The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles offers the "First in Freedom" license plate design as a no-cost alternative to the “First in Flight” design for private passenger vehicles and private hauler vehicles licensed for 6,000 pounds or less. Personalized plates and specialty plates
with the “First in Flight” background are also available with the “First in Freedom” plate. The “First in Freedom” design, however, is not available on specialized plates with a “full” background.
To get the “First in Freedom” license plate at no additional charge, visit an NCDMV license plate agency
when registering a vehicle for the first time or renewing its registration.
About the 'First in Freedom' Plate
Designed by license plate collector and North Carolina historian Charles Robinson, the "First in Freedom" plate design recognizes two important events: the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1775, and the Halifax Resolves on April 12, 1776.
These two events are also commemorated on the North Carolina state flag and are regarded as the first steps toward independence from Great Britain during the early stages of the American Revolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where did the idea of the “First in Freedom” plate come from?
Although the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles did not begin issuing the "First in Freedom" license plate until January 2015, the N.C. Department of Transportation and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources unveiled a design in January 1975 to recognize the 200th anniversary of the nation’s independence. The N.C. General Assembly approved the license plate in 2014 as part of Senate Bill 744.
Am I required to change my “First in Flight” plate with a “First in Freedom” plate?
No. The “First in Freedom” plate is just an alternative to the “First in Flight” plate.
How much does the First in Freedom plate cost?
There is no additional cost. You can exchange your existing “First in Flight” license plate for the new one at no cost when you renew your vehicle’s registration. If you want to exchange it before you renew, you must pay $20, plus a notary fee.
Can I get my "First in Freedom" plate personalized?
Yes. Character limits for personalizing the “First in Freedom” plate are the same as for the “First in Flight” plate.
Can I go back to the “First in Flight” plate if I change my mind after getting the “First in Freedom” plate?
Yes. You can swap your “First in Freedom” plate back to the First in Flight design for no charge at your next registration renewal. If you want to change it before you renew, you must pay $20, plus a notary fee.