How to Buy a Personalized License Plate in Virginia

One of the most popular ways to customize the exterior of a vehicle is with a personalized license plate. Personalized license plates are popular because they allow you to share a message or a sentiment with the world that is uniquely you. You can use a personalized plate to promote a business or an organization, support a sports team or a school, show love to a spouse or a child, or simply proclaim a word or short phrase.

In Virginia, you can choose from over 200 specialized plate designs in addition to a custom license plate message. These designs range from organizations to sororities to colleges, so you’re sure to be able to find a great one for you. Paired with a personalized license plate message, you can create the perfect license plate for both you and your car.

Part 1 of 3: Choose a personalized license plate

Step 1: Go to the Virginia Create a Plate page. Visit the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Create a Plate website.

Step 2: Choose a plate design. Select a special plate design.

Click on the link that says “Special plates” to view the large selection of available plate designs.

Use one of the available methods to browse all of the options, and find the one that you like the most.

Step 3: Choose a plate message. Select a personalized plate message.

Return to the Create a Plate page, and click on the link titled “Create a personalized character combination for your vehicle.”

Locate the plate design that you chose from the list, and click on it.

Select the box that says “I would like a plate with a personalized character combination.”

Write your custom message in the available boxes.

  • Tip: Your plate can contain letters, numbers, spaces, dashes, and ampersands. If you use all seven characters, at least one must be a special character.

  • Warning: You license plate message cannot be crude, offensive, or inappropriate. If your message is any of these things, it may appear as available on the website, but your application will be rejected.

Step 4: Check the availability. Check the availability of your chosen license plate message.

Click the button that says “View plate” to see a sample of your plate, and to see if it is available.

If the plate is not available, keep trying until you find one that works.

Part 2 of 3: Order your personalized plates

Step 1: Click to purchase. Click the button that says “Purchase plate now” to begin the ordering process.

Step 2: Accept the plate rules. Click “Continue” to accept that your plate message does not violate the personalized plate rules.

Step 3: Enter your vehicle info. Enter the required vehicle information.

Enter the title number of your vehicle, and the last four digits of your vehicle identification number.

Select whether or not the address on your vehicle registration card is accurate.

Click “Submit.”

  • Tip: If you don’t know your vehicle identification number, you can find it on the driver’s side of the dashboard, where the dash meets the windshield. The number is easily viewed from outside the vehicle, looking through the windshield.

  • Warning: Your vehicle must be registered in your name, and your registration information must be current and accurate.

Step 4: Enter your information. Enter all of your information on the form.

Where prompted enter your personal information and the information of your vehicle.

  • Tip: Always double check your information before proceeding to make sure that it is accurate.

Step 5: Pay for the plate. Pay the personalized license plate fee.

Pay the fee using any major credit or debit card. The fee for the personalized plate is $10, and the fee for the special plate design can vary depending on the plate, but is usually $10.

  • Tip: If you don’t want to pay by credit or debit card, you can pay by check or money order if you visit your local Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • Warning: The personalized and specialized license plate fees are in addition to your standard annual registration fees.

Step 6: Confirm your purchase. Confirm and finish your personalized license plate purchase.

Part 3 of 3: Install your personalized license plates

Step 1: Receive your plates. Receive your new plates in the mail.

After your personalized plate application has been reviewed, processed, and accepted, your new plates will be manufactured and sent to you at the address you provided.

  • Tip: This process can take up to three months.

Step 2: Install your plates. Install your personalized license plates.

As soon as you receive your new plates, install them on both the front and back of your vehicle.

  • Tip: If you do not feel comfortable removing your old license plates or installing your new ones, feel free to call a mechanic to come help you out with the job.

  • Warning: Be sure to add current registration stickers to your new license plates before driving.

Virginia has some of the most affordable personalized license plates in the nation, and it’s very easy to order them. So if you’ve been looking for a fun new addition to your car, a personalized license plate might be ideal for you.


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