Ordering a new license plate in Louisiana is fairly simple but if you’d like to order a personalized license plate, then you need to complete a specific process required by the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles.
There are several options when ordering a personalized license plate. In order to make sure that you end up with the exact license plate with the personalized message that you want, be sure to follow the steps below.
Part 1 of 3: Search for a personalized message
Before applying for a personalized license plate, you should search the Louisiana’s OMV to see if the message you’d like to have on your license plate is available or not.
Step 1: Determine your license plate message. You will be able to use a maximum of seven characters on your personalized plate. Below are some guidelines from the OMV website about what you can and cannot put on your license plate.
- Tip: Personalized plates can be ordered for automobiles, motorcycles, mobile homes and trucks up to 10,000lbs.
Step 2: Search for your request on the OMV website. You will need to enter your request in the search field of this page to find out whether it’s available or not.
You will receive a response immediately. If your request isn’t available, you will need to resubmit a different request until you find one that hasn’t been taken already.
Step 3: Click Personalized Plate Request Form: When your request is approved, click on the “Personalized Plate Request Form” link that shows up in blue beneath the search field.
This will take you to the form that you need to fill out in order to request a personalized license plate.
Once your request is approved, it will be held for two weeks. If your official application hasn’t been received within two weeks, then the characters you requested will be made available again in the database.
- Tip: Your request might be approved, but it isn’t guaranteed until your application has been received and approved by the OMV. In some instances, someone else may have requested the same characters but their paperwork is still being processed and the system hasn’t recognized it as unavailable yet.
Part 2 of 3: Fill out the Personalized Plate Request Form
Once you know that your plate message is available, you will be prompted to fill out an application form online.
Step 1: Fill out ALL of the empty fields in the application. Fill all of the empty fields in the application.
When you’ve filled all of the empty fields, enter the security code that is supplied for you at the bottom of the form and click submit.
If you’re applying for a personalized plate on a special edition license plate, you will need to go to your local OMV and apply in-person instead of completing your request online. You can find locations which accept those applications here.
- Tip: A complete list of all special edition plates is available here. Click on which one that you would like to order and a preview image will appear. This is for reference only. Once you’ve decided on a specialized plate, gather your license and registration information and go to the OMV to fill out the application for a specialized plate. The fee for a specialized plate will be quoted onsite at the OMV.
Part 3 of 3: Pay for your personalized license plate
After you’ve submitted your personalized plate request form, it will be reviewed. If the request is approved, you will receive an e-mail within 1 – 2 days stating that your request has gone through. The letter will also quote the fee for the personalized license plate.
In general, the cost is $25 in addition to the normal fees and taxes when requesting a new plate, as well as $3.50 for an administration fee and $8.00 for a handling fee. The complete fee table is available here.
Step 1: Mail in your payment. You cannot pay for your personalized license plate online. You must mail in the payment.
Acceptable forms of payment include checks or money orders. Do not send cash.
Step 2: Check on the status of your order. After payment is received, it normally takes 10-12 weeks to receive your personalized license plate.
You will receive an e-mail once your plate has been ordered. If you do not hear from the OMV, call 225-925-6371 to speak with a representative.
If you’ve ordered a personalized plate on a regular license plate, then it will be mailed directly to you when it is ready.
If you’ve ordered a personalized plate on a special edition plate, you will need to pick it up directly at your local OMV.
- Note: If your current license plate is already a personalized plate and you’ve ordered a new one, you will need to bring your current one into the OMV and turn it in before you can pick up your new personalized plate.
Step 3: Change your plates. Once you receive your new personalized plate, remove your current license plate as it is no longer valid.
Be sure to secure the new plate appropriately on your vehicle. Also, remember to include the updated tags on the license plate.
Getting a new and personalized plate can be a great way to customize your car at low cost. The next time you go out to your car and see your new plate, you can be happy that you have added some style to your ride while giving it a message that you like.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Personalized License Plate in Louisiana and was authored by Patrick Haas.