How do I order personalized plates and vanity plates in Iowa? Iowa

Personalized plates or vanity plates can be a fun way to add a dose of personality to your vehicle. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) offers a number of custom license plate options for drivers who are willing to pay a premium for unique plates. Some of the options that are available include:

  • College designs, such as plates for the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, or University of Northern Iowa
  • Plates to honor various types of military service, including plates to recognize recipients of the Silver Star or Purple Heart
  • God Bless America
  • Love Our Kids
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Breast cancer awareness

When deciding on a message for your personalized license plate, please keep in mind the following will not be allowed:

  • Messages that are sexual in connotation
  • No characters suggesting profane, obscene or inflammatory words or phrases, or those contrary to public policy
  • Words defined as terms of racial or ethnic degradation
  • Swear words
  • References to an illegal substance or criminal act
  • Characters that conflict with the regular license numbering system
  • Punctuation marks
  • References to a government agency

You can request an application for personalized plates or vanity plates by visiting your county treasurer's office. Applications are also available on the IA DOT website. If you wish to purchase specialty plates as a gift, ask the county treasurer for details on how to have a certificate mailed to the recipient.

Fees for custom license plates vary according to the design you choose and whether or not you are adding a personalized message to your plate. However, many of the custom plates do include a charitable donation as part of the licensing fee.

License Plate Holders or Frames

If you're thinking about getting license plate holders or frames to further personalize your custom plates, keep in mind the IA DOT says you must not add anything to your vehicle which obscures the numbers and letters on your license plate. If your plate is not easily visible when inside the holder or frame, you could be ticketed.

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