District of Columbia License Plates

"DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA" replaced "WASHINGTON, D.C." at the transition from the EJ series to the EK series.

Since about the DJ 9000 series, passenger plates have had slightly shorter serial characters that are seen on many, but not all, personalized plates. All of the DK prefix plates spotted so far also have them. Some Taxi plates have the same font. It seems that D.C. plates are now using the shorter serial font that is also now used on U.S. Government plates. This font began to appear on USG plates when they switched to a new base with a full-color (rather than bluescale) U.S. flag in the background. Some DJ/DK series have the shorter letters but full-size numbers. Some USG plates have reverted to full-size font.

Serial fonts continue to be all over the place, with, since the DJ 9xxx series have included 4 variations: normal, full-size letters and numbers; short letters and numbers; short letters and full-size numbers; and, starting tin the DM series, full-height characters but with a slightly thinner stroke.

Standard Passenger Plates


JD 6203
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The AP series has not yet been confirmed in passenger. Reported for Apportioned Truck. Jeff Ellis reports that no AS, AT, or AU series plates were issued.

The "Taxation Without Representation" legend began with the AZ series and appears on the BA, BC, BD, BE, BF, BG, BH, BK, BL, BM, BN, BP, BR, BS, BT, BU, BV, BW, BX, BY, BZ, CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, CF, CG, CH, CJ, CK, CM, CN, CP, CR, CS, CT, CU, CV, CW, CX, CY, CZ, DA, DB, DD, DE, DF, DG, DH, DJ, DK, DL, DM, DN, DP, DR, DS, DT, DU, DX, DY, DZ, EB, EC, ED, EE, EF, EG, EH. EJ, EK, EL, EM, EP, ER, ES, ET, EU, EV, EW, EX, EY, EZ, FA, and FB series. BI, BO, BQ, CI, CL, CO, CQ, DC*, DI, DO, DV, and DW have not been reported, so they were apparently skipped. (*DC was not used for Passenger, but the DC series does exist in the form of Government Fleet plates with DC stacked, and a DC flag representation in the place of the second letter, and a four numeral serial following.) The BB, BJ, and EA series have the alternate legend with the District's web site address. The BB series is embossed, with "" slogan, with that odd capitalization, although these didn't appear to make it all the way to BB 9999, and the BJ series is flat, with "" slogan.

DV was used for Disabled Veteran.

Embossed high: BG 1673

Flat low: BG 2033

DC changed from license plate validation stickers to windshield validation stickers on 22 APR 02. Plates have been seen with stickers reading "See windshield sticker" in the usual sticker locations on the plate. Newer issues have it screened on the plate.

Wally Punzmann reports the highest DC taxation plate with the "Washington, D.C." script at the top before it went to the "WASHINGTON, DC" block font is BP 0908. The switch to the "WASHINGTON, DC" block font may have occurred at BP 1000.

DM series plates seem to be back to the full-height serial font, but somehow the characters appear to have more space between them horizontally, as though the stroke is narrower.

The EA series is appearing with the website. Although it is higher than the "Taxation" standard issue, we will continue to report the "Taxation" series as the high since it is the standard issue.

EA website high: EA-1714 2015-11-19 Dave Edmondson

As with EC, ED seems to have started even though previous series was nowhere close to 9999.

According to David Nicholson, starting in the EK series, the "WASHINGTON, DC" inscription is changed to "DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA". This has apparently led to visibility issues, with some plates reading "STRICT OF COLUMB" due to the boltholes obstructing part of the text.

Abigail Allen - 12 Mar ’23


200 OYZ
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All have number 200, only the letters change.

Jeff Ellis - 20 Jan ’02


853 040
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Highest all-numeric (not counting the 1985-issued 900-000 series)

Jeff Ellis - 27 Aug ’00

Non-passenger Plates

Annual Special Permit

1436 65
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Color scheme changes annually.

Issued for trucks and equipment weighing over 65,000 lbs GVW that are used but not registered in DC. They are displayed along with the

license plates from the registering jurisdiction (usually MD or VA).

Numbering system alternated between nnnn-65 and 65-nnnn; the 65 was fixed, but now it appears that this type is using a TC prefix.

Bradley Gallagher advises that the 65 plates are for trucks, and TC plates are apparently for truck-cranes, although they often are displayed on normal trucks as well.

Black/blue plates expired 6/30/09

6/30/10 plates were white on mint green in the 0000 and 1000 range with the 65 suffix.

6/30/11 plates are black on magenta and continue where the white on green 6/30/10 plates left off in the 2nnn 65 series. There are also TT xxxx and TC xxxx plates on the black/magenta base, as in years past.

6/30/12 plates are white on black and seem to have started over with the 0 series.

6/30/13 plates are black on white and seem to have restarted at or around 0000-65.

Dave Edmondson reports TT-1451 (white on green) on a flatbed truck. TT = Tractor Trailer.

Recent highs have been in the 1000 series, but now some 4000 series are showing up.

Willie C. Brock, Jr. - 17 Jan ’14


AP 1396
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Embossed high: AP 0452

Flat low: AP 0508

DC Apportioned plates are very uncommon.

Transition from "Washington, DC" to "District of Columbia" occurred between AP-0784 and AP-1001, with a large jump in serials occurring at the same time.

Bradley Gallagher - 28 Oct ’21


B 52131
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Flat, "Taxation" legend

Some plates in the high 46000 series have strange spacing such that there is a large space on either side of the B, and then the 5 numbers are close together because the plates use the D.C. flag placement as on passenger plates, rather than non-passengers.

Bradley Gallagher reports that this weird spacing began in the high 46000 series, but continues through the present 48000 series.

Transitioned from "Washington DC" to "District of Columbia" in late June 2014, between B-48651 and B-49060.

April 2015 update: Bradley Gallagher reports a jump from the low-mid B-49000 series to the B-50000 series.

Bradley Gallagher - 2 Nov ’20


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Plate number in two lines, "CLERGY" embossed above plate number. Still embossed, and still on the "A Capital City" base as of September 2014.

Bradley Gallagher - 14 Sep ’14


C 82767
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Taxation legend, flat

A few C77nnn plates were issued out of sequence.

From Bradley Gallagher: Large jump from low 76000 series to 78000 series; this is the only 78000 series plate I have spotted, other than the relatively few 77000 series plates that were issued out of order a few years ago.

Bradley Gallagher - 8 Mar ’23

D.C. Government

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Police Vehicles, Parking Enforcement, etc.

Expanded to 5 numbers after reaching D/C 9999.

DC Government MC - DC5186 Flat, blue on white, no separator, "GVT Motorcycle" in Arial-like font.

The GT series has also been used for D.C. Government plates, and some of those are still in use.

Changed from "Washington, D.C." to "DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA" in May 2014, between D/C 10362 and D/C 10524.

Bradley Gallagher - 18 Aug ’22

D.C. Water

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D.C. Water was known as D.C. Water and Sewer Authority until 2010, when it was shortened to D.C. Water. Earlier plates featured "WASA" stacked vertically at left. This was the only D.C. government agency that has its own plate type and therefore does not use the standard D.C. Government Fleet plates. This type went flat between 0695 and 0741.

Starting around October 7, 2011, its vehicles began receiving new plates with the new agency logo. The prefix has changed from W/A/S/A to D/C/W. It appears that the DCW plates are replacing the WASA plates.

Bradley Gallagher - 28 Apr ’21


DLR 04153
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Color scheme changes annually.

Washington DC's original Dealer tags were embossed with the original format of D-1234, with the screened "D.C. Dealer" on the top & "Washington, D.C." on the bottom (both in script fonts), while later original versions had the screened "Washington, D.C." on the top & "D.C. Dealer" on the bottom (both also in script fonts.)

DC's current Dealer tags (now in the flat format), first issued in 2004, now have the DLR-1234 format with screened "WASHINGTON, DC" on the top & "DEALER" on the bottom (both in block fonts). As of 2004, all DC Dealer tags expire annually on October 31.

The 2005 version (first issued in 2004) has the white lettering & characters with the red background.

The 2006 version has the white lettering & characters with the blue background.

The 2007 version is black on yellow.

The 2008 version is black on purple.

The 2009 version is black on green.

The 2010 version is white on light blue.

The 2011 version is black on yellow.

The 2012 version is white on dark green.

The 2013 version is black on dark blue, using an 8 character format.

The 2014 version is black on dark maroon and is illegible at any distance.

The 2015 version is black on yellow, combining elements of past years' serials, using an 8-character format with the D.C. flag.

The 2016 version is black on gray and continues the 2015 version's format of 8 characters plus the D.C. flag.

DLR 7820 is the high on the 2009 issue.

DLR 8041 is the low in the 2010 issue.

Bradley Gallagher observes that Dealer plates are being issued in blocks of 1,000 each year. It appears that 2005 plates were in the 0 range, 2006 in 3 range, 2007 in 5 range, 2008 in 6 range, 2009 in 7 range, 2010 in 8 range, and now 2011 in 9 range.

DLR-01392 remains the high on the 2015 base, with DLR-01676 the low on the 2016 base.

Bradley Gallagher - 17 Aug ’22


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Flat, "Taxation" legend

Original format was H/P 0000

Bradley Gallagher - 6 Oct ’20

Historic Motor Vehicle

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Now flat, "Historic Motor Vehicle" legend

Alex Silvia - 15 Jul ’22


L 6316
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From Livery vehicles are vehicle/driver combinations for hire, as are taxis, with the difference between the two types being that livery cars cannot solicit passengers on the street. Instead, livery services must be prearranged for.

Bradley Gallagher - 4 Jul ’21


MFR 0607
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Color scheme changes annually.

First issued in 2004, DC's Manufacturer tags have the MFR-0000 format with screened "WASHINGTON, DC" on the top & "MANUFACTURER" on the bottom (both in block fonts.) Dealer and Manufacturer plates - annual issues both - used to be the same color each year, but it appears that this is no longer the case, as 2010 MFR plates are black on pink. 2011 plates are black on orange.

Bradley Gallagher - 4 Nov ’10


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Flat, new base.

Previous style: Flat; black letters on white; "Motorcycle/Washington, D.C." in old italic typeface.

The M/T series was use before the current M/R series.

In 2015, by M/R 6022, the motorcycle base changed from "Washington, D.C." to "District of Columbia" and also adopted a serifed font for both the legends and plate serial.

Bradley Gallagher - 25 Jan ’23


R 50088
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Many rental cars are now using standard Passenger plates. The R series has not been issued since 1991, but some plates are still in use. They are embossed with "A Capital City" in Italic typeface.

From Bradley Gallagher: Rental plates appear to have started up again on the Taxation base (and jumped to R-30000?) after having not been manufactured since before 1991, on the "A Capital City" base. These older plates remain in use and are thought to have still been issued as recently as this year.

Rental is the second type (after passenger) to switch from "Washington, DC" to "District of Columbia". Change occurred between R-30710 and R-31265.

R-31304 was reported on 2014-04-27.

R-31762 was reported on 2014-06-25 on the Taxation Without Representation base. Screened "District of Columbia" rather than the usual "Washington, DC" for "state" name.

Bradley Gallagher - 8 Apr ’21


05395 H
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Flat with "Taxation"

Series reversed to 00001 H after H 99999.

Some, or perhaps all, taxi plates in the H 98000 range use a smaller font for the district name, such that the name is only about 2/3 as wide as it is on all other plates.

Dave Edmondson reports a low of 00001-H.

Bradley Gallagher - 26 Feb ’22

Temporary (30 Day)

N 88739
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Red on White cardboard

N series followed K series on approximately May 21, 2011.

A new type of Temporary is also in use, but we don't know yet how it differs from the original, other than it appaers to be laminated paper rather than cardboard, and the numbering system is changed. The format is 01NC234. Maybe NC is for new car, and possibly even for New Car Dealer. The high for this type is 08NC034.

The space has returned in the N 37000 series.

Bradley Gallagher - 9 Jan ’23


T 23165
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Correction: Original format of DC's Trailer license plate was T 1234, but it has expanded to the T 12345 format. Trailer plates were still embossed with the "Celebrate & Discover" slogan through at least T 15500, but they now have "Taxation" in the flat format. Flat low - T 15672

Brett Weisbrot - 5 Mar ’23


TRP 760
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Still embossed; "D.C. Transporter" on top in old italic typeface.

Dave Edmondson - 29 Dec ’06

Specialty Plates


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Transition from "WASHINGTON, DC" to "DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA" occurred between ENV 3143 and ENV 4904.

Oddly went to a 3-number format after reaching 9999.

Bradley Gallagher - 23 Jan ’23


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Bradley Gallagher - 30 Jun ’10

Fraternal Order of Police

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Flat, black on white with FOP logo, but there is also a design with the elements in blue. Plates seen in the 0000 series have been black on white, but plates in the 2000 and 5000 series have been blue on white.

From Bradley Gallagher: Another large jump underscores that these plates probably aren't issued in strictly sequential order.

Bradley Gallagher - 13 Dec ’14

Washington Nationals

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Bradley Gallagher - 25 Apr ’21

Military Veteran Plates

Disabled Veteran

DAV 2500
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Plain font for district name. These were previously issued without a space in the serial with the district name in the older script font, and those plates had higher serials, so it is likely that this type started over at DAV 000 after reaching DAV999.

Bradley Gallagher speculates that the DAV 123 (sans-serif) plates are remakes of older DAV123 (script font) plates. DAV 2208, while unexpectedly high, had the D.C. flag between the letters and the numbers. The six-digit DAV plates did not have the D.C. flag. Bradley hasn't seen any 7 digits under DAV 2200.

Disabled Veteran - Handicapped: DAV009 This appears to be a new type with a wheelchair to the left of the serial. Bradley speculates that non-handicapped went to 7 characters to free up the 6 character series for handicapped.

Another variation of the handicapped version of this plate: DV[wheelchair][D.C. flag]008. Legend is "DISABLED AMERICAN VETERAN"

Newly issued screened plates are now appearing with the graphic caption "Proud D.C. Veteran" in the stacked O/V/A prefix format.

High: O/V/A 0208

Bradley Gallagher - 24 Feb ’15


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Issued through the DC Office of Veteran Affairs; seal with "Proud D.C. Veteran" to the left of the registration serial.

Bradley Gallagher - 3 Jun ’20