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Everything You Need to Know About Kentucky License Plates

  • Cars Explained
  • Renee Martin
  • 4 minutes

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Registering your vehicle is only one part of the ownership process in Kentucky. You need to set up your Kentucky license plates properly too! In this post, we break down everything you need to know about it.

No matter who tells you otherwise, license plates are an important part of driving laws in Kentucky. Don’t make the mistake of driving without having them properly in place! Despite some changes here and there with respect to the laws (Kentucky is a one-plate state), it’s wise to keep track of all the rules in one place.

Here’s a lowdown of everything you need to know!

What rules should you follow for Kentucky license plates?

You will be furnished with a new Kentucky license plate when you register and title your vehicle with the Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles Licensing (DMV). Unlike some other states, Kentucky does not require a front license plate – you only need to affix one plate at the rear.

everything you want to know about kentucky license plates


What color are the Kentucky license plates?

The license plates in Kentucky have evolved over the decades but have maintained the same basic template. Until 2019, they consisted of dark blue lettering embossed on a white plate, with ‘KENTUCKY’ in large letters followed by ‘BLUEGRASS STATE’ in smaller ones.

However, after 2019, they have transitioned to a flat, digitally printed plate with dark blue letters on a white and light blue background.

Kentucky license plates

¬† ¬†Image credit: Jerry “Woody” from Flickr via Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Does Kentucky require a front license plate?

No, KY is a one-plate state. You only need a rear license plate when driving in Kentucky. Other states that have a one-plate rule include Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, etc.

Are license plate frames legal in Kentucky? 

Yes, according to Kentucky state law, license frames are legal. However, they should be attached in such a way that no lettering or numbers are obscured by the frame.

Are license plate covers illegal in KY? 

No, license plate covers are not illegal in KY as long as they don’t obscure any of the text/decals on the plate.

Are tinted license plate covers illegal in KY? 

Tinted license plate covers can obscure parts of your plate and can make it harder to read. Hence, they are deemed illegal in Kentucky.                                    

How to get a custom license plate in Kentucky? 

You can personalize your license plate by submitting a request to the Kentucky Cabinet’s Plate Review Committee.¬†

The process is as follows: 

  • Go to the Plate List application page and enter your character combination to check if it is available. You can do this by clicking the image of the plate you want and selecting ‘Personalize Your Plate.’¬†
  • After making the required changes, click on ‘Request This Plate’ to formally apply for it.¬†
  • Depending on the availability, you will receive an email notifying you whether your application has been pre-approved¬†
  • If pre-approved, you can go straight to the County Clerk’s office and pay $25 as a ‘personalized plate fee’¬†

Your customized character combination cannot be more than six letters including spaces. You also cannot discriminate against race, religion, color, sex, or nationality. 

Also read: How long does it take to get a license plate? 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Kentucky a two-plate state?

No, Kentucky is a one-plate state, which means you do not need to have a front plate. It is perfectly legal to drive here with just a rear plate. 

How much does a KY license plate cost?

A standard KY license plate costs $21. Renewing a license plate and personalizing it both also cost $25.

What are the different types of KY license plates? 

The Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles allows the following types of license plates:

  • Standard License Plates
  • Occupational License Plates
  • Military License Plates
  • Classic Car License Plates
  • Membership License Plates

Texas license plates

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