Why is there a mandatory font?
An increasing number of motorists use number plates that are difficult to read. The introduction of cameras for enforcement purposes means that it is more important than ever for number plates to be legible. The regulations ensure that there is clarity of numbers and letters through the use of a standardised mandatory font.
You now have the option of either displaying the standard plates or an old style number plate.
My vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1973 but not registered until later. What type of number plate should I display?
No. Only cars registered before 1 January 1973 can display the classic style number plates.
Can I fit a classic style Black & Silver plate to a modern vehicle?
Is it legal to display the Euro-symbol?
Yes - Regulations permit the optional display of the European Symbol of Stars with GB on the extreme
left of the number plate which must be retro-reflective.
No, it is optional. The provision has been introduced because the European Council issued a regulation in November 1998 requiring Member States to recognise the Euro-symbol on number plates in place of the traditional oval shaped national identifier sticker for travel within the European Union. It is for individual motorists to decide if they wish to use the new Euro-plate.
Are there plans to make the Euro-plate compulsory?
What is the effect of the Euro-plate on UK registered vehicles?
UK vehicles travelling in the European Union may still display the traditional oval GB sticker. Alternatively, number plates incorporating the Euro-symbol may be used instead of the oval sticker. The oval national identifier sticker would still be required for vehicles on journeys outside the EU.
Can other symbols (e.g. national flag, football team crest) be used on number plates?
The Government announced on 28 December 2001 the intention to permit the display of national flags and symbols on vehicle number plates. This permits the voluntary display of the Union flag, Scottish Saltire, Cross of St George and Red Dragon. Football team crests etc. are not allowed.
If the number plate is damaged in such a way that it makes the registration mark difficult to read it does need to be replaced.
Do I have to change my number plate if it is cracked or broken?
If I need to replace one of my plates, do I need to change both?
No, you only need to replace the damaged number plate.
Are 3D characters allowed?
Registration numbers and letters must be black and non-reflectable. 3D characters are allowed provided the number plate complies with the British Standard specification (BS AU 145d).
No, overprinting including honeycomb or other background designs are not allowed. However, honeycomb manufactured into the reflective is permitted.
Is a printed honeycombed or other background pattern permitted?
Are stick-on number plates legal?
No, number plates must meet the British Standard requirements and we are not aware of any self-adhesive number plates that are able to meet these requirements.
Registration marks are needed so that a vehicle can be easily identified. Number plates must be easy to read for many reasons but it is most important for the police.
The police often rely on witnesses to remember the number plate if they are to solve a crime. This ranges from motoring offences to some very serious crimes where a vehicle has been involved. Solving these crimes can depend on someone remembering a registration mark or even part of it.
Why do we need number plates and registration marks?
What is a 'Q' registration number?
These are a very useful consumer protection aid. A 'Q' number is a clear indicator to a prospective purchaser that the age or identity of a vehicle is unknown. The vehicle may be rebuilt from parts, some or all of which may not be new. This also applies to vehicles imported without supporting evidence to identify the vehicles age.
The DVLA offers prefix and new style personalised registrations for sale through their website https://www.gov.uk/buy-a-personalised-registration-number
How do I buy a registration number?
To transfer a registration number form one vehicle to another you will need to complete form V317 that is available from a DVLA Local Office. This form will explain what you need to do before the number can be transferred.
How do I transfer my registration number?
How do I retain my registration number as I have not got another vehicle to transfer
the number to?
To place a vehicle registration number on hold you will need to complete form V778/1 that is available from a DVLA Local Office.
How was the current format chosen?
A consultation exercise in 1997 invited the public and interested organisations to give their views. The system that has been developed meets the needs of the vast majority of respondents in providing local memory tags and age identifiers. These will be easy to remember and require no significant changes in materials or overall number plate size.
An extensive public consultation exercise took place in 1999 before the allocation of the local memory tags. They have been allocated so that, where possible, there is some regional significance. Where this is not possible a neutral letter has been allocated.
Why did my region get the letter that has been assigned to it?
Am I able to transfer a new style mark onto my old vehicle?
No, registration marks cannot be transferred onto any vehicle if it may appear to make the vehicle look younger. No vehicle first registered before 1 September 2001 will be able to have a new style mark.