Starting August 1999, The Commonwealth of PA began replacing their yellow-and-blue-background license plates with a new design to bring some consistency to their PA Dept of Transportation (PennDOT) issued plates. The new design, referred to as the “Family of Plates,” features a white background with blue and yellow borders and is still used to this day. From time to time, the Pennsylvania Department of vehicles also issues new variations of “Specialty Registration Plates”.
The latest example of a specialty registration plate is the Semiquincentennial (in other words, the celebration of 250 years) registration plate. The most recent USA Semiquincentennial registration plate became available October 29, 2020 and will be available for purchase until December 31, 2026. This plate edition celebrates the 250th birthday of the United States and depicts the image of the Liberty Bell with “1776-2026” above and “250 years” below the image. The Semiquincentennial, and any celebration of American history milestones for that matter, holds particular importance to drivers in the Delaware Valley. The Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall, a Pennsylvania State House, and local residents continue to take pride in this piece of national history.
This new Semiquincentennial plate is available for a passenger car or truck with a registered GVW less than 14,001 pounds, as well as for motorcycles, and motor homes. For those looking to apply for one of these specialty plates, you will need to prepare $50 (plus an additional $108 for vanity/personalization) by check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you lose your specialty plate, you will need to pay the customary $11 Lost Plate Replacement fee when you submit an application.
The USA Semiquincentennial plate is also eligible for “Vanity” customization for any vehicle if the applicant desires. The motorcycle design differs to accommodate a smaller plate area. Vanity plates for motorcycles with the Semiquincentennial design must have four digits, as opposed to five on standard automobile plates. When you choose the characters for your custom plate, you may use only one hyphen or space, but not both. No additional special characters, outside of the standard numbers and letters, are available for order. When you request a numeric character of zero, list the number as “ø” instead of the alpha character of “O”. On all of the custom plates you order, whether for an automobile, motorcycle or truck, a pre-printed letter configuration of “FR” (Freedom Ring, as in “Let Freedom Ring”) will follow your personalized configuration on your registration plate and cannot be changed.
To apply by mail, complete the “Application for USA Semiquincentennial Plate” Form MV-919. For a complete list of all plates and current personalization fees, refer to Form MV-706S. You can also apply in-person at our office if you need help processing your application or selecting optional personalization (service fees apply).