License Plates & Placards in Rhode Island
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After submitting all proper fees and papers, you'll receive your car's license plates on the spot. However, if you opt for vanity plates, you'll be given temporary plates to use until your vanity plates are ready. This generally takes four to six weeks.
Form has finally caught up to function in the license plate world, allowing drivers to select plates that serve as personal expressions. Although Rhode Island is not as ambitious as other states, residents can still choose from a small selection based on novelty and military recognition.
To request a vanity plate, you must adhere to the state's standard license format of three to six letters (motorcycles and commercial vehicles require a combination of five). But, keep in mind that not all applications are guaranteed. The DMV will reject those that it deems offensive.
The Rhode Island DMV now offers the ordering of vanity plates online! Payments may be made with a Visa, Mastercard or Discover card. A $5 convenience fee applies.
With a special license request comes extra cost. To order a vanity plate on the state's popular wave design, you must pay $67.50. The charge jumps to $81.50 if you request the sailboat design. These plates are valid for two years. To maintain them during reregistering you must pay:
- Passenger vehicle: $120
- Motorcycle: $41.50 on top of the regular registration fee
- Commercial vehicle: $61.50 in addition to the regular registration fee
These license plates are available at a cost of $20.
Conservation Through Education
To order call (401) 272- 3540 or (401) 949-5454. Or, order online. Cost: $41.50
Mr. Potato Head
Rhode Island's newest permanent plate can be ordered through the Rhode Island Food Bank. And, as a nice touch, $20 of the application's $41.50 fee goes towards supporting the Food Bank.
In order to qualify, you must have served with the United States military in one of the following wars and conflicts:
- World War I and II
- Taiwan Straits
- Korean War
- Lebanon (July 1, 1958 - November 1, 1958; August 20, 1982 - May 31, 1983; June 1, 1983 - December 31, 1983)
- Grenada (October 23 - November 21, 1983)
- Panama (December 20, 1989 - January 31, 1990}
- Persian Gulf (August 2, 1990 - Present)
When ordering war veteran license plates, you need to provide either discharge papers (form DD-214) or other valid proof supporting your military record.
There is a $10 charge for these license plates.
To qualify you must present valid proof of your claim. All application and future registration fees are deferred.
A letter from your commanding officer validating your National Guard status must be presented when applying. The cost for these plates is $20.
You can apply for antique plates if your vehicle is at least 25 years old and used only for exhibitions, parades, car club activities, and any other situation that might spark public interest. No inspection is required.
If you also want to use your vehicle for everyday functions, Rhode Island will allow you to apply for a dual registration. This nifty option allows you to register for standard plates and the antique plate. The lone catch is that this option does require a vehicle inspection.
To apply, you must submit:
- A completed Application for Registration and Title Certificate.
- Proper identification.
- Proof of valid insurance.
- A bill of sale.
- All applicable fees.
If you purchased the vehicle from a private party, you'll also need to submit a title or proof of prior registration.
The state requires Rhode Island residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our RI 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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