License Plates & Placards in MassachusettsPage Overview
Standard Massachusetts license plates are easy to get from the Registry of Motor Vehicles and are relatively inexpensive.
It costs $50 to get your first set of plates―Massachusetts requires both front and rear plates―and $50 for renewal. But Massachusetts offers a lot of options for vehicle owners to show their allegiances with fellow veterans, their favorite sports teams and the environment. Or you can create your own vanity plate. Of course, many of these plates are more expensive, but often the fees help pay for associated charities and funds.
Massachusetts offers three options to disabled drivers that will allow them to qualify for handicapped parking and other privileges:
- Disability plates: Disability plates are issued only to people with disabilities who own vehicles and have their names on the vehicle titles, or parents, spouses or legal guardians of family members with disabilities.
- Disability veteran plates: Same as disability plates, only with a veteran's designation. These are available only to veterans with a letter of support from the Veterans Administration, who already qualify for or hold disability plates.
- Disability placard: Placards are temporary or portable disability designations for motor vehicles. These can be issued to qualified disabled people who do not own vehicles or to drivers who might only be temporarily disabled.
To obtain Massachusetts disability plates, a placard or a disabled veteran plate, you must be a Massachusetts resident. Also, a Massachusetts registered and licensed doctor, chiropractor, or nurse practitioner must certify that you meet certain conditions.
You can purchase vanity plates for any private passenger, commercial, motorcycle, livery, bus, camper or antique vehicles registered in Massachusetts. Check the availability of your desired personalization online first.
You can then order plates at any RMV office or through the telephone center. You simply turn in your Request for Vanity Plates (Form T20284) and pay the plate fees and a $20 special fee. Allow 12 to 14 weeks for delivery.
Massachusetts has a variety of special license plate options available to the general public for different fees. These plates allow vehicle owners to contribute money and show allegiance to favorite causes. Current plates offered include the following:
- New England Patriots: Benefits the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.
- Basketball Hall of Fame: Benefits the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.
- Boston Bruins/Youth Hockey: Benefits Massachusetts Youth Hockey.
- Environmental plate (right whale image): Benefits the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.
- Conquer Cancer: Benefits the Conquer Cancer Coalition.
- Red Sox/Jimmy Fund: Benefits the Jimmy Fund, fighting children's cancer.
- Cure Breast Cancer: Benefits the Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Fund at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
- Massachusetts Animal Coalition: Benefits non-profit and municipal animal control agencies.
- Cape Cod and Islands: Benefits economic development of Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
- Fish and Wildlife: Benefits the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.
- Invest in Children: Benefits the state Child Care Quality Fund.
- Fallen Firefighters: Benefits the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial.
- Olympic Spirit: Benefits the U.S. Olympic Committee.
- Blackstone Valley: Benefits the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.
- Fenway Park: Benefits the creation of a mini Fenway Park for kids.
Specialty plate numbers are randomly assigned, so you cannot personalize them.
Veterans of the Armed Forces can be eligible for special Massachusetts license plates, including the following:
- Veteran plate: Any veteran is eligible for this plate for an automobile or motorcycle. Proceeds from the veteran plate fee benefit the Soldiers' Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke.
- Ex-POW plate: One Ex-POW license plate may be issued (without charge) to a former prisoner of war. Presentation of satisfactory evidence of prisoner of war status is required. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate, but an annual fee would then be required.
- Medal of Honor plate: One Congressional Medal of Honor plate, bearing the recipient's initials followed by the letters "CMH," may be issued free to any veteran who has been awarded the congressional Medal of Honor. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate, but will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.
- Legion of Valor plate: One Legion of Valor license plate may be issued free to those veterans who can provide satisfactory evidence of membership in the Legion of Valor of the United States of America. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate, but will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.
- Purple Heart plate: One Purple Heart license plate may be issued free to those veterans who have been awarded the "Purple Heart" medal. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate, but will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.
- Pearl Harbor Survivor plate: All military personnel on active duty at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, as verified by the Department of Defense, are eligible for this plate free of charge. A surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate, but will be subject to an annual fee for the plate.
- Silver Star, Bronze Star, or Distinguished Flying Cross plate: One plate may be issued free to a veteran who has been awarded the Silver Star medal, Bronze Star medal, or Distinguished Flying Cross medal. In addition, a surviving spouse will be able to keep this plate, but an annual fee would then be required.
- Gold Star Family plate: One Gold Star Family license plate may be issued free to the parents, children, or spouse of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces killed in action.
Please visit the Secretary of State's website for more information about Veterans and Disabled Veterans license plates.
You can apply for antique plates if your vehicle is at least twenty-five years old and is used only for exhibitions, parades, car club functions, and other public events.
To apply for an antique plate or a year-of-manufacture plate (indicates exact year that your antique car was manufactured), complete an Application for an Antique Motor Vehicle Plate or Year of Manufacture Registration Plate (T20853) and have it notarized. Then drop it off, along with all applicable fees, to your nearest RMV office.
The state requires Massachusetts residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our MA License Plate Surrender page.Other Topics in This Section
Organ Donation Survey
- Register Car
- Registration Renewal
- Registration & Insurance
- Replacing a Lost Registration
- RV & Motorhome Registration
- Custom Built Car Registration
- Boat Registration and Licenses
- Title Transfers
- Replacing a Lost Title
- Salvaged Vehicles
- Special Vehicles
- Drivers with Disabilities
- License Plates & Placards
- Smog Check and Car Inspection
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