License Plates & Placards in Maryland
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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.
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 $20.00 one-time fee and $5.00 each at registration renewal. It takes about a month for the MVA to manufacture and send them to you.
If you are looking to spice up your standard-issue plate, you can opt for a 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.
Of course, there are a few rules:
- You will have to really rack your brain to come up with four words or phrases that you could live with attached to your vehicle.
- Space is allotted to only seven slots (six on disabled and motorcycle plates).
- Only letters and numbers are acceptable―no characters.
The fee is $50.00, which is payable each registration period.
Before the Internet, people in different countries were playing chess via ham radio. The game took a while with all the coding, but the alternative was either playing alone, or with someone in your neighborhood.
That left little intrigue and romance. Today, ham radio still has a huge following and if you are part of the underground craze you can have your call letters etched into your license plate. With the free advertising you never know who you might meet on the right frequency.
Simply fill out an application, jot down your letters, show evidence that your license is in good standing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and pay the $5.00 fee.
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.
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:
- Motor Vehicle Administration
- Vehicle Registration Organization Unit
- 6601 Ritchie Highway N.E.
- Glen Burnie, MD 21062
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. If not, you can apply to have your association linked with the division.
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 over 60 years old, it is eligible for a permanent, non-transferable registration for a one-time fee of $50.00.
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, and send it along with your payment to:
- Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
- Attn: Vehicle Registration
- 6601 Ritchie Highway
- Glen Burnie, MD 21062
Or, simply apply at any full-service MVA branch.
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.
The state requires Maryland residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our MD License Plate Surrender page.
Other Topics in This Section
- 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 & Emission Checks
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