Applying for Special Plates in Michigan

SUMMARY: Apply for a Michigan Specialty License Plate

You can apply for various types of special license plates in Michigan in person, by mail, or by fax. You can also personalize your plates for an additional fee. Special plates are renewed with vehicle registration annually, can be replaced for a small fee, and are transferrable to another vehicle you own.

The Michigan Secretary of State (SOS) allows drivers to purchase specialty and personalized license plates. There are several types of licenses to choose from, and the forms and fees will vary depending on the type of plate.

Applying for Specialty Plates in Michigan

You can order most types of MI custom plates:

  • In person at an SOS office.
  • By mail to the address on the application form.
  • By fax.
    • When paying by fax, you must pay your fee by credit card.

To apply for each type, you'll generally need to provide your:

  • Name.
  • Daytime phone number.
  • Current license plate number.
  • Address (if purchasing a collector plate).
  • Payment information for the applicable fee (listed on the form).

Note that certain plates require you to apply in person at a DMV office. These include:

  • Personalized plates.
  • Disability plates.
  • Military and veteran plates.

To check the application process and the required form(s) for your specific MI specialty plate, check the MI Secretary of State website and click on the plate type you wish to purchase.

NOTE: Most plates can be personalized for an additional fee.

Applying for Personalized Plates

The Michigan Secretary of State has made the process of personalizing a plate easy.

First, you'll check the availability of your custom message by using MI's Plate It Your Way system. Once in the system:

  • Select the plate you wish to personalize.
  • Select your vehicle type.
  • Indicate whether you want a disability plate.
  • Enter your desired message/number and check whether that plate/message is available.
  • View the ordering and fee requirements by clicking “Fee Information."

Once you've checked your plate's availability, you must apply in person at a MI SOS office.

Personalized plates have service fees of $30.

NOTE: The fee will be prorated if you are purchasing it with less than 12 months left on your registration. The SOS cannot reserve or guarantee personalization requests.

Renewing Specialty Plates in Michigan

You'll renew your MI custom plates when you renew your registration annually. You can do so:

Learn more on our guide to Registration Renewal in Michigan.

Replacing MI Specialty Plates

Lost, stolen, or damaged MI plates can be replaced by visiting a DMV office. To get the replacement plates, bring either:

  • Identification and plate number OR vehicle registration.
  • Payment for the $5 fee.

If you were the victim of theft, call the local police so they can alert officers that your plate was reported stolen.

NOTE: Only the following people can request replacement plates:

  • The owner of the vehicle.
  • A vehicle owner's family member who lives at the same address.
  • A representative of the vehicle owner.

Transferring Michigan Specialty Plates

You can transfer your MI plates to another vehicle that you already own or that you purchase. To transfer your specialty plate, bring the following to your local SOS branch office:

  • Current registration.
    • NOTE: You may only need your license plate number if your information can be confirmed by the SOS computer system.)
  • Title for the vehicle to which you want to transfer the plate.
  • Payment for $15 fee.
    • If you transfer plates to a different vehicle class, you may be subject to additional fees. Contact the Department of State Information Center at (888) 767-6424 with questions.

When you sell your car, you must not give your plates to the buyer. Rather, keep your plates, as you can transfer them to another of your vehicles.

Fees for Michigan Specialty Plates

  • Application fees: Varied according to plate.
    • See the MI fee schedule to view the cost of your custom plate.
  • Personalization fee: $30 (or prorated per the number of months left on registration).
  • Renewal fees: Special plates typically have additional fees for renewal outside of the registration fees, from $10 for special plates to $15 for personalized plates.
  • Replacement fee: $5.
  • Transfer fee: $15.

Always check your license plate type to find your specific fees.

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