Types of Special License Plates in Rhode Island

SUMMARY: Types of Rhode Island Specialty Plates

Rhode Island license plates are available in a range of special designs and styles. You can order vanity plates with a custom tag number or specialty tags for charities and other organizations. Other plates are offered only if eligibility requirements are met, including military plates and antique license plates.

Keep reading for details about types of specialty license plates in Rhode Island.


How to Apply for Vanity Plates in Rhode Island

Vanity plates with personalized plate numbers are one type of specialty license plates offered by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Custom tag numbers must:

  • Have 2 to 6 characters (letters and numbers).
    • Motorcycle plates can have 2 to 5 characters.
  • Be a unique combination that isn't already in use.
  • NOT be deemed offensive.

You can check the availability of a license plate number on the RI DMV website.

The fees for vanity license plates are charged IN ADDITION to standard registration fees:

  • $82.50 for a sailboat vanity plate.
  • $68.50 for a wave vanity plate.
    • $42.50 for a motorcycle wave vanity plate.

To apply for a personalized plate, follow the instructions on our Applying for Specialty License Plates page.

RI Specialty License Plates

The Rhode Island DMV offers a variety of specialty license plates, including plates that:

  • Have special designs.
  • Support charities or non-profits.
  • Are limited to certain vehicles or drivers.

Sailboat License Plate

The RI sailboat license plate is an alternative to the standard plate that features a wave design.

The fee for the sailboat plate is $47.50 PLUS regular registration fees.

You can also personalize the sailboat plate for an additional fee.

Visit our page on Applying for Specialty License Plates to learn how to order a sailboat plate today.

Charity License Plates

Several charity plates are available from the RI DMV to any registered passenger vehicle owner in the state.

Fees for charity plates are charged IN ADDITION to standard registration fees. These fees help support the organization that sponsors the plate.

NOTE: Some plates also require an additional renewal fee.

The following charity license plates are available to order:

  • Conservation Through Education:
    • Contact the Audubon Society of Rhode Island at (401) 949-5454 for more information.
  • Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation:
    • $41.50 license plate fee.
    • $20 helps support a cancer screening program.
  • New England Patriots:
    • $40 initial fee.
    • $28 benefits the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation.
  • Plum Beach Lighthouse:
    • $42.50 application fee.
    • $20 goes toward lighthouse preservation efforts.
  • Red Sox Foundation:
    • $42.50 fee.
    • $20 goes to the foundation's RI scholarship fund.
  • RI Community Food Bank:
    • $42.50 fee to order.
    • $20 goes to the food bank.

The following plates are available to order BUT may not be issued right away (a minimum number of license plates must be sold):

  • Bristol Fourth of July:
    • $40 to order the plate.
    • $20 helps fund the celebration.

See our page on Applying for Specialty License Plates in Rhode Island for application instructions.

Plates with Eligibility Requirements

Several specialty plates offered by the RI DMV are restricted to certain types of vehicles or drivers and require proof of eligibility:

  • Amateur Radio Operator plates:
    • Available only to those with a current FCC license for passenger or commercial vehicles weighing no more than 9,000 lbs.
  • Electric Hybrid Vehicle tags:
    • For vehicles with fuel types listed as “electric" or “hybrid."
  • EMT license plates (will be issued when enough orders are placed):
    • For RI emergency medical technicians.
  • Firefighter license plates:
    • Available with a letter from your fire chief certifying that you are a firefighter in Rhode Island.

You'll pay a fee for these plates IN ADDITION to your regular vehicle registration fee. You may also pay additional renewal fees.

Fees vary based on license plate type and other factors. Contact the RI DMV at (401) 462-4368 for more information.

For application details, visit our Applying for Specialty License Plates page.

Military Veteran Plates

If you're a service member or military veteran, you may be eligible for a military license plate from the RI DMV.

You'll pay a license plate fee for some plates, PLUS regular registration fees. Some military plates don't have a plate fee, but still require registration fees.

Military plates are available to:

  • Veterans: Free plate
  • National Guard members: Plate fee is $22.50.
  • Former POWs: Free plate.
  • Purple Heart recipients: Free plate.
  • Veteran Gold Star Parents: Free plate.
    • Available to parents of a service member who died in the line of duty.

NOTE: You can retain your current license plate number for an additional fee.

To be eligible, your service record must reflect the status or award displayed on the license plate. Proof of eligibility is required and includes:

  • Discharge papers.
  • Letter from a commanding officer.
  • Certification from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Application information can be found on our Applying for Specialty License Plates page.

Antique Vehicle Plates in RI

You can get antique vehicle plates and register your vehicle as an antique IF it is:

  • At least 25 years old.
  • Used only for car shows, club events, and similar activities.

NOTE: If you register your vehicle as an antique vehicle ONLY, you won't need a vehicle inspection. You WILL need a vehicle inspection IF you apply for dual registration to use your vehicle for general transportation.

For antique vehicle plate and registration fees, contact the Rhode Island DMV at (401) 462-4368.

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