You can find a wide variety of license plates in this country – from rigid white plates with black letters in the south to real artistic masterpieces and even non-standard forms in the north. But everywhere in America, the State strictly monitors registration, payment of taxes, and the content of registration marks.

There are the standard plates, private plates, unique and personalized number plates, each available based on the customer’s requirement. This part of the world has the most personalized number plates than any other.

Brief History of Number Plates in the US

In one of the world’s most motorized countries, registration plates for 125 years of its existence began to play almost more important than the cars themselves. The first numbers were made and put out of anything and anywhere. These could be leather, porcelain, rubber, or painted plates, usually in two contrasting colors.

The first standardization took place in 1920, after which citizens had to receive new plates annually, thus confirming the registration, payment of taxes and fines, and insurance. Stickers perform the same function on the number (they can also be applied to the windshield), which costs about $ 75 and should be updated once a year or two.

In 1956, the United States joined international agreements on a single format for numbers, and from that moment on, the country began to use 6×12-inch signs. Therefore, any number plate, be it anywhere in the US, has the same size.

Number Plates in the Different States

Each State has its standards, but separate subtypes of numbers can be introduced: for Indians, officials, police, Masons, firefighters, and unique numbers for cars put up for sale by dealers. In some regions, two number plates are required (front and back), somewhere – only behind, in some, both are possible.

The numbers can be “tied” to a person or a car forever or change when the series is updated. When moving to another state of the owner or vehicle, the new territory registration rules apply.

The Design of License Plates

Most states use signs that are painted and embossed with letters and numbers. Each has its color scheme and fonts. The main background can resemble a picture in terms of the complexity of the images and tones’ transition.

The number of letters and digits on the license plate changes from State to State. Moreover, internal standards were introduced at different times.

How Can Place An Order To Get a New Number Plate

They can be selected on the Department of Transport website, enter the data of an already registered car, and, after payment, receive plates by mail. In this case, the production itself and delivery are paid for (about $ 50-120).
Not many want to spend that kind of money; therefore, less than 4% of the country’s car fleet is registered with individual numbers.

Restriction On Usage Of Offensive Words

Usually, one of several variants of standard plates with a limited number of characters is used as the basis for vanity plates. Still, letters and numbers can be any – the main thing is that their combinations are no longer used at the moment. In some states, I, O, and Q are an exception because they can be mistaken for one or zero, and swear words and other offensive meanings cannot be used universally.

The Department of Transport informs about removing this or that word from the “numbered” circulation when it receives a complaint from the “offended” person. For example, in 2002, Florida banned using an ATHEIST number (“atheist”), but then the owner defended the right to attach it to his car. After such cases, the authorities put a restriction on using offensive or religious stuff on number plates.


Along with freedom, there are also some laws. Each citizen has to follow the guidelines to have a number plate of their own choice for their cars; some rules provide a specific limit to this freedom. Ordinary, cheap, or expensive cars, for being on the road they must have a license plate.

Within the law, you can get any number plate representing your profession and State. It is incredible that you can get to know the State or region of any person on the road by just looking at their number plates. The uniqueness of these plates makes the car attractive on the road.