New Diplomatic License Plates UnveiledBureau of Diplomatic Security
August 28, 2007
New Diplomatic License Plates Begin Issue Today
Newly designed Diplomatic and Consular license plates will be phased in for issue by the U.S. Department of State to foreign diplomats in the United States beginning today.
The transition from the current red, white, and blue diplomatic license plates to the new plates will run through the end of 2008. During this time period, both old and new Diplomatic and Consular license plates will be seen on diplomatic vehicles.
This will be the first change to the design of U.S. Department of State diplomatic license plates in 23 years. The current license plates were issued in 1984 (see image below for an old plate-versus-new plate comparison; for a more complete comparison of the various new and old diplomatic plates, click here).
The State Department is undertaking this change in line with the standard practice in motor vehicle departments (DMVs) to change plate design periodically, and to distinguish the State Department’s plates from other jurisdictions’ plates.
The State Department’s Office of Foreign Missions will begin issuing the redesigned plates for new diplomatic registrations today, and will renew active diplomatic registrations using the new plates as the registrations expire month by month. This means that the public will see both old and new plates for about a year after the first new plates are issued. After December 31, 2008, the old plates will no longer be valid.
The State Department provided advanced notice to appropriate agencies (law enforcement, DMVs, embassy and consular staff, etc.) of the impending change through official channels.
The Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions issues Department of State drivers’ licenses as well as diplomatic license plates to accredited members of embassies, consulates, and certain international organizations and their dependents.
There are approximately 11,619 OFM diplomatic vehicles in use nationwide, with 6,277 in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, 2,596 in New York City, and 769 in Los Angeles. The rest of the diplomatic vehicles are in other areas where foreign governments have consular staff.