Press Release: Plate Visibility

Montpelier, VT – The Department of Motor Vehicles is commencing a public information campaign on registration plate visibility issues involving faded registration plates, obstructed registration plates and the improper placement of the registration validation sticker.

The following is detailed information on these matters:


Faded Registration Plates

Any Vermont registration plate faded to a point in which its numbers and letters have impaired identification must be replaced.  A problem with the manufacturing process of plates produced between 2003 and 2005 may cause fading.  Accordingly, a provision of law allows for replacement of faded plates at no cost to the owner if the fading is caused by faulty materials or a problem with the manufacturing process.

Owners of vehicles displaying faded registration plates should use the following procedure;

Vehicle owner should fill out a Replacement Plate Application (DMV Form TA-VD-16) available on the Vermont DMV website ( and check the box for two replacement registration plates

Write “FADED PLATES” across the top of the form and check the “faded” box

The vehicle owner will receive a new set of plates, registration and validation sticker within 3 – 4 weeks.  Owners will receive a new plate number unless they have vanity or low number plates (four digits or less).  Vanity and low number plates will be replaced at no cost.  If an owner wishes to keep their registration number and it is not a vanity or low number, they may do so at a cost of $10.00 per plate

This procedure only refers to the replacement of faded plates due to the manufacturing process or faulty materials.  Lost or damaged plates must be replaced at the cost of the owner.

Faded plates can be dropped off at any Vermont DMV location or mailed to 120 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05603 (Attention Stockroom).


Obstructed Registration Plates

Vermont law indicates “number plates shall be kept entirely unobscured, and the numerals and the letters thereon shall be plainly legible at all times.”  This includes not only the registration plate number (i.e. – ABC123), but also includes the State identification (Vermont) displayed across the top, the words “Green Mountain State” displayed along the bottom and the registration validation sticker.  License plate brackets covering any of the aforementioned in any manner which obstructs viewing the plate are unlawful and should be removed.


Registration Validation Sticker Placement

Registration validation stickers should be affixed to the rear registration plate of the vehicle.  Vermont law requires vehicle registration plates with a dimension of approximately 12” X 6” inches to have their affiliated validation sticker affixed in the lower right corner.  Registration plates with a dimension of approximately 7” X 4” inches must have their affiliated validation sticker affixed in the upper right corner.  Operators of vehicles displaying a validation sticker in any other location are in violation of the law.

Registration validation stickers are designed to self-terminate when removed.  If may be necessary for a vehicle owner to request a new validation sticker.  Vehicle owners seeking to replace destroyed validation stickers may do so at no cost.  To obtain only a replacement validation sticker, vehicle owners should be instructed to complete a Duplicate / Corrected Registration / License or Learner Permit Application (DMV Form TA-VL-15) available on the Vermont DMV website (  Owners / operators should write “VALIDATION STICKER ONLY” across the top and check the box for “stickers needed” and one will be provided.  Vehicle owners may also go to any DMV office, present their valid registration card and receive a replacement sticker in hand.

The Department of Motor Vehicles would like to remind citizens the only type plate that is lawful to display on the front of the vehicle, besides an I AM VERMONT STRONG plate, is the registration plate assigned to the vehicle.  The I AM VERMONT STRONG plate may be displayed until June 30, 2016.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is partnering with licensed inspection stations, car dealerships, Town Clerks and law enforcement officers in providing information to the public on these issues.   Non-compliance with any of these registration visibility issues could result in the owner/driver of a vehicle being issued a traffic ticket.

Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Robert Ide said, “Clear visibility of the registration plate is important to assure the plate number can be easily recognized.  We hope the information we are providing to the public will be helpful in assuring their vehicle’s registration plate is properly displayed.”




Contact Information:

Glendon W. Button
Director of Enforcement and Safety
Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles

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