How to Choose a Custom License Plate Design

Sometimes the standard license plate just doesn’t fit your personality. If you’re feeling bored with the same old options, it may be time for a customized plate to reflect your individuality. Different states have different rules about what they will allow on custom plates, so if you are considering this option, make sure to check these restrictions first.

Here is How to choose a custom license plate design:

  • States typically place limits on how long plates can stay within their borders before they are required to be changed for new designs.
  • The state of Alabama allows drivers to create not only personalized license plates but also special characterized license plates which can then be used as a vanity or organizational tags. For example, there is an estimated 13 million passenger vehicle tags being driven on the streets today.
  • Alabama offers a number of specialty plates that have organizational or event logos which are sold for extra funds to help support these organizations. Also, personalized license plates are allowed in Alabama with many restrictions. For example, no vulgar or offensive language should be used in any plate design. Other states may not allow characters such as “I” or “1” instead of the letter “l”.
  • The state of Arizona also allows drivers to create both personalized and specialty tags at an additional cost over their standard tags. If you wish to get your own custom tag, it must meet certain criteria which will then need to be submitted to the Motor Vehicle Division for approval.
  • The state of New Hampshire has a more relaxed set of rules for custom tags. You can have any letter or number combination that is not offensive though the numbers and letters must be able to be read from a distance of 25 feet away by a fellow driver with normal vision capabilities. The state also allows drivers to create specialty plates which include those with logos from sports teams, colleges, certain organizations or other causes as long as they have been approved by the organization they represent. In fact, about half of all New Hampshire’s specialty plates are sold under this category.
  • Tennessee offers both personalized and specialty tags that contain up to seven characters each. There are some restrictions on personalized tags in Tennessee though, with words not being allowed that are “obscene or vulgar” or “suggestive or sexual”
  • The state of Texas allows drivers to choose personalized plates for an additional fee. The number of characters can be up to seven and must include at least one letter. No offensive language is allowed on the plate design but you are free to use any combination of letters or numbers that are available to you.


How much does it cost to add a custom design to my license plate?

The cost varies from state to state when you add this option. Some states, such as Alabama and New Hampshire require drivers to purchase an extra tag for their plates while others will offer a certain amount of letters or numbers for free. In some cases, the fee is a one-time charge while other states have this listed as an annual payment. You may want to check with your local DMV office before finalizing any designs so you know what fees are required.

How long will it take for my specialized plate to be created?

This varies depending on the state you are currently in. Most states will send out an email or letter within two weeks of receiving your submission, letting you know if it has been approved or not. If the design is rejected, then they will let you know what changes need to be made before resubmitting it. Other states may take up to three months before you receive any notification about their decision regarding your customized license plate. Once approved, most drivers choose to have their new plates mailed directly to them instead of having them replaced at the DMV office so they can show off their new style immediately!


The best way to find out how much it will cost you to get a personalized license plate is by contacting your local DMV office. It should be stated on their website; however, most offers are approved only if the design requested does not resemble any existing logo or phrase that already exists on another state’s tags.



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