License Plate Types

by Maureen Malone

In the United States, vehicles are required to be registered and display a current license plate. The length of time the registration is valid varies by each state. A license plate is required to be displayed on the rear of every vehicle and some states also require a plate on the front of the vehicle. License plates display a license plate number which consists of numbers and letters. Several types of license plates are available.

Passenger Vehicle License Plate

Each state has its own standard license plate that is issued to passenger cars. The plates are assigned numbers or in many cases individuals can request a customized license plate number. These plates are called personalized or vanity license plates.

Government Plates

Government vehicles receive different license plates. Federal Government vehicles typically have a white plate with blue lettering identifying the plate as a "US Government" plate. These plates typically do not expire. States and municipalities also issue government plates. Diplomats also receive special license plates to identify their status. The letters on the plate identify the country and status of the diplomat.

Other Vehicles

Trucks and trailers have different license plates than passenger vehicles. For example, the State of Illinois has plates for RV's, trucks and trailers for farm use and flat-weight trailers. Motorcycles receive a license plate that is smaller in size than the typical license plate.

Other Plates

License plates are also available for members of certain organizations. Specific plates available vary by state. For example, the State of Illinois offers special plates for Firefighters Memorial, Illinois Police Association, Eagle Scout and Support Our Troops. The State of North Dakota offers Disabled American Veteran, Future Farmers of America, Prisoner of War and Purple Heart license plates among others.

About the Author

Maureen Malone started writing in 2008. She writes articles for business promotion and informational articles on various websites. Malone has a Bachelor of Science in technical management with an emphasis in biology from DeVry University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera license plates image by timur1970 from