Capitol Connection – New Vanity License Plates

September 24, 2013

When Connecticut ran out of 6 digit license plates the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) had to come up with a solution. You may have seen the answer recently for yourself – a new 7 digit plate. In August, DMV announced that for the first time it will offer customers the 7-digit character vanity plates for Connecticut vehicles.

“This is a great opportunity for all those who want new and different plates with a customized touch of seven characters,” said DMV Commissioner Melody Currey. The commissioner also touted the new plates as one of the ways the DMV is improving customer service.

Before the change Connecticut’s license plates allowed for a maximum of six numbers, letters or combinations of both with the option of a dot. In addition to customer demand, changes in computer technology now allow DMV to meet requests for vanity plates with an additional letter or number.

I actually ordered a vanity plate with a special background for my wife as a creative way to celebrate our children and our love for the Olympics. The Olympic spirit plate is one of nearly a dozen backgrounds you can request for a special vanity plate.

  • There are a few simple rules for ordering plates including:
  • Vanity Plates are available in Passenger, Combination, Commercial, Early American, Motorcycle, Camper and Camp Trailer registration types.
  • In order to apply for a vanity plate the vehicle must have a valid Connecticut registration.
  • If the vehicle is due for renewal, please renew the current registration before applying for vanity plates.
  • Not have any delinquent tax or other vehicle compliance issues.
  • Customers, whose orders will be filled on a first-come, first serve basis.
  • It may take up to 8 weeks to receive your new plates.
  • There will be no dashes or extra spaces between letters. Only one dot is allowed.
  • The dot cannot be placed at the beginning or end of a plate number.
  • Motorcycle plates can only accommodate 6 characters and one dot.
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles reserves the right to deny issuance of certain requests.

To apply for a new vanity plate visit for more information about combinations accepted. To avoid delays, if you have recently processed a dealer transaction, please call the DMV at 860-263-5154 with your current marker plate number before mailing your application.

If you support a special cause like I do, you can see if it is listed on the DMV website. State law allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue special background plates on behalf of non-profit organizations. The organization must submit a copy of the organization’s charter or by-laws, provide a letter of good standing from the State of Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office (if required) and supply any Internal Revenue Service ruling on their non-profit tax exemption status.

The logo production and cost incurred will be the responsibility of the organization however it still must be approved by DMV.

The fee remains the same for this new style of vanity plate and must be submitted with the completed application form. The cost is $94 to order a vanity plate in state’s standard light blue background with dark blue letters and numbers. The cost for a more customized plate can be as much as $159 depending on what you choose.

Where does the money go? Learn More >>

Take for example the Connecticut Greenways license plate. Money from each sale used to be deposited into a special fund at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to help develop greenways around the state. Greenways are linear open spaces that can among many things become trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, even roller blading.

According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) money raised through the sale of special vanity license plates in the past has helped fund the small grants program for projects in the greenways portfolio. For example in the year 2007 the Central CT Regional Planning Agency was awarded a $5,000 grant for the Farmington Canal Greenway Plan for Southington. The grant helped to develop this section of the Greenway through the northern part of Southington and all of Plainville. However, in 2009 the statute was changed and now the money goes into the general fund.

Upon further investigation it turns out some of the other license plate proceeds also go into the general fund. The Support our Troops and Long Island Sound plate proceeds however, do go into accounts dedicated to those specific causes. Word to the wise, do your research if you want your money to go toward a cause instead of the general fund.

For more information, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles at (800) 842-8222, or look it up on the website at and click on Customized Plates.