License Plates & Placards in Utah
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All vehicles registered in Utah must display license plates, which you receive when you register your automobile for the first time at the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
Cars and trucks will receive two plates, one for the front and one for the rear. Motorcycles and trailers will receive one plate. If you lose your plates or they are stolen (it happens), take your registration card to a local DMV office, pay $10 (for standard-issue plates), and get new plates of the same type. Note that it always costs more to have the DMV send you a license plate through the mail ($3 more for standard-issue plates and $8 more for special group plates, for example).
Utah has more than 30 types of license plates to choose from, not counting personalized plates, disabled plates, exempt plates, or historic plates. Even the standard-issued plates come in different varieties.
Disabled license plates and placards are intended to allow those who have difficulty walking to park closer to their destination, either in specially reserved parking spots or for free at parking meters. We have a detailed section about how to apply for disabled plates or placards on our Drivers with Disabilities page.
Over 20 special-interest license plates are available that carry different fees and requirements than the standard-issue plates. You need an FCC radio station license and $13 to get an amateur radio operator plate that you can't personalize, for example, while anyone who's interested in children's issues can pony up $25 per year for the "Invest in Children" license plate and personalize it up to five characters.
Proud of your alma mater? Eleven Utah colleges and universities offer license plates with their name and logo. The $25 to $40 fee (depending on the institution) must be paid annually to the institution, so it's like receiving a special license plate free when you make an annual donation to your favorite college or university.
Find more information about each plate and who to contact at each institution in order to set up the donation. These license plates may be personalized up to five characters.
Ah, the personalized license plate. Whether it's a status symbol ("MY IPO"), a statement about what you're into ("SNWBORD"), or, at worst, a way to make police officers take a closer look at you ("WOOZY"), personalized plates can be a fun way to for people to recognize you on the road (and for you to find your car in the parking lot).
You've got seven digits (letters or numbers) to work with on standard plates and five letters on special plates, so with a little creativity you can stand out from the crowd.
Although you can be as irreverent as you want with bumper stickers, the DMV has guidelines in place―and a review process―to make sure no one affixes a license plate to their vehicle that may unduly offend others on the highway. Once you pay your fee (typically $55 plus $3 for mailing) and fill out Form TC-817 (Application for Personalized Plates), the DMV will check your application to ensure that your chosen slogan:
- Is not vulgar, derogatory, profane, or obscene
- Does not refer to drugs or drug paraphernalia
- Does not refer to sexual acts, genitalia, or bodily functions
- Does not express contempt, ridicule, or superiority of a race, religion, deity, ethnic heritage, gender, or political affiliation
The DMV has a very cool online tool where you can choose a plate and plug in combinations of letters and numbers to see if the personalization you want is available. Check out more information about applying for a personalized license plate.
You are allowed to display original-issue plates if your vehicle's model year is 1973 or older. There are no guarantees, however. The DMV will only issue you an antique license plate provided it's not already assigned to another vehicle and doesn't compete with a currently issued series.
You do not need to complete any complicated forms to apply. Instead, bring your plates to any DMV office for verification.
If your plate request conflicts with a current series, the DMV will give you the option to instead apply for special antique plate decals. To apply:
- Bring your antique plate to any DMV office for verification.
- Show your vehicle's registration card.
- Pay a $5 fee.
The state does not require Utah residents to return their license plates after relocating to another state. Learn more on our UT 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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