Personalized license plates add a special touch to your vehicle. It is an inexpensive way to make your vehicle a little more personal without performing any lasting modifications to your car.
Personalized license plates are used by many different demographics including:
- People with pride in their vehicle
- Those who take pride in achievements
- Those who want to monogram their vehicle with initials or nicknames
- Fans supporting their sports team
Obtaining a personalized license plate is a straightforward process, but it must be followed carefully to ensure your application is accepted.
Part 1 of 3: Select your plate style and license plate number
In West Virginia, you have the choice of six different license plate styles that you can personalize. You need to select your plate style, then you can check your license plate number availability.
Step 1: Visit the West Virginia DMV page. Navigate to West Virginia DMV home page online.
Step 2: Go to the “Personalized Plate Search. On the homepage, locate “Personalized Plate Search (Free)” under the “Vehicles” tab.
Click on the box labelled “Personalized Plate Search (Free)”.
A new screen will display with a radio box called “Plate type”.
Step 3: Choose a plate style. Click on the dropdown arrow to view the different license plate types available to choose from. Choose the style that suits your taste best.
The maximum length of your personalized plate number varies depending on the plate design.
Step 4: Check the availability of your desired license plate number. Enter your desired plate number in the box below and the license plate style that you choose.
- Note: The plate style that you choose may change the number of characters that are allowed on the plate.
Step 5: Check the availability of the license plate number. A sample of the plate design with your desired plate number will display along with the results of the availability, either “Available” or “Not Available”.
If the result is “Not available”, check a new selection until one you like is available.
This tool only checks the availability of a licence plate number and does not hold or reserve the number for you.
Step 6: Prioritize four potential license plate numbers. Select and prioritize four available personalized license plate numbers to use for your application for a personalized plate.
If your first choice is not approved, they will use your second choice, and so on.
Part 2 of 3: Complete an application for a personalized plate in West Virginia
Complete the application for a personalized plate completely and submit it for processing to order your own personalized plates.
- Tip: In order to request personalized license plates in West Virginia, you need to currently have your vehicle registered in the state.
Step 1: Print an application form. Download the form at DMV-42-TR. This is the West Virginia Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles Application for a Personalized License Plate form.
You can either print the form or complete it on your computer and then print it for submission.
Step 2: Select your desired plate design. Check off the box on the left side of the page for the design you want.
Step 3: Fill your personal information. Fill in your section A, the Applicant and Owner Information.
Fill in the applicant’s name and daytime phone number, and the owner’s name exactly as it appears on their current vehicle registration card.
Fill in the owner’s street address, and include their e-mail address if you’d like.
Step 4: Fill in the vehicle information including make, year, title number, VIN number, and the current plate number.
Step 5: Complete the vehicle’s insurance section. Fill out the current vehicle’s insurance section.
Write in your policy start and end dates, your insurance policy number, your insurance company, your NAIC or National Association of Insurance Company number for your carrier, and your insurance agent’s name.
Step 6: Fill in your four selections for your personalized license plate. Stay within the limits of your license plate selection criteria as noted in the above section.
If your selections are discriminatory, derogatory, crude, or can be interpreted as such, they will be rejected.
Step 7: Sign and date the application form. If you submit the form without a signature, it will be returned to you unprocessed.
Part 3 of 3: Submit the application for personalized plates
Step 1: Pay the fee. Include the correct payment by check or money order.
Your payment is calculated by calendar year for personalized plates, and is $45 per year.
You can submit the payment for either one or two years at a time.
Step 2: Mail the application to the West Virginia DMV office.
The address to submit the application to is:
PO Box 17120
Charleston, WV 25317
Don’t forget to include your payment with your application form.
Step 3: Wait for the arrival of the plates. Allow 60 days for your new personalized plates to be delivered to you.
Step 4: Install the plates. When the plate arrives, remove your old plate and install the new one right away.
Once your new personalized license plates arrive, you must return your current license plate and registration card to the West Virginia DMV within ten days. Also, personalized plates are only available for vehicles with a Class A designation, indicating a weight of under 10,000 pounds.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Personalized License Plate in West Virginia and was authored by Jason Unrau.