- Location: New York
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New York's classic Empire State license plates come standard for $25.00 when you first register your vehicle. The Department of Motor Vehicles issues two such plates for cars and trucks or one plate for motorcycles and trailers.
Disabled drivers may also apply for special plates that allow them to park in reserved disabled parking spaces throughout the state. Find more details on our site, or check out the DMV's related FAQ page.
But to make a distinct impression, consider unique plates that reflect your personality or interests. You can stand out from the crowd by paying extra for custom plates, which are divided into three categories: personalized plates, picture plates, or historical (or vintage) plates. You can even look up your chosen personalization online to see if it's available and order your plates over the Internet using a credit card.
For an initial fee of $60 and an annual fee thereafter of $31.25, you may order personalized plates with up to eight (8) letters (A-Z), numbers (0-9) for standard Empire State plates or six characters for picture plates (see below). A motorcycle plate costs only $35 initially and $18.75 a year thereafter. The DMV has certain guidelines you must follow when choosing your desired combination of letters and numbers, and the department is not obligated to grant every request (obscene or offensive combinations, for example, will be denied).
To find out whether your preferred combination is available, you may search online or call 1-518-402-4838, and you may order with a credit card on the spot when you find what you like.
Personalized plates may be transferred to another vehicle registered in your name, and they may be replaced if damaged, or stored with the DMV if you remove your vehicle from the road.
The New York DMV makes available a very wide variety of license plates with pictures or logos related to specific groups or organizations. Prices vary, but most sets of these plates cost $60 initially and $31.25 per year thereafter. You can personalize almost all picture plates with up to six characters for a higher initial and annual fee―usually $91.25 and $62.50, respectively.
Click on these links to see samples of all the available picture plates, along with prices, requirements, and how to apply for one:
- Sports teams and NASCAR
- Organizations and causes
- Emergency services
- New York counties and regions
- Colleges, sororities, and fraternities
- Military and veterans
Still have that hand-me-down 1980 Honda Civic you got in high school? As long as you don't use it for daily transportation, you can slap some historical plates on it and upgrade it from a relic to a retro-chic classic. Yep, cars more than 25 years old are considered historical vehicles, and the DMV may even decide a newer car qualifies for a historical registration if it has historical, classic, or exhibit value.
Historical plates consist of either a five-digit number followed by the letters HX or the letters HX followed by a five-digit number. This registration option is intended for vehicles used for exhibits, club activities, tours, and parades―though we don't know where you'd sign up for the "historical Honda" procession.
To apply for historical plates, sign the owner's certification statement on Form MV-440H and follow the instructions on that form. You'll pay a $25 fee for the license plates plus $3.75 if this is a replacement registration for a vehicle already registered in your name, or $53.75 if this is a new registration. Add $50 to the total if the vehicle is a 1973 or newer model that does not yet have a title issued in your name.
If you own a historical vehicle as defined above, you may instead purchase vintage plates (authentic New York license plates that were issued during the vehicle's model year) from an automobile collector, an antique dealer, a flea market, or another local source.
Take the full set of original plates (replicas or repainted plates are not eligible) to your local DMV office along with Form MV-440V (on which you've signed the owner's certification statement). Follow the instructions on that form.
The fee is $3.75 for the new registration document if you have already registered the vehicle in your name, or $28.75 if this is a new registration. Again, add $50 for a new title if the vehicle is a 1973 or newer model that does not already have a title in your name.
Whether you choose historical plates or vintage plates, the registration is valid for only one year―not two―and you will need special insurance for this type of vehicle.
If one plate is lost, you must turn in the remaining plate to the DMV. You'll then be issued a set of two new plates with a new license number.
If you suspect your license plates were stolen, report it to your local police agency. The police will then hand you a completed MV-78B form. Send this form along with a completed vehicle registration form to the DMV. Because the plates were stolen, you'll receive two new plates free of charge.
The state requires New York residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our NY License Plate Surrender page.
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