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Applying for Special Plates in Ohio

SUMMARY: Apply for a Specialty Ohio License Plate

In Ohio, you may order most specialty and personalized plates online, by phone, by mail, or in person. Historical and collector plates must be ordered by phone. Certain plates have eligibility requirements you must fulfill. You can renew your plates for an annual fee and replace them for a small fee if they are lost or stolen. If you sell your vehicle, you may transfer your plates to another vehicle you own. Fees for specialty plates vary.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has a large selection of specialty plates available to drivers in the state. Continue reading to learn how to order these plates.

Applying for Special Plates in Ohio

In Ohio, you may order most special and personalized plates:

  • Online.
  • In person.
  • By mail.

If your vehicle is not yet registered in the state, you may be required to apply in person unless you're currently out of the state. Check with your local BMV office for questions.

NOTE: Some plates may not be available for issuance via all of the above methods. Make sure to check your plate type on the BMV website BEFORE applying.

Online

To order OH custom license plates online:

  • Visit Ohio's O-plates online ordering system.
  • Check to see if your desired plate is available for online order.
    • Many plates may be ordered online; however, some plates require that you file additional forms.
  • Choose your desired plate and either:
    • Elect a stock-assigned number.
      OR
    • Personalize the plate with your custom message/number.
  • Follow the instructions to complete your order. You'll need:
    • A major credit card.
    • Your current license plate number.
    • Your Social Security number.

In Person

You can order any specialty and/or personalized plate in person with any Deputy Registrar. The following plates will are available at the office:

  • Special interest.
  • Disability.
  • Amateur radio.
  • Military.
  • Collegiate.

All other plates will be manufactured and mailed to your address. You may be given a permit to drive while you wait for your plates.

To order your specialty plates in person:

By Mail

To order your OH specialty plates by mail:

  • Complete the Application for Out-of-State Registration by Mail (Form BMV 4625).
    • NOTE: You'll use this form to apply by mail, regardless of whether you're currently in state or outside the state.
  • Gather any required documentation.
    • Check your plate type for requirements.
  • Provide payment for your plate fee.
  • Submit all of the above to the address on the form.

NOTE: You may not use this form for historical or collector plates.

Historical and Collector Plates

Historical Plates

To order historical license plates, your vehicle must be:

  • 25 years old or older.
  • Used for exhibition purposes, NOT general transportation.

To apply, you'll take the same steps as you would for other specialty plates, EXCEPT you'll complete the Application and Affidavit for Historical License Plates (Form BMV 4806).

Collector Plates

Only certain vehicles are eligible for collector plates. See our page on Types of Specialty Plates in OH for more details.

To order a collector plate:

  • Call the BMV headquarters in Columbus at (800) 589-8247.
    • First-time registrants must apply by phone. Collector plates may be renewed in person.
  • Provide proof of other means of transportation.
  • Provide payment for the applicable fee.
  • Complete the Application for Collector's License Plates (Form BMV 4803).

The BMV will mail your plates to the address on your registration card.

Renewing & Replacing Specialty Plates

Renewing Custom Plates

You will renew your plate when you renew your vehicle registration with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Note that you likely have annual specialty plate fees in addition to your normal registration renewal fees. These are still annual fees, regardless of whether you have a single or multi-year registration cycle.

Your special plate renewal fees are typically the same as your initial application fee. However, you should check your plate to find your fee before renewing.

To learn more, visit our page on renewing your registration in OH.

Replacing Custom Plates

To replace your specialty plate, you'll take the same steps as you would for a standard plate; however, note that you may be required to pay special plate fees.

Contact your local BMV office for questions about fees.

For further details, visit our Ohio License Plates and Placards page.

Transferring OH Specialty Plates

If you sell a vehicle with specialty plates, you may be able to transfer your plate(s) to another vehicle you own for a $4.50 fee.

You may also retain your specialty plate for a $10 fee.

If you no longer need your plates or you buy a new type of license plate, you might be required to surrender your plates. Contact your local Deputy Registrar's office with questions.

OH Specialty Plate Fees

Fees vary according to the type of specialty plate you order. Check your plate type to find:

  • Application fees.
  • Annual renewal fees.
  • Any new plate charges.
  • Personalization fees.
  • Any other applicable fees or taxes.

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