Wisconsin License Plates

Plate numbers begin at 101. Numbers under 101 are not used. The letters I, O, and Q are not used.

Nate Dee reports that the Wisconsin DMV is continuing to replace old format base plates. For 2010, plates starting with T and lower are being replaced. U, V, and W are still being renewed. See the updates below in the Old box.


11 - black on orange

12 - red on yellow

13 - black on blue

14 - black on red

15 - black on gold

16 - black on white

17 - black on red

18 - black on orange (seen on school buses and driver's education vehicles (which are eligible for three year renewals.)

Standard Passenger Plates

2000 Series new

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The current base was first issued in June, 2000.

Lowest reported is 128 AAA.

John Woodward reports that Wisconsin issues plates in the ZYx series to "human service" vehicles, such as wheelchair lift vans, and they also issue plates in the ZZx series to for-hire vehicles. For-hire vehicles include taxis and airport shuttle vans, but not rental cars.

Nate Dee - 2 Jun ’23

1995 Series

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This base, using narrow dies with red characters in the AAA-101 format, is still in use, but only with the letter N in the first position and higher. Plates lower than that have been replaced due to defective ink on the embossed characters. It appears that this base ran through WRZ-999, then the new series listed above in the reverse format of 101-AAA with black characters began.

The original plates in the AAA-101 series had blue characters, but they were changed to red because they looked very similar to the current Illinois plates at the time. None of those plates are still in use. They were replaced by the end of 1993.

Update from Nate Dee:

The WI DMV is again renewing remaining U, V and W series old style red on white base plates, at least as far as 2013. It's possible they will remain even longer. Originally when the new black on white base debuted, the DMV's website stated that all old bases would be replaced by a certain date by way of new plates issued at renewal time. 2010 seems to have been the last year this happened. The website has since been revised to say old plates will be phased out by new registrations and as customers request replacement plates.

And now, the latest update from Nate:

It has been announced that the replacement of the older red on white plates has begun again by way of new plates sent out at renewal. The special issue (1996-98) Sesquicentennial plates are also all being replaced in this re-issue. The replacement cycle is expected to be completed by fall 2014.

Dec. 2014 update from Scott Zilmer:

Can confirm that all red-lettered plates in the ABC-123 format have now been replaced with black-lettered 123-ABC series plates. The only red-lettered serials still on the road are expired. Some people are still running their red-lettered vanities, but replacements for all those have been issued. There are still a few of the older style kids plates with red letters that are in use.

Ben - 27 Sep ’20

Non-passenger Plates


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This consolidated type was first issued in December 2004 (starting at 1001 B) and replaced earlier issued BX Bus and School Bus plates by the end of 2008. Black on white, on the graphic base.

Apportioned (seen on Bus): 95638W 2013-10-10 Willie C. Brock, Jr.

Gideon Nicksic - 27 Apr ’23


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Once 99999D was reached the format for disable plates changed slightly, nnnnnD became nnnnnD/S where the D and S are small and vertically stacked between the number series and wheelchair symbol.

Nate Dee - 2 Apr ’23


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Black on white, on the graphic base; the constant expiration month "FEB" is now embossed at lower left. Numbering started at 1001F in 1994. Earlier red on white farm plates were replaced in 2008, although a few stragglers exist.

Gideon Nicksic - 5 May ’23

Light Truck

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Weight class letter stickers are applied before the embossed numbers, but the numbers are sequential for all classes. After 100001 - 999999, went to AA1001 and up through the AV series, skipping AR, then DG through current. The reason for this was the format on temporary plates at the time. Temporary plates originally went AA 1234, but jumped to AR 1234 when the truck licenses switched from 100001 to AA 1001 format. The temp plates, which jumped from AP to AW, had reached DF before changing to their current format.

Highs on the old base, still in use: A/N 69-000, B/M 25-952, C/D 66-000.

Many or possibly all of these types are being replaced in 2009.

Nate Dee - 20 May ’23


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Format progression has been 12 34, A1 23, 12 3A, A1 2B, and finally A123B.

Nate Dee - 5 Apr ’23

Motor Home

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Black on white, graphic base. One alpha prefix series follows 99999.

Gideon Nicksic - 5 May ’23


564 VY
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After ZZ 999, the series continued in the 1234 A format. After 9999 Z, the format switched to 101 AA.

Joey Hurd has also seen Veteran Cycle #9.

From Nate Dee: I received this new black on white plate to replace my old green on white plate. The green on white plates debuted in 1994 and were issued until 2004, when the current black on white design was first was issued. This is apparently a mid-registration replacement, the old plate was still valid for another year, but according to the letter that came with the new plate the old number/plate has been cancelled due to age. The old plate had been in use for 15 years.

Nate Dee - 22 Apr ’23


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Black on Tan plate with "Municipal" at top. This series started in 1989, with wide dies through at least the 44000 series.

Changeover to narrow dies was between 44321 and 47303.

Gideon Nicksic - 20 Jun ’22


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Dark blue letters on straw background. Used for municipal and county law enforcement vehicles. A five-pointed star symbol precedes the plate number.

Gideon Nicksic - 20 Aug ’22

Semi Trailer

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Spotted on the UW campus.

Black on orange. Series started at 200001 in 1987 with wide dies; changeover to narrow dies between 343040 and 346838. Recent plates have a reflectorized background.

Nate Dee - 22 Oct ’22

State Owned

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Spotted on the UW campus.

White on Red plate. "State Owned" at top and state name on bottom.

Series started in 1981; changeover to narrow dies between 11090 and 11110 observed by Scott Zillmer.

Nate Dee - 13 Nov ’22


W54 61C
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Has state map in design

Gideon Nicksic - 13 May ’23

Specialty Plates


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Red on blue; type available for unmodified vehicles more than 20 years old.

Nate Dee - 2 Apr ’23

Collector Motorcycle

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Optional plate type issued for cycles 20 years or older. Also available for autos and light trucks. Red text on blue background. Plate not valid for operation of vehicle during the month of January. One time fee, never expires.

Nate Dee - 22 May ’22

Ducks Unlimited

D 12507
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Scott Zillmer - 18 Sep ’14

Environment (Badger)

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New in April 2010. Has same serial font as recent Minnesota issues.

Scott Zilmer spotted 10001E/R in Madison earlier this year, which was probably the lowest number.

Nate Dee - 23 Apr ’23

Environment (Wolf)

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Nate Dee - 22 Apr ’23

Green Bay Packers

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Chris Martin - 24 Nov ’21


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Yellow on green; issued to modified, reconstructed, or replica cars 20 years or older and homemade vehicles.

Gideon Nicksic - 6 Apr ’21


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From Nate Dee: This plate type has had a slight redesign: The serial is now in black rather than red. "Wisconsin" - at the top - has switched from dark blue to red and "Celebrate Children" - at bottom - is also now in red rather than the multi-color of older plates. Like some other specialty plates the Celebrate Children logo is now a decal applied rather than printed on the plate. The switch appears to have happened around 20000K.

Nate Dee - 22 May ’23

Military Group (Old Style)

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Scott Zillmer - 17 Sep ’15

Oneida nation

7G 2768
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Scott Zillmer - 5 Jan ’15

Oneida Nation Vet

VT 175
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Joey Hurd - 4 Jun ’06

Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison

37654 U
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New numbering and design with Bucky Badger decal. As with other Wisconsin specials, state name at top in black with large italicized font.

Eric Bryden - 27 Feb ’23

Military Veteran Plates

Army Retired

58686 M
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New style with wavy small flag in upper left corner.

Scott Zillmer - 14 Aug ’15


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Wisconsin military group license plates were redesigned yet again in 2008, with a new design coupling the red-on-white state name of the 2007 version with the gradients of the original style.

Gideon Nicksic - 12 Mar ’21

Veteran Motorcycle

VP 30
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Jacco Hoekstra - 8 Oct ’18