What Is the IRP and How Does It Work for Truckers in the US?

There seems to be a never-ending list of things to do when you start out in trucking. One thing many new truckers are curious about is IRP trucking, or International Registration Plan license plates. The IRP is part of the trucking regulations for interstate haulers. This means that if you plan to haul any cargo in a truck with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds across state lines, you’ll need to get your IRP, or apportioned plates. 

First, what is the IRP, exactly? It stands for the International Registration Plan, an agreement between 48 states and Canadian provinces. This plan allows truckers, like those operating 18-wheelers, to freely move between the participating jurisdictions with only one registration from your “base” state. IRP trucking regulations aren’t as complex as they sound, so hold tight as we cover all the basics you need to know about getting your apportioned plates. Speaking of which…

What are Apportioned Plates?

Apportioned plates are the plates you receive from your home state when you register for the IRP. Another big question we often hear is, “What does apportioned mean in trucking?” Apportioned means “to divide and allocate.” This means that the fees you pay are divided between the various states and jurisdictions you operate in, based on mileage. 

Apportioned plates make it easier to operate in two or more states thanks to a single registration. It also encourages greater interstate commerce and more efficient use of the American highway system. 

So, what is an apportioned plate? It’s simply one IRP-compliant plate that allows you to move between states and Canadian provinces participating in the agreement. 

Apportioned plates cost differently depending on your home state and the states you’ll operate within. The cost of your IRP plates will be determined by your state, mileage, and vehicle weight. If you’re operating in 3 or 4 states, then you’ll likely pay between $1,200 to $1,700.

You’ll also have to pay fees at the DMV to acquire your plates. These are generally low, usually between $15 and $30, but again, it varies by state. Check with your local DMV for the most accurate information. 

IRP Registration Requirements

There are several IRP requirements you’ll need to know before you can get apportioned plates. In order to apply for IRP registration, you will have to submit an application in your home state. Generally, this requires proof of ID, date of birth, and permanent residence in that state. 

Every state has its own requirements and forms for IRP registration, so you’ll need to contact your local DMV to get the process underway. Usually, if you search “IRP registration in [your state]”, you’ll find the link to your state DMV and be able to get a full run-down of requirements and steps for applying. 

IRP Renewal Process

The IRP renewal process is a bit more complicated than the application process. You’ll have to submit several forms and turn in your renewal 60 to 45 days before it expires. You’ll also have to wait several weeks to receive your IRP renewal by mail.

Every state differs, but most require you to submit your renewal ahead of its expiration date. Failing to do so will require you to register again. 

Just like you can find information for applications online, state DMVs have their IRP renewal process outlined on their website. You’ll be able to download all the relevant forms and submit them by mail. 

It’s important to remember that all participating states set their own guidelines, so timeframes will vary. Make sure that you only refer to your home state’s DMV for the most accurate information.

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