How to get a personalized license plate in tennessee

Your Ohio vehicle can have one of the many specialty license plates offered by the state, including personalized license plates, plates for causes and organizations, and military tags for those who qualify.


Ready to apply for a specialty plate? Visit Applying for Specialty License Plates for complete details.

  • Applying for disabled parking tags? See our page Disability Placards & Plates for more information.
  • Read below to learn more about types of specialty license plates available from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

Ohio Personalized Tags

Personalized license plates must be 4 to 7 characters long, including spaces.

Some tags have less space:

  • Motorcycle tags can have up to 5 characters.
  • Special tags with logos can have up to 6 characters.

To make sure your personalized plate combination is available, do a quick search online.

A $50 personalization fee is charged IN ADDITION to standard registration fees. When it comes time to renew your personalized tag, you’ll pay a $50 renewal fee PLUS regular renewal fees.

Special Interest & Group Plates

The Ohio BMV offers:

  • Special interest plates.
  • Collegiate plates.
  • Sports license plates.

The fees for specialty license plates vary. IN ADDITION to plate fees, you may also have to pay:

  • A new license plate fee.
  • Vehicle registration or renewal fees.
  • Service fees.

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

Read below for information about the types of specialty license plates offered by the OH BMV.

Special Interest Plates

Special interest plates in Ohio feature different hobbies, causes, and organizations. For example, you can get license plates that support:

  • Feline spay/neuter programs.
  • Breast cancer awareness.
  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
  • Ohio’s rivers.

Special plate fees are charged IN ADDITION to regular registration and renewal fees.

Fees vary, and a portion of the additional fee is given to the featured, or related, organization. For example:

  • The Stop Bullying plate:
    • $35 to orderAND $35 to renew.
    • $25 goes toward programs that provide bullying prevention training.
    • $35 to orderAND $35 to renew.
    • $25 helps fund programs for cancer patients.

    For a complete list of special interest plates and their fees, visit the OH BMV website.

    Visit our Applying for Specialty Plates page to learn how to apply.

    Collegiate Plates

    Collegiate plates are available for many of Ohio’s colleges and universities, such as:

    • The Ohio State University.
    • Kent State University.
    • Ohio Northern University.

    A fee for collegiate plates is charge IN ADDITION to standard registration and renewal fees.

    Most plates, like the Ohio State license plate, are $35, with $25 going toward a general scholarship fund for the university you select.

    The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website has a complete list of plates and fees.

    For application instructions, see our page on Applying for Specialty Plates.

    Professional Sports Plates

    Several plates featuring OH sports teams are available, including:

    • The Cincinnati Bengals.
    • The Cincinnati Reds.
    • The Cleveland Browns.
    • The Cleveland Cavaliers.
    • The Cleveland Indians.
    • The Columbus Blue Jackets.
    • Columbus Crew.

    You’ll pay a fee for your sports plate IN ADDITION to registration fees and renewal fees. A portion of your fee helps support charities selected by each team.

    Professional sports license plate fees may vary. Examples of fees include:

    • The Cincinnati Bengals plate:
      • $35 to order.
      • $35 to renew.
      • $35 to order.
      • $35 to renew.

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

      Military License Plates in OH

      A number of specialty license plates are available to veterans and retirees of the United States military.

      Military plates are available for:

      • Honors and awards, such as:
        • The Combat Action Ribbon plate.
        • The Purple Heart license plate.
        • The Grenada plate.
        • The Persian Gulf tag.
        • The U.S. Armed Forces Retired plate.
        • The Honorably Discharged Veteran tag.

        You can get a military license plate ONLY IF it reflects your service record, and you must present proof of eligibility, such as your discharge papers.

        For a list of available plates, fees, and eligibility requirements, visit the OH BMV website.

        For details about military plate applications, see Applying for Specialty License Plates.

        Ohio Historical License Plates

        You can get an Ohio BMV historical license plate if your vehicle is:

        • At least 25 years old.
        • Used only for special events and activities, such as parades.

        The historical plate is a one-time fee of $10 PLUS a $21 license tax.

        To learn more about historical plate applications, see our page Applying for Specialty License Plates.

        In Tennessee, you may apply for specialty plates in person or by mail depending on whether you personalize your plate. If you have a qualifying medical condition, you may also apply for disability plates. You’ll renew a specialty plate along with your registration. If your plate was lost or stolen, you must notify the police and apply for a replacement. You may transfer your plate to another vehicle for a small fee.

        The Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR) has many types of specialty plates that may be purchased and/or personalized. Continue reading to learn how to apply for and renew these plates.

        • Need info on disabled license plates or handicapped placards? Our Disability Plates and Placards page has details.
        • To see all the different TN specialplates you can apply for, visit Types of Special Plates in Tennessee.

        Applying for Specialty Plates

        The TN DOR offers a wide variety of specialty plates to purchase, as well as options to personalize standard or specialty plates for an additional fee.

        Your method of order for most Tennessee specialty plates will depend on whether you choose to personalize your plate.* You can order specialty plates:

        • In person at your local county clerk’s office, if NOT personalizing your plate.
        • By mail, if you ARE personalizing your plate.

        * NOTE: Certain plates may have the option to order in person OR by mail, such as disabled plates. Please see your specific plate and/or application to verify the application requirements.

        Specialty Plates (Not Personalized)

        Most specialty plates in TN do not require an application form (unless personalized). Most of these plates are readily available at county clerk’s offices.

        To order a TN specialized plate that is NOT personalized:

        • Pick the plate you want from the TN DOR’s list of specialty plates.
        • Call your local county clerk’s office to check if your desired plate is available at the office.
          • If available, you may visit the office to get your plate.
          • If not available, you may place your order and pick up the plates when they are ready.
            to find any applicable requirements.

          Personalized Plates

          For additional fees, the Tennessee DOR allows drivers to personalize both:

          • Standard (regular) plates.
          • Specialty plates.

          To apply for a personalized plate:

          • Pick your desired plate from the DOR’s list of plates.
          • Complete the Online Application for Tennessee Personalized Plate.
          • Provide a check or money order for the personalized plate fee:
            • Personalized standard plate: $35.
            • Personalized specialty plate: varies by plate.

            All applications for personalized plates must be approved by the DOR. Once approved, the plate will be made and sent to your local county clerk’s office. You’ll pay any additional required plate fees upon pick-up.

            NOTE: DO NOT mail your renewal notice or your standard registration fee with your form.

            Antique Auto Plates

            If your vehicle qualifies as antique, you may apply for an antique auto plate. Your vehicle must:

            • Be more than 25 years old.
            • Have a non-modified engine and body.
            • Be used solely for exhibition purposes (although it may be used for general transportation on Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays).
            • Complete the Certification for Antique Vehicle Registration (Form RV-F1312901).
            • Pay the $32.75 fee.
                may apply when you pick up your plate.

              NOTE: You may NOT personalize this type of plate.

              Renewing Specialty Plates

              You can renew your Tennessee specialty or personalized plate when you renew your vehicle registration. You can do this at either:

              • Your local county clerk’s office.
              • The DOR’s online plate renewal system.

              You will pay both:

                Plate renewal fees.

                  to find your annual fee.

                For more on renewing your registration, visit our TN Registration Renewal page.

                Replacing TN Specialty Plates

                If your plate gets lost, stolen, or damaged, you can apply for a replacement or duplicate plate. Note that specialty plate and/or personalization fees may apply in addition to the standard plate replacement fee.

                IMPORTANT! You MUST notify the police if plates were lost or stolen. Duplicate plates will ONLY be manufactured if police were notified. You should also notify the TN Department of Revenue to prevent any responsibility for mishaps related to your stolen plate.

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

                Transferring Specialty Plates

                When you sell a car in TN, the license plate stays with you, not the vehicle.

                If you wish, you may transfer your specialty plate to another vehicle for a minor fee.

                If you no longer wish to keep your specialty plate (or you no longer qualify), you must surrender your plates to your county clerk.

                For more information, visit our page on transferring TN license plates.

                TN Specialty Plate Fees

                Fees will vary slightly be plate type in Tennessee; however, typically the fees will apply as follows:

                • Personalized standard plates: $35.
                • Personalized specialty plates: $70.
                • Specialty (including military) plates: Varies. See your plate for application and renewal fees.
                • Antique plates: $32.75.
                • Disability plates: $26.50.
                • Disabled Veteran plates: Free.
                  • Additional set fees:
                    • 2ndset: $28.50 ($26.50 renewal).
                    • Subsequent sets: $29.80 ($26.50 renewal).

                    NOTE: Additional fees may apply when you obtain your plates. For example, when you order a personalized specialty plate, you’ll send the $70 fee in the mail, but you’ll pay additional plate fees when you pick up your plate. Call your county clerk’s office for questions about fees.

                    NASHVILLE – The Department of Revenue is pleased to offer Tennesseans the ability to apply for a personalized license plate online, rather than through a paper application.

                    The online application allows residents to select from more than 100 types of Tennessee license plates that are available to personalize. After selecting their plate design, customers then type in their desired configuration on their plate. They will know immediately if the configuration is available, based on a red or green box that will appear around the plate.

                    Customers can pay the $35 personalized plate application fee online, and later pick up their plate at their local county clerk’s office. Additional fees will apply at the county clerk’s office when a customer picks up the plate. Specialty plates also require an additional $35 fee.

                    The Department partnered with Business Information Systems (BIS) on the online personalized plate application. The Piney Flats, Tenn., based company also developed the Department’s Vehicle Title and Registration System, and it supports technology across all Tennessee county clerk offices.

                    “We are pleased to partner again with BIS to offer Tennesseans this added convenience,” Commissioner David Gerregano said. “This online application should make the personalized plate process even quicker and easier for residents.”

                    There are more than 56,000 personalized plates on Tennessee roads. The $35 personalization fee helps support the Tennessee Arts Commission.

                    The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws, as well as the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2018 fiscal year, it collected $14.5 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.8 billion in taxes and fees for local governments.

                    The State of Tennessee offers more than 100 specialty license plates for Tennessee motorists to display on their registered motor vehicles. These plates represent special interest organizations, professional organizations, colleges and universities, branches of the military and other topics. Most of these plates are available at your local county clerk’s office. However, you may want to call and check before traveling to the clerk’s office.

                    A Specialty License Plate costs $35 each year. You can exchange your current license plate for a Specialty License Plate anytime, the county clerk will prorate your fees.

                    County clerks charge an additional $1 fee for the issuance of a specialty plate. This makes the fee $36 for specialty plates and $71 for personalized specialty plates, plus the standard state registration fee and any wheel taxes imposed by local governments.

                    Take a look at all the different plates and find the one that lets the world know what you care about. Then visit your local county clerk’s office and ask for the one that best fits your interest or passion.

                    How to get a personalized license plate in tennessee

                    HELPFUL HINT: Take a screwdriver with you so you can take off your old plate. Bring your registration too.

                    Motor vehicle registration, title, issuance of license, and registration of license plates in Tennessee State is managed by the Tennessee Department of Revenue. The department offers a range of services, both on field and online. If you’re interested in a Tennessee License Plate Lookup online, use the above form.

                    Their online services include renewal of vehicle registration, ordering sports plates, personalized plates, and dedicated plates, changes in addresses, and payment of parking tickets. However, on field services offered by the Tennessee Department of Revenue include title issuance and registration, transfer of vehicle ownership, cancellation of new car title, new and pre-owned vehicle registration or replacement of a lost one, and access to registration records. It also deals with the issuance of different kinds of license plates and insurances.

                    If you want to order a new license plate, you can do that in person by submitting an application and form at the Tennessee Department of Revenue ( DOR )office. A number of options are given for license plate selection including:

                    • Antique Auto License Plates
                    • Clubs/Organizations License Plates
                    • Collegiate License Plates
                    • Current Tennessee License Plates
                    • Emergency/Safety License Plates
                    • Environmental/Conservation License Plates
                    • For Children License Plates
                    • Fraternity/Sorority License Plates
                    • Hospitals License Plates
                    • Military/Memorial License Plates
                    • Sports License Plates
                    • Tennessee Arts Commission License Plates
                    • Wildlife/Animal License Plates

                    From all these categories, a total of 100 different types of license plates are offered to residents to choose from in order to register their vehicles. License plates can be received from the county clerk?s office. Extra charges of $1 will be applicable for the issuance of specialty plates. Make sure you check with your county clerk regarding the availability of specialty plates as not all types of plates are available at each location.

                    Additionally, if you want to establish a new specialty plate in the name of your organization, it can be done by introducing a bill for the particular plate through your state legislator. Following the acceptance of the bill, the Department of Revenue would need to be contacted to proceed with the remaining process. You will need to provide details including the plate name, organization name, contact name and number, mailing address, and email address. This correspondence will be continued between the contact person and representative of the department and would follow through with the exchange of samples, test plates, and payments.

                    If you want to look up information regarding any license plate, you will need to contact the Tennessee DOR in person for this matter.

                    After purchasing your Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate, you are eligible to receive one complimentary 1-year membership. Just complete the form at the bottom of this page.

                    How to get a personalized license plate in tennessee

                    NORTH CAROLINA

                    With more than 20,000 on the road, the Friends of the Smokies plate with the iconic black bear in front of vibrant green mountains is one of the most popular specialty license plates in North Carolina. Of the extra $30 annual fee for the specialty tag, $20 goes to support projects and programs in the North Carolina portion of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bringing in over $400,000 annually. Plates may be purchased independently of a vehicle’s registration. (Designed by Micah McClure)

                    • Stop in at your local NC Vehicle and License Plate Office
                    • Order online from the NC DMV


                    Tennessee’s Friends of the Smokies plate is available from any County Clerk’s Office for an extra fee of $35 per year. Friends gets $30.75 of the fee to help preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Friends of the Smokies tag is the top-selling specialty license plate in the state of Tennessee. Since 1998, it has raised $9 million to help preserve and protect Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

                    • For additional information, visit the website of the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
                    • Find your County Clerk’s Office . Send a gift voucher for the purchase of any TN specialty plate to a friend! Send as many as you want, any time. Learn more
                    • Want to keep your Friends of the Smokies plate with the previous design? You can! Just renew your registration in-person or online.

                    How to get a personalized license plate in tennessee

                    After purchasing your Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate, you are eligible to receive one complimentary 1-year membership. Please fill out the form below and allow up to 4 weeks for delivery.

                    After purchasing your Friends of the Smokies specialty license plate, you are eligible to receive one complimentary 1-year membership. Please fill out the form below and allow up to 4 weeks for delivery.

                    Applicants who own an auto, truck, trailer, or motorcycle currently registered in California may order special interest license plates. Motorcycle license plates are not available for all special interest license plates.

                    What License Plates Are Available and How Much Do They Cost?

                    Special interest license plates have a special graphic design with an image related to the organization’s interest. They are available with configurations of numbers, letters, or both, which have been personally chosen by the applicant (personalized), or are standard issue configurations (sequential). Environmental License Plates are the standard California plates, which do not have graphics, and are only available with personalized configurations. View available plates online.

                    What Documents Are Required?

                    Special interest sequential and personalized license plates may be ordered online or you may mail a completed Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form to DMV at the address on the bottom of the form with the appropriate fee. When ordering sequential plates, you will need the information from your registration card.

                    Where Do the Fees Go?

                    Special Interest License Plates have extra fees that are used to support programs pertinent to each organization’s interest.

                    How Long Does It Take to Get the License Plates?

                    Personalized license plates are available for pickup in about 8-12 weeks after being ordered online or mailed and processed by DMV. You will be notified by mail when your personalized license plates are ready for pick up. If the vehicle registration expires within 30 days from the date the license plates are picked up, you must renew the registration to have the license plates assigned to your vehicle.

                    Sequential license plates are mailed directly to the address on your DMV vehicle record; you should receive them in about 4-6 weeks.

                    How Do I Know if the Personalized Configuration I Want Is Available?

                    You can check online to find out if a specific personalized license plate configuration has been taken. The department has the right to refuse any combination of letters or letters and numbers that may carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency, or which may be misleading or in conflict with any license plate series now issued. Substituting numbers for letters or vice versa may be confused with an existing license plate and is not permitted.

                    I Purchased a Vehicle That Has Personalized or Special Interest License Plates on the Vehicle. Can I Keep the License Plates on the Vehicle?

                    Most personalized and/or special interest license plates may remain on a vehicle being transferred if the license plate owner of record releases his/her priority. To retain the license plates, a Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form completed by the license plate owner of record must be submitted with the transfer application showing they are releasing interest. If the license plate owner does not complete and sign a release of priority, the license plates must be surrendered to DMV, unless the vehicle is being transferred between spouses, parents, children, or grandparents. The new owner must also complete a separate REG 17 form and pay the original fee for the license plates even though the license plates are already on the vehicle. The original fee may only be waived on a transfer when the plate owner remains as the registered owner, such as the addition or deletion of a co-owner.

                    I’m Selling or Disposing of a Vehicle With Personalized or Special Interest License Plates and Want to Keep Them for Reassignment or Future Use. What Should I Do?

                    The personalized or special interest license plates should be removed from the vehicle prior to the new owner taking possession. An annual fee may be required. The new owner will receive regular license plates for free when they transfer ownership.

                    How Do I Reassign to Another Vehicle, Retain for Future Use, or Release Interest in a License Plate?

                    Complete a Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form indicating that you want to reassign the license plates to another vehicle, hold the license plates for future use, or release interest in the license plates. If you are retaining license plates for future use, most have an annual retention fee. The retention fees vary by type of license plate and are listed on the second page of the REG 17. Failure to pay the annual retention fee will result in cancellation of the license plate and possible reassignment of the configuration.

                    Can I Convert My Personalized Configuration to a Different Type of License Plate?

                    Yes. Complete the Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form indicating that you are requesting a conversion. The conversion fees vary by type of license plate and are listed on the second page of the REG 17.

                    How Do I Get a Replacement License Plate if Mine is Lost, Stolen, or Mutilated?

                    Complete the Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form. The next available license plate will replace sequential configurations; personalized license plates will be duplicated. However, if both personalized license plates are lost or stolen, the same license plate cannot be reissued; you must choose another personalized license plate configuration. The substitute/duplicate fees vary by type of plate and are listed on the second page of the REG 17.

                    Will I Be Able to Give These License Plates as a Gift?

                    Yes. You may give a Special Interest License Plate as a gift. Order Personalized Plates online or mail a completed Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form to the DMV at the address on the bottom of the form with the appropriate fee.

                    Are There Any Other Special License Plates Available?

                    Yes. There are several other types of license plates that require additional documents and cannot be ordered online. They are Amateur Radio, Antique Motorcycle, Congressional Medal of Honor, Gold Star Family, Historical Vehicle, Honorary Consul, Horseless Carriage, Legion of Valor, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Purple Heart Recipient, and Press Photographer License Plates. These license plates require the Special License Plate Application (REG 17A) form. Personalized Livery and American Ex-Prisoner of War License Plates require the Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) form and Year of Manufacturer License Plates require the Year of Manufacturer (YOM) License Plate Application (REG 352) form and cannot be ordered online.

                    License plates provide law enforcement personnel easy and quick access to information about your vehicle. They show the county and state in which the vehicle was registered, whether the vehicle is licensed for private or commercial use and the tags’ expiration date. Calling the tag number into dispatch gives the officer all of the information about the vehicle’s owner.

                    Plate Location

                    In the state of Tennessee, owners of non-commercial motor vehicles must attach the license plate on the rear bumper of the vehicle. Owners of trucks weighing less than three-quarter of a ton and have a pickup or panel body style should also attach the plate at the rear. License plates for motor homes, regardless of size and weight, must be attached to the rear of the vehicle. Large trucks and truck tractors must have a license plate attached to the front end of the vehicle. License plates for motorcycles, trailers, semi trailers and dealers’ plates should be placed on the vehicle’s rear.


                    Securely fasten all license plates in a horizontal position on the vehicle for which it has been issued. The plate should not swing freely. It must have a clearance of more than 12 inches from the bottom of the plate to the ground. The plate also must be positioned in a clearly-visible location. You must keep it free of debris and in good condition to keep it clearly legible. It is against the law in Tennessee to place any tinted materials over the plate. It is irrelevant as to whether or not the plate is concealed due to the tint.


                    A violation of the laws relating to license plates is a misdemeanor. It is not necessary to appear in court. The first offense of these laws carries a $10 fine. A $20 fine is applied to all subsequent violations. Court costs may be added.