License Plates & Placards in Texas
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Texas, like most states, has an immense array of special license plates. Some of these are functional, such as the plates available for drivers with disabilities, while others are commemorative. The commemorative plates cover almost every conceivable topic, and the license plate fees help support those groups.
And if you're not a resident of Texas but want to show you were here, you can purchase an official state license plate as a souvenir.
In all cases, you should present the appropriate application form and fees to a local County Tax Assessor-Collectors office to order your license plates.
If you don't want to use a special-interest plate that is also used by others, vanity plates―also known as personalized license plates―might fit the bill. All you need is a knack for "spelling" words in funky ways using six or fewer letters or numerals, including no more than two symbols (dashes, spaces, periods, or Texas icons). Personalized plates cost Specialty plates range from $30 to $795 depending on the plate design and plate term. in addition to ordinary registration fees.
There are many different special license plates available. Some of these have eligibility requirements, and you'll have to provide documentation showing that you are part of the indicated group. The application will indicate whether this is needed.
You will pay a license plate fee annually in addition to your regular vehicle registration fee. You can find out how much each plate will cost by selecting the special license plate you're interested in; the information page will also explain where the money goes.
Some possibilities for special license plates include:
- College and university affiliation plates such as Texas A&M or University of Texas at Austin
- Military and veteran's group plates such as Airborne Parachutists or Vietnam Veteran
- Miscellaneous plates such as Antique Vehicle, Radio Operator, or Parade Vehicle
- Organizations and charity plates such as 4-H, Organ Donor, or YMCA
- Professional sport teams such as the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans
The full list of available special license plates includes links to the individual application forms for each plate.
If you would like to apply for your group to have special plates made available, read the state's Specialty License Plate page and fill out the application form.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) has two types of plates available specifically for older vehicles.
Antique plates are for vehicles at least 25 years old that are used strictly for antique exhibitions, parades, and related activities. (Occasional trips to the repair shop are permitted.)
The plate is valid in five-year increments. For vehicles built before 1921, the yearly fee is $8, while it's $10 per year for vehicles manufactured after that. Local additional fees may apply. Find full information here.
Classic plates are also for vehicles that are at least 25 years old. However, vehicles with these plates may be used for routine transportation.
No annual fee, and may be personalized for an extra $40. However, local additional fees may apply. Find full information here.
Model Year Plates
Have the original, model year plates for a vehicle? As long as they're Texas-issued, have the proper color, and are in a usable condition, you may apply to use them by completing either the classic or the antique vehicle form, whichever fits the situation.
Bring the form and plates with you to your county tax office, where the plates will be inspected for suitability of use.
It costs $10 annually to display the plates, although local extra fees may be added.
Texas offers several types of vehicle identification for drivers with disabilities. These days both red and blue (temporary and permanent) can be issued based on the type of disability. Blue placards are normally issued to those who have limited mobility, whereas the red placards are issued to those with other types of disabilities.
In some places, there are disabled parking spaces specifically marked "Blue Placard Holders Only." The red disability placard will not grant parking privileges in these spaces. Temporary placards are valid for six months or until you are no longer disabled, whichever comes first.
The Handicap Plate is a regular license plate showing the International Symbol of Access (ISA) blue "wheelie" symbol in addition to the usual license numbers. This is permanently attached to one vehicle. Again, it is only legal to park such a vehicle in the handicapped spaces if the individual who qualified for the plate is in the car.
Since it is permanent, the license plate is generally only given to individuals whose disabilties are expected to be permanent or extremely long-term. The license plate is valid for four years.
Any disabled individual can apply for both the plates and the placards by filling out an Application for Disabled Person Identification Placard and/or Disabled Person License Plate. You have the choice of receiving one permanent plate and one placard, or two placards. Disability placards are also available for motorcycles.
Texas also offers a special Disabled Veteran plate, which can be applied for using Form VTR-615 (not available online).
For the exact details on qualifying for a disability plate or placard, refer to the TxDMV site, including the FAQ page. The Texas Governor's Office has also provided a page on disabled parking, including information about how you can request that a disabled parking space be created at a place you frequent.
Deaf or hearing-impaired drivers can contact the TxDMV at (512) 302-2110. Using this number requires special TDD equipment.
The state does not require Texas residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our TX 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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