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Not everyone has access to the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and sometimes, license plate lookup is the only option. The good thing is that searching by the license plate number in Washington is feasible and similar to a VIN search, it can yield a treasure trove of information about the vehicle. From its make and model to its age and history of ownership, you can get a bird's eye view of the vehicle at your fingertips. This is especially useful when you're purchasing a used car.

Depending on what data you are looking for, here are your options.

How to conduct a license plate search in Washington (WA)

1) Use LookupAPlate's license plate search

You can search for a license plate for free on our website. Enter the tag details in the search above, select the state as "Washington", and hit the search button. The free report will include make, model, year, color, vehicle type, recall history and more. You can also request a premium report from our third-party data provider, which is more comprehensive and may include the vehicle owner's details.

2) Through WA State Licensing (DOL)

The DOL maintains records of all vehicles registered in the state. However, vehicle owner details are Protected Personal Information (PPI) and are released to only authorized agencies, individuals or for a valid cause.

You can read more about the process and the information needed to make a request here: https://www.dol.wa.gov/about/driverdata.html.

Sample data request form: https://www.dol.wa.gov/about/docs/data-requests/sample-data-request-contract.pdf

3) Third-party data providers

Several companies offer license plate lookups and vehicle history reports. While we don't endorse such services, some have been around for a long time and might be worth looking into. Make sure you read the fine print before signing up for these services.

Identifying a Washington License Plate

what does an Washington license plate look like

Is the license plate you're looking to look up from Washington? For starters, standard Washington license plates have "Washington" across the top, but there are also specialty plates that don't necessarily have "Washington" on them. So the state name alone is not a 100% reliable identifier.

Generally, a Washington license plate features a white background with a light blue Mount Rainier graphic. The name of the state "WASHINGTON" is printed across the top left of the plate, while "THE EVERGREEN STATE" is printed at the bottom. The registration number is embossed in the center in dark blue.

The license registration is a unique seven characters alpha-numeric code assigned by the Washington State Department of Licensing. The license number usually follows this pattern: ABC1234.

Washington license plate types:

There are basically three types of license plates in Washington:

1) Standard plates: The most common plate you see on Washington roads (blue mountain range graphic). These plates are issued to all passengers or commercial vehicles that don't opt for special plates.

2) Personalized plates: These can be either standard or special interest designs and you can request personalized letters/numbers/hyphens/spaces for an extra fee.

3) Special interest plates: These plates are designed to show support to a cause, organization and other affiliation such as environment, sports, universities, colleges, military etc.

Examples include:

Colleges And Universities

  • Central Washington University
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Evergreen State College
  • etc.

Military And Veterans

  • Air Force
  • Army
  • Coast Guard
  • Marine Corps
  • National Guard
  • Navy
  • etc.


  • 4-h
  • Ffa Foundation
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
  • Helping Kids Speak
  • J.p. Patches Pal
  • Keep Kids Safe
  • etc.

Parks And Environment

  • Endangered Wildlife Orca
  • Wild On Washington Bear
  • Wild On Washington Deer
  • Wild On Washington Elk
  • etc.

Special Interests

  • Amateur Radio Operator (Ham)
  • Washington Aviation
  • Aviation
  • Breast Cancer
  • Music Matters
  • San Juan Islands
  • Seattle Kraken
  • Seattle Mariners
  • etc.


  • Disabled Parking
  • Personalized Plates
  • Ride Share
  • Collector Vehicle
  • Horseless Carriage
  • Restored Vehicle 
  • Honorary Consular
Recent searches
C76393K  license plate in WA
2017 GMC Savana
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Heavily trafficked intersection, paused to not be in the intersection van passed me on the right ... Posted on April 11, 2024
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Cut out in front of moving traffic, proceeded over to left turn lane than abruptly switch to main... Posted on March 19, 2024
BMG3287  license plate in WA
2018 TESLA Model 3
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Sped to run merging car off the road and started brake checking that driver after I'd let the car... Posted on March 19, 2024
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BBF1607  license plate in WA
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Saw this guy road rage at a teenager, stopping in the middle of a street after almost side swipin... Posted on February 14, 2024
A0691C  license plate in WA
2013 BLUE BIRD All American / All Canada
The Enumclaw Middle School's Parent Drop-Off line is ridiculous in its layout, and having bus dri... Posted on February 13, 2024
BCF2578  license plate in WA
This vehicle is frequently at a known **** house on the key peninsula. Posted on January 29, 2024
BBF1607  license plate in WA
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Saw this guy road rage at a teenager, stopping in the middle of a street after almost side swipin... Posted on February 14, 2024
1K5941  license plate in WA
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Vehicle reported stolen 11/11 Posted on November 12, 2023
For more license plates in Washington click here.