Rules for Flights in the USA
In the United States, you’re allowed to pack license plates in hand and cargo baggage without any restrictions. You don’t need to take out your license plate when going through airport security unless a security agent asks you to do so. If you bought your license plate overseas and are returning to the United States, then you need to declare it together with all the things you bought during your trip. There aren’t any specifications or limitations to traveling with license plates, which means you can travel with small, large, fake, and decorative license plates.
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
On Canadian flights, license plates are allowed in carry-on and checked baggage.
Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand
European, United Kingdom, Australian, New Zealand, and Chinese authorities don’t mention license plates specifically, but generally, they are allowed in hand and cargo baggage. Heavy plates might be flagged and not allowed through security. Keep in mind some countries might have restrictions for taking license plates out of their borders.
In India, license plates aren’t listed by authorities as banned items, but similar items like metal plates can only travel in checked baggage.
Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring license plates on planes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing License Plates on Planes
Are metal license plates allowed through security?
Generally, metal license plates are allowed through airport security in the United States. However, the security agent makes the final call on allowing a license plate through the security checkpoint. Keep in mind that particularly heavy license plates might be perceived as potential weapons and might not be allowed to board the plane. So, it’s best to pack them in checked baggage. You can use a license plate holder to protect it from scratches in your cargo luggage.
Do I need to declare license plates in my luggage?
In general, you don’t need to declare license plates in your luggage when traveling in the United States. You only need to declare license plates in your luggage if you bought them during an overseas trip and are intending to return with them to the United States.
Can I carry another person’s license plate on a plane?
Theoretically, you can carry another person’s license plate when traveling in the United States. TSA allows license plates in cabin and cargo baggage. Many travelers like to collect old, vintage, and unique license plates, that originally belonged to someone else, and there isn’t usually any problem with getting them through airport security. However, if the license plate is reported as stolen, you might face legal consequences. You shouldn’t have any problems traveling with an expired or canceled license plate from a car that is no longer on the road or from an owner that is no longer alive.
Can I carry fake, decorative license plates on planes?
Yes, you can carry fake and decorative license plates on planes in the United States. TSA approves license plates in cabin and cargo luggage without any restrictions, so all license plates are welcomed onboard. But, particularly heavy or large license plates might be flagged as a blunt weapon when going through airport security and might not be allowed inside the cabin. If your license plate is made out of heavy material, it’s best to pack it in checked baggage.
That said, you could get into trouble when carrying fake license plates that closely resemble real license plates because they’re considered illegal to possess.
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