Vehicle Registration Numbers And Number Plates

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INF104Vehicle ServicesVehicle registrationnumbers andnumber platesFor more information go towww.gov.uk/displaying-number-plates1/21

ContentsVehicle registrationnumbersNumber plates01060207Entitlement to avehicle registrationnumber.3Number platedesignspecification.80308Vehicle registrationnumber format.3National flags onnumber plates.110409Displaying vehicleregistrationnumbers.4Green numberplates.110510Why we havevehicle registrationnumbers.3DVLA memorytags and ageidentifiers.5How to get anumber plate.7What to do if yourvehicle has beencloned.1211Trailer registrationnumbers andnumber plates.12Personalised Registrationonline services:Take a registration number off a vehicle:www.gov.uk/keep-registration-numberPut a registration number on a vehicle:www.gov.uk/put-registration-number-vehicle

Vehicle registration numbers01. Why we have vehicleregistration numbersVehicle registration numbers are a way of identifyingvehicles and are owned by the Secretary of State.They are allocated to vehicles as part of the process ofregistering and taxing vehicles.The registration number is given to the vehicle, not theregistered keeper. It will stay with the vehicle (until thevehicle is broken up, destroyed or exported permanentlyout of the country) unless the registered keeper appliesto take off and put it on another vehicle or on to aretention certificate (V778).02. Entitlement to a vehicle registrationnumberWhen you buy a personalised (private) registrationnumber, you buy the right to apply to put it on a vehicleregistered in your name or someone else’s name (thenominee). When you sell a vehicle the registrationnumber will stay with the vehicle unless you apply to takeit off and put it on another vehicle or on to a retentioncertificate (V778). For more information go bers03. Vehicle registration number formatThe current vehicle registration format was introduced on1 September 2001. It consists of: 2 letters (these refer to the region in the countrywhere a vehicle is first registered) 2 numbers (these tell you when it was issued) a space and 3 letters chosen at randomA list of DVLA memory tags and age identifiers is shownon pages 5 and 6.AgeidentifierRandom lettersDVLAmemory tag3

04. Displaying vehicle registrationnumbersVehicle registration numbers must be correctlydisplayed on number plates as set out in theRoad Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks)Regulations (as appropriate). These regulationsgovern how vehicle registration number plates aredesigned, manufactured and displayed.You cannnot rearrange or misrepresent the numbers andletters on a number plate to form names or words, so thatthey are hard to read. For example, fixing bolts to changeany of the letters or numbers. You could be fined up to 1,000 and your car will fail its MOT test if you drive withincorrectly displayed number plates. In some cases, theregistration number may be permanently withdrawn.If you misrepresent a vehicle registration number you will notget back any money that you have paid for the registrationnumber, or any other costs you have to pay.You can’t use a registration number to make your vehicleappear younger than it actually is.4

05. DVLA memory tags and age identifiersLetterPostal areaDVLA memory tag identifierAAngliaPeterboroughNorwichIpswichAA AB AC AD AE AF AG AH AJ AK AL AM ANAO AP AR AS AT AUAV AW AX AYBBirminghamBirminghamBA – BYCCymruCardiffCA CB CC CD CE CF CG CH CJ CK CLCM CN COCP CR CS CT CU CVCW CX CYSwanseaBangorDDeeside toShrewsburyChesterShrewsburyDA DB DC DD DE DF DG DH DJ DKDL DM DN DO DP DR DS DT DU DV DWDX DYEEssexChelmsfordEA – EYFForest &FensNottinghamFA FB FC FD FE FF FG FH FJ FK FL FMFN FPFR FS FT FV FW FX FYGarden ofEnglandMaidstoneHampshire& DorsetBournemouthPortsmouthHA HB HC HD HE HF HG HH HJHK HL HM HN HO HP HR HS HT HU HVHW HX HY(HW will be used exclusively for Isle ofWight residents)BorehamwoodNorthamptonKA KB KC KD KE KF KG KH KJ KK KLKM KN KO KP KR KS KT KU KV KWKX KYGHKLincolnGA GB GC GD GE GF GG GH GJ GK GLGM GN GOGP GR GS GT GU GV GW GX GYBrightonLLondonWimbledonBorehamwoodSidcupLA LB LC LD LE LF LG LH LJLK LL LM LN LO LP LR LS LTLU LV LW LX LYMManchester& MerseysideManchesterMA – MY(MN MAN Reserved for the Isle of Man)NNorthNewcastleStocktonNA NB NC ND NE NG NH NJ NK NL NMNN NONP NR NS NT NU NV NW NX NYOOxfordOxfordOA – OYPPrestonPrestonCarlislePA PB PC PD PE PF PG PH PJ PK PLPM PN PO PP PR PS PTPU PV PW PX PYRReadingThealeRA – SA SB SC SD SE SF SG SH SJSK SL SM SN SOSP SR SS STSU SV SWSX SYVSevernValleyWorcesterVA – VYWWest ofEnglandExeterTruroBristolWA WB WC WD WE WF WG WH WJWK WLWM WN WO WP WR WS WT WU WV WWWX WYYYorkshireLeedsSheffieldBeverleyYA YB YC YD YE YF YG YH YJ YK YLYM YN YO YP YR YS YT YVYU YW YX YY We will not use I, Q or Z in local memory tags identifiersWe will still issue existing ‘Q’ marksWe will only use Z as a random letter5

Age identifiersDateCodeDateCodeSept 2001 – Feb 200251March 2002 – Aug 200202Sept 2002 – Feb 200352March 2003 – Aug 200303Sept 2003 – Feb 200453March 2004 – Aug 200404Sept 2004 – Feb 200554March 2005 – Aug 200505Sept 2005 – Feb 200655March 2006 – Aug 200606Sept 2006 – Feb 200756March 2007 – Aug 200707Sept 2007 – Feb 200857March 2008 – Aug 200808Sept 2008 – Feb 200958March 2009 – Aug 200909Sept 2009 – Feb 201059March 2010 – Aug 201010Sept 2010 – Feb 201160March 2011 – Aug 201111Sept 2011 – Feb 201261March 2012 – Aug 201212Sept 2012 – Feb 201362March 2013 – Aug 201313Sept 2013 – Feb 201463March 2014 – Aug 201414Sept 2014 – Feb 201564March 2015 – Aug 201515Sept 2015 – Feb 201665March 2016 – Aug 201616Sept 2016 – Feb 201766March 2017 – Aug 201717Sept 2017 – Feb 201867March 2018 – Aug 201818Sept 2018 – Feb 201968March 2019 – Aug 201919Sept 2019 – Feb 202069March 2020 – Aug 202020Sept 2020 – Feb 202170March 2021 – Aug 202121Sept 2021 – Feb 202271March 2022 – Aug 202222Sept 2022 – Feb 202372March 2023 – Aug 202323Sept 2023 – Feb 202473March 2024 – Aug 202424Sept 2024 – Feb 202574March 2025 – Aug 202525Sept 2025 – Feb 202675March 2026 – Aug 202626Sept 2026 – Feb 202776March 2027 – Aug 202727Sept 2027 – Feb 202877March 2028 – Aug 202828Sept 2028 – Feb 202978March 2029 – Aug 202929Sept 2029 – Feb 203079This pattern will continue until all possible variations havebeen used.6

06. Number platesGetting number plates made upYou can only get a number plate made up from aregistered number plate supplier (RNPS). Find yournearest RNPS at www.gov.uk/displaying-number-platesThe supplier will need to see original documents that: prove your name and address show you’re allowed to use the registration numberIdentity documentsYou can use the following to confirm your nameand address: driving licence utility, Council tax or rates bill from the last six months bank or building society statement from the lastsix months national identity cardThe following will confirm your name only: passport – does not have to be issued in the UK bank or building society debit or credit card police warrant card armed forces identity cardProving you can use the registration numberYou must bring one of the following to show you’reallowed to display the registration number: log book (V5C or V5CNI log book). If your V5C hasbeen lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed you can applyfor a duplicate at www.gov.uk/vehicle-log-book new keeper slip (green slip) certificate of entitlement (V750 or V750NI) to the number retention document (V778) a renewal reminder for vehicle tax or SORN (V11or V11NI) temporary registration certificate (V379 or V379NI) a number plate authorisation certificate (V948) withan official stamp from the Driver and Vehicle LicensingAgency (DVLA) or Driver and Vehicle StandardsAgency (DVSA) an electronic number plate authorisationcertificate (eV948) a letter of authorisation from a fleet operator (includinglease or hire company) quoting the documentreference number from the registration certificate if your fleet is in the new V5C on demand scheme(also called ‘V5C suppression’), a pdf of the vehicle’sdetails from the view vehicle record service(gov.uk/dvla-fleet-vehicle-info)7

The British Standard for number platesThe British Standard sets out the characteristics ofthe number plate. This includes visibility, strength andreflectivity. To meet the British Standard, each numberplate must be permanently and legibly marked with the: British Standard number (currently BS AU 145d)from 1 September 2021 a new standard willbecome mandatory for all new number plates fittedfrom that date (BS AU 145e) but can be used from1 January 2021name, trademark or other way of identifying themanufacturer or suppliername and postcode of the supplying outletIf your number plates are stolenContact the police so they can try to trace and prosecutethe culprit to prevent any illegal activity.07. Number plate design specificationVehicles manufactured after 1 January 1973 must displaynumber plates: made of a reflective materialwith a white background at the front of the vehicleand a yellow background at the back of the vehiclewith black letters and numbersStandard fontOn 1 September 2001, the regulations introduced astandard font (style of lettering) for number plates, makingthem easier to be read. This change ended the use ofitalics and other styles of lettering that are difficult to read.8

An example of the standard font is shown below.Vehicles with new or replacement number plates fittedfrom 1 September 2001, cannot be shown over 3 lines(unless the vehicle was first registered before1 January 1973) or if a vehicle is constructed before1 January 1980 and is registered in the historic taxclass and is exempt from vehicle tax. The characterson a number plate need to be a certain heightand size: characters must be 79mm tall characters (except the number 1 or letter I) must be50mm wide the character stroke (the thickness of the black print)must be 14mm the space between characters must be 11mm the space between the age identifier and the randomletters must be 33mm the margins at the top, bottom and side of the platemust be 11mm vertical space between the age identifier and therandom letters must be 19mmMotorcycles and tricyclesMotorcycles registered on or after 1 September 2001must only display a number plate at the rear of thevehicle.If you ride a motorbike or motor tricycle registered before1 September 2001 you can also display a number plateat the front, but do not have to. Motorcycle and motortricycle number plate characters (registered on or after1 January 1973) must be set on 2 lines.9

Tricycles made from four-wheeled bodies, such as salooncars, must meet the normal requirements on page 9.Tricycles built from motorcycles must meet the rules formotorcycles shown below.Quadricycles (including quad bikes) which are drivenon the road must display front and rear number plates.Providing they have a maximum net engine power of15 kilowatts or less and an unladen weight of no morethan 400 kilograms (or 550 kilograms if it’s a goodsvehicle) they can also display number plates which meetthe requirements shown below. In every other case theymust meet the requirements on page 9: characters must be 64mm tall characters (except the number 1 or letter I) must be44mm wide the character stroke (the thickness of the black print)must be 10mm the space between characters must be 10mm the space between the age identifier and the randomletters must be 30mm the margins at the top, bottom and side of the platemust be at least 11mm vertical space between the age identifier and therandom numbers must be 13mmNumber plates fitted before 1 September 2001The characters on number plates fitted before1 September 2001 must meet the size requirementsshown below.Group 1Group 2Number platesTraditionalfitted beforenumber plates1 September 2001for vehicles madebefore 1 January1973Character height89mmCharacter width (exceptthe number 1 or letter I) 64mmCharacter stroke16mmSpace between characters 13mmSpace between the ageidentifier andrandom numbers38mmSide margins (minimum) 13mmTop and bottommargins (minimum)13mmVertical space betweenthe age identifier and therandom numbers19mm1079mm57mm14mm11mm33mm11mm11mm19mm

Traditional number plates for vehicles madebefore 1 January 1973Vehicles made before 1 January 1973 may display traditional‘black and white’ number plates (for example, white, silver orgrey characters on a black plate). From April 2020 vehiclesmanufactured before 1 January 1980 are also able to displaytraditional ‘black and white’ number plates. You must: have applied to DVLA be registered within the ‘historic vehicles’ tax class08. National flags on number platesYou can display one of the following flags with identifyingletters on the left-hand side of the number plate: Union flag Cross of St George Cross of St Andrew – also known as the Saltire Red dragon of WalesThe letters, or national identifiers, you can have are: GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain or GB UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom or UK ENGLAND, England, ENG or Eng SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO or Sco CYMRU, Cymru, CYM or Cym WALES or WalesYou cannot have the flag or letters on the number platemargin, and neither can be more than 50 millimetreswide. Vehicles which have both the letters ‘GB’ and theUnion flag on their number plate do not need to display aseparate GB sticker when travelling in the EU unless theyare travelling to Spain, Malta or Cyprus.09. Green number platesFrom 8 December 2020 eligible zero emission vehicles(ZEVs) are permitted to display a green flash on the lefthand side of the number plate.Further details about this can be found at es11

10. What to do if your vehicle has been‘cloned’If you’re receiving fines or charges you’re not responsiblefor because someone else is using the registrationnumber from your vehicle, your vehicle may havebeen cloned.Cloning involves copying the identity of a similar(not-stolen) vehicle already on the road. Criminals findan exact make, model and colour of the car they havestolen, and use the same registration number on thestolen vehicle to make it look legal.If you suspect your vehicle has been cloned: Contact the police so they can try to trace andprosecute the culprit to prevent this illegal activityfrom continuing Return any fines or letters to whoever issued them,along with any evidence you have to prove your case Write to us at DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1ZZ, giving usthe crime reference number the police gave you. Wewill keep a record of the matter for future reference11. Trailer registration numbers andnumber platesCertain trailers need to be registered with DVLA. Thesetrailers will be allocated a registration number and willneed to display a number plate.Further information on trailer registration numbers andnumber plates can be found in leaflet INF291 which canbe found at: latesBuying a vehicle?The tax is no longer transferable so you must tax itbefore you use it.www.gov.uk/vehicletaxrulesVehicle ServicesVehicle registration numbersand number platesDVLALongview RoadMorristonSwanseaSA6 7JLwww.gov.uk/dvla12

Vehicle registration numbers are a way of identifying . vehicles and are owned by the Secretary of State. They are allocated to vehicles as part of the process of registering and taxing vehicles. The registration number is given to the vehicle, not the . registered keeper. It will stay with the vehicle (until the . vehicle is broken up, destroyed or exported permanently out of the country .

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