Alaska License Plates

From a wild grizzly to a historic vehicle, Alaska has license plates for all kinds of drivers.
Written by Cassandra Hamilton
Reviewed by Shannon Martin
Maybe you’re ready to show your wild side with a fierce grizzly plate or you want to commemorate your service in the military. Whatever your reason is, Alaska has a license plate for you. 
A license plate isn’t just a way to identify your car. License plates allow you to showcase your personality on your ride. Alaska might not top the list of states with the most customization options, but it offers plenty to keep you satisfied.
Here’s what you need to know about license plates in The Last Frontier, including which ones are available and how to get one for yourself.
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What are Alaska license plates and why do I need them?

A license plate is a car’s identification. It verifies that it’s been registered and connects drivers to their cars.
After an accident, everyone is wondering who’s to blame. A license plate helps determine fault in this instance. License plates even help law enforcement track down stolen vehicles.
In the state of Alaska, most vehicles need one license plate attached to the rear of the vehicle at all times.
Now, you may see that almost all the cars on the road currently have front and rear plates, but this is because the two-plate law changed on August 11, 2022. All newly acquired vehicles and those needing replacement plates only have to purchase one going forward. This update applies to the following modes of transportation
  • Private passenger vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Motorhomes
  • Trucks
  • Vans
  • Trailers
  • APVs
  • Commercial vehicles over 10,001 lbs (only need one plate, but it must be displayed on the front of the vehicle)

What license plates does Alaska have?

Most Alaska license plates fall into one of three categories: 
  • Standard plates, which will cover most vehicle needs.
  • Special cause plates that indicate a driver’s interests and which causes they support, like cancer awareness or your alma mater.
  • Special issue plates for unique circumstances, like a historic vehicle or for a vehicle collector. You can even get a special tag if you finished the Iditarod dog-sledding race! 

Standard license plates

  • Standard gold: This classic Alaska tag stands out just as much as the state does. 
  • Grizzly bear: This is a newer design in circulation since the late 2010s. It’ll show off your ferocious side.  Also known as Legacy Plates, these vintage designs have been in circulation since the 1950s. For just $50, you can get one of your own.
  • Art plate: This beautiful landscape plate was created to show a driver’s support for local arts in Alaska. 

Special interest license plates

  • Support our Troops: This popular plate indicates a driver’s support of the U.S. military both at home and abroad. Purchasing this tag directly benefits troops from Alaska.
  • Family tags: Whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, Alaska has a tag supporting either cause to benefit adoption or the
    Alaska Children’s Trust
    .
  • Alaska’s universities: If you attended one of Alaska’s universities, you can get a tag representing your alma mater. 
  • Military tag: Show your pride in the campaign you served in or your chosen branch of the military with one of these tags. You can also get a veteran tag or a tag showing you were awarded a Purple Heart.
  • Fraternal organization: If you’re a member of the Freemasons, International Association of Fire Fighters, Knights of Columbus, Lions Club, or Pioneers of Alaska, you can show your pride with a specialty tag.

Special license plates

  • Amateur radio call sign: If you’ve got an FCC license, you can get a special license plate made with your call sign.
  • Custom collector: This one is for vehicle models built in 1949 or earlier that have been modified for street use.
  • Farm vehicle: For vehicles that transport products or supplies for farms.
  • Firefighter/EMS: If you’re an active, former, or volunteer firefighter or EMS technician, you can get a tag showing it.
  • Historic vehicles: Used for vehicles 30 years of age or older that are driven for historical exhibitions.
  • Iditarod finisher: Provide your finisher number from the Iditarod Trail Committee and show your pride in having finished this race.
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How do I get an Alaska license plate?

It’s easy to get a current Alaska license plate. Just register your vehicle and choose a plate! If you’re someone who collects plates, you can order an
Alaska sample license plate
online and receive a plate stamped with “SAMPLE,” since Alaska doesn’t sell old license plates.
To register your vehicle, you need:
Head on down to the local DMV with your documents to complete the process. You’ll have your amazing new plates in no time!

How to customize your car insurance for savings in Alaska 

No matter what your license plate reads, you need good car insurance to stay protected on the road.
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No, not anymore. All registered vehicles in Alaska are required to have one plate attached to the rear of the car. 
A “Z” on an Alaska license plate means the vehicle is permanently registered and the owner won’t have to renew the registration.
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