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Maryland's Star-Spangled License Plate

On June 14, 2010, the Maryland Motor Vehicles Administration (MVA) released a new Star-Spangled themed standard issued license plate for all passenger, trucks, and multipurpose vehicles.

What is the image on the plate?


The Star-Spangled Banner flying over the ramparts of Fort McHenry today.

The image of new standard license plate features the 15-stripe, 15-star, Star-Spangled Banner flying over the ramparts of Fort McHenry as “bombs burst in air.”

The image is meant to represent two things: first, the 25-hour British bombardment of the fort during the Battle of Baltimore in September 1814; second, a celebratory bicentennial commemoration of the Star-Spangled Banner featuring with fireworks over Fort McHenry. Learn more about the Star-Spangled Banner and War of 1812 in Maryland on our Star-Spangled History page.  

What is the significance of Maryland and the War of 1812?
No place in the United States is better prepared, or has a better claim, to serving as a portal to the understanding of the significance of the War of 1812. Maryland’s rich War of 1812 history comprises of over 600 related resources, including the Star-Spangled Banner and our National Anthem.

Governor Martin O'Malley issued an Executive Order on September 8, 2007 to create the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission.  The Commission is planning a multi-year cultural tourism and educational initiative to commemorate Maryland's unique contributions to the defense and heritage of the nation.

By commemorating the bicentennial, Maryland can enjoy an elevated profile among statewide, national, and international audiences.  Additionally, the Bicentennial has the potential to give Marylanders a renewed sense of pride in the state’s important contributions to the nation’s heritage; protect and support our War of 1812-related natural and cultural resources; educate using a relevant and inspiring curriculum; and stimulate community revitalization and tourism.

The bicentennial of the War of 1812 can be seen as an one-time chance to elevate Maryland globally as a premier location to live, work and visit, and to increase economic opportunities for Marylanders.  Learn more about the planning  Read more about the Commission's initiatives in Star-Spangled 200: A National Bicentennial in Maryland.

How do I get the license plate?
This plate is standard issue for any new vechicles. If you wish to obrain the plate by trading in your current license plate, you will need to complete the Application for Substitute Plates/Stickers/Duplicate Registration Card form (VR-009) and pay the $20.00 substitute plate fee by mail or in person at any full service MVA office.  Please contact the MVA with any additional questions regarding license plates: 1-800-950-1MVA (1-800-950-1682).

How long will this be the standard plate?

This image will be standard license plate for all passenger, trucks, disability, motorcycles, motorcycle disability and multipurpose vehicles through June 2015, the end of the War of 1812 bicentennial period.

What is the cost?

Just as there was no cost to receive the former standard black and white plate, there is no additional cost for the Star-Spangled plates other than your regular registration fee.  However, if you would like to change from a black and white plate to the new plate, there is a $20 fee. 

Will this replace my black and white standard plate?

The War of 1812 plate is not replacing all black and white standard plates. If you already have standard black and white plates, you will keep them. As not all plates are being replaced, this is not considered replating.

What is the significance of the letters and numbers?

The plates are sequential. "MD" (for Maryland) was the first combination of letters for the plate. Following “MD” was “AA," “AB,” and so on.

What if I want to get an Agricultural or Chesapeake Bay plate – are those still available?

The Star-Spangled themed standard issue plate is just one of a variety of other license plates available to the citizens of Maryland, including the Chesapeake Bay and Agricultural commemorative plates, as well as approximately 800 approved organizational plates.  A complete listing of the organizational plates may be found on MVA's website. Owners of Maryland registered vehicles that were issued the standard black and white plates, prior to June 14, 2010, may continue to use the plates.  The plates may be transferred to other vehicles, following all existing rules for a registration transfer. Please contact the MVA with any additional questions regarding license plates: 1-800-950-1MVA (1-800-950-1682).

May I get a personalized plate with the new design?
Yes! All personalized standard passenger, multipurpose, disability, motorcycles, and motorcycle disability vehicles receive the new standard War of 1812 plate. Trailers, street rod, and historic vehicles will continue to be printed on the black and white plate. In addition, you can continue to receive an Agricultural or Chesapeake Bay personalized plate upon request. 
If you already have a personalized plate and want to re-order it on the War of 1812 stock, a $20.00 fee is required to replace a personalized plate. Please
contact the MVA with any additional questions regarding license plates: 1-800-950-1MVA (1-800-950-1682).

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