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Number plate rules and regulations

number plate exampleNumber plates (also known as licence plates) must show your registration number correctly. You cannot rearrange letters or numbers, or alter them so that they’re hard to read.

The current vehicle registration number format was introduced in 2001. It consists of:

  • 2 letters (these refer to the region in the country where your vehicle was first registered)
  • 2 numbers (these tell you when it was issued)
  • 3 letters chosen at random

Rules for number plates

The number plates on your vehicle must:

  • be made from a reflective material
  • display black characters on a white background (front plate)
  • display black characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
  • not have a background pattern

Characters on a number plate can be 3D.

If you ride a motorbike or motor tricycle

Motorcycles and motor tricycles registered on or after 1 September 2001 must only display a number plate at the rear of the vehicle.

If you ride a motorbike or motor tricycle registered before 1 September 2001 you can also display a number plate at the front, but you do not have to.

Motorcycle and motor tricycle number plate numbers should be on 2 lines.