Applying for Special Plates in Rhode Island

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SUMMARY: Apply for a Specialty Rhode Island License Plate

In Rhode Island, you can apply for a variety of specialty plates by completing the appropriate application and submitting it with the applicable fees to the DMV. Personalized plates may also be ordered online, and special charity plates must be obtained through the organization. You can renew your plate when you renew your vehicle registration and transfer it if you sell your car.

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has many types of specialty license plates from which drivers can choose.

Applying for Specialty Plates in Rhode Island

A variety of specialty plate types are available to order from the Rhode Island DMV.

The process for applying for your specialty plate will depend on which plate you choose (see below).

Vanity Plates

You may personalize the following types of RI license plates:

  • Standard wave plate.
  • Sailboat plate.

You may order vanity (personalized) plates by taking the following steps:

You do not pay for your plates when you apply. The DMV will either approve or reject your application. If your application is approved, they will be manufactured and you'll be notified when they are ready at the pick-up location you elect on your form.

Be sure to bring:

  • The card that the DMV mails you.
  • Your current registration card.
  • Current license plates.
  • A completed Application for Registration and Title Certificate (Form TR-1).
    • If the registered owner will not be there, the form must be notarized.
  • Payment for applicable fees.

If you wait longer than 90 days from notification, your plates will no longer be available.

Ordering Online

You may also order vanity plates online IF the plates are for a:

  • Passenger vehicle.
  • Motorcycle.
  • Commercial vehicle under 9,001 lbs.

Note that your order is actually a reservation of your plate and will be subject to DMV review. You'll pay any applicable registration and transfer fees when you pick up your plates.

If you don't want to order online, you can still check your custom message availability using the online system.

Special Design Charity Plates

Certain charity organizations offer special plates for purchase; however, charity plates are NOT available for order through the Rhode Island DMV.

In order to order a special design charity plate, you'll need to go to the website of the organization sponsoring the plate and find the application instructions.

You can find the organization's website link on the RI DMV website.

Preferred Plates

Preferred plates (plates with limited digits) are available by request through the Office of Governor.

To apply, complete the Preferred Plate Request and send to:

Office of Governor
State House Room 115
82 Smith Street
Providence, RI 02903

For questions, call (401) 222-2080.

Other Plates

Other types of specialty plates, including veteran plates, have varying:

  • Application forms.
  • Eligibility requirements.
  • Processes for application.

To apply:

  • Visit the RI DMV website and find your plate type.
  • Read the eligibility requirements to ensure you qualify for your desired plate.
  • Download and complete the applicable application.
    • Make sure you read your form thoroughly and gather any required documentation and/or proof of ID.
  • Follow any other application steps.

Renewing and Replacing RI Specialty Plates

Renewing Specialty Plates

You'll renew your Rhode Island custom plate when you renew your vehicle registration. Note that registration renewal fees are often higher when you have a specialty plate.

To learn more, visit our Registration Renewal in RI page.

Replacing Specialty Plates

If you lose your specialty plates or they get stolen or damaged, you can get replacement plates with the DMV. However, if your plates were special design charity plates, you may need to apply with the organization. Contact your local DMV office for questions.

NOTE: If your plates were lost or stolen and you want to keep the same plates, you must submit a police report.

For more detailed information, visit our guide to License Plates and Placards in Rhode Island.

Transferring Specialty Plates

If you sell your car, you can transfer your Rhode Island plates to your new vehicle, as long as the name on the new registration is the same.

You may NOT transfer your plates to the buyer of your vehicle.

To learn more, visit our RI License Plates and Placards page.

Fees for RI Specialty Plates

Fees for specialty plates in Rhode Island apply as follows:

  • Personalized plate:
    • Wave: $67.50.
    • Sailboat: $81.50.
  • Personalized motorcycle—Wave: $41.50.
  • Other specialty plates: Fees vary. See the Division of Motor Vehicles website and find your plate to see your fee.
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