City Cast

A Guide to Specialty License Plates

Peyton Garcia
Peyton Garcia
Posted on February 8   |   Updated on June 20
There are how many specialty license plates? (Dave Buresh / Denver Post via Getty Images)

There are how many specialty license plates? (Dave Buresh / Denver Post via Getty Images)

Does the license plate above look familiar? If so, that’s because it’s the most popular specialty license plate in the state. It honors the victims and survivors of the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999. This type of plate is called a “group special” and according to May Ortega at CPR, Colorado has over 200 of them. I’ve only had the default green Colorado license plate on my cars and motorcycles, so I was curious about how to get one of these specialty editions. If you’re also looking to spice up your vehicle, here is a quick guide to group special license plates.

What is a group special license plate?

These plates highlight a particular organization or cause – like the Columbine plate above. It’s important to note that these are different from vanity plates. (If you want a custom message on your license plate, that’s an entirely different process that includes a rigorous vetting of your word choices.)

Is there a list of Colorado specialty plates?

Yes! There are dozens of options and the DMV’s website has a list that includes information on each specialty plate and sample photos, so you know exactly what they look like. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Pueblo Chile
  • State Parks
  • Support Aviation
  • Pikes Peak Hill Climb

How do I get one?

It’s not as simple as checking a box when you order new plates. The DMV page linked above outlines requirements — some require a small donation to a selected organization (like plates for the Colorado Rockies and Denver Nuggets), and some are given only to those who are part of an entity (like the CU Boulder plate or all armed services). If you buy an electric vehicle you can get an EV specialty plate at no extra cost.

What if I want to submit my own specialty plate?Great news! Certain organizations can submit a request for a group special plate, but you must meet a few requirements. Here are just a few:

  • Must be initiated by a nonprofit
  • Collect 3,000 signatures from vehicle owners
  • Prepay specialty fees
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