Special License Plates

License Plate

You can order special license plates to recognize service, achievements, licenses, status, historical significance, occupations, etc.

Categories include:

  • Special License Plates: Exempt, livery, historical vehicles, HAM radio, veterans
  • Special Recognition License Plates Legion of Valor, Purple Heart, Gold Star Family, etc.
  • Occupational License Plates: Dealers, dismantlers
  • Legislative License Plates: Senate, assembly
  • Apportioned License Plates: Power unit and prorate

See below for the full list of special license plates.

Special license plates are not the same as special interest license plates, which are affiliated with specific organizations or charities, and receive donations from plate fees.

Amateur Radio Call Letters

These plates are issued, upon request, to holders of Federal Communication Commission (FCC) amateur radio station licenses. The alpha-numeric series reflects the call letters assigned by the FCC. Currently, the call letters are centered on the plate and contain no spaces. Statutory Authority: California Vehicle Code (CVC) §5005 and Revenue and Taxation Code (RT) §§10751, 10752

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form. 

Antique Motorcycle

Antique motorcycle license plate.

This special plate is issued (upon request) for motorcycles manufactured in 1942 or before. Statutory Authority: CVC §5004.5

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and submit it to a DMV office.

Bicentennial Bill of Rights

Bicentennial Bill of Rights license plate.

License plates commemorating the bicentennial of the Bill of Rights were issued from July 1, 1990 through December 31, 1991. Replacement plates are no longer available. Statutory Authority: CVC §5101.9

Citizens Band

These plates were issued, upon request, to holders of FCC citizens band radio licenses until 1983. DMV continues to issue replacement plates for current holders upon request. The alpha-numeric series reflects the call letters assigned by the FCC. The letter K is followed by a two or three letter, four number configuration. Statutory Authority: CVC §§5020, 5021

Disabled Person/Veteran License Plates

These license plates are issued, upon request, to disabled persons (DP) as defined in CVC §295.5, and to disabled veterans (DV) as defined in CVC §295.7. These plates allow certain parking privileges. DP and DV plates without the International Symbol of Access (wheelchair symbol) became invalid July 1, 1995. Statutory Authority: CVC §§295.5, 295.7, 5007, 9410, 22511.5

Learn more about DP and DV License Plates.

Exempt

For vehicles owned or leased by the United States (U.S.) Government, state agencies, cities and counties, or special districts. DMV will no longer issue diamond and octagon designations after current supplies are exhausted, although both will remain valid. The alpha-numeric series on the diamond exempt plate may contain up to six numeric digits. Statutory Authority: CVC §§9101, 9103 and RT §10781

Foreign Organization

Foreign organization license plates.

These plates are issued, upon request, to automobiles owned by designated employees of foreign organizations recognized by the U.S., per the Taiwan Relations Act. To apply for these plates, visit your local DMV. These plates are issued sequentially to automobiles only and cannot be transferred between vehicles. For faster service make an appointment before you visit DMV.Statutory Authority: CVC §5006.5

Historical Vehicles

Historical vehicle license plate.

These special plates are issued, upon request, for motor vehicles manufactured after 1922 which are at least 25 years old and of historic interest. Statutory Authority: CVC §5004

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

Honorary Consul Corps

Honorary Consul Corps license plate.

Honorary Consul Corps License Plates are issued, upon request, to vehicles owned by officials who are citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. who are appointed by a foreign country for the purpose of facilitating and promoting the interest of that country. Statutory Authority: CVC §5006

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

Horseless Carriages

Horseless carriage license plate.

These special plates are issued, upon request, for motor vehicles with an engine of 16 or more cylinders manufactured prior to 1965, or any motor vehicle manufactured in 1922 or before. Statutory Authority: CVC §5004

To order, complete a Special Interest License Plate Application (REG 17) and mail it to the address on the form.

Livery

Effective September 30th, 2014, Senate Bill (SB) 611 eliminated the livery plate program. Existing Livery license plates remain valid and can be renewed. However, as of October 1, 2014, duplicate or replacement plates were no longer available. Existing plates cannot be reassigned to another vehicle. Statutory Authority eliminated by SB 611: CVC §§5011.5, 5011.6, 5011.9

Moped

Moped license plate.

This permanent plate is mandatory on motorized bicycles. Statutory Authority: CVC §§406, 5030

To order, complete a Motorized Bicycle (Moped) Instructions/Application (REG 230) and mail it to the address on the form.

Olympic Games, 1984

These plates were issued through December 31, 1984 to commemorate the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The plates may be renewed indefinitely but duplicate or replacement plates are no longer available. Statutory Authority: CVC §5022

Press Photographer

These plates are issued, upon request, to newspaper, newsreel, and television photographers and camera operators. They are not available for trailers. Statutory Authority: CVC §5008

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

Special Equipment

Special equipment license plate.

These plates are issued for special construction, special mobile, cemetery equipment, and implements of husbandry. Statutory Authority: CVC §§565, 575, 4010, 501

To order, complete an Application for Special Equipment Identification Plate (REG 88) and mail it to the address on the form.

Congressional Medal of Honor

Congressional Medal of Honor license plate.

These license plates are issued, upon request, to recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The plates are not available for vehicles operated for hire or compensation and do not grant parking privileges. A surviving spouse may retain the plates. Statutory Authority: California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§5101.6, 9105

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

Gold Star Family

Gold Star Family license plate.

These license plates are issued, upon request, to qualified family members whose relative lost their life in the line of duty while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. Statutory Authority: CVC §5156(d) (1)

A Gold Star License Plate application is available at your local County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO) office. The CVSO and DMV will require proof of the family relationship and one of the following:

  • Report of Casualty (DD 1300).
  • A letter or telegram from the Federal Government (Department of Defense (DOD), Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines, or War Dept.).
  • A letter from a Commanding Officer.
  • A Purple Heart Citation that states the recipient was killed in action.
  • Any form of verifiable official notification.

Complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) form and submit it, Gold Star License Plate application, and one of the documents listed above to:

DMV Special Processing Unit
ATTN: Gold Star Family
P.O. Box 932345 MS D238
Sacramento, CA 94232-3450.

The Gold Star Family motorcycle plate is issued with a decal.

Legion of Valor

Legion of Valor license plate.

These plates are issued, upon request and conclusive evidence, to recipients of the Army Medal of Honor, Navy Medal of Honor, Air Force Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, or Army Distinguished Service Cross.

In addition to the registration month and year stickers, there is a sticker to the right of the license plate number denoting the decoration of valor held by the recipient. A surviving spouse may retain plates. Not available for motorcycles. Statutory Authority: CVC §5101.4

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

Pearl Harbor Survivor

Pearl Harbor Survivor license plate.

These plates are issued, upon request and submission of appropriate substantiating documents, to survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Not available for motorcycles or commercial vehicles used for hire. Statutory Authority: CVC §5101.3

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

Ex-Prisoner of War

These plates have the replica of the Ex-Prisoners of War (POW) Medal followed by the letters POW and four numbers of choice. Issued, upon request and submission of appropriate substantiating documents, to Ex-POW. Statutory Authority: CVC §5101.5

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

Purple Heart

These plates are issued, upon request, to holders of the Purple Heart medal. The medal is awarded to veterans who were wounded in action. These plates must be surrendered to the department upon the death of the Purple Heart recipient (a surviving spouse may retain the plates). Not available for vehicles operated for hire or compensation. Statutory Authority: CVC § 5101.8

To order, complete a Special Recognition License Plate Application (REG 17A) and mail it to the address on the form.

New Vehicle Distributor

Exclusions: Cannot be used on service vehicles. Only one plate is required on the vehicle. Statutory Authority: California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§296, 9262, 11715

Dealers

Exclusions: Cannot be used on service vehicles. Only one plate is required on the vehicle. Statutory Authority: CVC §§9262, 11715

Dismantlers

This plate is for the sole purpose of moving a vehicle from its acquired location to the dismantler’s established place of business. The plate cannot be used on service vehicles. Only one plate is required on the vehicle. Statutory Authority: CVC §§9262, 11715

Manufacturers

Exclusions: Cannot be used on service vehicles. Only one plate is required on the vehicle. Statutory Authority: CVC §§9262, 11715

Remanufacturers

Exclusions: Cannot be used on service vehicles. Only one plate is required on the vehicle. Statutory Authority: CVC §§9262, 11715

Special Equipment Dealers and Manufacturers

Special equipment dealer and manufacturer license plate.

These plates are issued for special construction equipment, special mobile equipment, and cemetery equipment manufacturers and dealers. Statutory Authority: CVC §5016.5

Transporters

Exclusions: Cannot be used on service vehicles. Only one plate is required on the vehicle. Statutory Authority: CVC §§9262, 11715

California State Assembly

These plates are issued to current and retired members of the California State Assembly. The letter “A” represents Assembly and the number represents the Assembly district. When the small letter “A” is present, it indicates a second vehicle owned by the Assembly member. The small letter “R,” when present, indicates a retired Assembly member. A small “1” after the “R” indicates a second vehicle owned by a retired Assembly member. Statutory Authority: CVC §5002.8

California State Senate

These plates are issued to current and retired members of the California State Senate. The letter “S” represents Senate and the number represents the Senate district. When the small letter “S” is present, it indicates a second vehicle owned by a Senator. The small letter “R,” when present, indicates a retired Senator. A small “1” after “R” indicates a second vehicle owned by a retired Senator. Statutory Authority: CVC §5002.8

United States House of Representatives

These license plates are issued to current members of the United States House of Representatives. The presence of a small “A”, “B”, or “C” indicates additional vehicles owned by a current member of Congress. Statutory Authority: CVC §5002.8

United States Senator

These license plates are issued to current United States Senators. The presence of a small “A”, “B”, or “C” indicates additional vehicles owned by a United States Senator. Statutory Authority: CVC §5002.8

Apportioned Power Unit

These plates are issued for power units under apportioned registration, base plated in California. Statutory Authority: California Vehicle Code (CVC) §§8000, 8051, 8052

Prorate Plate (no longer in circulation)

Prorate license plate.

These plates are issued for interstate fleet vehicles to display apportioned stickers. Size and format are standard. Each state has a designated sticker area. California stickers, issued to vehicles not based in California, are to be placed in the third well from the top on the left side. Statutory Authority: CVC §§8000, 8050, 8051

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