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About the Missouri License Plate

On August 10, 2021, Missouri will celebrate 200 years of statehood, or its bicentennial. To commemorate this historic occasion, the Missouri Legislature passed a law in 2016 requiring the Department of Revenue to begin a reissuance of license plates with a new bicentennial design, no later than January 1, 2019. The new bicentennial design will replace the Missouri bluebird license plate introduced in 2008.

The License Plate Design Advisory Committee was responsible for determining the new plate design. The committee was made up of the director of the Department of Revenue or his or her designee, the superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the correctional enterprises administrator, the director of the Department of Transportation, the executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, and the respective chairpersons of both the Senate and House of Representatives Transportation Committees. (301.125, RSMo)

This design is representative of the entire state, not specific to a certain region. The plate celebrates the bicentennial with red waves at the top of the plate and blue waves at the bottom of the plate to symbolize our Missouri flag and Missouri rivers, which figure prominently in the state’s historic role as a gateway for American exploration and transportation. The design also features Missouri’s state seal in the center of the plate, the years 1821 and 2021, and a star. Additionally, the Missouri State Highway Patrol noted this new design offers the greatest readability of all plates tested for visibility during the day and nighttime hours.

Missouri license plates are made of aluminum and are manufactured by the Missouri Department of Corrections at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. Standard license plates are embossed (raised lettering), while personalized license plates are made by a computer graphics process that produces a flat license plate. This process allows the Department to produce very detailed specialty license plates (which may or may not be personalized) that commemorate a particular organization, activity, or charity. You may view the various specialty license plates by clicking here.

Year Tabs

Most Missouri license plates require an expiration year tab, which is color-coded and includes the expiration year of the registration. The tabs are issued when a new or renewal registration transaction is processed.

The Missouri Department of Revenue will discontinue issuing enhanced security tabs effective close of business July 31, 2019. Enhanced tabs are only offered at 14 of the roughly 170 license offices around the state. Beginning August 1, 2019, all license offices in Missouri will only issue standard tabs, which display the expiration year in the middle of the tab. If the license office you visit runs out of its enhanced tab inventory prior to August 1, 2019, you will receive standard tabs. Discontinuation of the enhanced tabs is expected to save the state approximately $250,000 annually.

Click here for information on how to replace stolen license plates or tabs.

Temporary Third License Plate (for motor vehicle with an obscured rear license plate)

If a rear Missouri license plate is obstructed from view by a bicycle rack, luggage rack, or other similar device, the vehicle owner has the option to obtain a Temporary Third License Plate. This "third license plate" is printed on 8½" x 11" non-secure white paper and will contain the same license plate configuration and expiration date as the permanent license plate assigned to the motor vehicle. It is to be placed in the interior of the vehicle’s rear window such that the driver’s view out of the rear vehicle is not obstructed and the plate configuration is clearly visible from the outside of the vehicle.

In order to obtain a Temporary Third License Plate, the vehicle owner must submit the following items to our central office:

Applicants should mail the completed form and fee to the address listed on the application form.

If you have questions about how to apply for Missouri license plates, Ask Motor Vehicle!