• Personalized Plates

WA Personalized Plates

There is a variety to choose from when getting your Washington license plates, which you will typically choose from as you register your vehicle. The Department of Licensing, just like with other driver-related services, is in charge of issuing these plates – and in doing so offers quite a great selection of specialized and personalized plates in Washington.

There are several styles and designs these days to choose from in Washington license plates, including those that peak special interests such as:

  • Wildlife
  • Parks
  • Universities
  • Military
  • Landmarks

Even those with disabilities are offered special plates in Washington to ensure that they are provided with the benefits needed to receive accommodations to assist with mobility impairments that may cause issues in terms of accessing public venues and buildings. There are rules and privileges involved that must be fully understood if you want to avoid penalties and ensure that you are getting the assistance you need.

Washington has required license renewal every 7 years since 1997, and offers you the ability to keep your license plate number for the next tag if you pay an additional $20. You can even transfer old plates to a new vehicle if you have sold the original vehicle, as long as you aren’t transferring between different classes of vehicles.

Special Plates in Washington

If you choose to get the standard plates in Washington, you will receive the White Mountain design with a cost of $30 for both first-time plating and subsequent plate renewal. If you choose the special plates, however, you will get a variety of designs to choose from:

  • Higher education in Washington
  • Military
  • Environment and state parks
  • Hobbies
  • Sports
  • Organizations and special associations

Most of these plates will cost $40 for first-time plating, dropping to $30 when you renew the plates each year. The price is not for the DOL only, as a portion of the costs will go to the organization or special cause you chose to display on your plates.

Personalized Plates in Washington

If you decide that it is vanity plates that you really want, you can visit the Washington DOL at Specialized Plates

You will find a selection of available plates and the options for application, with the contact information that you will need.

When you choose personalized license plates, you are given the opportunity to choose not only the design, but the characters as well. Instead of getting an automatically issued license plate number, you can create your own so you can sport a message or slogan that you and those you know are familiar with. 

The DOL online offers a search tool at State Licensing – Personalized Plates

which is used for your Washington personalized plates so you can see what options are out there and which is best for you. With a standard motor vehicle, you can choose up to 7 characters, with only six allowed with the motorcycle and trailer plates. Your price will change depending on the plates you choose, so make sure you pay attention to the cost of the design and characters you choose.

When you purchase a personalized plate in Washington, you are supporting the Washington Wildlife Diversity Program, which is why your cost will be a bit higher than for other plates. These plates cost $47.75 for first-time plating, and $30 for each subsequent renewal.

Apply for Personalized Plates

You can find all the information you need about applying for Special Design License Plates in Washington or Personalized License Plates in Washington.

You will find all instructions, forms, and a calculation of the fees required on these pages so you can shorten the process and the hassle of getting these special Washington plates.

To submit your application, send to the address on the form or take in person to the vehicle licensing office in your county.

Antique Plates in Washington

Besides these other special license plates, Washington plates also expand to antique plates, which are offered for older model vehicles that mean a little more culturally than the newly released models. These plates come in two different forms: Horseless Carriage and Collector.

If you want Horseless Carriage plates, your vehicle must be no less than 40 model years old and able to be driven safely and appropriately on Washington highways. The vehicle must also be used mainly for the purpose of show. These plates will remain with the vehicle whether sold or not, and is not able to be used on any other vehicle you may own.

If you want Collector plates, your vehicle must be no less than 30 model years old and should also follow the criteria of the Horseless Carriage plates in Washington.

If you want to apply for either of these antique plates, you can use the special plates for Special License Plate Application

Bring with the appropriate payment to the vehicle licensing office in your area. You could also choose to mail it all to the following address:

            Vehicle Licensing
            Department of Licensing
            P.O. Box 9909
            Olympia, WA 98507-8500

Your antique plates will cost $35 for first-time plating, added to all other registration fees you would typically pay. These plates, unlike all others, will not require renewal ever, so you can just affix to the vehicle and never think twice. With these plates, there is only one tag issued which should be attached to the rear plating area of the vehicle.

If you find restored license plates, they will be the original plates for the vehicle that you own. Much like an antique vehicle, these plates are very valuable; therefore, you can find various people and businesses selling them. If you decide that you would like to use one for your classic vehicle’s license plates, you can apply for use with the DOL. These plates must first be assessed and determined to be in adequate and usable condition.

These plates are also able to be transferred to another vehicle, as long as it too is the same model year as the plates. You will have to pay $35 for use, in addition to all other registration fees typically incurred. These plates also are permanent and will provide you with lifetime use. You will follow the same steps detailed above for antique plating and bring the plates you want to use as you submit the information and forms.

Surrendering Plates in Washington

Washington is different from some states as it doesn’t require your plates to be surrendered when you are moving out of the state. However, if the plates are special plates like those detailed above, the plates will need to be surrendered, which can be done at the vehicle licensing office near you.

If at any time you sell, donate, or remove your vehicle from the roadways, it is in your best interest to cancel both your registration and insurance, as well as destroy, retain for personal keepsake, or recycle the plates.


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