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New Specialty Plate Introduction Process

1. The organization must contact their legislator to have a bill for the plate introduced.

2. Once the bill has passed legislation, the contact person for the organization may send by e-mail to the Department of Revenue, dg_plate&supply.team@tn.gov, the following information:

  • Plate Name
  • Organizations Name
  • Contact Name
  • Contact Number
  • Mailing Address
  • Email Address

3. Once the information is received by the Department of Revenue a packet will be sent by e-mail to the contact person containing the following information:

  • Specifications for the artwork
  • Template for license plate
  • Template for names collected
  • General Information

4. The organization will have until June 30 of the following year to collect the names, addresses and also assign plate numbers to the names they have collected, design artwork and send the information along with one check made payable to the Department of Revenue to the following address by the close of business on June 30.

     Department of Revenue
     Vehicle Services Division
     44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
     Nashville, TN 37243-8050

5. If the organization is unable to collect the names and money required for the initial order, the organization may request an extension through the current legislative session before the statutory deadline. The organization would be responsible for contacting the legislator who initiated the bill and request an extension for this plate. The extension must be granted by legislation.

6. Once the remittance, names, and artwork have been submitted to the Department of Revenue it will take approximately four to six months before the plate is produced. Prior to the plate production metal samples will be produced for the organization to sign off on and there will be a system test and road test of the plate.

7. Once the plates have been approved, and testing has been completed, the plates will be produced and mailed to the county clerk offices. Letters will be mailed to the customers informing them when their assigned plate will be in their local county clerk's office.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I get a disabled specialty plate?

No, however, a disabled driver decal is available through the local county clerk's office. Disabled persons who currently own or elect to purchase new specialty earmarked plates may obtain a "Disabled Driver Decal" and take advantage of disabled parking privileges by certification of a permanent disability by a licensed physician or Christian Science Practitioner listed in the Christian Science Journal. There is no fee associated for this decal.

2. What do the stacked characters on the license plate mean?

The stacked characters on the license plate are assigned by the Tennessee Department of Revenue and are for office use only for the purpose of unique identification.

3. When does the organization begin to see funds for the specialty plates sold?

Once the plates have been produced the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration will contact the organization concerning the distribution of funds. The organization will not receive funds from the initial assigned plates sold until the plates are picked up by the customer at their local county clerk's office. Therefore, if an initial assigned plate is never picked up by the customer at their local county clerk's office the organization will not receive the funds from the sale of that plate.

4. How much money will the organization receive from the sale of the plates?

This is determined if the plate is cultural, specialty earmarked, or new specialty earmarked.

  • Cultural - The organization does not receive any funds from this plate and the funds collected are distributed 80% to the Tennessee Arts Commission and 20% to the Highway Fund. This is usually a college or university license plate.
  • Specialty Earmarked - The organization receives all funds from this plate after the cost of the plate is deducted. These are plates that were introduced and produced before July 1, 1998.
  • New Specialty Earmarked - The organization receives 50% of the funds collected from this plate after the cost of the plate is deducted. 40% goes to the Tennessee Arts Commission and 10% to the Highway Fund. Plates that have been introduced and produced after July 1, 1998.

5. Can we order personalized plates on the initial list from the organization?

No, the initial list must consist of numerical plates only. Once the plate is produced a personalized plate request may be sent to the Tennessee Department of Revenue by completing a Personalized Plate application and submitting the associated fee. The personalized plate application may be obtained here.