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Federal US Government License Plates

The federal government is a large organization with many different needs. For federal employees to move around and complete tasks on behalf of the government, they need vehicles. You can imagine how many vehicles are associated with the government in one way or another. 

There has to be a way to identify these vehicles, and there has to be a way to keep track of them. In comes the license plate.

You’ve encountered the plates with blue lettering over a field of white, with a watermark of the US flag in the background. Some have numbers cascading from left to right. That definitely piqued your interest. 

What does US Government License Plates mean?

It is mandated in law that every vehicle in service to the federal government must be conspicuously identifiable. For this reason, the government license plate must be present on every vehicle used by the federal government and its agencies.
In pursuit of identification, there is a standard way that government plates are made. There are many federal organizations, and each needs to be uniquely identified. This is done with a combination of letters. Next is the type of vehicle, which is denoted by numbers.  

What do specific letters stand for on government tags?

You may have seen this on USPS vehicles and other federal government tags. Each organization's vehicle license plates are made in a specific way. For example, the USPS always has a P, for Postal Service vehicles. Other common letters include:

  • VA for Veterans' Affairs
  • NG for National Guard Bureau
  • J for Department of Justice
  • I for Department of the Interior

Each organization has its own designations on US Government License Plates. 

Who gets a federal license plate?

As the years have gone by, vehicles have become more than just a means to get from one place to another. Their registration, usage, management and disposition have changed in various ways over the years. This has affected how license plates are made. 
As to who will get a federal license plate, the statutes guiding the preparation, issuance, and disposition of the plates is very clear. The vehicles are meant to be For Official Use Only. This is evident, as they are written on the license plates themselves. 

What to do if government license plates get lost or stolen.

With technology taking hold of the world around us, you would think that a federal license plate lookup would be as simple as Googling. While it is possible to conduct a lookup on various plates, federal license plates are outside the purview of these license plate lookup organizations.

If a government license plate does get lost or stolen, as mandated by law you can report it to the local police. You can also report the issue to the GSA Fleet and to the Federal Government Motor Vehicle Registration System.