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Illinois License Plate Search: How to Search Illinois License Plate

Illinois License Plate Search: How to Search Illinois License Plate
October 27, 2022

Despite not having a substantial land area, the state of Illinois has one of the best economies in the United States. 


As a result, the state has one of the largest car markets, and the range of choices in terms of pre-owned vehicles is considerably high. 


Individuals with enough patience can find vehicles that meet their needs and expectations. 

Buying a pre-owned vehicle saves you costs that would otherwise be spent on insurance and depreciation. 


However, before purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, it is important to conduct different checks on it, one of which is license plate lookup. 


Keep reading to find out how Illinois license plates work, the types of Illinois license plates, and how to conduct an Illinois license plate lookup.

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How Do Illinois License Plates Work?

License plates are to vehicles what IDs are to citizens of a country. 


They are not just flat plates with a piece of acrylic attached to them. License plates are unique identification tags that every vehicle carries. 

They give cars a unique identity, making the vehicle traceable. 


License plates are comprised of a series of numbers and alphabets inscribed on a metallic or plastic surface. 


Illinois is a two-plate state, meaning owners must affix license plates on the rear and front of their vehicles. 

Every vehicle on the roads of Illinois must have a license plate. 


Plying on Illinois highways and streets without a valid license plate makes the driver liable to fines from law enforcement authorities. 


The primary legislation governing the registration and issuance of license plates in Illinois is the Illinois Vehicle Code.

Illinois License Plate Search: Types of Illinois License Plates

The office of the Illinois State Secretary issues eleven types of license plates to vehicle owners across the state. Each type of license plate requires particular qualifications to apply for them. They include:

1. Passenger license plates: This license plate category is issued to owners of vans and vehicles with a maximum Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 8,000 pounds or less. Vehicles under this category include SUVs and trucks. 

2. Antique license plates: This class of license plates is issued to vehicles over 25 years old. The antique vehicle must be in sound condition, and the license plate can only be used during antique auto exhibitions when heading to demonstrations or service stations.

3. Specialty license plates: Specialty license plates includes Organ Donor, Firefighter Memorial, Environmental, Prevent Violence, and Antique groups. 

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4. Collegiate license plates: This class of license plates are used by Illinoisans to display support for their favorite universities or colleges. 

5. Persons with Disabilities (DSL): DSL license plates are issued to disabled persons or their parents or guardians.  

6. Military series: This category of license plates is exclusive to veterans of the U.S Armed Forces. 

7. First responders: These license plates celebrate individuals who died while discharging their duties. Proceeds from sales of first responders’ license plates are used in funding death benefits. 

8. Sporting series: Purchasing sporting series license plates provide monies to agencies preserving wildlife habitats. Sporting series license plates usually come in designs like pheasant, turkey, deer, goose, bass, and duck.

9. Professional sports: Residents of Illinois can use professional sports license plates to show support for their favorite sports teams. Professional sports license plates in Illinois contain logos of Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bears, Chicago Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. 

10. Recreational vehicle/trailer: These plates are fixed on recreational vehicles used as motorhomes, camping trailers, truck campers, van campers, travel trailers, mini-motor homes, etc. 

11. Pan Hellenic series: This class of plates is used by African-American sororities and fraternities in Illinois. The groups assist in raising funds to run programs that benefit senior citizens, disadvantaged persons, and children.

How to Conduct an Illinois License Plate Lookup?

Before purchasing a pre-owned vehicle in Illinois, it is recommended that you conduct a Search Illinois License Plate query. 


This will help you understand what you are dealing with, as most dealerships do not disclose every detail concerning the vehicle. 

Performing an Illinois license plate lookup will provide you with information about past owners, the types of accidents they have been involved in, the vehicle number, etc. 

The Illinois Secretary of State oversees license plate registration, and the Vehicle Services Department supervises the procedures. 


Interested parties can conduct license lookup by filling out the Secretary of State Information Request form and submitting it at the following address: 

Secretary of State
Inquiry Section, Motor Vehicle Record 
501 South Second Street, Room 408
Springfield, IL 62756

The Secretary of State can also be reached via (217) 785-3000

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The state of Illinois does not release personal identification details about the past owners of a vehicle. 


Therefore, applicants will not be provided with details such as the driver’s criminal history, contact information, etc. 

Furthermore, several third-party websites also offer license plate lookup services. Some at a cost and some at no charge. 


These third-party platforms provide reliable information collected by independent agencies from government-based repositories. 

You will be required to provide information, such as the license plate number, to facilitate your search. After that, pay the requisite fees (where applicable) to access the report. Some of these third-party websites include:

* VinCheck 


Conducting an Illinois license plate search is an excellent way to retrieve valuable vehicle information. 


You can take advantage of any of the methods discussed above while running an IL license plate lookup.

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