You may call it identity expression, crisis, or craze but it’s not only cellphones, tablets, and mobile phones that get customized casings and covers. Your car plates may also be designed according to your ego.
You can order your personalized license plates online from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (NYSDMV) webpage. Vehicle types are classified as thus: passenger, commercial, or motorcycle. For passenger and commercial plates, the initial cost is $60 with an annual fee of $31.25. For motorcycles, initial cost is $35 and annual fee is $18.75.
For those with esoteric beliefs on lucky numbers, you can choose your number-letter combination. You can have 2 to 8 characters for the standard series plates for commercial and passenger vehicles. Up to 6 characters are allowed for picture plates and for motorcycles (state image is not allowed for motorcycles). Characters considered valid are letters from A-Z and numbers 0-9, including spaces. Note that state image is considered as one character. There are restrictions, of course.
Personalized plates that imitate standard plates and special registration plates are not accepted. Also prohibited are combinations that contain obscene or derogatory implications, the use of numbers that should appear as letters (and vice versa) to form a word, i.e., T0Y, A1M, and combinations that are already identified for official purposes of the NY state. This is why the vehicle owner has to apply for the desired combination and it has to be approved by the NYSDMV.
There are I Love NY Adventure plates, sports, military and veterans, counties and regions of NYS, causes, colleges, fraternities & sororities, professions, organizations, and motorcycle plates. Prices vary: for standard plates, between $30-90, which would almost double up for personalized plates. There are those that cannot be ordered online such as military plates. Others like the firefighter vehicle plates are not issued by the DMV. Historical and vintage plates are also available for vehicles manufactured and purchased 25 years ago, and kept by the owner for collection or display purposes.
You can also buy vintage plates from collectors or antique dealers, but you have to contact the Custom Plates office of the NYSDMV to verify if the plates are original. By NYS law, the plates cannot have glass or any protective covering on them.
There is a custom plate renewal fee each year that is paid during the registration process.