How do Purple Heart recipients obtain specialty license plates?

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Obtaining military license plates isn’t much different from obtaining other kinds of specialty plates, and this rings true for Purple Heart recipients, too.

Ordering a Purple Heart Recipient License Plate

A veteran who wishes to showcase his or her Purple Heart status should:

  1. Contact the local DMV branch or visit the DMV website and search for the section dedicated to specialty plates. Within this section, most likely there will be a subsection for veterans.
  2. Ask about (or read about) the paperwork requirements for ordering the Purple Heart military license plate. There’s no doubt you’ll have to complete a special application, but you’ll probably have to provide a few military-specific documents, too (see below).
  3. Find out about fees. You’ll need to know about initial fees, renewal fees, and any fees related to personalizing your plate (if allowed). Fees vary greatly. For example, the plate costs around $30 in North Carolina; in Tennessee, it’s free.
  4. If you want to personalize your license plate, find out if your DMV allows it and, if so, how many characters you can use. (You can probably find this information on the plate application, too.) Make your selection.
  5. After you’ve completed the application, gather it, all applicable fees, and any required military documents, and either bring them in person to your local DMV branch or mail them to the address listed on the DMV website or license plate application.

Special Military Documents for Purple Heart License Plates

When applying for military license plates for Purple Heart recipients, you’ll probably have to provide the following (or more) military-related documents:

  • A copy of your DD-214 (your military discharge document) or 215 (the form used to correct any incorrect information on your original discharge document). The discharge document needs to indicate that you’re a Purple Heart recipient.
  • If discharged before January 1, 1950, you might be able to substitute a DD-214 or 215 with WD AGO Forms 53-55 or 53-98, NAVPERS Form 553, or NAVMC Form 78, depending on your military branch.
  • If necessary, you might be able to substitute any of these discharge documents for another official government document that shows you are the recipient of a Purple Heart. For example, Arizona will accept an original letter from the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, and in South Carolina you can submit a letter from the Regional Veterans Administration.
Note that not all states require these military documents. West Virginia, for example, requires only that an official from the Division of Veterans Affairs complete a specific section of the plate application.

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