few key options include:

  • Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard: Standard plates representing each military branch cost the regular $23 fee.
  • Prisoner of War is available at no cost to verified POWs.
  • Purple Heart is Issued free of charge to verified Purple Heart recipients.
  • A disabled veteran license plate is a free disability plate offered to veterans meeting eligibility criteria based on service-connected disability rating.
  • National guard and retired national guard cost $23 for active members. Retired National Guard members can also obtain a plate at the regular $23 cost.
  • Special Campaigns plates that represent WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Enduring Freedom are available for $23 each.

Disability License Plate and Placard

Alabama offers several types of disability license plates and placards to accommodate individuals with disabilities. These plates and placards provide designated parking access and other privileges to better serve disabled residents.

The main difference between a plate and a placard is that a disability license plate must be permanently attached to the vehicle, whereas a placard can be moved from one vehicle to another.

All disability license plates and placards issued to individuals in Alabama are free of charge, while organizational decals carry a small $2 fee.

Does Alabama Require a Front License Plate?

Alabama does not require a front license plate. You only need one license plate, in the back of your car.

All 50 states in the US require at least a rear license plate on vehicles. Some states require an additional front plate.

What do I do With Old License Plates in Alabama?

When you receive new Alabama license plates, either during renewal or for a new vehicle registration, you will need to properly dispose of your old plates.

Here are your main options:

  • Return: most county license offices in Alabama will take back your old plates when issuing new ones and properly dispose of them. This is the recommended option.
  • Recycle: you can remove any registration stickers and recycle the aluminum plates through your local recycling program, if available in your area.
  • Keep: some people opt to keep old license plates as souvenirs or decorations. Just be sure to invalidate any active registration stickers.
  • Transfer: in Alabama, you can legally transfer license plates from one vehicle to another with proper paperwork.

How To Transfer an Alabama Title in Alabama?

Transferring a title is the legal process of changing ownership of the vehicle. If you sell a car without transferring the title, then you may be liable for any accidents caused by the vehicle and its driver. Alabama vehicle title transfers cost $15.

The Alabama Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division, oversees this process. If you’re selling your vehicle in Alabama, here are the documents you’ll need for the transfer process:

  • Signed original car title or official duplicate title
  • Driver’s license or other valid identification
  • Signed odometer disclosure statement

See our guide to transferring an Alabama vehicle title for more information on the process.

How Much Does it Cost to Register a Vehicle in Alabama?

Registration in Alabama costs $23 to $105. To apply for an Alabama license plate, you must have a valid Alabama car registration card. Each county has an office that handles vehicle registrations and license plates. This may be called the county tax assessor, commissioner of licenses, probate judge, or license commissioner.

Black Audi on a paved road under cloudy skies

To register your vehicle, you will need to provide the following:

  1. Proof of ownership
  2. Proof of insurance
  3. Proof of identity (driver's license or passport)
  4. Vehicle's vehicle identification number (VIN).
  5. Payment for the registration fee: $23 to $105
  6. Payment for Alabama vehicle tax: 2%

How to Register an Out-of-State Vehicle in Alabama?

Moving to Alabama? To register an out-of-state vehicle in Alabama, you'll need to submit the following to licensing officials within 30 days of moving:

  1. Original title
  2. Proof of Alabama insurance
  3. Last registration from the previous state (if applicable)
  4. Payment for all applicable fees

Alabama License Plate Replacement Fees

If your license plate is lost, damaged, or stolen, you will need to replace it through your county license plate issuing office.

Here are the typical replacement fees:

  • Standard plate replacement: $23
  • Covers getting a new standard plate with the same plate number
  • Required if your current standard plates are damaged, lost, etc.
  • Personalized plate replacement: $50
  • Fee for replacing lost or damaged personalized vanity plates
  • Specialty plate replacement: up to $55
  • Varies depending on the type of specialty plate
  • Approximate fee for replacing any collegiate/military/cause plate
  • Transfer a plate: $2
  • Fee to transfer your existing plate to a new vehicle
  • Cheaper option than replacing the plate
  • Change plate records: $15
  • Changing the registered owner or other plate records
  • Updating any info associated with the plate

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Alabama License Plate FAQ

How to renew vehicle tags in Alabama?

You will need to do the following when renewing vehicle tags at your local county license office:

  • Pay the registration renewal fee
  • Pay the license plate/tag renewal fee ($23 for a standard plate)
  • Provide updated proof of car insurance
  • Submit payment to the county office

How much does registration renewal cost in Alabama?

When renewing vehicle registration in Alabama, you'll need to pay the standard renewal fees. Plan your renewal budget by knowing what costs to expect:

  • The standard renewal registration fee varies from $20 to $105.
  • No additional fees apply to standard passenger vehicle renewals.
  • Optional new windshield sticker: $2
  • Renewals must be completed within 60 days of expiration (registration expires on the vehicle owner's birthday)
  • A $15 late fee applies if renewal is not completed within the 60 day period.

What are Alabama's ad valorem taxes?

In Alabama, the ad valorem tax is a yearly property tax. It is applicable to certain types of property, such as utilities and general personal property.

The county assessor determines the value of the property to calculate the tax. The assessed value is then taxed at the state and county levels. The state rate is 0.65% of the assessed value of the property. County rates vary.

The ad valorem tax depends on:

  • What type of property it is
  • The assessed value of that property
  • What the state and county tax rates are

Do you pay taxes when you buy a car from a private seller in Alabama?

When making a car purchase in Alabama, you’ll pay sales tax, whether you buy from a private seller or a car dealer. Alabama law does not discriminate between the two. Unless you qualify for a tax exemption (discussed below), you have to pay tax on your vehicle purchase.

Car Tax on top of a blue wooden car

If the Department of Revenue establishes that the car's fair market value is significantly greater than its purchase price, they can opt to base the tax on the NADA assessed value.

In addition to the 2% state tax, you may owe local sales taxes on your vehicle purchase.

Why does each Alabama county have its own vehicle registration office?

It can be confusing that each county in Alabama has its own office for handling vehicle registrations and license plates, and these offices go by different names.

In Alabama, vehicle registrations and license plates are handled at the county level rather than through a centralized state office. Each of Alabama's 67 counties has an office that serves as the "License Plate Issuing Official" for that county.

The names of these county offices vary depending on the county.

Here are some of the most common names:

  • County Revenue Department/Office
  • County Tax Assessor
  • County Tax Collector
  • County License Commissioner
  • County Probate Judge
  • County Licensing Officials office

So when you need to register a vehicle or get license plates in Alabama, you must visit the office for your specific county of residence.

How do you protect yourself when buying a car privately?

To protect yourself when buying a car privately, we recommend the following practices:

  1. Never give out your contact information
  2. Deal with verified sellers only
  3. Have a bill of sale to legally validate the transaction
  4. Send the payment through PrivateAuto Pay

The best way to protect yourself when buying a car privately is by buying it on PrivateAuto.

What paperwork do I need to sell my car privately in Alabama?

Every state has its own documentation requirements for selling a used car. Luckily for you, PrivateAuto helps you keep track of all needed paperwork requirements with our step-by-step in-app process.

A person with a lot of paperwork

You will need the following paperwork to sell your car in Alabama:

  • Warranty documents
  • Service documents
  • Bill of sale
  • Car title and registration documents
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Auto insurance documents