How Much Are License Plates In Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, license plate fees will vary depending on the type of plates you choose. The fee for a standard license plate is included in your Arizona vehicle registration costs.
If you want an Arizona specialty plate, you will have to pay the initial fee for the specific plate along with an annual fee of $25. Additional taxes and fees apply to both new and renewal registrations.
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What Is The Process For Getting License Plates In Arizona?

In Arizona, vehicles are only required to have a license plate on the rear of the vehicle.

(Every US state requires a rear license plate. Some states require a front plate, while other states don’t.)

Here are the steps for getting a new license plate from the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (AZ MVD.)

1. Provide proof of Arizona residency. In order to register your vehicle and obtain license plates, you must present proof of Arizona residency. This could be a driver's license, an energy bill, or a leasing agreement.
2. Provide proof of car ownership. You must submit documentation of vehicle ownership, which can take the form of a title or registration from another state.
3. Get a car emissions test. If your vehicle is less than six years old, an emissions test is not required. If it is more than six years old, an emissions test is required. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality website has a list of testing facilities.
4. Fill out the registration form. The registration application can be downloaded from the Arizona Department of Transportation website or picked up at a Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) office. Complete the application, including your personal information, car details, and insurance information.
5. Pay the registration fees. The registration and license plate fees will vary depending on the kind of vehicle and other considerations. A charge schedule is available on the MVD website. If you’ve just bought the car from a private seller, you’ll need to pay Arizona vehicle sales tax of 5.6% of the car’s purchase price.
6. To an MVD office, bring your completed application, evidence of residency, proof of ownership, emissions test results (if required), and payment. In the office, you will be given your license plate and registration.
7. Install the license plates. Before you may legally drive on Arizona roadways, you must first install your license plates on your car. To properly install your plates, follow the directions that came with them.

Transferring an Arizona Car Title

If you’ve recently purchased a used car, you’ll need to apply to the Arizona MVD for a title transfer.

Before you can get a license plate, your request to change the title of your car must be processed.

Here is what you need to submit to your local MVD office:

A completed title and registration application (Form 96-0236)
A lien release (if applicable)
Title transfer fee: $4
Registration fee: $8
Air quality research fee: $1.50
Highway Patrol Operations fee: $32 per car per registration year for most cars

See our guide to transferring an Arizona car title for more detailed info on the title transfer process.

Register Your Vehicle with the AZ MVD

Before applying for a license plate, a vehicle owner will need a valid vehicle registration card from Arizona Motor Vehicles Division. In Arizona, you must register your vehicle in person. To make things more efficient, title transfers and car registrations in Arizona are done simultaneously.

An initial registration must take place in person at a local MVD office at the time of titling by submitting the following:

Proof of insurance
Completed emissions compliance form
Proof of a completed and passed emissions test (applicable only for Phoenix and Tucson residents)
Photo identification
Payment for the license plate fee: $5
Proof of Level 1 inspection performed (if applicable)
Payment for the vehicle license tax (VLT)

After you submit the required paperwork and pay the Arizona fees, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division will mail you the registration documents and license plate tabs.

Along with a completed transfer of title and registration, to complete the registration process, you’ll need to provide proof that you own the car, such as a bill of sale or title certificate.

The Arizona Motor Vehicles Division website provides useful information regarding vehicle registration requirements, along with instructions for how to apply for a plate.

Arizona Vehicle License Tax

Arizona's vehicle license tax is based on an assessed value of 60% of the manufacturer’s base retail price reduced by 16.25% for each year since the car was first registered in Arizona (15% before 8-1-98).
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The rate is calculated based on the assessed value:

1. $2.80 per $100 of assessed value for new cars
2. $2.89 per $100 for used cars

The Arizona Vehicle License Tax (VLT) is a charge that is included in the annual registration price for cars. It is based on the car's assessed value, which is calculated by taking 60% of the manufacturer's base retail price and subtracting 16.25% for each year since the car was first registered in Arizona. For automobiles registered before August 1, 1998, the decrease is 15%.

The VLT rate for new automobiles is $2.80 per $100 of assessed value, whereas the rate for used vehicles is $2.89 per $100 of assessed value. The registration charge includes (in addition to the VLT):

$1.50 Air Quality Research Fee
$4 Title Fee
$8 Registration Fee

Vehicles registered as commercial may be subject to additional costs, as well as postage charges.

It should be noted that the VLT is not a sales or property tax. It is a fee for the privilege of registering a vehicle in Arizona. The VLT revenue is used to fund transportation infrastructure and other government services. The proceeds from the VLT are divided among many entities.

The State Roads Fund receives 22.72% of VLT earnings, which is utilized for the building, maintenance, and operation of state roadways.
14.38% goes to county roads, which are used for road building, maintenance, and operation.
13.72% goes to city/town roads, which are used for road building, maintenance, and operation.
24.59% goes to the county general fund and 24.59% to the city/town general fund, both of which can be used for any legitimate purpose.

VLT Examples

Here are three hypothetical examples of how VLT would be calculated in Arizona.

2015 Toyota Camry, 80,000 miles
Assessed value: the manufacturer's base retail price for a 2015 Toyota Camry is approximately $24,000. The assessed value would be 60% of that price, which is $14,400. The reduction for 6 years of usage is 16.25% x 6 = 97.5%.

So, the assessed value would be $360 ($14,400 - $14,040).

VLT: the rate for used vehicles is $2.89 per $100 of assessed value, so the VLT for this Toyota Camry would be $10.40 ($360 x 0.0289).

2017 Honda Civic, 50,000 miles
Assessed Value: the manufacturer's base retail price for a 2017 Honda Civic is approximately $19,000. The assessed value would be 60% of that price, which is $11,400. The reduction for 4 years of usage is 16.25% x 4 = 65%.

So, the assessed value would be $3,990 ($11,400 - $7,410).

VLT: the rate for used vehicles is $2.89 per $100 of assessed value, so the VLT for this Honda Civic would be $115.47 ($3,990 x 0.0289).

2010 Ford F-150, 120,000 miles
Assessed value: the manufacturer's base retail price for a 2010 Ford F-150 is approximately $22,000. The assessed value would be 60% of that price, which is $13,200. The reduction for 12 years of usage is 16.25% x 12 = 195%.

So, the assessed value would be negative, which means there is no VLT assessed.

How to Order a License Plate In Arizona

There are two ways to order a license plate in Arizona.

1. In person at local MVD offices
2. Online via the AZ DOT website
Whether you apply online or in person, you need to fill out an application form that includes your personal information, address, and vehicle registration info.

Once you have submitted the form, you will be asked to choose the plates.

If you order online or in person, you can pay with a credit card, debit card, or electronic check.

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

To register an out-of-state car in Arizona and get an Arizona license plate, you’ll need to submit the following:

A completed and signed title and registration application
An emissions compliance form (Phoenix and Tucson residents only)
A Level I vehicle inspection, (if out-of-state title and/or registration is missing)
An out-of-state title
Out-of-state license plates
Payment for the license plate fee: $5
Registration fee: $8
Air quality research fee: $1.50
Highway Patrol Operations fee: $32 per car per registration year for most cars
Payment for the vehicle license tax (VLT)

Arizona 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.

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.

The Arizona license plate has 7 characters (across the 50 states, license plates have anywhere from six to eight characters).

How Much Is a Standard License Plate In Arizona?

A standard Arizona Grand Canyon license plate costs $5.

Passenger vehicles, commercial motor vehicles, motorcycles, permanent trailers, trailer coaches, and park trailers all have a standard Arizona license plate that confirms registration and helps identify them.

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

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

How Much Is A Personalized Plate?

Most Arizona license plates may be customized, including specialty license plates. The cost of a personalized license plate is $25 initial application fee and an additional $25 annual fee.

To order a specialty plate, you need to visit the AZ MVD Now website, select your desired design, and order it.

To find out if your desired license plate personalization is permissible and available, you can use the Arizona plates and placards selection page.

Arizona Handicap License Plate Fees

Handicap symbols are also available with the disability symbol added to qualified applicants' plate at no additional charge. The disability symbol can be added to any of the 80 plate designs.

Arizona MVD License Plate Renewal Fee

Arizona charges $25 for license plate renewal.
In Arizona, you can renew your registration and license plate:

In person at the local MVD or third-party office
Online through the AZDOT portal
Our automated phone system at 1.888.713.3031
At CheckFreePay locations

Each state has different requirements for how often license plates need to be renewed. Arizona drivers are required to renew their registration every one, two, or five years.

Being late on registration renewal can lead to late additional fees, fines, and other problems when pulled over for a traffic stop. To avoid this, it is important to pay careful attention to the registration expiration date.

License Plate Replacement Fees

In some cases, the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) may require you to change your license plates. If your license plate is lost or stolen, contact MVD or go to an authorized third party office to have it replaced with new numbers and letters.

If your license plate is damaged, deteriorated, or unreadable, you can replace it online at the AZ MOV website, and you will receive the same license plate number.

There will be a $5 fee (plus postage and handling).

To replace a damaged or unreadable plate, send the plate application with a $5 check or money order, plus the postage and handling listed on the form, to the following address:

Arizona Department of Transportation
Motor Vehicle Division
P.O. Box 2100
MD 555M
Phoenix, AZ 85001

If your license plate was stolen, you’ll need to report the theft to law enforcement and apply for a replacement.

Arizona Temporary License Plates

Arizona provides (upon request) temporary plates to people who have bought a car but don't have their permanent plates yet. These plates, also called "30-day plates," are valid for up to 30 days. They cost $18.00 in addition to other fees. Owners of vehicles must show proof of ownership, insurance, and a valid driver's license or other form of ID. Temporary plates must be put on the back of the car and cannot be given to someone else. They can be received from any Arizona MVD office or authorized third party provider. In some cases, vehicle owners may be eligible for a 90-day registration.

How To Check If a Car Has Arizona Back Fees?

Before purchasing a used car in Arizona, identify whether it has back fees—or you could be liable for them.

The first step is to obtain the vehicle identification number from the seller. With the VIN, you can contact your local DMV and request a title search. The AZ MVD will be able to tell you if there are any unpaid fees associated with the car, such as registration fees or parking tickets.

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FAQ on Arizona License Plates

What is the Arizona DOT?

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is responsible for managing Arizona's transportation system, while the MVD is a division of ADOT that handles driver and vehicle services.

What is the 3-day permit used for in Arizona?

How much is the registration late fee in Arizona?

Does Arizona offer digital license plates?

What is Arizona's equivalent of a DMV office?

What are some important facts about registering a vehicle in Arizona?