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Special Interest and Personalized Custom Plates

Who can get these plates?

You must have an automobile, truck, trailer or motorcycle to order a plate. This is necessary to assign the new plates to a vehicle record and issue a new registration card and year sticker. Motorcycle plates are not yet available for all special interest plate programs.

What license plates are available and how much do they cost?

Special Interest License Plates have a special graphic design depicting an image relative to the organization’s interest. They are available with configurations of numbers, letters, or both, which have been personally chosen by the applicant (personalized) or are standard issue configurations (sequential). In addition, Kids plates may contain one hand, heart, plus sign, or star symbol. Environmental License Plates are the standard California plates, which do not have graphics, and are only available with personalized configurations. View available plates.

What documents are required?

Special Interest License Plates may be obtained by ordering personalized Plates online or submitting a completed Special Interest License Plate Application on this page, to start the prossess. You will need the information from your registration card to order online when we contact you.

Where do the fees go?

Special Interest License Plates require extra fees that are used to support programs pertinent to each organization’s interest. Click here for more information regarding these programs.

How long does it take to get the plates?

Personalized plates will be available about 10–12 weeks after they are ordered online or the completed Special Interest License Plate Application is received by DMV. You will receive up to three notifications (approximately 30–days apart) from the office you selected when you ordered the plate. If after the 3rd notice, you have not picked up your plates within 30–days, the plates will be destroyed and the selection you made will be made available to another customer. A refund will not be issued. Sequential license plates will be mailed directly to you at the address on your DMV vehicle record; you should receive them in approximately 4–6 weeks.

How do I know if the personalized configuration I want is available?

You can check personalized Plates online to find out if a specific personalized configuration has been taken. Reminder, even if your plate selection is available and you pay for the personalized plate, it does not guarantee the plate will be made.

Why did my license plate selection get denied?

All personalized plate orders are manually reviewed prior to the plate order being made. California Code of Regulations, Title 13, Article 3.1, Special Interest License Plates provides that the department has the right to refuse any combination of letters and/or letters and numbers that may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency, or which would be misleading or in conflict with any license plate series now issued. Substituting numbers for letters or vice versa may be confused with an existing plate and is not permitted. Some reasons your plate request may be denied include:

When a desired configuration is not available, a letter shall not be substituted for a number, nor shall a number be substituted for a letter, to create another configuration of a similar appearance. (For example: 1STAR issued, cannot replace the number “1” with the letter “I” to obtain ISTAR.)

The number “69” is reserved only for 1969 year model vehicles that the license plates will be placed upon. The department shall refuse any configuration that may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency, or which would be misleading, based on criteria which includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. The configuration has a sexual connotation or is a term of lust or depravity.
  2. The configuration is a vulgar term; a term of contempt, prejudice, or hostility; an insulting or degrading term; a racially degrading term; or an ethnically degrading term.
  3. The configuration is a swear word or term considered profane, obscene, or repulsive.
  4. The configuration has a negative connotation to a specific group.
  5. The configuration misrepresents a law enforcement entity. 
  6. The configuration has been deleted from regular series license plates.
  7. The configuration is a foreign or slang word or term, or is a phonetic spelling or mirror image of a word or term falling into the categories described in subdivisions 1. through 6. above.

The availability of the license plate selection you reserve is subject to final approval by DMV. If denied, you will receive a letter and a refund check will be issued or a credit card chargeback (if paid by debit/credit card) will be issued. For credit card chargebacks, it may take 2–3 billing cycles for you to see the credit on your credit card statement.

I decided I don't like or would like to cancel the personalized configuration I selected. Can I get a refund?

No, once you have placed your order, a refund cannot be made.

I no longer have my vehicle, but would like to keep my personalized plates. How should I handle?

Complete a Special Interest License Plate Application Form indicating that you want to hold the plates for future use. Personalized plates are subject to an annual retention renewal fee based on the type of plate you have even though plates are not on a vehicle. You will not receive a billing notice to pay the annual retention fee. You may make an online appointment or call 1–800–777–0133 to pay the annual retention fees. Keep copies of your receipt(s) to indicate you paid these fees. Failure to pay this annual fee will result in cancellation of the plate and possible reassignment of the configuration.

I sold my vehicle and no longer wish to keep my personalized plates. What should I do?

If you do not wish to retain the plates, you must notify DMV to release your interest in the plates using a Special Interest License Plate Application (PDF) and surrender the plates to your nearest DMV office.

How do I reassign a plate to another vehicle?

Complete a Special Interest License Plate Application on the page indicating that you want to reassign the plates to another vehicle, hold the plates for future use, or release interest in the plates and pay the appropriate fees. You may make an online appointment or call 1–866–722–6060 to make this change.

Can I move my personalized configuration to a different kind of plate?

It depends. If you have a 7–digit plate configuration, but the plate type you want to order only allows for a 6–digit plate configuration, you won’t be able to change plate types. If able to proceed, complete the Special Interest License Plate Application (Click Here) indicating that you are requesting an exchange.

The exchange fees vary by type of plate. How do I get a replacement plate if mine is lost, stolen, or mutilated?

Complete the Special Interest License Plate Application Form (Click Here). The next available plate will replace sequential configurations; personalized plates will be duplicated. If both personalized plates are lost or stolen, the same plate cannot be reissued; you must make another personalized plate choice. The substitute/duplicate fees vary by type of plate and are listed on the second page of the application.

Will I be able to give these plates as a gift?

Yes. You may give a Special Interest License Plate as a gift. Order personalized Plates online or submit a Special Interest License Plate Application form (Click Here).

Are there any other Special License Plates available?

Yes. There are Amateur Radio, Antique Motorcycle, Congressional Medal of Honor, Historical Vehicle, Honorary Consul, Horseless Carriage, Legion of Valor, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Purple Heart Recipient, Press Photographer and Year of Manufacture License Plates. Require proof or documentation, and cannot be ordered online. Please stop in to any one of our location. Also, there are Personalized Livery and American Ex–Prisoner of War License Plates that require the Special Interest License Plate Application, and cannot be ordered online.

Plate Options

Breast Cancer Awareness
California Museums
Pet Lovers
Custom Character Heart
Custom Character Plus
Custom Character Star
Custom Character Kids Hand