How to get apportioned plates: IRP truck registration and fees

June 30, 2022

An Indiana license plate with the number 3082688 and Schneider logo on it.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Getting the right license plates on your truck and trailer is an important part of running your own trucking business.

If you are an owner-operator who hauls loads across state lines, your truck may need to be registered through the International Registration Plan (IRP).

The IRP is an agreement among states of the U.S., District of Columbia and Canada that allows registered owner-operators to travel between states and provinces without registering their truck in each place.

An apportioned plate is the type of license plate you receive when you register under the IRP. Registered motor carriers with apportioned plates can travel through all 48 contiguous U.S. states, the District of Columbia and all Canadian provinces.

Continue reading for information on how to get apportioned plates as an owner-operator.

How to get apportioned plates: Completing your IRP application

1. Determine if you qualify for apportioned registration.

Not every type of truck that travels across state lines needs to be registered through the IRP. Before you start taking steps to register for apportioned plates, you should make sure your vehicle qualifies.

To qualify, a commercial vehicle must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Have two axles and a gross vehicle weight or registered gross weight of over 26,000 pounds.
  • Have three or more axles, regardless of weight.
  • Is used in combination with a trailer when the gross weight of such combination exceeds 26,000 pounds.

For trucks and combination vehicles with a registered gross vehicle weight of 26,000 pounds or less, IRP registration is available but not required. In this case, owner-operators may be eligible for intrastate commercial registration, which is typically less expensive and more straightforward.

2. Contact your local IRP office.

To get apportioned plates under the IRP, you must register with a base jurisdiction.

The registration process is different for each jurisdiction, so the IRP recommends contacting your local IRP jurisdiction office for specific information and requirements. You can find this contact information by visiting the IRP jurisdiction directory and searching the name of your state or province.

When listing their apportioned plates requirements, most jurisdictions ask for:

  • Proof of established place of business or residency in the state (e.g., utility bill, driver’s license, title, tax return).
  • Verification of valid US DOT/MC number.
  • Copy of valid International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) application.
  • Proof of truck insurance.

Your IRP jurisdiction office should provide you with Schedule A/E and Schedule B forms to complete. These are the IRP forms required for opening new accounts.

3. Complete your jurisdiction's Schedule A/E and Schedule B forms.

Once you’ve gathered all the other necessary documentation, you should have what you need to start filling out your Schedule A/E and Schedule B forms. These forms may look different from state to state, but most forms include the following:

  • Federal Employee ID/TIN: Enter the number issued to your business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): Listed on your truck’s Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin or title.
  • Unladen weight: The empty weight of your truck.
  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR): The maximum loaded weight of your semi-tractor and trailer combined, as specified by the tractor manufacturer. This is usually listed on your truck’s VIN plate.
  • Axles: The number of axles on your tractor alone. A standard truck tractor normally has three axles.
  • Purchase price: How much you paid for the vehicle.
  • Factory price: The manufacturer's list price of the fully equipped vehicle when new.

4. Send in your application.

Your local IRP office will provide you with instructions for how to submit your application. Most states give you the option to send your completed IRP application and the required documents by mail or through a third-party agent.