Texas Vanity License Plates: Everything You Need to Know

Everything You Need to Know about Vanity Plates in Texas

Getting a Texas drivers license is just part of the fun. Once you’ve got the legal okay to hit the road you can make your presence known with a vanity license plate. What you’ll specifically need to do depends entirely on the type of plate customization you’re looking for. Both the Texas DMV website and the Texas site at MyPlates.com, provide specific plate information and resources for learning 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 for the branches of service

  • College and university plates

  • Athletic team plates

  • Theme plates

  • Special design plates 

Customizing the background and text of the license plate is another option. With so many choices available, you’re guaranteed to find a style that reflects your personality, interests and needs.

Functional Personalized Plates

Beyond vanity plates, some Texas personalized plates actually serve 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 also available. 

These types of license plates aren’t just handed out to anyone. They require documentation that you’ll need to submit to state authorities first (usually the local county tax assessor-collector’s office).

Fees for Vanity License Plates in Texas

How much you’ll pay depends entirely on the type of Texas vanity license plates you’re interested in, the level of personalization and the message you choose. Your plates could be free or they could cost you a hefty sum. 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.

For instance, disability plates without added customization are free, while special vanity 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 phrase “12THMAN.” 

Typical Texas vanity plate fees are: 

7-Letter Personalized Plate

$195 for 1 year 

$445 for 3 years

$495 for 5 years

6-Letter Personalized Plate

$150 for 1 year 

$400 for 3 years

$450 for 5 years

Specialized Background Only

$50 for 1 year 

$130 for 3 years

$175 for 5 years

What are the special license plate fees used for?

Again, this can depend on the type of plate you have. 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.

Application Process - How to Get a Personalized Vanity Plate in Texas

Getting a personalized vanity plate in Texas isn’t too difficult to do. Most vanity plates will require a visit to MyPlates.com, but a moderate selection is also available through the Texas DMV website. However, there are a few requirements and rules that must be followed to get approval for a one-of-a-kind license plate. 

Here are the five key steps to getting a personalized license plate in Texas. 

Step 1. Choose the Text

The first thing you’ll want to do is decide what you want the vanity license plate to say. Although you have a lot of creative freedom, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Six-character plates must have at least one letter (the rest can be numbers). 

  • Seven-character plates can use either letters or numbers.

  • Spaces and symbols can also be used.

  • Some types of license plates include a logo that can’t be moved.

It’s also important to understand the DMV reserves the right to reject any plate you apply for. This typically only happens if the personalization is deemed offensive. 

Texas has seen her fair share of funny and inappropriate vanity plate applications. In the past, 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 the applicants.

Step 2. Check to See If the Plate Text is Available

Excluding something inappropriate or text that’s already taken, you have tons of different letter and number combinations to choose from. But before you set your heart on a specific phrase, use MyPlate.com to check the availability. If not, you may receive an “unavailable” application response.

Step 3. Choose a Design

Most of these options can be customized online. MyPlates.com designs can also be personalized with help from customer service. As you review your options, note any special application requirements that apply to a specific type of plate. 

Step 4. Submit an Application

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) has to approve all specialty license plates. That means you’ll have to submit an application.

Form VTR-999 (Application for Vanity License Plate) is used to request approval for a personalized license plate. You’ll need to provide proof that the plates are for a personal vehicle that is registered in Texas. You also have to pay the application fee, which will be either $30 or $40 depending on the plate.

Step 5. Pay for the Vanity Plates

You’ve chosen the text and design, checked the availability and gotten approval from the TxDMV. Now all you have to do is complete the purchase. Texas vanity plates can be purchased through MyPlates.com. Simply choose the length of the term and provide the requested purchase information. Within 3-4 weeks you’ll have your new vanity plates!

Visit MyPlates.com if you’d like more information on purchasing vanity plates in Texas.

Ready to Get a Texas Vanity License Plate?

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

For more resources on car maintenance, drivers ed, DMV information and more, visit DriversEd.com

*This article was updated on 6/22/2020

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