Like many other states, Florida offers a variety of different personalized license plates with different designs, rather than just the standard Florida plate with personalized numbers and characters. With special design plates, there are a variety of logos to choose from that might have the potential to fit the theme of your message.

The special design plate is significantly more expensive than the standard personalized plate, but there is a full list of special design plate options. Among the special design personalized license plates, you can choose from those designed around a variety of different colleges, groups, organizations, or military groups, including sports teams, environmental protection organizations, and special interest groups.

For most plate types you are allowed up to seven characters, plus a hyphen or a space. Motorcycle plates allow for six characters. If you have a special personalized plate with a logo, there is room for only five characters. Your special design plate can have a logo/graphic on either the left side or middle of the license plate. You can also obtain special plates for historic and custom vehicles.

To apply for a personalized license plate in Florida, follow the simple steps below.

Part 1 of 1: Obtaining a personalized license plate in Florida

Step 1: Check your message’s availability. Before you apply for a personalized Florida license plate, you must go online to determine if the character arrangement you want is available.

You must also provide a list of at least three other unique messages that are available with your application, in the event there is a discrepancy or someone applied for the same message before yours was processed, so you’ll need to check the availability of these three backup messages as well.

Step 2: Fill out the application. Once you’ve determined at least four total unique messages you can proceed with filling out the application, which you can download online.

Begin filling out the application by providing your personal information, such as your name, date of birth, address, and driver’s license number. Proceed to fill out the vehicle information, such as the current license plate number, make and model, year, weight, color, and vehicle identification number (VIN).

You can then proceed to the personalized license plate section where you will write in your first choice, which you have previously verified as available, with an explanation of the meaning of the unique message. You must provide this explanation, or your message will not be processed, which will fail your application.

Below that, you will choose the type of personalized plate you want (is it for a motorcycle, is the graphic to be placed on the left side or the middle of the plate, etc.), which determines how many available characters you can use. You must then fill in the boxes for the personalized plates you want in the order that you want them, from first choice to fourth choice.

If you’ve filled out your application online, save it, and print it out.

Step 3: Make an appointment to submit the application. Once you have your application in hand, you will need to call your local Florida tax collector’s office to arrange an appointment to submit it.

Along with your application, you must bring a form of payment for the required fees for the personalized plate. This includes any vehicle registration fees or registration renewal fees, unless you have a copy of your current registration or renewal notice. You will also need to have proof of insurance.

If you’re filling out your application online, you can pay online via PayPal, online bank account, or debit or credit card. In person, you must pay by personal check, debit or credit card, or cash.

Step 4: Pick up your new plates. Wait six to eight weeks for your application to be processed and for your plates to arrive at your local tax collector’s office or license plate agency. Then you can go pick them up and apply your new plates to your car.

Always remember to keep your original Florida license plates in a safe place once you’ve replaced them with your new personalized plates.

  • Warning: If you miss any of the above steps, and your application is denied, you will not receive a refund for your application under any circumstances. Thus, be sure follow all steps carefully. For any questions, call the local branch of your Florida tax collector’s office.

If you have any questions along the way, always be sure you have them answered by someone at the tax collector’s office to ensure a smooth and successful application process and to ensure you get your new customized license plates as soon as possible.

This article originally appeared on as How to Buy a Personalized License Plate in Florida and was authored by Brent Minderler.

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