Types of Special License Plates in New York

SUMMARY: New York Specialty License Plates

Many custom license plates are offered to New York residents, from personalized license plates to picture plates for causes, sports teams, and many other interests. Military license plates and historic vehicle tags are also available if you're eligible.

Read below for details about the various types of custom license plates available from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


Personalized Custom Plates in NY

In NY, the standard license plate and select picture plates can be personalized.

To be approved, your custom tag number must follow NY DMV rules. The license plate letter/number combination:

  • Can have no more than 8 characters.
    • 6 characters for motorcycle plates.
    • 6 characters for specialty picture plates.
  • MUST include at least 1 letter, but CANNOT use:
    • 6 numbers followed by 1 letter.
    • The letter “O" between numbers.
    • The letter “I" as the first character on a plate followed by all numbers.
    • The number “0" between letters.
    • The number “0" and the letter “O" together in a number or word.
  • CANNOT use letter/number combinations that:
    • Seem like an official or special class of license plate.
    • Use vulgar or derogatory language.

You can verify the availability of a license plate combination on the New York DMV website.

Fees for Personalized Plates

Fees for personalized license plates in NY are charged IN ADDITION to standard registration fees and renewal fees.

  • Passenger plates:
    • $60 to order.
    • $31.25 to renew.
  • Motorcycle plates:
    • $35 to order.
    • $18.75 to renew.
  • Special plates: Specialty plate fee PLUS personalization fee PLUS registration fees.

For complete application information, see our page on Applying for Custom License Plates.

New York Picture Plates

Picture license plates are custom license plates that feature a unique image or plate design.

The NY DMV offers a variety of picture plates, including those for:

  • Causes and organizations.
  • New York places and activities.
  • Sports teams and leagues.
  • Colleges and Greek organizations.

Examples of each plate types are below. Visit the NY DMV website for a complete list.

Special Cause Plates

Special cause license plates allow you to show your support for a particular issue or the state chapter of non-profit organizations.

Some of the special cause plates available include:

  • Agriculture in the Classroom.
  • Drive for the Cure.
  • Bluebird Environmental.
  • Erie Canal.

Fees for these license plates may vary and are charged when you order and renew.

The fees for the Autism Society of America plate are typical of the fees you'll pay for a cause plate:

  • Initial fees are:
  • Renewal fees are the standard registration renewal charge PLUS:
    • $25 annually for a non-personalized plate. This fee is donated to the organization.
    • $56.25 annually for a personalized plate. $25 is donated to the organization.

For a complete list of fees for special cause license plates, see the New York DMV website.

Collegiate Plates

Picture plates are also available for several New York universities, fraternities, and sororities. Examples include:

  • Notre Dame.
  • University at Albany.
  • West Point.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha.
  • Phi Beta Sigma.

The additional fees you'll pay for a collegiate plate help support college scholarship funds or benefit the Greek organization that sponsors the plate.

Fees for collegiate plates vary.

The fees for the University at Albany plates are a good example of the typical fees you'll pay for a university plate:

  • Fees to order are:
    • $60 for a non personalized plate.
    • $91.25 for a personalized tag.

    Renewal fees are paid IN ADDITION to standard registration renewal fees:

    • $31.25 for a non personalized plate.
    • $62.50 for a personalized tag.

Examples of sorority and fraternity license plates fees include:

Sorority and fraternity plates can be personalized for additional fees.

For more information, visit the New York Department of Motor Vehicles website.

Sports Plates

In New York, there are a variety of different sports plates to help you show your support for your favorite teams. The plates include options for the following sports:

  • NASCAR, such as:
    • Dale Earnhardt NASCAR Hall of Fame.
    • Jeff Gordon and several other drivers.
  • NBA teams:
    • Brooklyn Nets.
    • New York Knicks.
  • MLB, for example:
    • New York Yankees.
    • Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • NHL, including:
    • Buffalo Sabers.
    • New York Rangers.
  • NFL, such as:
    • The Buffalo Bills.
    • Giants Super Bowl Champs 2012.
  • Minor leagues and other sports, for example:
    • New York Racing Association Horse Racing.
    • Rochester Raging Rhinos.

Fees for sports plates may vary. The fees for the New York Giants plate are a good example of the fees you'll pay for most sports plate:

  • To order:
    • $60 for an assigned plate.
    • $91.25 for a personalized plate.
  • To renew, IN ADDITION to regular renewal fees:
    • $31.25 for an assigned plate.
    • $62.50 for a personalized plate.

More fee information can be found on the New York DMV license plate page.

New York Regional Plates

License plates featuring well-known regions and counties of New York State are available from the NY DMV.

Most regional plates are available ONLY to those who live in the area. A few plates are available statewide.

License plates are available for places like:

  • The Adirondack Region.
  • The Finger Lakes Region.
  • The New York City Region.

Fees for NY regional plates vary, for example:

  • Adirondack Region plate: $60 initial fee.
  • I Love NY plate: $43.75 initial fee.

Personalization and renewal fees also vary.

See the NY DMV license plate galleries for a complete list of plates and fees, including renewal fees.

NY Adventure Plates

You can order a NY adventure license plate IF you have:

  • A valid Sporting or Recreational License from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • A current Empire Passport from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation.

Adventure plates include:

  • I Love NY Fishing plates in multiple design choices.
  • I Love NY Parks tags in several different styles.

Fees for adventure plates vary based on the license or passport that you have. See the NY DMV custom plate page for a full list of plates and fees.

Professional & Organization Plates

Many license plates are available for members of various special groups, such as labor unions or service organizations.

  • Professional plates, such as plates for:
    • New York Firefighter.
    • New York Press.
  • Recreational organization tags, for example:
    • American Motorcyclist Association.
    • Ski Areas of NYS.
  • Plates for service groups and other organizations, including:
    • Knights of Columbus.
    • Rotary International.

For most of these plates, you must be a current member and apply for the license plate through the sponsoring organization.

Fees for organizational license plates vary. See the NY DMV custom plates galleries for more information.

Military License Plates

The NY DMV issues military plates for qualifying service members and veterans. Plates are available for:

  • Branches of the military, including:
    • Army Reserve.
    • Combat Infantrymen.
  • Medals and awards, such as:
    • Congressional Medal of Honor.
    • Purple Heart.
  • Military and veteran organizations, for example:
    • Marine Corps League
    • American Legion.
  • Military conflicts, such as:
    • Persian Gulf Veteran.
    • Vietnam Veteran.

See all available military plates on the NY DMV military plates gallery.

Military plates vary in price, for example:

  • Congressional Medal of Honor plate: Free.
  • Air Force Reserve plate: $38.75.
  • Eighth Air Force Historical Society tag: $43.75.

To be eligible for military plates, you must have served in the branch or conflict named on the plate, or received the award named on the plate. Proof of your eligibility can be:

  • Your discharge papers.
  • Your military ID.
  • A letter from commanding officers or other authorities.

Visit Applying for Custom License Plates for more information.

Historic & Vintage License Plates

The NY DMV issues historic license plates and allows you to use an authentic vintage plate on qualifying vehicles.

Read below for eligibility requirements and fees, or visit Applying for Custom License Plates for application details.

Historical NY Tags

You can get historical license plates for your vehicle if it is:

  • Over 25 years old (based on the year it was made).
  • Owned as a collector's item or exhibition piece and NOT used for regular transportation.

The fees for historical passenger plates are:

  • $28.75 if the vehicle is already registered in your name in NY.
    • $60 if you're personalizing the plate.
  • $53.75 if you are also applying for a registration.
    • $113.75 for a personalized plate.
  • $28.75 to renew.
    • $60 to renew a personalized plate.

Vintage License Plates

You can apply to use vintage plates for your vehicle if both of the following conditions apply:

  • The vehicle is:
    • Over 25 years old (based on year of manufacture).
    • Used for exhibition and collector activities ONLY.
  • You have an authentic NY state license plate that was issued the same year the vehicle was manufactured.

The fees to use a vintage tag are:

  • $3.75 if you have a NY registration in your name for the vehicle.
  • $28.75 if you also need to register the vehicle.
  • $28.75 to renew the tag.
DMV.ORG BBB Business Review