In the state of Michigan, the cost of a standard plate is $5 plus registration fees.

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What is the process for getting plates in Michigan?

Michigan license plate costs

How to transfer a title in Michigan?

How to register your car with the michigan SOS?

How do I order license plates?

How do I register a car from out of state?

Temporary vehicle registration permits

How to check if car has back fees

If you want Michigan personalized plates, you will have to pay $30 in addition to your vehicle registration fees.

What Is The Process For Getting License Plates In Michigan?

In Michigan, vehicles only require a rear license plate.

(A rear license plate is required in every state in the United States. Some states require vehicles to have a front plate, while others do not.)

Here are the necessary steps to getting new license plates from the Michigan Secretary of State office (Michigan SOS).

  1. Insure your vehicle. Before registering your vehicle, get proper auto insurance coverage from a licensed provider in Michigan.
  2. Visit a Secretary of State office. Locate your nearest Michigan SOS office, as you will need to visit in person to register your vehicle and get license plates.
  3. Complete required forms. Fill out the necessary registration and title application forms, which are available at the Secretary of State office or on their website.
  4. Provide documentation. Present proof of ownership, your Michigan driver's license, proof of insurance, and, if applicable, any lien information.
  5. Pay applicable fees. Pay the required fees for registration, titling, taxes, and license plates. The fees may vary depending on factors such as the type and weight of the vehicle, as well as the type of license plate you are requesting.
  6. Receive your plates. After processing your application and payment, the Secretary of State office will mail the license plate, which you must attach to your vehicle as required by Michigan law. Temporary registration and a temporary plate may be issued if your permanent plates are not immediately available.

Michigan License Plate Costs

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

Standard license plates measure 6 by 12 inches and are rectangular (motorcycle license plates are smaller, measuring 4 by 7 inches). They are made of aluminum, which is durable and resistant to rust.

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

Let’s look at how much Michigan license plate fees are for different types of plates.

How Much Is a Standard License Plate In Michigan?

A standard Michigan license plate costs $5. Plates can be ordered online or by mail, or you can apply in person by visiting the Secretary of State's office.

Money in wallet

Standard Michigan license plates can be put on passenger vehicles, business cars, trucks, and vans.

Michigan drivers can choose from the following designs:

  1. Pure Michigan plate
  2. Mackinac Bridge plate
  3. Water-Winter Wonderland plate

Standard license plates are issued in any of the following scenarios:

  • Purchase of a vehicle
  • Replacing a lost, damaged, or stolen license plate
  • Surrendering a special interest license plate and replacing it with a standard license plate

Personalized Plates Fee

A Michigan personalized license plate costs $30 per year.

Personalized Michigan plates can be ordered online or at your local SOS office by submitting the following:


To order a personalized plate at a SOS office, you will need:

  • Your personalized plate number/letter configuration
  • Payment using cash, check or money order, or a credit or debit card


To personalize a plate online, you will need to:

  • Check that the personalized plate you want is available before ordering it.
  • If your personalization is available, select the “login to order your plate online” link.
  • Follow the prompts to create or log into your online Secretary of State account before proceeding to the option to order a plate.
  • You can pay with a credit or debit card or an e-check/bank account number.

Your personalized license plate will arrive in the mail. Delivery times can be up to 6 weeks to receive your personalized plate.

Special Interest Plate Fee

Specialty license plates stand for different groups, causes, or affiliations, so people can show their support for a certain group or cause. Michigan special plates cost $35, of which $25 goes to the respective charity associated with your choice of plate.

Michigan special interest plate options include:

  • University license plate
  • Military plate
  • Organizational plate
  • Fundraising plate
  • Children's Trust Fund plate
  • Veterans plate

You can apply for your specialty plate online, in-person, or by mail.

Disabled License Plates Fee

Michigan offers disabled license plates to those with disabilities. Disability license plates come with no additional fees.

To apply, fill out the application for a disability license plate and give it to a licensed medical professional so they can sign it.

Once your licensed medical professional has signed it, you can drop it off at a Secretary of State office or mail it to the following address:

Michigan Department of State

Internal Services Section

7064 Crowner Drive

Lansing, MI 48918-8264

Digital Plates Fee

Digital license plates are available in Michigan from a private company, Reviver. A battery powered license plate costs $19.95 per month. Hard-wired digital license plates cost $24.95 per month.

Read our complete guide to digital license plates to learn more about what they are and how they work.

Michigan Title Transfer Process

To complete a Michigan vehicle title transfer, you will need to provide the following:

  • A completed vehicle title certificate
  • Proof of a valid Michigan vehicle insurance policy
  • A completed appointment of agent (Form TR-128)
  • Payment for vehicle title transfer fees: $15

See our guide to transferring a Michigan car title for more detailed information on the title transfer process.

Register Your Vehicle with the Michigan SOS

To apply for a Michigan license plate, you must have a valid car registration card from the Michigan SOS. Michigan registrations can be done in person. To make things more efficient, you register your car and transfer its title at the same time.

Secretary of State (SOS) office sign.

An initial registration must take place in person at a local SOS office by submitting the following:

  • Odometer reading
  • The buyer’s and seller’s signatures
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of Michigan no-fault auto insurance
  • Payment for registration fees depend on the age of the car
  • Payment for Michigan sales tax of 6%

How are Michigan Vehicle Registration Fees Calculated?

In Michigan, registration fees are calculated by a vehicle's MSRP and age. The registration fee decreases as the vehicle ages. Here is a general breakdown of the fees:

  • 1st through the 3rd year. Fee equal to 1% of the vehicle's list price, multiplied by the millage rate (currently 0.24)
  • 4th through the 6th year. Fee equal to 0.75% of the vehicle's list price, multiplied by the millage rate (currently 0.24)
  • 7th through the 9th year. Fee equal to 0.5% of the vehicle's list price, multiplied by the millage rate (currently 0.24)
  • 10th year and beyond. Fee equal to 0.25% of the vehicle's list price, multiplied by the millage rate (currently 0.24)

How to Order License Plates

You can order license plates in Michigan in person at a SOS office. Here are the steps for ordering license plates in Michigan:

  • Choose whether you want a standard, personalized, specialty, or disability license plate for your vehicle.
  • Get necessary documents, such as proof of vehicle ownership, proof of insurance, and any additional documents required for the specific type of plate.
  • Fill out the appropriate application form for the type of license plate you are requesting.
  • If you are applying for a personalized plate, ensure that the desired combination of letters and numbers is not already in use and meet your state's guidelines for acceptable characters and combinations.
  • Send or submit your completed application form, along with the required documentation and payment for the applicable fees.

How Much Does It Cost To Register a Car In Michigan From Out Of State?

The cost of registering a car in Michigan from another state is determined by the vehicle's age, weight, and value. Here are some fees that may apply:

  1. Title fee: $15
  2. Registration fee: depending on the age of the vehicle
  3. Sales tax: Michigan charges 6%

If you're planning on purchasing a car out of state, PrivateAuto Pay allows you to have escrow-like services in the palm of your hand and get the deal done quickly and easily. Read our guide to buying a car remotely to learn how.

Temporary Vehicle Registration Permits

If you use your car occasionally or may be out of the country for extended periods of time, you can purchase a 30-day or 60-day temporary permit for short-term use of your car.

  • The 30-day permit fee is 1/10 the annual registration fee or $20 plus a $10 service fee.
  • The 60-day permit fee is 1/5 the annual registration fee or $40 plus a $10 service fee.

To purchase a temporary registration, visit a Secretary of State office and provide the following:

  • Proof of vehicle ownership
  • Proof of valid Michigan insurance
  • Payment for temporary registration fees

How To Check If a Car Has Back Fees?

Before you buy a used car in Michigan, find out if it has any hidden fees. If it does, you could be responsible for them.

The first step is to obtain the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the seller. With the VIN, you can contact your closest Michigan SOS location and request a title search. The Michigan SOS will be able to tell you if there are any unpaid fees associated with the car, such as a vehicle registration fee or a parking ticket.

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Michigan License Plates FAQ

How do I know that my registration is expiring?

Renewal forms that have not been received cannot be resent. You may renew your license plate without a renewal form through Online Services or at our self-service stations if your insurance can be verified electronically. You may also renew without the renewal notice at any Secretary of State branch office. Documents needed for renewals are:

  • Old registration for each registration
  • 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 can also mail a photocopy of your current registration, proof of valid Michigan no-fault insurance, and a check or money order made payable to the State of Michigan to:

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

What are the minimum insurance requirements in Michigan?

Every vehicle in Michigan has to have no-fault automobile insurance. If you have an accident, this required insurance pays for injuries to people and for damages your car does to other people's property and to properly parked cars. Michigan no-fault does not pay for any other damage to cars.

What are some important facts about license plates in Michigan?

  • Michigan residents are required to have their vehicles titled and registered with the Michigan Secretary of State (basically the state’s version of the Department of Motor Vehicles). The process involves getting the title and registering the vehicle to receive license plates. There are various standard plate options available, like the "Pure Michigan" design and the "Water-Winter Wonderland" plate, highlighting Michigan's recreational opportunities.
  • License plates cost from $5 upward in Michigan, depending on the type of plate chosen, the age and value of the vehicle, and other factors. The fees for title and registration are separate from the license plate cost and are also determined by the vehicle's specifics. Michigan residents who are safe drivers can have potential discounts on their car insurance rates, which can help lower some of these costs.
  • A Michigan voter can find valuable information about their voting districts and precincts through the state's Voter Information Center. By providing their Michigan driver's license or ID number, residents can access personalized voting information, including polling locations and sample ballots.
  • Ann Arbor, a city in Michigan known for its cultural attractions and the University of Michigan, offers several local branches where residents can obtain their vehicle titles, registrations, and license plates. These offices also provide other services, driver's license renewals and voter registration.

Additional Reading

Buying a used car from a private seller in Michigan

Do I need to take off my license plates when selling a car in Michigan?

Required paperwork when selling a car in Michigan

What are salvage titles?

Our guide to used car warranties