Illinois License Plate Lookup

License plates are to vehicles what IDs are to a country’s citizen. They aren’t just flat plates with a piece of acrylic stuck on them but identification tags that are customary for every vehicle to bear. They are used to give cars a unique identity through which cars become traceable.

If you are getting a pre-owned car in Illinois, it is recommended you conduct an Illinois license plate lookup. Not only will this prevent you from buying problematic vehicles, but it also ensures that you get a fair price for what you are getting.

Here’s a guide on how Illinois license plates work, types of Illinois license plates, and how to conduct an Illinois license plate lookup.

How Does an Illinois License Plate Work?

As stated earlier, license plates are a means of identifying cars that ply highways. They have a series of alphabets and numbers — a license number — inscribed on the plastic or metallic surface.

In Illinois, you have to affix your license plates on the front and rear of your vehicle. It is compulsory for all vehicles on Illinois roads to have a license plate.

You’re expected to register for new plates once you buy a car whether used or new. Plying Illinois roads and highways without a valid license plate makes you liable to fines from authorities.

Illinois License Plate Categories

The Illinois Secretary of State Office issues 11 license types to vehicle operators in Illinois.These plate types have specific qualifications you must meet before you can apply for them.


Passenger plates in Illinois are issued to owners of passenger vehicles and vans with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 8,000 pounds or less. Owners of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) can also apply for passenger plates.


Illinois offers a number of specialty license plates for drivers. You have to visit the Illinois License Plate Guide and download necessary paperwork before you can file an application for your choice specialty plate. Specialty license plates include Antique, Organ Donor, Prevent Violence, Firefighters Memorial, and Environmental.

Persons With Disabilities

The Illinois Secretary of State (ILSOS) issues disability license plates to physically disabled vehicle owners or vehicle owners who are parents or guardians to a disabled child. A relative who lives with the disabled individual and transports him/her can also qualify for a disability license plate.


In Illinois, vehicles that are over 25 years old qualify for an antique license plate. Per stipulations, the antique vehicle must be in sound condition and can only be used when heading to and from a demonstration, antique auto exhibition, or service station.


Collegiate plates allow Illinois motorists to show support for their favorite Illinois college or university. These plates usually have names of the chosen college or university engraved on them.

First Responders

The First Responders license plates celebrate responders who died while discharging their duties. Monies realized from sales of these plates are used to fund death benefits and scholarships for children of the late first responders. Some of it also goes to running law enforcement training programs.

Military Series

Military license plates are the exclusive preserve of veterans who have served in the US Armed Forces. Disabled veterans can obtain these plates for free if they have proof of 50% service-related disability.

Recreational Vehicle/Trailer

These plates are for recreational vehicles, which are defined as “any camping trailer, motorhome, mini-motor home, travel trailer, truck camper, or van camper used for recreational purposes.” The law stipulates that an RV must not be involved in commercial activities nor can it be under ownership of a business.

Sporting Series

Illinois is notable for offering many opportunities for outdoor and sporting activities such as hunting and fishing. Buying a Sporting Series Plate provides funds for authorities to preserve wildlife habitats. Sporting Series plates come in the following designs: Goose, Deer, Duck, Bass, Turkey, and Pheasant.

Professional Sports

The State of Illinois issues special license plates to residents who wish to show support for the state’s sports teams. Professional Sports Plates in Illinois may bear logos of the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bears, and Chicago Blackhawks.

Pan Hellenic Series

African-American fraternities and sororities in Illinois can procure Pan Hellenic Series Plates for their vehicles. These groups help raise funds to run programmes that are beneficial to kids, disadvantaged individuals, and senior citizens.

When Do You Need to Conduct an Illinois License Plate Lookup?

There are many situations that could warrant conducting an Illinois license plate lookup. A good example is when you’re looking for information on a used vehicle you intend to buy.

A license plate search will reveal information that a seller is trying to hide from you. For instance, the car you want to buy may be stolen, possess defects, or have a history of involvement in thefts. The plate lookup will reveal all such information so you can make an informed choice.

You may also want to report a vehicle involved in a crime or report the owner for breaking road regulations. In either case, you’ll want to conduct a license plate search so you can give authorities a detailed description of the vehicle.

You may also want to track down an individual by obtaining personal information from his license plate. To do this, you’ll need to visit the DMV or law enforcement and present a formal request to run a deep license plate search. Note that you must have a valid reason for wanting to do this or else your request will be rejected.

With an Illinois plate search, you can get a vehicle history report, vehicle description, and other vehicle-related information. There is some other information available to you when running a license plate lookup Illinois:

  • VIN documentation (vehicle model, manufacturer, release year, safety and recall information, engine specs, and many more)
  • Driving records (DUIs, traffic violations, police records, and more)
  • Reports of thefts or involvements in repossession agreements
  • Vehicle mileage
  • Timeline of vehicle inspections
  • Damage-related records: Thanks to the rise of online license plate checkers like VinPit, visiting the DMV to obtain license plate information has now become unnecessary. With just a few clicks, you can run Illinois license plates lookup from your home and get the info you need.


Can I find an owner’s address through an Illinois license plate lookup?

Getting personal information, like the address of a vehicle owner, through a free license plate search is largely impossible. You have to head over to DMV or the police to seek approval before you can get confidential info from a plate search.

What do I need to perform a license plate lookup?

You only need a license plate number and state of license plate registration to run a plate search. Once you input both into the database, you’ll get your results within minutes.

Do I have to pay for an Illinois license plate search?

VinPit gives you the opportunity to perform an Illinois license plate lookup free of charge. However, some sites may require charges depending on their company policy.

Is a license plate lookup difficult?

Online plate resources, like VinPit, have made it easy to run license plate searches. Simply input the license plate number and you’ll get all vehicle-related info you need.

Can anyone perform an Illinois license plate search?

You don’t need special approval to search license plates online, so long you only want to access public information. Unearthing personal license plate info from a plate search will require approval from relevant authorities.


An Illinois License Plate Lookup is a great way to obtain important vehicle information. VinPit is one of the best resources out there for running license plate searches or lookups.

You can also take advantage of the wide-ranging database that VinPit offers to run a VIN check or obtain a vehicle history report. Our services are duly registered so you remain on the right side of the law when using our service.