WA Registration & Plates

The Washington Department of Licensing handles a myriad of tasks, including vehicle registration and plating in Washington, which is handled through the various vehicle licensing offices in the state. Registration of a vehicle in Washington is necessary if you want to drive on the public roads and highways, and first requires that you complete and submit the appropriate information about the vehicle, as well as the appropriate forms to identify yourself as the owner. You will also obtain your Washington license plates as you complete registration – which could be chosen from various styles, designs, and types of plates, including classic and disability plates.

Registering Washington Vehicles

Vehicle registration in Washington can differ from vehicle to vehicle and county to county. There are some counties that require you first complete an:

  • emissions inspection

This will determine whether or not the vehicle is a high polluting vehicle that shouldn’t be allowed to operate until the issues causing pollution are fixed. If you don’t live in one of the higher pollution counties, you will not have to complete this step; otherwise you will have to contact the Washington State Patrol to complete inspection.

If you have a customized vehicle, such as a homemade creation from various vehicles, you will have to also obtain a safety inspection from the Washington State Patrol, which will ensure that the vehicle is safe to operate in the state.

There are various types of vehicles, which could differ in registration requirements, but in most cases Washington will require that any vehicle that is on wheels has registration before operation either publicly or privately.

Vehicle Registration Tasks in Washington

Just registering your vehicle is not enough. You will have to renew Washington registration each time it expires or you will no longer be able to operate the vehicle in the state. If you are caught driving without registration, there are penalties that 4DMV.com discusses thoroughly in the many Washington registration pages. Registration replacement in Washington is also required if you should lose the registration papers or if your registration is damaged, as penalties are still incurred if you cannot prove the vehicle is registered.

Washington License Plates

When you are registering your vehicle in Washington, you are also plating it. Getting Washington plates is easy and presents several choices, from personalized and specialty to antique and disability plates as well. The costs for plates will depend on those that you choose, with only the antique plates allowing permanent plating that will never have to be renewed.

If you are disabled, your disability plates in Washington, or even parking placards, will provide you with the parking privileges that you most need. If you are caught using someone else’s parking privileges or have obtained them fraudulently, you will be penalized and face fines and further consequences.

Make sure you know what to expect in Washington registration and plating so you can complete your tasks quicker and get on the road with ease. 4DMV.com offers all the registration information you need with complete instructions for completing each process – even for those specialty plates you rather have.


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