Wisconsin License Plates

Support cancer research, wetland preservation, home defense, and lots of other worthy causes with one of Wisconsin’s fantastic custom license plates.
Written by Samuel Todd
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
From the “Ducks Unlimited” design that encourages conservation of the North American wetlands to a “Nurses Change Lives” plate that supports US healthcare providers,
has a fabulous array of custom license plates.
If you want to learn the inside scoop on Wisconsin’s best license plates, you’ve come to the right place. We're here to break it down for you: which plates are the coolest and how you can get one.

What are Wisconsin license plates and why do I need them?

A Wisconsin license plate is your car’s identification. It verifies that your vehicle is registered, explains the type of registration you’ve got, and ties you to your vehicle.
Though you might not think about it every day, your license plate is important for a bunch of reasons! If you ever get into an accident, it’ll help insurance companies determine whose fault the crash was. On top of that, plates help police officers track down stolen cars and thwart criminals, so they’re crucial to a functioning society.
According to the Wisconsin State Legislature, you need to have a rear and
front license plate
securely fastened to your car at all times.
But don’t worry—even though you need to have a license plate, it doesn’t mean you can’t make it a fun one!

What license plates does Wisconsin have?

Wisconsin’s license plates fall into three major categories:
  • Standard license plates have red lettering across the top and “America’s Dairyland” written along the bottom
  • Special interest license plates, which support specific causes like environmentalism and scientific research 
  • Special license plates that come in all shapes and sizes—they’re for antique cars, veterans, universities, and more

Standard license plates

  • Standard automobile
    : This classic look has a white background, black lettering, and costs $85. It’s the most common license plate in Wisconsin.
  • Personalized automobile
    : For an extra $15, you can customize your license plate with seven characters of your choosing. Just fill out an application—and be ready to explain the meaning behind your plate!

Special interest license plates

  • Cure childhood cancer
    : This design features a yellow ribbon and purple heart, and your $25 annual donation will go towards the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund, which is dedicated to funding childhood cancer research.
  • Ducks Unlimited
    : Since 1937, Ducks Unlimited has helped to preserve 9.4 million acres of American wetlands. Your $25 annual donation will allow Ducks Unlimited to continue its conservationist mission.
  • Keeping the Lights On
    : How about some love for Wisconsin’s wonderful utility workers? For just a $15 issuance fee, you can raise awareness for the people who keep your home lights on, come hailstorm or high water.
  • Nurses Change Lives
    : The $25 donation that comes with this plate goes to the Wisconsin Organization of Nurse Executives—perfect for anybody who wants to support America’s healthcare system.
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
    : Donate to Wisconsin’s Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation—and get a sweet picture of an elk on your plate—for just a $15 issuance fee and $25 annual donation!

Special license plates

  • Amateur radio: If you’re hoping to get the word out about your local radio station, you can advertise your FCC call sign on your plate. 
  • Antique: If you’ve got an old-school Model T (or any vehicle that was manufactured before 1945), you can certify that you own a classic with a yellow and green antique plate.
  • Disabled parking: Disabled parking plates are super helpful for anyone who has a permanent disability.
  • Firefighter: If you’re working as a firefighter, you can represent your profession with pride by getting one of Wisconsin’s awesome red and white firefighter plates. 
  • Military: Speaking of representing your profession with pride, Wisconsin has more than 50 military designs for you to consider. From the Air Force to the National Guard, Wisconsin’s wide array of military plates has you covered.

How do I get a Wisconsin license plate?

To get a license plate in Wisconsin, all you have to do is register your car.
  • You can also register by mailing a license plate application to the address listed on the application form.
Whichever path you choose, you’ll need to have these things handy:
  • Proof of ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • The car’s current title (only for people who just moved from out-of-state)
  • Payment
  • Title fee: $164.50
  • Passenger vehicle: $85 (electric vehicle: $100)
  • A wheel tax between $10 and $30
And voila! Once you’ve finished this process, you’re on your way to owning your favorite personalized plates.
Remember, applications can take a few weeks to process—so it might be best to apply by mail and use your temporary plates in the meantime!
made switching over to new insurance so quick and easy! My monthly payment went from $469 to $362 by switching me to Progressive. 10/10 would recommend!” —Luanne T.
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Including more than 50 military plates, Wisconsin has well over 100 types of plates—so you’re sure to find your perfect fit!
Yes. Wisconsin is one of thirty states that requires both front and rear plates to be securely fastened and easily readable.
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