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Alaska License Plate Lookup

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License Plate Lookup in Alaska

A license plate lookup in Alaska is a service that facilitates the retrieval of any information related to a license plate number for a vehicle registered in Alaska. License plate lookups typically provide Alaska traffic record information and reports on the motor vehicle registered with the license plate. These records can include such information as:

  • Verification of the vehicle's mileage
  • Issues with the vehicle's registration
  • The certificate of title of the vehicle
  • Any records on liens and repossessions
  • Maintenance history of the vehicle
  • Accident history
  • Robbery reports
  • Flood, hail, and fire damage history

Information retrieved from an Alaska license plate lookup can be useful when tracking down an errant driver or purchasing a used motor vehicle. Persons seeking information about a license plate in Alaska can use online third-party applications that provide information about vehicle registrations. These applications are available as both free and paid services; paid Alaska license plate lookup services will typically provide better-updated information than free services. Online license plate lookups perform "background checks" and retrieve any available information about a license plate.

It is also possible to obtain information about a license plate in Alaska by submitting a request to the State Division of Motor Vehicles. The Alaska Department of Transportation also retains records relating to licenses and driving in the state and may respond to record requests. They might be fees charged by either of these Departments to provide this information and privacy concerns may also restrict the information available.

What is an Alaska License Plate?

An Alaska license plate is an identification tag assigned to a vehicle in the state, upon registration with the State Department of Motor Vehicles. Section 28.10.011 of the Alaska Statutes prescribes the registration of every vehicle moved, driven, or parked on a public road or parking place, with specific exemptions. Vehicles that must be registered and receive license plates in Alaska include passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, vans, trailers, motor homes, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, and snow machines. Only motorcycles and trailers are required by law to have one license plate which must display the month and year tabs. All other vehicles must have two plates (front and rear) and the rear plates must display the month and year tabs.

The Alaska DMV issues different types of license plates for vehicles in the state and prescribes different fees for several types. A typical Alaska license plate will display the state name and the license plate serial number. There might be other details inscribed on the plate depending on the license plate type.

How Do I Get a License Plate in Alaska?

In Alaska, it is required that every motor vehicle that plies the roads and highways be duly licensed by the State DMV and display identification tags with month and year tabs. A license plate is issued in Alaska by the State Department of Motor Vehicles, upon the registration of a motor vehicle. Vehicles in Alaska must be registered within 10 days of arrival in the state unless the owner is a non-resident. In this case, the owner of the vehicle can operate it for up to 60 days with its current out-of-state registration. New vehicles must be titled and registered with the State DMV within 30 days of acquisition.

To register a vehicle for the first time in Alaska, the registrant is required to provide the following:

  • The current vehicle registration (if applicable).
  • Ownership documents - this can be a certificate of title or manufacturer's certificate of origin (MCO). If an MCO is used, a dealer reassignment should be used to assign the vehicle to the purchaser.
  • Proof of motor liability insurance.
  • Lienholder information or release of lien (if applicable).
  • Completed application for title/registration form.
  • If the vehicle is leased, the registrant must provide notarized power of attorney.
  • Evidence of a VIN inspection carried out by an AK DMV-approved inspector (if applicable).
  • Required fees.
  • Commercial vehicles that weigh over 8000 lbs are required to provide additional documentation for registration.

Typically, if the vehicle is purchased from a dealer in the state, the dealer will submit the vehicle's documents to the DMV for registration. If not, then the applicant must submit the documents themselves.

Residents should submit vehicle registration applications to their local DMV in person or via mail, under certain circumstances. To be eligible to submit a registration application by mail, the applicant must reside more than 50 miles from their nearest DMV location. Residents eligible to submit their applicants by mail should mail their complete application package, including payment, to:

Division of Motor Vehicles
3901 Old Seward Highway,
Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

The DMV will mail successful applicants their title, registration, and license plates. While license plate fees vary based on numerous reasons, a standard license for a passenger vehicle or van/truck under 10,000 lbs costs $100. Several municipalities in Alaska also charge a motor vehicle registration tax (MVRT) which is payable before receiving the registration and tags.

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 license plates issued to private passenger vehicles, by the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), that are duly registered in the state. A passenger vehicle may be defined as a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, that is used to transport up to nine passengers and their luggage.

Commercial license plates are license plates issued to duly registered commercial vehicles in the state by the Alaska DMV. The Alaska DMV defines a commercial vehicle as a vehicle used in a business to transport passengers, goods, or property. This includes any vehicle that is registered under a company or business name, such as leased vehicles that would typically be considered passenger vehicles. If a commercial vehicle weighs over 8000 lbs, the appropriate sections in the Vehicle Transaction Application must also be completed when applying for the commercial vehicle registration.

How Can I Find the Owner of a License Plate in Alaska?

The owner of a license plate in Alaska can be identified by requesting the motor vehicle records from the State Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will release information about the owner of the license plate; the requestor will need to provide reasons to receive this information if they are a third party. It is also possible to retrieve information on a vehicle license plate in Alaska using a license plate lookup service. Details such as the name of the registrant and their contact information may be restricted for privacy reasons with such services. Also, paid lookup services will typically provide more recent information about a vehicle license plate than free lookup services. If a crime has been committed law enforcement agencies in Alaska can also identify the owner of a license plate.

Alaska License Plate Renewal

Vehicle registrations in Alaska are valid for two years and should be renewed before the last day of the month of expiration. The Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will send a mail notification to vehicle registrants up to two months prior to the expiration of their licenses. In Alaska, vehicle registrations can be renewed online, in person at a DMV location, and by mail. To renew vehicle registration in Alaska, the registrant is required to provide:

  • A copy of the current vehicle registration
  • A completed Vehicle Transaction Application form
  • Payment for the associated fees and taxes
  • A self-addressed envelope (for mail-in applicants)

Online registration renewals are the most convenient and cheapest method for renewing vehicle registrations with the Alaska DMV. In-person registrations will require the applicant to submit the required documents and pay the associated fees at their nearest DMV location. There is also an extra $10 charge for submitting registration renewal applications in person at an Alaska DMV location. Mail-in renewal applications should be mailed to:

Division of Motor Vehicles
3901 Old Seward Highway,
Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Mail-in renewal applications may take up to 6 weeks to process.

Can You Look Up License Plates with VIN?

It is possible to look up information about a license plate using the vehicle identification number (VIN). The vehicle identification number (VIN) of an automobile is one of the details recorded during the registration of a motor vehicle by the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A VIN is associated with the registration of a vehicle and, as such, the license plates. Consequently, information associated with a motor vehicle license registration can be retrieved using the vehicle identification number (VIN).

Alaska VIN Number Lookup

VIN refers to "vehicle identification number". This is the unique identification code assigned to an automobile that functions like a "fingerprint". A VIN identifies a particular automobile and can be used to retrieve information about the vehicle. It is composed of 17 alphanumeric characters that provide information about the particular car unit.

  • Character 1-3 - World manufacturer identifier: Identifies where the car was manufactured, the manufacturer, and the vehicle type.
  • Character 4-8 - Vehicle descriptor section: Provides information about the vehicle's safety features, body style, engine size and type, and transmission.
  • Character 9 - Check digit: Verifies the validity of the VIN
  • Character 10-17 - Vehicle identifier section: Character 10 identifies the model year, character 11 identifies the assembly plant, and characters 12-17 represent the vehicle production number.

An Alaska VIN lookup is a service that will retrieve information on a motor vehicle using the VIN as the point of reference. Because a VIN is particular to each automobile, a VIN lookup can retrieve information on the vehicle such as previous owners, odometer readings, repossessions, and accident reports. A VIN lookup can be performed online using free and paid user applications. Typically, the VIN of a vehicle will be inscribed on the driver's side dashboard and the driver's side doorjamb of the vehicle. It will also be written on the vehicle's title, registration card, and insurance documents.

Can Civilians Lookup License Plates in Alaska?

License plate records are confidential in Alaska. However, it can be accessible to civilians with consent from the record holder. Civilians who want to retrieve a driver’s personal information can query the Alaska DMV with written consent from the record holder according to AK Stat § 28.10.505. Requests can be made online, by mail, or in person.

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

When police officers run a vehicle’s plate in Alaska, they access the car owner’s identifying information. This includes the owner's name, telephone number, address, and medical or disability information. Police officers also get information about the car, like manufacturing year, VIN, make, model, and vehicle's license expiration date when they run a plate in Alaska. Alaska law enforcement have access to information about the registration status of a vehicle, the status of a driver’s license and previous driving offenses and penalties. If the car owner is wanted for arrest in Alaska, their arrest warrants will also appear when the police run their plate. This may lead to the driver’s arrest and the car being towed away and impounded.

Free License Plate Lookup in Alaska

Individuals can find free options for conducting license plate lookups on third-party websites. By entering a license plate in the search tool, requestors may access limited information about:

  • The Vehicle (vehicle specifications, equipment details, and fuel efficiency)
  • Vehicle history report (title history, brand history, salvage or total loss history, and odometer reading)
  • Flood check, theft data, and lien/impound/export records
  • The Vehicle’s market value, ownership cost, safety rating, and warranty or the manufacturer recall
  • Vehicle inspection checklist

However, free license plate searches typically offer limited information. In most cases, the requestor will need to pay a subscription or service fee to have access to extensive information

How to Search for Ticket by License Plate in Alaska

Individuals can conduct a ticket lookup by license plate in person at any Alaska Court location. A faster method would be to use the CourtView portal to search for tickets by ticket number, driver’s license number, or vehicle registration number. Typically, a ticket search will return information on the vehicle, the violation, the vehicle code that was violated, the time, location, and date of the violation, and the officer that issued the ticket. Alaska law requires drivers to respond to traffic tickets within 30 days.