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  • License Plates & Placards in Ohio

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    Ohio has a dizzying variety of license plates. But we'll walk you through the application process and the choices, and help you make sense of it all.

    Before you can get your plates, you'll have to register your vehicle. See the guidelines on how to do this at Car Registration and Motorcycle Registration on this site.

    Also, our Drivers with Disabilities page details the process of applying for a disability plate or placard. Please note that plates are only given to those who have disabilities that are considered permanent. Placards may be issued to those who have disabilities that are considered either permanent or non-permanent.

    NOTE: Visit our car registration page for information on ordering standard plates.

    Ohio's Array of License Plates

    This state features dozens of specialty plates with logos that represent colleges, professional sports teams, military organizations, environmental groups, and non-profit groups.

    Most specialty plates include a fee that will go directly to the organization you're supporting. All specialty plates include an annual fee―meaning you'll have to pay it every year―of anywhere from $0 to $50, depending on the type of plate ordered. (This does not apply to disability, military, and combat license plates, which come with eligibility requirements.)

    How to Order Special Plates

    You can order your special plates in four ways: in person, by phone, by mail, or online.

    In person: Submit a Request for Special License Plates form at any deputy registrar's branch.

    Many plates, such as disability, special interest, military, and collegiate, are actually available at the branch. For the others, you may put in your order, and the plates will be mailed to you when they're finished.

    If need be, you may be given a permit to operate your vehicle while you're waiting for your plates to arrive.

    Also, the branches usually have a pamphlet available that contains pictures of available plate designs. Or, you can also see them online.

    By phone: Call in your request at 1-800-589-TAGS (1-800-589-8247).

    By mail: Send in a Request for Special License Plates form to the address on the request.

    Online: Oplates is the state's online license plate ordering system. This is perhaps the easiest method. Ordering online will enable you to see all the logo and design choices available, as well as play with different letter and number combinations to see if your personalization preference is still available.

    Personalized Plates

    It's important to note here that personalized plates are different from special plates, or rather, special plates can be numbered consecutively or personalized according to your desire. Also, you can order personalized standard Ohio plates.

    For additional information, visit the BMV's Frequently Asked Questions page, and also Oplates.

    OH Antique or Historic Plates

    A vehicle must be at least 25 years old to qualify for antique plates. In addition, the vehicle must only be used for antique exhibitions, parades, and related activities, not for routine transportation. Of course, the vehicle must be in sound enough condition to drive safely.

    To apply for the plates, complete the historic plate application form. Bring it to a license agency, or mail it to:

    • Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
    • Attn: Registration Section
    • P.O. Box 16521
    • Columbus, OH 43216-6521

    The plates cost $21.00, plus the additional BMV fees. However, all costs are one-time only, as the plates don't need to be renewed.

    Historical Model-Year Plates

    If your vehicle qualifies as an antique vehicle, it may display the vehicle's original Ohio model-year plates. You'll only need one plate (to affix to the rear of the vehicle), but the plate must be in a usable condition.

    To apply, complete the antique and model-year forms. Submit them along with a copy of the original plate(s) to a license agency, or mail everything to the address listed above.

    There's a one-time $4.50 fee (plus mailing costs, if necessary) to use the plates. The plates don't need to be renewed.

    The BMV provides additional, detailed information concerning model-year plates.

    Surrendering Your Plates

    The state does not require Ohio residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our OH License Plate Surrender page.

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