Chapter 7, Section A:
License Plates Issued to Qualifying Members of the General Public

Revised August 27, 2013


The plates described below are those available to qualifying members of the general public for use on vehicles registered in New Mexico. They do not include government, state agency, elected officials or commercial vehicle plates, or those plates that are unique to specific vehicle types, such as manufactured homes, recreational vehicles (RVs) or trailers.

Some of the plates require specific application forms and verification that the necessary requirements have been met. The Special Plates Unit of the Motor Vehicle Division will review all applications for completeness and accuracy. If additional information is needed, an applicant may be contacted by phone or in writing. Links are provided to specific application forms when required.

Please note: The plate fees quoted below include a $2.00 administrative fee, if applicable, but do not include regular vehicle title or registration fees.

Standard plates    
A person who has a vehicle registered and titled in the state can acquire the traditional yellow plate or the turquoise centennial plate. The balloon plate is no longer in production. No special application is required. Either the yellow or the turquoise plate can be requested at the time of initial registration of a qualified vehicle. After initial registration these (and most New Mexico license plates) are validated by a sticker issued when renewal registration fees are paid.
yellow turquoise balloon
Fee: None
Application form: None
Sample Yellow and Turquoise WELCOME plates are also available (see Chapter 7, Section E) for $5.00, with that fee waived for students (one plate per school or class) for school projects.
     
Prestige (Vanity) (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-15 NMSA 1978)
turquoise vanity Any owner of a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, may apply for the issuance of a special "prestige" or "vanity" registration plate. Both the traditional yellow and turquoise designs are available, though motorcycle prestige plates are available only in the traditional yellow.

A prestige plate may have 1-7 characters (1-6 characters for a motorcycle). The characters can include the Zia symbol, spaces, apostrophes, dashes, or any combination of letters and numbers. A requested character set may be rejected if 1) it duplicates any existing plate; 2) the division finds it to be derogatory or obscene; or (3) it falsely states or implies that the vehicle or the driver represents the authority of a governmental agency or official.

Fee: $17.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10199
     
Disabled Person (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-16 NMSA 1978)
This plate is available for use on motor vehicles and motorcycles owned by a person with a significant mobility limitation, i.e. a person who: (1) cannot walk 100 feet without stopping to rest; (2) cannot walk without the use of a brace, cane or crutch or without assistance from another person, a prosthetic device, a wheelchair or other assistive device; (3) is restricted by lung disease to such an extent that the person's forced respiratory volume, when exhaling for one second, when measured by spirometry, is less than one liter or the arterial oxygen tension is less than sixty millimeters on room air at rest; (4) uses portable oxygen; (5) has a severe cardiac condition; or (6) is so severely limited in the ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurologic or orthopedic condition that the person cannot ascend or descend more than ten stair steps.
Fee: None
Application form MVD10270
     
Horseless Carriage (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-27 NMSA 1978)
A "horseless carriage" is a motor vehicle at least 35 years old, owned as a collector's item and used solely for exhibition and educational purposes. Upon transfer of ownership of a horseless carriage, the registration plate remains with the vehicle. A horseless carriage plate must be revalidated every five years.
Fee: $17.50 initially, then $9.50 every five years upon revalidation
Application form MVD10056
     
Medal of Honor (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-409 NMSA 1978)
A distinctive Medal of Honor plate is available for any person who has been awarded the Medal of Honor and submits proof satisfactory to the division that he has been awarded that medal. No fee, including the regular registration fee, shall be collected for the issuance of a Medal of Honor plate.
Fee: None for plate or registration
Application form MVD10353
     
Prisoner of War (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-411 NMSA 1978)
Prisoner of War (POW) plates are available to any person, or to the surviving spouse of a deceased person, who was held as a prisoner of war by an enemy of the United States during any armed conflict, upon submission of proof satisfactory to the division. If the applicant is the surviving spouse, a copy of the marriage certificate and death certificate must accompany the application. No fee, including the regular registration fee, shall be collected for issuance of a POW plate.
Fee: None for plate or registration
Application form MVD10353
     
50% Disabled Veteran (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-412 NMSA 1978)
The 50 percent disabled veteran plate is available for up to two vehicles, including motorcycles, to a veteran of the armed forces of the United States, upon the submission of proof satisfactory to the department that he was fifty percent disabled while serving in the armed forces of the United States. No fee, including the regular registration fee, shall be collected for issuance of the 50 percent disabled veteran plate.

A 50% disabled veteran who would also qualify for the disabled person (HP) plate may elect to have the disability wheelchair symbol included on his disabled veteran plate.

Fee: None for plate or registration
Application form MVD10353
     
National Guard (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-413 NMSA 1978)
The National Guard plate is available to any person who is an active member of the New Mexico national guard, upon the submission by the person of proof satisfactory to the division that the person is currently a member of the guard. No fee, including the regular registration fee, shall be collected for issuance of a National Guard plate.
Fee: None for plate or registration
Application form MVD10247
     
Purple Heart (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-414 NMSA 1978)
The Purple Heart plate is issued for up to two vehicles to any person who is a veteran and a bona fide Purple Heart recipient and submits proof that he has been awarded that medal. An active-duty Purple Heart recipient, though not by some definitions a "veteran" may still have a Purple Heart plate. No fee, including the regular registration fee, shall be collected for issuance of a Purple Heart plate. 
Fee: None for plate or registration
Application form MVD10353
     
Pearl Harbor Survivor (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-415 NMSA 1978)
The Pearl Harbor Survivor plate is available to any person who submits satisfactory proof to the division that he or she: (1) was a member of the United States armed forces on December 7, 1941; (2) received an honorable discharge from the United States armed forces; and (3) was on station on December 7, 1941 during the hours of 7:55 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Hawaii time at Pearl Harbor, the island of Oahu, or offshore at a distance not exceeding three miles. No fee, other than the registration fee, shall be collected for issuance of a Pearl Harbor Survivor plate.
Fee: None, other than regular registration fees
Application form MVD10353
     
Collegiate (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-416 NMSA 1978)
Any state-supported higher educational institution in New Mexico may request that the division issue a special collegiate registration plate for that institution. The plate's color and design are determined by the division in consultation with the institution. Collegiate plates are currently available for UNM, NMSU, New Mexico Tech, Eastern, Western, Highlands and the New Mexico Military Institute.

$25.00 of the fee collected for each special collegiate registration plate is distributed to the higher educational institution for which the registration plate is issued.

 
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD11322
     
Amateur Radio Operator (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-417 NMSA 1978)
The Radio Operator plate is available to any New Mexico resident who holds an official commercial or amateur radio station license in good standing issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or who is a bona fide employee of such license holder. CB radio licensees are not eligible for the Radio Operator plate.
The plate shall be inscribed with the official call letters of the applicant as assigned by the FCC; and the words "amateur radio operator" shall be inscribed on the registration plate upon request of the applicant. The stated legislative purpose for the issuance of special Radio Operator registration plates is to readily identify personnel in aid of the performance of necessary duties for civil defense in the communications field.
Fee: $5.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10200
     
Armed Forces Veterans (M.V. Code Secs. 66-3-419 and 66-3-412.1 NMSA 1978)
Section 66-3-419 authorizes special registration plates for Armed Forces Veterans. Section 66-3-412.1 adds specific authorization for an Armed Forces Veterans motorcycle plate. Armed Forces Veterans plates are available for any individual who is a veteran of the armed forces of the United States or is retired from the national guard or military reserves, with proof satisfactory to the department of honorable discharge from the armed forces or of retirement from the national guard or military reserves.

Each armed forces veteran may elect to receive a veteran-designation decal to be placed across the top of the plate, centered above the registration number. Available decals include:

  • Medal of Honor recipient
  • Silver Star recipient
  • Bronze Star recipient
  • Navy Cross recipient
  • Distinguished Service Cross recipient
  • Air Force Cross recipient
  • Distinguished Flying Cross recipient
  • Combat Wounded
  • Merchant Marine
  • Atomic Veteran
  • Pearl Harbor survivor
  • Bataan Survivor
  • Navajo Code Talker
  • Vietnam Veteran
  • Korean Veteran
  • Disabled Korean Veteran
  • World War II Veteran
  • World War I Veteran
  • Grenada Veteran
  • Panama Veteran
  • Desert Storm Veteran
  • Iraqi Freedom Veteran

$8.00 of the $17.00 fee collected for each non-motorcycle plate is transferred to the Armed Forces Veterans License Fund, for the purpose of expanding services to rural areas of the state, including Native American communities and senior citizen centers.

Fee: $17.00 initially ($9.00 for motorcycles); no added fee upon regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10353
     
Children's Trust Fund (M.V. Code Secs. 66-3-420 and 66-3-420.1 NMSA 1978)
Any owner of a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, may apply for a special children's artwork registration plate featuring artwork of the children of New Mexico.

$25.00 of the fee collected for each plate ($15.00 for motorcycle plates) is distributed to the Children's Trust Fund to develop innovative children's projects dedicated to preventing abuse and neglect of children; providing medical, psychological and other appropriate treatment for children who are victims of abuse or neglect; and developing community-based services aimed at the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect; and to manage projects of the Next Generation Fund.

Fee: $42.00 ($22.00 for motorcycles) initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD11195
     
New Mexico Mounted Patrol and Rangers (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-421 NMSA 1978)
 
The division shall issue a special registration plate to any person who is a New Mexico Ranger or a member of the New Mexico Mounted Patrol, upon the submission of proof that the person is currently a New Mexico Ranger or a member of the New Mexico Mounted Patrol. Any person eligible for a Ranger or Mounted Patrol plate shall only be eligible for one such plate. 
Fee: None for plate or registration
     
Firefighters and Volunteer Firefighters (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-422 NMSA 1978)
Special Firefighter and Volunteer Firefighter plates are issued:
  • to a person employed as a New Mexico firefighter, with proof that the person is currently employed as a New Mexico firefighter, including submission of a signed consent form from the fire chief; and
  • to a person who is an active volunteer firefighter with a volunteer fire department recognized by the state fire marshal with proof that the person is currently an active member of a recognized volunteer fire department including submission of a signed consent form from the fire chief.

$15.00 of the $27.00 fee collected for each special Firefighter and Volunteer Firefighter plate is deposited in the Firefighters' Survivors Fund.

When a person holding a special Firefighter or Volunteer Firefighter plate ceases to be employed as a firefighter or serve as an active volunteer firefighter, the person shall immediately remove the plate from the vehicle and return it in exchange for a regular registration plate. A firefighter who holds a special plate and retires may retain the special plate.

Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD11316
 
Year of Manufacture (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-423 NMSA 1978)
  The division may specially register and permit the use of year-of-manufacture license plates on motor vehicles that are 30 or more years old. The division shall inspect the year-of-manufacture plate to ensure that it is in good condition and that the number on the plate is not already assigned or in use.
To qualify for use, the year-of-manufacture plate shall be an authentic plate issued in New Mexico during the motor vehicle's model year. Upon the sale or transfer of a motor vehicle bearing a year-of-manufacture plate, the plate may remain with the vehicle and be transferred to the new owner upon payment of a $10.00 fee in addition to regular registration fees.
Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration; $12.00 upon transfer to a new owner
Application form MVD11317
     
Pet Care (Spay-Neuter) (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.3 NMSA 1978)
The "Spay-Neuter" pet care special registration plate is available to any owner of a motor vehicle.
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD11249
     
Fraternal Order of Police (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.5 NMSA 1978)
The FOP special plate is available to any New Mexico member of the Fraternal Order of Police. When a person holding the special plate ceases to be a New Mexico member of the Fraternal Order of Police, he shall immediately remove the plate from the vehicle and return it in exchange for a regular registration plate.
Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD11303
     
Wildlife Artwork (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.6 NMSA 1978)
The special "share with wildlife" registration plate, featuring artwork of New Mexico wildlife, is available for any private motor vehicle except a motorcycle. No personalized or vanity design variation of the special wildlife artwork registration plates shall be issued. $15.00 of the initial fee and the entire renewal fee collected is distributed to the Share with Wildlife Program of the Game Protection Fund.
Fee: $27.00 initially and $12.00 upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10092
     
Route 66 (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.8 NMSA 1978)
The owner of any vehicle may apply for issuance of a special Route 66 commemorative registration plate. $25.00 of the additional fee is distributed and appropriated to the Department of Transportation to fund the revitalization and preservation of historic Route 66 in New Mexico pursuant to the national scenic byways program.
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD11259
     
Retired Firefighters (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.9 NMSA 1978)
The Retired Firefighters special registration plate is available to any person who is a retired New Mexico firefighter with proof that the person has retired from active employment as a firefighter.
Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD11316
     
Active-Duty Uniformed Service Members (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.11 NMSA 1978)
A motor vehicle owner who is an active duty uniform service member may apply for the issuance of a special Active Duty registration plate.
Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD11267
     
Retired NM State Police (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.13 NMSA 1978)
The special registration plate for retired New Mexico State Police officers is available to any person who is a retired New Mexico State Police officer, with submission of the officer's retirement commission from the New Mexico state police.
Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD11243
     
Organ Donor Awareness (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.15 NMSA 1978)
The special Organ Donation Awareness registration plate is designed to promoting awareness about the urgent need for organ and tissue donation in New Mexico.
Fee: $12.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD10666
     
Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.16 NMSA 1978)
The special registration plate for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) is available to any EMT who provides proof that he or she is an emergency medical technician licensed in New Mexico. When a person holding an EMT plate ceases to be an emergency medical technician, he shall immediately remove the plate from the vehicle and return it to the department, at which time it shall be exchanged for a regular registration plate.
Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD11248
     
Patriot (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.17 NMSA 1978)
The Patriot registration plate is available to any motor vehicle owner who is a patriot. No proof of patriotism is required. $8.00 of the $27.00 fee collected for each Patriot plate is transferred to the Armed Forces Veterans License Fund, for the purpose of expanding services to rural areas of the state, including Native American communities and senior citizen centers.
Fee: $27.00 upon initial registration
Application form MVD11300 
     
Cumbres & Toltec Railway (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.19 NMSA 1978)
The Cumbres & Toltec Railway plate is available to any motor vehicle owner. $25.00 of the $40.00 fee collected for each Cumbres & Toltec Railway plate is distributed to the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission.
Fee: $40.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD11309
     
Breast Cancer Awareness (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.22 NMSA 1978)
The Breast Cancer Awareness plate is available to any motor vehicle owner. $25.00 of the $37.00 fee collected for each Breast Cancer Awareness plate is transferred to the New Mexico Department of Health for the purpose of funding breast cancer screening, outreach and education.
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD11244
     
Las Cruces (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.23 NMSA 1978)
The City of Las Cruces registration plate is available only to motor vehicle owners who are residents of the City of Las Cruces. $25.00 of the $37.00 fee collected for each City of Las Cruces plate is appropriated to the city of Las Cruces Recreation Fund.
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10099
     
Gold Star Families (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.24 NMSA 1978)
The Gold Star Family registration plate is available to the surviving mother, father, stepparent or spouse of a service member killed in an armed conflict with an enemy of the United States. There is a limit of four Gold Star Family registration plates for each eligible family.
Fee: None, other than regular registration fees; registration fee also waived for first plate issued to the service member's mother or spouse
Application form MVD10100
     
Boy Scouts (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.25 NMSA 1978)
The "100 Years of Scouting" special plate is available to any motor vehicle owner to celebrate the centennial of the Boy Scouts of America.
Fee: $12.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10103
     
Santa Fe 400th (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.26 NMSA 1978)
The Santa Fe 400th special plate is no longer available. Issuance of this special plate was limited to applications received on or before June 30, 2012. $25.00 of the $37.00 fee for issuance of the Santa Fe 400th plate was distributed to the City of Santa Fe to commemorate the city's 400th anniversary.    
After June 30, 2012, a person may renew the Santa Fe 400th anniversary registration plate by paying only the regular motor vehicle registration fee. 
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal prior to July 1 2012
Application form MVD10098
     
Bass Fishing (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.27 NMSA 1978)
The Bass Fishing special plate is available to any motor vehicle owner. $15.00 of the initial fee and $10.00 of each renewal fee shall be distributed to the Bass Habitat Management Program of the Game Protection Fund.
Fee: $27.00 initially and $12.00 upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10105
     
4-H (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.29 NMSA 1978)
The 4-H special plate is available to any motor vehicle owner to indicate support for 4-H. $25.00 of the $37.00 fee for the 4-H plate will be distributed to the New Mexico State University for the New Mexico State 4-H office and for 4-H youth programs in the state.
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10104
     
Farm and Ranch (Motor Vehicle Code Section 66-3-424.30 NMSA 1978)
The special Farm and Ranch Community registration plate is available to any motor vehicle owner. $25.00 of the $37.00 fee for the Farm and Ranch Community plate will be distributed to the Farm and Ranch Heritage museum for educational programs. 
Fee: $37.00 initially and upon each regular registration renewal
Application form MVD10106