Division of Motor Vehicles begins plate reissuance initiative

Published on Friday, December 30, 2022

After 25 years, Rhode Island is ready to wave to iconic “Wave” license plate

CRANSTON -- The Division of Motor Vehicles is reminding Rhode Islanders that it’s almost time to wave goodbye to their blue “Wave” license plates. The Plate Reissuance Initiative is set to begin on January 1, 2023. The State of Rhode Island will no longer produce or issue stock blue “Wave” as of that date.  All blue “Wave” plates (on vehicles) will be phased out by December 31, 2024. This includes Passenger, Commercial, Combination, Suburban, Trailer, Motorcycle, Camper, Public Service, Jitney, Farm, Racer Tow, and Radio Operator plates. The new “Ocean” plates, which are digitally printed and flat, will be available for new registrations and distributed next week to DMV branches and online dealerships.

Starting with the January 2023 renewal cycle, any customer with a “Wave” design renewing their registration online or through the mail will receive the new “Ocean” plates by mail (with their existing plate sequence, i.e., HY 123, S 65, etc.). Customers should retain all contents of the envelope they receive, including new “Ocean” plates (with registration expiration stickers pre-printed on the bottom right corner), instructions, and a new registration certificate (printed on the back side of the instructions).

Customers renewing registrations in person, will keep their “Wave” plates at the time of the transaction and receive the “Ocean” plates/registration via mail. These customers will receive 2025 registration stickers to keep vehicles in compliance until the new plates arrive. We encourage customers to process registration renewals online, whenever possible. 

The DMV does NOT want the old plates and encourages customers to fold and recycle old “Wave” plates. 

The Plate Reissuance Initiative enhances public safety by removing older plates from circulation and ensuring registered vehicles in Rhode Island have serviceable license plates that are reflective and visible in low-light conditions.  This allows first responders to identify license plates more easily and aids motorists in seeing when a vehicle is stalled roadside during low-light times. The new plates will also help law enforcement identify vehicles with expired registrations and improve the accuracy of license plate readers.

The Plate Reissuance Initiative will make driving in Rhode Island safer, with no additional costs to consumers. 

For more information about the Plate Reissuance Initiative, please visit our website: www.dmv.ri.gov.

The DMV offers a growing selection of online services, with over 20 currently available.  We encourage Rhode Islanders to Save Time, Go Online by using DMV online services, whenever possible. Visit https://dmv.ri.gov/online-services for information, documents, and links to other services.