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Everything About New Mexico License Plates and Frames

  • Things To Know
  • Sara Sam
  • 5 minutes

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 License plates are mandatory to drive your car. However, license plate frames are a  choice. If you are an auto enthusiast and like to carry a signature, then license plate frames are certainly the best way out. If you are from New Mexico, getting a license plate frame is legal. Here, we break down everything you need to know about license plates and frames in the Land of Enchantment!

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What rules should you follow for New Mexico license plates?

When it comes to license plates, New Mexico is certainly not very different from the other states. But, it is the only state that specifies “USA” on the license plates, to avoid confusion with the country Mexico.

The state’s motor vehicle department also offers different options for license plates. However, to obtain unique, or customized license plates, drivers must pay an extra fee. In addition, car owners must renew their license plate credentials before a vehicle registration expires.

Also Read:  How Long Does It Take To Get a License Plate?

What are the types of license plates in New Mexico?

The types of license plates offered by the New Mexico MVD are mentioned below. However, one must make sure that it follows the rules of the New Mexico MVD.

  • Standard Centennial Plates
  • Standard Red and Yellow Plates
  • Personalized Plates
  • Handicapped Plates
  • Historical or Vintage Plates
  • Military and Veteran Plates
  • Motorcycle Plates
  • Organizational Plates
  • Collegiate Plates

How to apply for a license plate in the state

A license plate is mandatory for all cars registered in New Mexico. However, it must be applied along with the initial car registration process. Drivers must submit a license plate application within 30 days of purchasing a new or used car. Meanwhile, one must visit the MVD office in person to apply for a license plate.

The documents that must be submitted for the same are as follows.

  • Certificate of origin, odometer statement, and dealer invoice
  • Identity proof and two proofs of state residency
  • Auto insurance proof
  • Registration and licensing fee
  • If you are a Bernalillo County resident, then proof of emission certificate inspection
  • A power of attorney, if applicable

However, if you are registering a used vehicle, you will certainly require a few additional documents along with those mentioned above.

  • Title certificate of the car
  • Odometer disclosure statement
  • Proof of trade-in, bill of sale, or dealer invoice
  • Lien release and lienholder information

Also Read: What is Lienholder on a car? Everything you need to know

What are the fees for license plates in the state?

All non-standard (fee-based) license plates must be purchased by the vehicle’s registration term. So, in addition to the registration charge, a two-year registration will also result in two years’ worth of plate payments.

For example, the collegiate plate might have an annual price of $37 in addition to the registration fee. In other words, if the car is registered for two years, the total cost for the plate alone would be $72.00. However, the administrative fee of $2.00 is only collected once.

License Plate 


Standard License Plates 
  • Standard Centennial License Plates 
  •  Red and Yellow License Plates 
  • Chile Plate 
Personalized License Plates 
  • Centennial Vanity Plates 
  • Red and Yellow Vanity Plates 
  • Las Cruces License Plates 
  • $17 
  • $17 
  • $37 
Collegiate License Plates 
  • Eastern New Mexico University 
  • University of New Mexico 
  • New Mexico Community College, Military Institute, Highlands University, State University, Tech University, New Mexico College, Central New Mexico Community College
  • $37 
Handicapped Plate 
  • Disabled Person 
Historical or Vintage Plates 
  • Horseless Carriage 


$17.50 and $7.50 every five years upon revalidation 
Military Veteran Plate   
  • Gold Star Family 
  • Active Duty National Guard 


Military Service Special Plate   
  • Air Force Veteran 
  • Army Veteran 
  • Coast Guard Veteran 
  • Disabled Veteran Wheelchair 
  • Marine Veteran 
  • Navy Veteran 
  • Woman Veteran 


  • $17 
Police, Firefighters, and Emergency Medical Technician Plates   
  • Emergency Medical Technicians 
  • Fraternal Order of Police 
  • Retired Fire Fighters, NM State Police, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, and Volunteer Firefighters 


  • $27 
Organizational and Causes Plates   
  • Amateur Radio Operator 
  • Autism Awareness 
  • Patriot License Plate 
  • Organ Donor 
  • Wildlife Artwork
  • Bass Fishing 
  • Boy Scouts Centennial 
  • Children’s Trust Fund 
  • Pet Care 
  • Cumbres and Toltec Highway 
  • Farm and Ranch Heritage 
  • Adopt a Child 
  • Pollinator Protection 
  • Breast Cancer Awareness 
  • Route 66 


  • $5 
  • $35 
  • $27 
  • $12
  • $27
  • $27  
  • $12 
  • $42 
  • $37 
  • $40 
  • $37 
  • $12 
  • $25 
  • $37 
  • $37 



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Are license plate frames legal in New Mexico?

Yes. License plate frames are completely legal in the state. The state certainly permits you to use frames to give your license plates a unique touch. In the same vein, to own a stylized plate, one must meet certain legal conditions.

The visibility of the text on the plates is also a major criterion one should meet while opting for frames.

Also Read: Penalties for driving without car insurance in New Mexico

Are license plate covers allowed in New Mexico?

Yes. License plate covers are also legal in New Mexico. However, the state has posed certain rules that one should follow while using license plate covers.

Firstly, you cannot attach any covers that obstruct or impairs a license plate’s clear display and legibility. Secondly, the cover must be constructed of transparent material like plastic or glass. Thirdly, the material used should not be tinted.

Meanwhile, if you are driving with an unreadable license plate due to an obstructive frame then, you will be fined $25 and court fees of $65.

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