New York Personalized License Plates

In New York State, personalized license plates have been around for decades. A personalized license plate is one of the most popular ways to add a fun flair to a New York vehicle. You can support your favorite team or alma mater, promote your business, or honor a family member, spouse, or organization with a personalized license plate. Special plate designs and personalized plate messages are available in New York. When you combine the two, you can make a truly unique license plate that expresses your personality on the front of your car.

Personalized License Plates Guide

Types of Vehicle

According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, personalized license plates are permitted on automobiles, pickup trucks, vans, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles.


In New York, a personalized license plate costs $60 extra than the regular renewal fee.


In New York, your Personalized Plate can have 8 characters and a minimum of 2 characters (2 to 6 characters for motorcycles). Any combination of letters A to Z, New York State Image, Spaces, and Numbers 0 to 9 can be used.


The New York Department of Motor Vehicles must approve personalized vanity license plates before being issued. The following are also prohibited, according to the website:
  • Place the letter "O" between two numbers to make what appears to be a number.
  • When the rest of the characters on a plate are all numbers, the letter "I" appears first or last.
  • Place the number zero (0) between two letters to form a word.
  • Combining the number zero (0) and the letter "O."
Plates bearing a combination of letters or numerals that, in the commissioner's opinion, form an objectionable word, phrase, or expression in any language, or employing a slang term, abbreviation, phonetic spelling, or mirror image, form an objectionable word, phrase, or expression.

Basis of Personalized License Plates

Jobs and Hobbies

Many New Yorkers use personalized license plates to promote their day jobs, such as SELLHOMZ, DR4SPINE, and METVIOLA, which belong to a violist in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. The Morgan Stanley employee also put the 2BG2FAIL personalized plate on his Porsche SUV before switching to the more subdued MNAGUY. Golf (GOLFRMAN), hunting (D33RHNTR), and fishing (HAV2FISH) are the most popular hobbies, but New York drivers also enjoy activities like BOATRCNG, CAPOEIRA, and ZUUUMBA.

About Cars

In New York, the most common theme among personalized plates is descriptions of the vehicles they are attached to. Many owners of personalized plates extol their vehicles' virtues – 1HOTJEEP, FASTCAR, ZOOMFOR2 – or emphasize the make and model – 67MSTNG, MY84BENZ, 1959BUG.


Every New York pro sports team (GONYG, DYANKSWN, KNICK5, BUFBILLS, JTSFAN, 86NYMETS) is well-represented, and at least 27 Derek Jeter-themed plates have been issued since 2010. 2BLDLYGO and NCC1701T (one of the ship numbers of the USS Enterprise) are likely the work of Star Trek fans, while GRIFFNDR and TIMELORD are likely the work of Harry Potter and Dr. Who fans, respectively.


Some drivers choose plates like IMEZ2NV, 2GOOD4U, and 1PERCENT to give them a sense of superiority. With advice like RELAAAAX, PYIT4WRD, and BECIVIL, others exude good vibes. And if you're not sure how many times you've lived, fellow drivers can help you out with YW8YOLO, SAYYOLO, or YOLOSWAG.

Official Businesses

If a plate is not automatically rejected, it is reviewed by the Custom Plates Unit of the New York DMV, which follows a set of guidelines. According to one rule, a plate may not imply that the owner is "operating in an official capacity for a governmental organization or function," according to one rule.

How To Get Personalized License Plates in New York

In New York, ordering a personalized license plate is straightforward, so if you've been looking for a way to personalize your vehicle, a new license plate could be the perfect addition. Here's how to do it in a step-by-step manner.

Step 1: Choose Your Design

Go to the personalized plate page for New York. The personalized plates website of the New York Department of Motor Vehicles can be found here. This will show you all of the license plate designs available in that category, and you can then scroll through the options in that category to find the license plate design you want for your vehicle. It's worth noting that some license plate designs have limitations, and you'll have to prove that you meet the requirements to get the plate.

Step 2: Confirm it Online

Click the "Do it now online" button after finding the plate you want to use. If you don't want a unique plate design, you can order a standard license plate with a personalized message by clicking the "Do it now online" button on the right side of the page. In contrast to the six characters available with a special plate design, you will have eight characters to use for your custom message if you choose a standard plate.

Step 3: Type Your Plate Characters

Type your personalized license plate message into the "New plate number" box. Unless you're using a standard plate, your message must have at least two characters but no more than six. You can use letters, numbers, spaces, and the New York state symbol on certain plates (if you can use the state symbol, it will say so on the right side). After that, click the "Lookup this plate" button to see if your license plate message is available. If it isn't, try again until you find one that is.

Step 4: Order Your Plate

Plates can be ordered through the mail. If you'd rather order your plates by mail, you can download the form and fill it out with your payment information. You can send the completed application to the following address: NYS DMV Custom Plates Unit P.O. Box 2775 Albany, NY 12220 Your current license plate number, the three-letter vehicle class code, and the first three letters of the vehicle registrant's name will be required. You'll also have to provide your zip code. When prompted, enter your current zip code and address information.

Step 5: Receive and Install Your Plates

You will be notified once your application has been processed and accepted. After that, your plates will be made and mailed to you. It's important to remember that personalized plates can take up to three months to arrive. Install your custom plates on the front and back of your car as soon as you receive them, and you're ready to go.