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Personalized and special plates - frequently asked questions
Personalized automobile license plate example
Complete, print and send the Personalized License Plate Application form MV2428 with $15.
You may reserve and order your plates at the same time or reserve the personalized message only. If you just reserve the message, you will receive a confirmation notice explaining how to order the plates. Personalized plate messages may be reserved for up to two years.
Personalized plates cannot be reserved by charge card or online, and must be special ordered. To both reserve and order the plates, print the Personalized License Plate Application form MV2428. Complete the vehicle information section for the vehicle to which you want the personalized plates assigned and send the form with $15. If your current license plates expire within the next three months, send your annual registration fee as well.
Personalized plates cost $15 each year in addition to your regular registration fee (including wheel tax, if applicable). For biennial registration, the cost is $30 in even numbered years, $15 in odd numbered years.
When the personalized plate program legislation was enacted in the late 1970s, other states charged a one-time fee of $100 or more for personalized plates. To make the plates available to more people, the state Legislature decided to spread that higher fee over the expected life of a plate, 7 to 10 years. At that time, the personalized plate fee was $10 annually. A state law change increased the fee to $15 in 1991.
The annual personalized plate fee may be considered a voluntary tax paid to the State Transportation Fund. Over $3.5 million was generated in 2009 from the issuance and renewal of personalized plates. If this source of revenue were eliminated, other means to replace the funds would have to be found.
You can have 1 to 6 characters on most other special license plates (Celebrate Children, Civil Air Patrol, Disabled parking, Disabled Veteran, Donate Life Wisconsin, Ducks Unlimited, EMT, Endangered Resources, Fire Fighter, Gold Star, Golf Wisconsin, Green Bay Packer, Harley-Davidson/Share the road, Milwaukee Brewers, Military group, University, Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation and Wisconsin Salutes Veterans).
Personalized plate messages with special characters or punctuation are not available. Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will not issue a personalized plate message that has already been issued to another vehicle, regardless of the vehicle or registration type, unless the plates have been expired two or more years.
Members of the Special Plates Unit review all personalized plate messages. WisDOT may "refuse to issue any combination of letters or numbers, or both, which the department determines may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency or which may be misleading." (Sec. 341.145 (7), Stats.).
Yes. Visit our personalized plate lookup application to find out if your choice for a personalized license plate is available.
Personalized plate messages that are not renewed for two or more years become available to others on a first come, first served basis.
Automobiles, motor homes (registered annually), trucks registered at 4,500, 6,000 or 8,000 pounds gross weight (including dual purpose farm and dual purpose motor home) and farm truck plates registered at 12,000 pounds. Motorcycles qualify for personalized standard design plates, U.S. Veteran plates and non-personalized Disabled parking plates only.
Yes. Contact the Special Plates Unit for specific information.
If you wish to re-register your vehicle with non-personalized special plates at renewal time, or within three months of the renewal expiration date, send a copy of your Certificate of Registration or renewal notice with a request for non-personalized special plates. Include the regular annual registration fee (including wheel tax, if applicable), the $15 issuance fee and the donation (the same fee shown on the renewal notice).
The next time you renew your plates, the fee will include the regular annual registration fee and donation, but not the $15 personalized plate fee. If you wish to re-register at any other time, send the request and a copy of the Certificate of Registration with the $15 issuance fee.
No. You can apply for personalized or special plates at any time. However, it is more cost effective to apply three months before your current plates are renewed. The $15 personalized plate fee, and any special plate that requires a donation, is charged at renewal time each year. If your current plates are due to expire within three months, send your regular registration renewal fee (including wheel tax, if applicable) with the personalized or special license plate application and fee.
Contact the Special Plates Unit and include a complete vehicle description and current plate number.
Send a copy of the certificate of registration with a request to receive regular license plates. If your current plates expire within three months, add the regular registration renewal fee (including wheel tax, if applicable).
WisDOT uses a three-letter designation for each special plate type. The designation does not appear on the plate:
- CVG = Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) (white background), Civil Air Patrol or Rescue Squad Member
- DUK = Ducks Unlimited
- EMT = Emergency Medical technician (EMT) (red and white background)
- END or ENN = Endangered Resources
- FFO = Firefighter (red and white background)
- FRF = Firefighter (white background)
- GLF = Golf Wisconsin
- GST = Gold Star Family
- HAR = Harley-Davidson/Share the road
- HEG = Higher Education group (used for 12 of the university plates)
- HEM = Higher Education group (Madison)
- KID = Celebrate Children
- LCF = Lions Foundation
- LIF = Donate Life Wisconsin
- MBN or MBO = Milwaukee Brewers
- MGP = Freemason and Laotian Veteran
- MLG = Military group
- MRQ = Marquette University
- PAK = Green Bay Packers
- SPT = Wisconsin Salutes Veterans
- WHF = Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation
- WNG = Wisconsin National Guard
No. By state law we must assign you a number, such as 123456, when you receive your first Collector or Hobbyist plate. When you register subsequent Collector or Hobbyist vehicles, you receive plates with your Collector or Hobbyist number and an alphabetic suffix, such as 123456A for your second vehicle and 123456B for your third vehicle, etc. Also, the personalized plate fee is an annual fee, while Collector and Hobbyist plate fees are only paid once.
Collector and Hobbyist registrations are valid for as long as you own the vehicle. If you sell your collector or hobbyist vehicle, you can transfer the plates to another qualifying vehicle, but the cost is the same as if you applied for a subsequent Collector or Hobbyist license plates (double the regular registration fee for the vehicle type).
Download, complete and send the Replacement or Duplicate License Plates Application form MV2118 with the following fee:
$2 for each plate; $4 for a set of two:
$5 for each plate; $10 for a set of two:
- Civil Air Patrol
- Donate Life Wisconsin
- Ducks Unlimited
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
- Endangered resources
- Fire fighter
- Gold Star
- Golf Wisconsin
- Green Bay Packers
- Harley-Davidson/Share the road
- Laotian Veteran
- Lions Foundation
- Marquette University
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Rescue squad member
- U.S. Veteran motorcycle
- Wisconsin National Guard
- Wisconsin Salutes Veterans
- Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation
$6 for each plate; $12 for set of two:
Sesquicentennial license plates are no longer available. Refer to sesquicentennial license plate FAQs for more information.
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-3041
Fax: (608) 267-5106
Last modified: August 13, 2013
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