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Guide A Guide to purchasing a specialty environmental license plate

You can purchase a specialty environmental license plate that will support the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. Learn about the three different types of specialty environmental plates.

Table of Contents

Overview

  • The special plates are renewed every two years.

  • You cannot personalize these plates. Like all Massachusetts specialty license plates, the plates begin with two letters followed by up to four digits.

  • Special plates are randomly assigned. You may not request a particular plate number or retain your current plate number. If you are interested in our low number (1-99) auction, you can sign up for our mailing list

  • Proceeds from the sale of these environmentally-themed license plates afford MET to make grants that support:

    • Protecting endangered species

    • Supporting research teams that disentangle whales

    • Research on whale study and conservation

    • Development of safer technologies of fishing gear

    • Restoring marine and freshwater habitat

    • Monitoring water quality throughout the state

  • For more information, you can contact the state's Specialty Plate Department at: 1-857-368-8031.

How much does a plate cost?

Initial Cost

RMV registration fee:  $60
The special plate fee is: $40 (tax-deductible contribution)
Total first time fee: $100
Renewal fee every 2 years $100
Plate swap fee: $20

How often are the special plates renewed?

  • The special plates are renewed once every two years.

Where does my money go?

  • For $20 a year you are providing grants for protecting endangered species, for the research teams that disentangle whales and sea turtles, for research on marine and freshwater animals and fish, for the development of safer technologies of fishing gear, and so much more.  All of the Trust’s revenue comes from the license plate program with the “whale plate” generating a large percentage of our total annual income.

Is the special plate fee tax-deductible?

  • Yes, $28 is tax-deductible with your first-time order ($12 goes to the RMV for production costs) and the entire $40 specialty plate fee is a tax-deductible donation upon every renewal.

Does the cost of the specialty plate include my vehicle registration fees?

  • No, your registration fees are not included during the new plate development process. You must renew your current vehicle registration bi-annually at a fee of $100.00.  Of this fee $40.00 goes to MET and $60 is the RMV’s registration renewal fee.

Is the $40 a one time payment?

  • No. The $40 is paid every two years coinciding with your registration renewal along with the standard renewal fee of $60. So, the total is $100 every two years.

Types of Plates

 

New- Striped Bass Conservation License Plate

The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) and the MA Environmental Trust (MET) are developing this plate to support new programs to research, protect, and preserve striped bass populations, ensuring that future generations of anglers have the opportunity to experience the unmatched thrill of fishing for this iconic species. For additional information please visit Massachusetts Striped Bass Conservation License Plate.

Striped Bass Conservation License Plate

Purchase

 

Right Whale & Roseate Terns Plate

Offered since 1994, this popular plate features the fluke of a right whale and two roseate terns. The North Atlantic right whale is the state marine mammal and the world’s most endangered large whale. Roseate terns are native to Massachusetts and are also endangered. Both of these animals are federally recognized endangered species and are dependent upon healthy Massachusetts ecosystems for their survival.

Plate and renewal proceeds support conservation efforts and the disentanglement specialists that work to protect marine animals, most importantly the critically endangered right whale. For additional information please visit Massachusetts Right Whale & Roseate Terns Conservation License Plate.

Right Whale & Roseate Terns Plate

Purchase

 

Leaping Brook Trout Plate

Introduced in 1998, the brook trout represents Massachusetts cold waterways. The brook trout is a native to the state’s western streams and this popular game fish serves as a symbol of both the pristine water in which it thrives, and the recreational benefits of a health environment.

Leaping Brook Trout Plate

Purchase

 

Blackstone Valley Mill Plate

The Blackstone Valley, running through the central part of the state, was the birthplace of the American industrial Revolution. Offered since 1999, the BV plate reminds us that our environmental focus must include more than whales and habitat protection. This plate highlights the need to restore our urban rivers and streams to enhance their ecology and improve the health of riverfront communities.

Blackstone Valley Mill Plate

Purchase 

How do I Purchase a Plate?

  1. Visit MyRMV to order your specialty plate online through the  MASS RMV - There are no shipping fees when ordering online
  2. Choose ORDER A SPECIAL/VANITY PLATE
  3. Fill out the required form on the RMV site
  4. Select the vehicle you want the plate for and press next
  5. From the Vehicle Registration Plate Order page scroll down to the next button
  6. Choose Charitable Plate from dropdown menu
  7. Choose Blackstone Valley, Fish & Wildlife or Right Whale plate from the dropdown menu
  8. Go through the motions and pay. Your new plates, registration, and decal will be mailed to you within 10 business days

You can also visit any Mass full service RMV.  Before you go contact your car insurance provider and ask them to send you a signed RMV-3 Form for a plate swap.  As long as your registration is in good standing, you will leave with new with plates in hand!

Important notes:

  • Your new specialty plate, registration, and decal will be mailed to you, so be sure to update your address on file before purchasing the plate.
  • If your registration is expiring this current month, and it is past the 15th, then you can't purchase the plate online.
  • Company-owned (commercial) and company-leased vehicles cannot order a specialty plate. However, if you are leasing a vehicle, you can ask the dealer for an environmental plate

RMV COVID‐19 Information

We are sorry that at this time you cannot order a Whale, Trout, or Blackstone Valley special plate online due covid-19 BUT you can call the Special Plates Department at 857-368-8031 and you will be instructed on what needs to be done to get an enviro-plate. If you or a car dealer registers for an enviro-plate via an RMV Service Center (for instance if you are purchasing a new vehicle) then you will get a temporary plate for the special plate request and the Special Plate Department will issue and send you the new plate. A complete list of the more than 40 transactions that can be processed online, by phone, or by mail is available at mass.gov/rmv. The RMV is continually working to identify additional transactions that may be available without an in‐person visit.

Who can get an MET Environmental License Plate?

  • 30,000+ Massachusetts drivers of passenger vehicles have one of MET’s 3 Environmental License Plates and all of these people are helping our environment while preserving the Bay State’s heritage and water resources.

  • You do not need to be a Massachusetts resident. Anyone with a car registered in the state of Massachusetts may purchase an MET Environmental Specialty Plate.

  • Specialty plates are for passenger vehicles only. In addition: Your registration must be active and in good standing. You must be the registered owner of the vehicle.

  • As of now, you cannot put a specialty plate on a commercial vehicle. There is legislation being proposed that would allow commercial vehicles to be able to have a specialty plate.

  • You can put a specialty plate on a leased vehicle. You will need a Power of Attorney letter from your leasing agent in addition to a RMV-3 form signed by your car insurance provider. Car dealerships will not have MV plates available, so you will need to accept whatever plate the dealer puts on the vehicle and then make the swap at the your local RMV.

  • As of now, you cannot put a specialty plate on a motorcycle. There is legislation being proposed that would allow motorcycles to be able to have a specialty plate.

Application, paperwork, and pickup information

  • Bring to the RMV: You will need to bring a completed RMV-3 form signed by your car insurance provider. To obtain this form, call your car provider and ask them to send you a signed RMV-3 form for a plate swap. Bring this form with you to the RMV. As long as your current registration is in good standing (no outstanding excise taxes, fines, tickets, etc.) you will be able to leave with plates in hand that day. 

  • Pick up your new plate: You will be notified by mail when your plates have been shipped to the RMV Service Center listed on your application. Bring your registration and current plates (if applicable) to the RMV Service Center at that time.  There is a $20 plate swap fee plus any applicable registration fees due at the time of plate pick-up. These fees will depend on your current plate number and expiration year.  The old license plates can be returned the RMV or destroyed.  If you qualify to order the plates online, the plates are mailed to your home, you do not need to go to the registry.

  • Requesting multiple platesMassDOT requires a separate application and check for each specialty plate requested.

  • Purchasing Plate as a gift: If you are purchasing the license plate as a gift, please enter the information of the individual that the car is registered to. The order form information should match the information associated with the registration of the car.

  • Can someone else pick up my plate?: Yes, as long none of the information on the originally submitted application has changed.

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