This process is for groups interested in sponsoring an Authorized Special Group license plate. These plates provide recognition for the group. Your group may also receive contributions from the collection of annual $25 donations with the issuance of each plate and each subsequent registration renewal. Groups may choose not to accept donations for the plates.
In the past, groups needed to apply to their local state legislators to sponsor a bill to authorize issuance of special group license plates. The bill needed to be approved by the Wisconsin State Legislature and signed into law by the governor. In 2016, a law changed the process (2015 Wisconsin Act 227). With this new process, groups apply directly to the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for a special group plate.
To apply, groups must pay a $15,500 fee for development costs and collect signatures from 500 Wisconsin residents who intend to purchase the special plates. If authorized (see approval process below), the group must maintain 500 valid special plate registrations after three years, or DMV will discontinue issuing the plates.
Can any group apply?
Any group or organization may apply for special group license plates. However, all groups will be subject to the approval process (see below).
What is needed?
- A development fee of $15,500
- 500 physical signatures from Wisconsin residents supporting the group’s special group
- A completed application form MV2090 Authorized Special Group License Plate Application and Signature Page
What is the approval process?
Upon receipt of a valid application, including development fee and signature lists, within three business days DMV will:
1. Deposit the $15,500 development fee check
2. Review signature lists. To be considered a valid signature, each line must:
a. Must be original ink
b. Must include home address
c. Must be separate individuals
d. Must be of Wisconsin residency
e. Must have legible home address, city, and state
f. Cannot be:
i. Electronically signed
iv. A fictitious name
v. An address outside of Wisconsin
g. Groups will be notified of the number of incomplete signatures. DMV will hold the application and will not proceed to the next step of the approval process until:
i. The group submits the additional signatures required, or
ii. The group withdrawals the application
1. The group’s development fee will be refunded in full.
2. The application forms will not be returned.
3. Post the group’s application on the WisDOT website for public review for 30 days
a. If no Wisconsin resident submits an objection to the group’s application, the group is approved.
b. An objection to the application may be based on any of the following grounds or other grounds:
i. The group or organization is organized or operated for profit.
ii. The group or organization is a committee, as defined in s. 11.0101 (6)
, Wis. stats.
iii. The group or organization is a church, a synagogue, a mosque, or any organization, whether or not organized under ch. 187
, that operates under a creed.
iv. The group or organization promotes, practices, or encourages hatred or any form of discrimination.
v. The group or organization carries connotations offensive to good taste or decency, or that would be misleading, or in conflict with the enumeration or designation of any other authorized special group.
i. Objections are not accepted by phone or in person.
4. If an objection is filed, DMV will forward the group’s application to the Transportation Committee for review in both houses of the Wisconsin State Legislature. The decision of the legislative review to approve or deny the application is final.
5. If approved, DMV will notify the group and begin the development phase. This phase takes up to one year to complete before the group's plate will be available for public purchase.
6. If not approved, DMV will notify the group and refund the group’s development fee in full. The application forms will not be returned.
Things you should know:
- Once the special group plate is available for purchase, the plates must achieve and maintain a minimum of 500 valid registrations within 3 years.
- If, at any time thereafter, the number of valid registrations falls below the threshold of 500 valid registrations:
- DMV will notify the group that it has 12 months to meet this threshold.
- Failure to maintain 500 annual registrations after this 12 month period will result in DMV eliminating the special plate as a purchase option. Current plate holders may keep the plates until such time as DMV selects the plates for reissue and replacement with regular license plates.
- Groups may choose to limit issuance of the plates to group members only, or make them available to any Wisconsin motorist.
- Groups may choose to collect annual $25 donations with the issuance of each plate and each subsequent registration renewal.
- Groups may choose not to accept donations and the plates will be in recognition only of the group.
- All special license plates cost $15, when new plates are issued, in addition to the regular registration fees.
- For each renewal period after a plate has been issued, personalized special license plates cost an additional $15.
- Issuance fees and personalized plate fees are separate from the donation collected and are not disbursed to an authorized group that receives donations.
- If the plate design includes words or symbols that is a trademark, trade name or other commercial symbol, the group is responsible for any licensing fees associated to the words or symbols.
Vehicles that qualify for special group plates:
- An automobile
- A motor home (annual registration only)
- A private truck, dual purpose motor home or dual purpose farm truck that has a gross weight of 8,000 pounds or less
- A farm truck that has a gross weight of 12,000 pounds or less
For more information, please refer to application form MV2090 or contact the Special Plates Unit.