Can You Bring Car License Plates on a Plane in 2023?

Are you relocating to another state and pondering what to do with your previous license plates?

Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon a distinctive license plate during your travels that you wish to keep as a memento.

Regardless of your reasons, if you’re contemplating flying with license plates, you might be curious if this is permitted on airplanes.

In this blog post, we will delve into the rules and regulations concerning the carriage of license plates on flights to help you steer clear of any unexpected incidents at the airport.

According to the TSA website, license plates can be transported in both hand luggage and checked bags without any specific restrictions.

To ensure a smooth airport security screening process, it’s recommended to remove your license plate from your bag and place it in the tray for individual inspection.

This action communicates to the security personnel that you don’t harbor any ill-intent by carrying the plate. Additionally, it speeds up the checking procedure, saving you precious time and minimizing inconvenience for other passengers in the queue.

Will the metal detector pick up the license plates?

If you’re wondering whether a sizable piece of metal, like a license plate, will trigger a metal detector, the answer is yes.

If you prefer to carry your belongings with you on the plane, it’s best to pack the license plates in your bag in a manner that’s easily accessible during the security checkpoint.

Related: Can You Bring Magnets or Magnetic Items on a Plane?

Often, TSA agents won’t require you to put the plates in the inspection bin; they will simply take a quick glance inside your carry-on to confirm that what you’re carrying are indeed license plates and not something else.

Can You Carry Someone Else’s License Plates?

You’re allowed to carry any kind of license plates, irrespective of whether they’re from a different country or owned by someone else.

TSA agents typically don’t run checks on the plates, so even if the plates were illicitly obtained, it’s most likely not going to cause an issue.

However, one aspect to bear in mind is that if the license plates have sharp edges, you might not be permitted to carry them in your hand luggage due to safety regulations.

Can You Fly Internationally with License Plates?

Yes, you certainly can. Although most international airlines don’t explicitly mention license plates in their regulations, their rules typically align with those of the TSA.

However, to err on the side of caution, it’s advisable to only pack them in your checked luggage. Some airports prohibit passengers from bringing large metal objects into the cabin, and license plates could be classified under this category.

Can You Transport Decorative License Plates on a Flight?

Whether you’re an avid collector or just desire to bring along quirky decorative plates for your destination, rest assured that both faux and decorative license plates are permitted on aircraft within the United States.

To bypass any potential complications, it’s wise to nestle those weighty or cumbersome decorative plates safely in your checked baggage.

This strategy comes recommended since some TSA agents could perceive these items as potential blunt objects.

Can You Transport a License Plate Frame on an Airplane?

Most license plate frames are crafted from plastic, and you can safely tuck them into both your hand and checked baggage without any concerns. However, if your license plate frame is made of metal, it’s prudent to keep it in your checked luggage.

An overly cautious TSA agent might view it as a potential blunt object, preventing you from carrying it in your hand luggage.

Can You Transport License Plates on a Flight to Canada?

Canada’s air travel regulations are similar to those in the U.S., allowing you to transport license plates in either your carry-on or checked luggage.

However, exercise caution not to bring any stolen Canadian license plates.

From 2022 onwards, Canadian motorists requiring a replacement for a lost or stolen license plate must provide a police file number at the registry office.

This number is obtained by filing a report at a local police station, over the phone, or online.

The rationale is that the police maintain a database of all stolen license plates in the country, so if you’re found traveling with one, they can quickly trace it.


Are License Plates Magnetic?

Regardless of their country of origin, license plates are not inherently magnetic. The majority of them are crafted from a sheet of steel, but there are some made from aluminium, which is non-magnetic by nature.

Although standard steel license plates are not magnetic, when they are exposed to a strong magnetic field, they can act as a magnet. This phenomenon is known as induction.

Some decorative license plates are magnetic or contain magnets for display purposes.

However, there’s no need for concern. License plates with magnetic properties are permitted in both carry-on and checked bags, as their magnetic field is not strong enough to pose a risk to airplane safety.

How Many License Plates Can You Bring on a Plane?

It’s become quite a profitable venture for individuals to travel around the globe, purchase license plates at low costs, and then resell them on platforms like eBay for a higher price.

The TSA does not impose a limit on the number of plates you can transport, implying that you can carry as many license plates as your luggage can accommodate.

When Were License Plates Introduced?

The first car license plate was issued in France in 1893. It’s noteworthy that, in those times, in some countries, having a license plate was equivalent to possessing a driving permit. It seems they didn’t fully consider the scenario of someone else driving the vehicle.

In the U.S., the first state to mandate license plates was New York. However, it was up to the vehicle’s owner to fashion the plates from a piece of metal or leather and inscribe their initials or name.

It seems they didn’t fully think that through either. Imagine the confusion if two individuals had the same initials and the same make of car. source

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Sorin Susanu
Sorin, the primary writer for this site, launched it in 2019 as a hobby and a means to refine his English. With a passion for travel ignited by a trip to Italy at age twelve, Sorin has been exploring the world and sharing his adventures ever since.