Can You Take a License Plate On A Plane?

Whether you want to pack a metal personalized or a decorated license plate in your bag, you might be wondering if you can bring a license plate on a plane.

Here is a short answer:

Generally license plates are permitted in both carry on and checked baggage in domestic and international flights, you do not need to remove them from your bag when you go through the security checkpoint, it is better to place larger license plates in a checked bag. 

Keep reading to know more about traveling with license plates or car tags – as some people call them – in both domestic and  international flights.

Let’s dive right in.

Can You Take a License Plate On a Plane?

colored vehicle license plates  for different states
Retro Vintage Assorted US States Number Tags / Amazon Couresty
License platesCarry-onChecked Baggage 
Standard license platesYes Yes
Decorated and fake license platesYes, but heavy and larger ones that can be used a potential weapon need to be transported in checked baggage Yes
Someone else’s or friend license plateYes, but make sure that is expired and it is not stolen to avoid any legal issuesYes, but confirm that is expired and is not stolen to avoid any trouble

Can You Take License Plates Through The Security Checkpoint?

The TSA ( Transportation Security Administration ) are the guys at the security checkpoint searching bags and scanning people’s items.

They stated on their official website that you can bring vehicle license plates through the security checkpoint and in carry-on baggage without any issues.

Here is a screenshot from the TSA website:

License plates TSA rules
Screenshot from TSA website

There are no specific requirements when you place a license plate in a carry-on bag.

You don’t need to notify the security officer or remove your license plate from your bag at the time of screening.

But if the license plate triggers the metal detector, then the security agent may ask you to take it out for your bag along with other metal items to perform additional screening.

I checked X ( formerly Twitter) to find some other TSA answers.

Ron asked them if he can bring his car license plate in carry-on, and if he needed to take it out of the bag during the screening process.


They gave him the go ahead to bring his license plate in a carry-on bag, and he won’t need to remove it from the bag.

Even screws to fasten the license plate are okay to bring in carry-on.


The TSA always claims that the final decision whether an item will be allowed or not rests with the security officer screening your items, so use your best judgment and avoid any item that can be potentially used as a weapon or threaten the safety of the airplane and passengers.


Can You Take License Plates In Checked Baggage?

If you would prefer to pack your numbered plates in checked baggage, there are also no restrictions.

In fact it is the ideal way to travel with large decorated metal license plates or in case you have a small carry-on bag.

Also this will save you some time at the security checkpoint, by making your screening process smooth and easy.

How To Pack License Plates When Traveling?

Most license plates are made of metal and you don’t have to worry about it being cracked or broken inside the bag.

But you will still need to do some careful precautions, to avoid any dents, scratches or to hurt luggage inspectors and handlers.

You can use newspaper or some type of cloth and surround your plates.

One important thing that demands close attention is to never stack decorated license plates one on top of one another.

Stacking can leave scratches on the plates or make them fade. Always place something between to keep them separated and clean.

Can You Take License Plates On International Flight?

There are no regulations on where to place a license plate on international flights, you can choose to place it in a carry-on or checked bag.

And most country authorities and airlines do not specifically mention them on their prohibited lists, but obviously larger and heavy plates that can be used as a weapon or a self defense item will be permitted only in checked luggage.

You will also need to declare any license plates whenever you get to your destination along with any items you bring.

This passenger wanted to bring a license plate from South Africa to the U.S.

They replied that the TSA manages flights within and departing from the United States, so he will need to check with his airline and with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection before he enters the country.


Final Thoughts

You shouldn’t have any issues taking a license plate in both carry-on and checked baggage.

For international destinations one or two license plates are totally fine ( but always confirm with your airline ).

You need to consider any customs rules for your destination country If you are bringing a lot of brand new or vintage license plates as it will look like you are doing business and you need to pay some whopping taxes.

Remember to pack any heavy and large license plates in your checked bag, you will save yourself a lot of time and the hassle at the security screening.

Hope this helps 

Happy travels 

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