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  • License Plates & Placards in Maryland

    Considering how much time we spend in our automobiles, it's no wonder they sometimes take on the feel of a second home. Thus, we spruce them up with decorations to reflect personal style, baby them a bit, and even name them―all in the attempt to make a heap of rolling metal feel a bit cozy and stand out from everybody else's vehicle. A bit of individuality on the traffic-congested highways can make us feel a little less like a lemming.

    The state of Maryland helps you and your vehicle stand out from the masses by offering a massive catalog of specialty plates. There are so many choices available the state just might be in the neighborhood of setting a world record. That means you have plenty of options to choose from, including two types of scenic background plates and the always-fun personalized plates.

    Background Plates

    Maryland is giving props to its agricultural heritage and the fact that is home to the famous Chesapeake Bay with these two license plates. Both can be ordered online and cost a $20 initial fee and $5 each at registration renewal.

    County Pride Stickers

    If you are looking to spice up your standard-issue plate, you can opt for county sticker. With these, which are also available online for $5.00, you can let the entire state know where you live. There is nothing like a bit of friendly rivalry among counties, and this is a great way to participate. The stickers are also available for the city of Baltimore. You only can get one if you are already holding a standard plate.

    Personalized Plates

    To get yours, simply fill out the Application for Special Registration Plates (Form VR-164) and mail it to:

    Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
    6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
    Attn. Vehicle Registration
    Glen Burnie, MD 21062

    Of course, there are a few rules:

    • Space is allotted to only up to 7 characters.
    • Only letters and numbers are acceptable―no special characters.

    The fee is $50, which is payable each registration period.

    Military Plates

    The state has an entire brigade of license plates allowing you to denote and honor your military service. In order to get the plates you will need to provide evidence of your stint of duty and complete an Application for Military Related License Plates (Form VR-120).

    The proof can come in the form of your discharge papers, a letter from the Veteran's Administration, a medal certification, or a note from National Personnel Records Center. With your record established for the plate you are vying for, the rest of the process is easy and can be completed via mail or in person at MVA headquarters.

    Organizational Plates

    If you belong to a nonprofit organization, whether a Masonic club, alumni association, or union, you can apply to have the group's name or logo on your plate. You will have to check with your organization to see if it has an application, because that is where you will have to pick one up. The MVA does not have the applications onsite; they only process them.

    You can check to see if your group is already established with the MVA. If so, then you should easily be able to track down and application.

    Antique Plates

    The MVA offers two types of unique plates for older vehicles:

    Historic plates are for vehicles that are at least 20 years old that haven't undergone major alterations from their original design. Additionally, the vehicle must only be used for activities such as antique exhibitions and parades, and not for daily driving. These plates cost $51

    Should a vehicle be 60 years old or older, it is eligible for a permanent, non-transferable registration for a one-time fee.

    Street rod plates are for vehicles that are at least 25 years old that have been significantly altered from the vehicle's original specifications. Also, the vehicle must only be used for activities such as antique exhibitions and parades, and not for routine driving. These plates cost $51

    To apply for the plates, complete an Application for Historic or Street Rod Registration (Form VR-096) and send it along with your payment to:

    Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
    6601 Ritchie Highway, NE
    Glen Burnie, MD 21062
    Attn. Vehicle Registration

    Or, simply apply at any full-service MVA branch.

    Disabled Plates

    If you qualify, you can also get special plates designating you as a handicapped driver. These plates offer you priority parking privileges. Find all the details at Drivers With Disabilities on our site.

    Disability placards can only be obtained at MVA express offices (Columbia, Loch Raven/Parkville, Glenmont, and Walnut Hill). Keep in mind that while these placards may be picked up at these offices they are not issued by these offices.

    Surrendering License Plates in Maryland

    The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) requires you to return your MD license plates after moving to another state, before canceling your car insurance policy, or after selling your vehicle without transferring the plates.

    You can surrender your license plates with your previous registration receipt:

    • In person at any MD MVA office, authorized tag service, or plate return drop box.
      OR
    • By mail to:

    MVA
    CRTR
    6601 Ritchie Highway, NE 
    Glen Burnie, MD 21062

    Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for a refund of your Maryland vehicle registration when you surrender your plates. To claim your refund, you'll need to submit an Application for Registration Plate Refund (Form VR-021).

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