UK NUMBER PLATES

Who can use black and silver vehicle number plates?

Vehicles registered before January 1st, 1973 can use the traditional style number plates (white, grey or silver characters on a black background).

In addition, vehicles registered prior to 1980 can also use the traditional plates so long as they have applied to DVLA and are registered within the 'historic vehicle' rate taxation class.

My vehicle was made after December 31st, 1972. What number plate can I use?

If your vehicle is not entitled to black and silver number plates, you have to have plates that are made of a reflective material (white background for front plates, yellow background for rear plates) and are printed with black numbers and letters. On 1st September 2001, new regulations introduced astandard font (style of lettering) for number plates, making them easier to be read. This change ended the use of italics and other styles of lettering that are difficult to read. The rules on letter sizes and layout differ for cars and motorcycles differ. Full details can be found through the link below.

What do I need to get a new number plate made?

To get legally approved, British Standards vehicle number plates made in the UK, you need to go to a Registered Number Plate Supplier (RNPS). You'll have to supply proof of your entitlement to the registration number you want made into plates (such as the V5C 'log book', something to prove your name and address (such as a driving license, bank statement or utility bill), and proof of your name (such as a passport or bank debit card).

Can I have a GB flag on my number plate?

You can display one of the national flags (the Union flag, St George's Cross, Scottish Saltire or Welsh Red Dragon) on the far left of the number plate. You can also choose from the following identifying letters:

  • UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom or UK

  • GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain or GB

  • CYMRU, Cymru, CYM or Cym

  • ENGLAND, England, ENG or Eng

  • SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO or Sco

  • WALES or Wales

Your number plate cannot display any other flag or letters.

What do the number plate letters mean? What do the numberplate prefix or suffix letters mean?

How old is that vehicle?

British vehicles first started sporting number plates after the Motor Car Act, 1903, to enable any given vehicle to be identified with an owner in the case of an accident or driver naughtiness.

The earliest plates had one or two letters, followed by numbers from 1 to  999. With the growth of the car market, the alpha-numeric combinations of these were soon exhausted. The three letter plus three number system came into being in 1932.

'Q' plates started in 1983 and are associated mostly with kit cars and one-off vehicles, but are also sometimes used on imported vehicles where the date of first registration can't be identified to the satisfaction of the DVLA.

ABC 123A

Suffix Number Plate Year Identifiers

A

January 1963 - December 1963

B

January 1964 - December 1964

C

January 1965 - December 1965

D

January 1966 - December 1966

E

January 1967 - July 1967

F

August 1967 - July 1968

G

August 1968 - July 1969

H

August 1969 - July 1970

J

August 1970 - July 1971

K

August 1971 - July 1972

L

August 1972 - July 1973

M

August 1973 - July 1974

N

August 1974 - July 1975

P

August 1975 - July 1976

R

August 1976 - July 1977

S

August 1977 - July 1978

T

August 1978 - July 1979

V

August 1979 - July 1980

W

August 1980 - July 1981

X

August 1981 - July 1982

Y

August 1982 - July 1983

A123 ABC

Prefix Number Plate Year Identifiers

A

August 1983 - July 1984

B

August 1984 - July 1985

C

August 1985 - July 1986

D

August 1986 - July 1987

E

August 1987 - July 1988

F

August 1988 - July 1989

G

August 1989 - July 1990

H

August 1990 - July 1991

J

August 1991 - July 1992

K

August 1992 - July 1993

L

August 1993 - July 1994

M

August 1994 - July 1995

N

August 1995 - July 1996

P

August 1996 - July 1997

R

August 1997 - July 1998

S

August 1998 - February 1999

T

March 1999 - August 1999

V

September 1999 - February 2000

W

March 2000 - August 2000

X

September 2000 - February 2001

Y

March 2001 - August 2001

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