Premier Ed Stelmach, right, and Service Alberta Minister Heather Klimchuk present Donald Ethell, Alberta's lieutenant governor, with a personalized veterans' plate on Monday. ((Government of Alberta))

Current members of the Canadian military will soon be able to apply for special Alberta veteran licence plates.

The plates feature a red poppy and begins with the letter "V."

Until now, the special plates were only available to retired members who had been honourably discharged and police officers who served under the United Nations or NATO.

Beginning Aug. 16, current members of the forces with at least three years of service will be able to apply for the plates, said the province on Monday. They'll receive the plates at no extra cost when renewing their vehicle registration.

"As a retired serviceman, I know this gesture will be appreciated by the men and women in the forces," Donald Ethell, Alberta's lieutenant governor, said in a statement Monday.

"The plates are instantly recognizable to Albertans. When they see it, they think of the people who put themselves in the service of our country."

The Royal Canadian Legion's Alberta-Northwest Territories Command determines eligibility for the plates.

Since the program began in February 2005, nearly 18,000 veterans' plates have been issued.