Texas Vanity License Plates: Everything You Need to Know

Everything You Need to Know about Vanity Plates in Texas

Getting a vanity license plate in Texas is generally a straightforward process. What you’ll specifically need to do depends entirely on the type of plate customization you’re looking for. Through the Texas DMV website and the Texas site at MyPlates.com , you can research specific plates and learn more about your options.

In this article, we’ll review some of the basics you’ll need to know as you choose and register Texas vanity license plates.

Types of Texas Vanity License Plates

Texas offers an almost endless number of different options to customize your license plate. You can choose from specialized charity plates, occupation and job-related plates, military plates recognizing different branches of service in the armed forces, college and university plates, athletic team plates, theme plates, special design plates, and much more. Customizing the background and text is another option. With so many choices available, you’re likely to find a style available that reflects your personality, interests and needs.

Beyond vanity plates, some Texas personalized plates actually fulfill important functions. For instance, you can request a disability permit plate if you have proof of a permanent disability. Texas vanity plates recognizing Purple Heart recipients, plates for vehicles transporting cotton, and a variety of other types of functional plates are available. These choices require other documentation that you’ll need to submit to state authorities first (usually, this is your local county tax assessor-collector’s office).


How much you’ll pay depends entirely on the type of Texas vanity license plates you’re interested in, level of personalization, and the message you choose. Fees include only the personalization (vehicle registration fees are not included in the price), and you’ll pay more to keep your choice for a longer period of time. Your selection could be free or it could cost you a hefty sum depending on what you’re looking for.

For instance, disability plates without added customization are free, while plates sold at auction on  MyPlates.com sometimes cost thousands of dollars. (In fact, the most expensive plate to date sold for $115,000 in 2013. It was a Texas A&M custom vanity plate with the letters “12THMAN.”) Typical fees are $30 for a charity plate, $50 for a personalized background only, $150 for one year use of a six-letter custom text and $195 for seven letters. To keep your plate longer or customize it further, expect to pay more.

‘Where Does My Money Go?’

Charity plates donate a portion of the proceeds you pay. Most other Texas vanity license plates have fees that go toward the Texas general revenue fund, so when you pay for a customized plate or purchase rights to a plate at auction, you’re paying directly toward services provided by the state to Texans as a whole.

Application Process

Most vanity plates will probably require a visit to MyPlates.com, but a moderate selection is also available through the Texas DMV website. As you review your choices, note any special application requirements that apply to that type of plate. Keep in mind, too, that the DMV reserves the right to reject any plate you apply for.

Speaking of rejection, Texas has seen her fair share of funny and inappropriate vanity plate applications. In the summer of 2013, the plate “HUMPIN” was turned down by the state. Others, like “FATKID,” “LSUSUX,” “O HELL,” and “BUMBUM” also made an appearance. While these vanity plates never actually made it onto vehicles, they must’ve made for an interesting day at the office when state employees had to respond with a “NO” to each of these applicants.


Excluding something inappropriate or text that’s already taken, you have tons of different designs and combinations to choose from. Most of these options can be customized online. MyPlates.com designs can also be personalized with help from customer service, if you’d like.

Character Requirements

To customize the text on a plate, you’ll be asked to see first if a specific combination of text is available. Six-letter and seven-letter plates are allowed. Six-letter plates must have one letter at least (the rest can be numbers). Seven-letter plates can use either letters or numbers.

Ready to Apply?

If you’re ready to apply for a Texas vanity plate, visit the Texas DMV website and start your application (plus check out the awesome plate designs and options available).

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