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Wisconsin license plate designs
Automobile license plate example
Light truck license plate example
Disabled veterans license plate example
Heavy truck license plate example
School bus license plate example
When WisDOT replaces license plates
State law requires the periodic replacement of license plates at the time of registration renewal. Your registration renewal notice will inform you if your plates will be replaced. You will receive plates with a different plate number, unless you have personalized plates. After you receive your new plates, the old plates are no longer valid and should be destroyed and recycled.
If your plates have been lost, stolen or damaged, you may apply for replacement plates.
Auto and light truck plate changes
Wisconsin's current license plate design for autos and light trucks debuted in the summer of 2000. The plates are being phased in over a multi-year period as new registrations are issued and as customers request replacement plates. The previous plate (issued from 1987-2000) was similar to the current plate, with these changes:
- The black plate numbers are easier to read than the previous red numbers, which makes it easier for law enforcement officials to enforce traffic safety laws.
- Auto plates have numbers listed first and letters second (i.e. 101-AAA).
- "Wisconsin" and "America's Dairyland" are both now larger and red, instead of dark blue.
The graphic design in the upper right of the plate symbolizes nature, the farming industry and diverse recreational opportunities in Wisconsin.
Disabled veteran license plate changes
Starting with August 2009 registration renewals, customers will receive plates with a new design to replace their disabled veteran license plates. The new design is similar to the red, white and blue military group design, except it displays "Disabled Veteran" at the bottom and has the International Symbol of Access (wheelchair) that authorizes disabled parking privileges when the disabled veteran is present. The "VET" prefix was eliminated from disabled veteran plates and replaced with a 'V' suffix. Personalized disabled veteran plates may now have up to six characters.
Heavy truck, tractor, trailer, farm trailer and heavy farm truck plate changes
Beginning with December 2008 registration renewals, customers with truck plates at 10,000 lbs. gross weight and over, trailers at 4,500 lbs. and over, and all truck tractors will receive new plates. WisDOT will replace the current turquoise plates with a gray plate and black lettering. Customers will continue to have valid turquoise plates on their vehicle until their next renewal.
Bus plates, including school bus and urban mass transportation vehicles, will receive new plates upon renewing this year. All bus plates have the same basic design as auto and light truck plates but have a 'B' suffix.
WisDOT began issuing regular design auto plates to driver education vehicles beginning in 2005 (see auto plate design above). Old design driver education plates are still valid if the registration is current. The certificate of registration identifies the vehicle for use as driver education (DEV) with an expiration of December 2013.
Questions? Contact us: Wisconsin DMV email service
Call: (608) 266-1466
Last modified: June 24, 2009
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