Organizations: How to get a special plate design
COVID-19 closures are affecting the production of our license plates, tabs, and decals. This is causing significant delays in our ability to issue them to you.
You may want to consider waiting to apply for a personalized or specialty plate.
If you have a temporary permit expiring soon, you can visit a vehicle licensing office to get a new one.
We don't have a timeline for when production delays will return to normal. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes.
- Find out who can request a new plate design
- Design the plate and gather the supporting materials you'll need
- Apply for your special plate
- Introduce the bill with your legislative sponsor
1. Find out who can request a new plate design
To request a new plate, your organization must:
- Be located in WA
- Meet the sponsoring organization requirements, see .
- And be a:
- Nonprofit, see 26 USC Sec. 501(c)(3) — Exemption from tax on corporations, certain trusts, etc.
- Professional sports franchise working in conjunction with a nonprofit organization.
- Government agency:
- County, city, town, municipal corporation, or special taxing jurisdiction,
- Federally recognized tribe,
- State agency,
- Community or Technical College.
2. Design the plate and gather the supporting materials you'll need
- Design the proposed plate. See the Specialty Plate Design Guide for more information.
- Plate colors:
- The specialty color palette shows colors that currently pass the DOT infrared camera tests.
- Passing colors have a green check mark.
- Failing colors have a red ‘X.’
- Many shades of blue aren't recognized by infrared. It's recommended if you use a blue background that you use a darker shade with white lettering.
- DOL and DOT can't guarantee which colors will pass.
- DOT camera testing will determine the readability of the plate design. If a plate fails the readability test, you'll need to make changes and retest until it passes.
- Develop marketing strategies including:
- Short and long–term marketing plans.
- Financial analysis of the anticipated revenue and how you'll spend it.
- Get a legislative sponsor's signature for the proposed legislation. You can find contact information for the members of the Legislature here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/Rosters/Members.
- Create draft legislation. Visit the for details.
- Complete the Special License Plate Series Application.
- Provide proof that your organization qualifies.
- Use the Special License Plate Series Signature Sheet to collect enough signatures to show that at least 3,500 plates will be purchased.
- You can also collect these signatures through an online tool.
3. Apply for your special plate
- Email all the items above to SpPlateUnit@dol.wa.gov.
- Send a copy of your application and a check or money order for the $6,300 startup fees (payable to the Department of Licensing) to:
Department of Licensing
PO Box 9035
Olympia WA 98507–9035
- Make sure you keep copies of the materials you submit.
- When we receive the materials, we'll review them and let you and your legislative sponsor know if we've approved your design or not.
- We'll hold your startup fees until legislative approval of the plate occurs. If it's not approved within 3 years we'll refund the startup fees.
4. Introduce the bill with your legislative sponsor
- Once we've approved your plate you'll need to discuss introducing the bill with your legislative sponsor.
Questions? Need help?