What Custom License Plates are Available in California?

Discover the wide array of custom license plates available in California! Explore personalized options and unique designs to express your style on the road. Uncover the possibilities now!

What Custom License Plates are Available in California?

California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers a plethora of custom license plates. These can range from personalized license plates that display your chosen combination of letters and numbers to specialty plates that support a cause or organization. By choosing a California custom license plate, you can make a statement while cruising down the Golden State's highways and byways.

The Art of Personalization: Customizing Your License Plate

Personalized license plates, often termed as "vanity plates", allow drivers to express their unique personalities or messages on their car's number plate. What custom license plates are available in California? There are virtually limitless possibilities. A customized plate may contain up to 7 characters (or 6 characters for motorcycle plates), and you can choose from letters, numbers, or a combination of both. Additionally, you have the option to add a '+' or '-' sign for an extra hint of creativity.

Specialty Plates: More Than Just Aesthetics

Apart from personal vanity plates, California DMV offers a wide range of specialty plates that support various state-organized programs. Each specialty plate has its unique design and serves a purpose beyond mere aesthetics - your purchase contributes to the funding of the program it represents.

Environmental License Plates: A Commiting to Nature

First on the list of specialty plates are the Environmental License Plates (ELP). These plates, distinguished by their simplistic yet elegant whale tail design, contribute directly towards the preservation of California's rich environmental heritage. Proceeds from the ELP support programs that protect and restore the state's natural resources, promote environmental education, and enable greater access to the state's stunning outdoor spaces.

Yosemite Conservancy Plates: Preserving Natural Beauty

Next up are the Yosemite Conservancy Plates. Purchasing these plates will allow you to show your support for Yosemite National Park, one of the country's most iconic natural locations. Proceeds fund the park's preservation efforts, helping maintain its breathtaking beauty for future generations.

California Coastal Commission Plates: Support the Shoreline

The California Coastal Commission Plates feature an iconic image of the state's majestic coastline. Purchasing these plates means contributing towards the protection and conservation of California's cherished coastline, ensuring its preservation for future generations to enjoy.

California 1960's Legacy Plates: A Trip Down Memory Lane

For those looking for a vintage flair, the California 1960's Legacy Plates are a perfect choice. Designed to mimic the state's license plate style from the 1960s, these black and gold plates are a classy way to show your affinity for the golden age of automotive design. Plus, they're bound to turn heads wherever you go!

California Firefighter License Plates: In Solidarity with Heroes

Show your respect for the brave firefighters of California with the California Firefighter License Plates. Only available to current or retired firefighters, these plates honor their heroic efforts in safeguarding the communities across the state.

Children’s Arts Council Plates: Investing in Future Artists

By opting for the Children's Arts Council Plates, you're supporting art education in schools and communities throughout California. These plates, decorated with a bright, colorful handprint, directly fund arts programs for children, nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers.

Collegiate License Plates: Showcasing School Pride

Alumni, students, and supporters of California universities and colleges can show their school pride with Collegiate License Plates. Each university has its own design, which typically includes the school's emblem or mascot. Part of the fee for these plates goes directly to the respective institution, providing vital funds for scholarships and student programs.

Military and Veteran License Plates: Paying Tribute to Service

Honor the service of veterans and active-duty military personnel with Military and Veteran License Plates. These plates are available in various designs, each representing a different branch of the military. A portion of the fees from these plates support veterans' services and programs in California.

Historical Vehicle Plates: Celebrating Automotive History

Historical Vehicle Plates are available for vehicles of a certain age or significance, such as classic or antique cars. These plates celebrate California's rich automotive history and give your vintage vehicle the finishing touch it deserves.

The Process of Getting a Custom License Plate in California

Obtaining a custom license plate in California involves a straightforward process. After choosing the type of plate you want, you can apply online or in-person at your local DMV office. Depending on the type of plate, you may need to provide proof of eligibility.

Decoding the Costs: Fees and Charges for Custom Plates

The costs associated with obtaining a custom license plate in California can vary widely, depending on the type of plate and the level of customization. It's important to research the various fees involved before deciding on a plate.

Maintaining Your Custom Plate: Rules and Regulations

There are certain rules and regulations to be followed once you have a custom license plate. These cover areas such as renewal, display requirements, and what to do in the event of a plate being damaged or worn out.

Staying Within the Legal Lines: Avoiding Inappropriate Content

While custom plates offer a great deal of freedom, there are still rules to follow. The DMV retains the right to reject any plate application that contains inappropriate or offensive content.

Transferring Custom Plates: Keeping Your Identity on the Move

If you're thinking of selling your vehicle or buying a new one, you might wonder what happens to your custom plate. Learn about how to transfer your custom plates between vehicles, ensuring you can keep your unique identity on the road.

Replacing a Custom Plate: What to Do If Your Plate is Lost or Stolen

Should the worst happen and your license plate is lost or stolen, it's crucial to know the steps to take for replacement. Learn the procedure to follow in order to ensure your vehicle stays legal and your custom identity is restored.

Selling a Vehicle with a Custom Plate: What You Need to Know

Selling a vehicle that has a custom plate can be a little tricky. This section provides the information you need to navigate this process smoothly and ensure the best possible outcome.


Are there restrictions on what can be put on a custom license plate in California?

Yes, the California DMV has strict regulations about what is permissible on a custom license plate. Offensive, misleading, or inappropriate content is not allowed.

How long does it take to get a custom license plate in California?

The processing time for a custom license plate in California can vary, but it generally takes 8-12 weeks.

Can I transfer my custom license plate to a new vehicle?

Yes, custom license plates can be transferred to a new vehicle. The transfer process can be done through the California DMV.

Do custom license plates cost more than standard plates?

Yes, custom license plates typically come with additional costs beyond standard license plates. These costs can vary based on the type of custom plate and the level of customization.

Are proceeds from custom license plates used for specific causes?

Yes, many of California's custom license plates are linked to specific causes. Proceeds from these plates go towards funding various programs related to the environment, education, and more.

Can I change the design of my custom license plate after it's been issued?

No, once a custom license plate has been issued, its design cannot be changed. However, you can apply for a new custom plate with a different design.


Choosing a custom license plate in California is not just about expressing your personality or love for a cause, it's about contributing to the diversity and vibrancy of the state's roads. Whether you opt for a personalized vanity plate or a specialty plate, your choice adds a unique touch to your vehicle while also potentially contributing to a great cause.



License Lookup is an informative platform that helps those obtaining a license in the U.S get the necessary information about the procedure. A team of enthusiastic and skilled content writers researches and generates informative and comprehensive articles about each type of license by focusing on the required documents, and application procedure or leading the visitors to the right websites. Actually, our content writers and editors team double-check all the information only then publish them on our website.