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Missouri License Plate Lookup

Purchasing a vehicle? It may have defects that you will not be able to discover before buying it. And not all sellers will tell you about those. Therefore, we recommend you run a Missouri license plate lookup to know these defects before buying the car. In that case, your rights as a consumer will be protected.

There are two ways of lookup. Either you can apply to the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) and request a vehicle report or you may search online. There are private databases that provide accurate info on the vehicles registered in Missouri. In particular, you can know:

  • Vehicle title
  • Last inspection time
  • Accident history
  • Registration problems
  • Damage caused by environment such as water/fire/frost
  • Odometer reading
  • Report on lien and repossession
  • Mileage
  • Info on possible theft of the car
  • Use of the vehicle as a taxi or police car
  • Report on the use in the industrial services.

Acquiring temporary permits in Missouri

When you buy a vehicle you can obtain a temporary permit to be able to drive legally. You should place your permit on the rear of your vehicle. In this way, the permit is visible to the police.

Temporary permits have some characteristics. First, they are issued for 30 days (only in exceptional cases for 60 or 90 days). Second, each vehicle may have only one permit. Third, junk cars are not eligible for permits. Fourth, your permit becomes invalid when you apply for titling. Finally, the permit must be returned to the DOR.

You can apply for a permit by presenting the following documents:

  • Ownership document
  • Safety inspection certificate that should be either up to 60 days old or 90 days old in case the vehicle is bought from a MO dealer. However, there are certain cases when an exemption applies.
  • Insurance card

Missouri Vehicles Titles

For registering and titling your vehicle you have a 30 days grace period. On the other hand, if you don’t do that, you have a penalty of $25.00. Then, every 30 days adds another $25.00 to your penalty if you don’t title. However, the highest possible penalty is $200.

To apply for titling MO residents must present the following:

  • The legal document of ownership, that is a Certificate of title (or Manufacturer’s statement of origin in case of new car).
  • Identification number
  • Odometer inspection
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • In certain cases, lien release
  • Finally, you must complete and sign the Application for Missouri title and license form
  • Also, other documents may be required.

Very importantly, remember that the requirements for new residents and military staff may be different.

Types of license plates in Missouri

Like Minnesota, Missouri also issues two license plates: one for the front of the vehicle and the other for the backside. There are different types of plates.

Standard license plates

If you apply for a plate you will likely get a standard license plate. While personalized plates are flat standard plates have raised lettering.

Personalized license plates

Personalized license plates must have a maximum of six characters with number and letter combinations. There are options with no emblem or with a wheelchair symbol. You can choose between them. In addition, no profane or offensive language is allowed. To exclude those, the DOR must approve your suggestion. You can search online to see whether your suggestion is available or not.

For applying for this type of plate you must submit the application form and pay the required fee. The MO DOR may refuse your application for one or more reasons. Check out our banned Missouri license plates page for more details.

Specialty license plates

Here are examples of specialty license plates in Missouri:

  1. Collegiate
  2. Charitable
  3. Historic
  4. Military

Disability license plates

Disability license plates and placards are for parking in a special parking space. Those are  designated for disabled individuals. There are three types of plates and placards.

Permanent disability license placard

To gain a permanent disability license placard one must follow these steps. First, one needs to complete the Application for disabled person placard form. Second, one of the below mentioned specialists must certify that the person has a permanent disability. He or she must complete the form called the Physician’s statement for disabled person’s plates or placards.

  • Podiatrist,
  • licensed physician,
  • chiropractor,
  • advanced practice registered nurse,
  • physician’s assistant,
  • physical therapist,
  • or optometrist.

The state law also defines physical disability mentioning all the conditions that make the person qualified for this placard.

The placard is free and good for 8 years. One can apply for this placard online, by mail, or in person.

Temporary disability placard

A temporarily disabled person is considered one whose disability condition does not exceed 180 days. Again, the narrow specialists determine the physical disability by filling out the mentioned form. The procedure for the application is the same as for the permanent disability placard.

Unlike the previous one, this placard costs $2.00. It is good until the disability ends. But the incapacity cannot last more than 180 days.

Permanent disability license plate

You are eligible for this plate if you have the status of permanent disability. For applying for this plate, present the mentioned form and car documents. Then submit a letter if the vehicle is not yours. It should state that you drive the car 50 percent or more of the driving time. Very importantly, you and the car owner must sign the letter.

Note that those who want to acquire a Disabled veteran license plate need a letter from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Particularly, it must certify that the disability is related to the service in the war.

License plate validity period

Missouri license plates can be good for 2 years. However there is the option of 1 year, too.

License plate renewal in Missouri

Generally, the Department of Revenue mails you the renewal notice and its form. This occurs before the expiration date. In particular, the notice mentions the expiration date and inspection details. In case, you did not get the notice you should use the form called Application for motor vehicle license to apply for the plates.

You should renew your plates before or during the expiration month. It is okay to renew them up to 6 months before the expiration date. Otherwise, you will have penalties. Late renewal will cost you $5.00.

Now you can do the renewal by phone or mail, online, or in person. The notice will likely tell you in which way you can renew your plates.

For renewing the plates Missouri residents need to present:

  • The notice they received.
  • A certificate on safety and/or emissions inspections. It must be acquired within 60 days.
  • A receipt that confirms you paid your property tax. In particular, for one year’s registration, present 1 year’s receipts,  and two year’s registration – 2 year’s receipts. Otherwise, you must present a document that shows you are exempt from this tax.
  • Proof of current MO vehicle insurance.
  • Proof that you paid all the applicable fees.

Residents or military staff temporarily out of state must pass through a similar procedure to renew their plates. Just when returning to the state they must carry their vehicle for safety inspection within ten days.

One more remark. The penalty can be waived for military personnel. But that can occur only when they present a military order proving their service.

Transferring license plates

You can transfer a plate from one vehicle to the other. But you can’t do that from a seller to purchaser. That is to say, license plates are not transferable to new persons.

For a successful transfer just bring the required documents. In short, you can find what is required on the DOR website.

Surrendering license plates

There are instances when you need to surrender the previous license plates. So that happens when you:

  • switch from one type of plate to the other.
  • have damaged your plates.
  • make a decision to change your residency from Missouri to another state and cancel your car insurance.

In all those instances, just drop the previous ones in the DOR office.

Replacing license plates

If your license plates are destroyed, lost, or stolen you must report to the police. Then you must apply for a new license plate. You can do that in person or by mail. Just follow these steps:

  • Complete the replacement form.
  • Surrender the previous plates if they are damaged.
  • Pay the replacement fee (only stolen plates are replaced for free).

Missouri License Plate Lookup : Costs

Here is an overview of the fees you need to pay during the mentioned processes.

  • Temporary permit fee – $5.00 / processing fee – $6.00
  • Title fee – $8.50 / processing fee – $6.00
  • Registration fees vary by vehicle. / processing fee – $6.00 (1 year) / – $12.00 (2 years)
  • License plate fees vary.
    • Personalized, military, and specialty plates – $15.00
    • Personalized historic plates – $43.75
    • Replacement fee – $8.50
    • Transfer fee – $2

Also, there are taxes you need to pay. In short, there are online tax calculators.

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Marine K

Marine is an IT project manager and content writer. She has a degree in Management from YSEU. Currently she writes user friendly content for various business websites.