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Officially called “Prestige” plates or “Personalized” plates, they are far more often referred to as vanity plates. New Mexico introduced them in 1967 but several years elapsed before they became particularly popular in this state. They are available for cars, trucks and motorcycles, with an extra annual fee charged over and above regular registration fees.  See also Motorcycle Vanity.

Though more restrictive the first few years they were available, today the rules for vanity plate characters are much more flexible. Chile plates may have 1 to 6 characters; yellow plates, 1 to 7 characters; and turquoise plates 1 to 8 characters. Motorcycle vanities, because of their smaller size, are more limited: Chile, 1 to 5 characters; yellow and turquoise, 1 to 6 characters.  In the past a limited set of special characters were permitted, including blank spaces, dashes, apostrophes, the Spanish Ñ and the Zia symbol, but as of 2018 these have all been eliminated. At present only letters and numerals are allowed, and even these must be run together with no blank spaces.   The MVD is authorized to reject a requested character set if it is found to be derogatory or obscene, or if it falsely states or implies that the driver or vehicle represents the authority of a governmental agency or official.


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