We have access to over thirty million private number plates via trade suppliers, the general public and the driver and vehicle licensing agency in Swansea. All private number plates we supply can be provided on a government v750 or a v778 holding certificate.

The information below sets out the legal requirements for UK acrylic number plates. To buy a fully legal acrylic number plate please visit our dedicated website Plates Posted.


Number plates fitted after 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown below.

Characters Measurement
Height 79mm
Width (except the figure 1 or letter l) 50mm
Stroke 14mm
Space between characters 11mm
Space between groups 33mm
Top, bottom and side margins (minimum) 11mm
Space between vertical lines 19mm

The character width has been slightly reduced from 57mm to 50mm to accommodate the Euro-symbol on the number plate.


Number plates fitted before 1 September 2001 must display characters that meet the dimensions shown in one of the two groups below

Characters Group 1 Group 2
Height 89mm 79mm
Width (except the figure 1 or letter l) 64mm 57mm
Stroke 16mm 14mm
Space between characters 13mm 11mm
Space between groups 38mm 33mm
Side margins (minimum) 13mm 11mm
Space between vertical lines 19mm 19mm


Vehicles constructed before 1.1.73 may display traditional style “black and white” plates i.e. white, silver or grey characters on a black plate.
Lettering must be of a set size. It must conform to one of the two groups below.

Characters Group 1 Group 2
Height 89mm 79mm
Width (except the figure 1 or letter l) 64mm 57mm
Stroke 16mm 14mm
Side margin 25mm 11mm
Top and bottom margin 13mm 11mm
Space between characters 13mm 11mm
Space between groups 38mm 33mm

There are additional arrangements if the vehicle is a motorcycle or tricycle.

Traditional number plates fitted to vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1973 are not required to display the mandatory character font, but the characters must be easy to read.

New Number Plate and Registration Mark Format

  • to view the list of Age Identifiers
  • to view the list of Local Memory Tags

How was this new 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.

Why did my region get the letter that has been assigned to it?

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 have you started the numbers from 51?

The age identifier changes twice a year, in March and September. To distinguish between these two six monthly changes they have been allocated different number sequences. The following table shows how this will be achieved:

Year March September
2001 - 51
2002 02 52



The use of the figure 5 to precede the year, for September registrations, will maximise the registration mark combinations and offer a long-lasting system. The 5 will change to 6 in 2010 and to 7 in 2020 and so on until 2050 when the format may be reversed to extend the format another 50 years.

Will I be 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.

I live in the Isle of Wight, will there still be a distinct mark for the Isle?

Yes. The letters ‘HW’ will be used for vehicles registered by Isle or Wight residents

I live in the Scilly Isles, will there still be a distinct mark for the Islands?

No, there is no longer a unique mark for the Scilly Isles.

Is the system going to change in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man as well?

No, the systems will continue as at present in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man may choose to adopt the system later and a series of marks has been reserved.

Why is it necessary to have a common font for all number plates?

Number plates must be easy to read – by people who may witness accidents or serious crime involving motor vehicles and by roadside cameras. The police rely on clear recall of registration numbers in order to trace vehicle keepers.

Why did the rule on fonts change?

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 new regulations will ensure that there is clarity of numbers and letters through the use of a standardised mandatory font. . for further information.

Will motorists have to change their existing number plates to the new font?

The vast majority of motorists will not be directly affected by the regulations. However those motorists who have number plates that are not substantially the same as the new mandatory font should change them for plates that comply with new regulations. Once the new font becomes compulsory existing number plates using any typeface that is not substantially the same as that specified in the regulations will be illegal. . for further information.

Are motorists with “cherished” registration marks be affected by the new mandatory font?

Providing their number plates currently meet the legal requirements the mandatory font will not affect them.

My vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1973 but not registered until later. What type of number plate should I display?

You now have the option of either displaying the standard plates or an old style number plate explained under the heading vehicles registered before 1 January 1973.

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.

Are there plans to make the Euro-plate compulsory?

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.

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 European Union.

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.When the regulations are amended they will provide for the voluntary display of the Union flag, Scottish Saltire, Cross of St George and Red Dragon. Football team crests etc are not allowed.

Do I have to change my number plate if it is cracked or broken?

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.

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?

Yes, 3D characters are permitted providing they meet all the other requirements.

Is a honeycombed or other background pattern permitted?

No, overprinting including honeycomb or other background designs are not allowed.

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.

Please Note: In the event of one office receiving an exceptionally high demand that depletes its stock of registration marks, marks may be transferred between local offices.

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Legal Notice: © 1988 - 2012. All contents of this site are the property of Classic Enterprises (UK) LTD. DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Personally Yours Registrations (PYR) is part of Classic Enterprises UK Ltd and is in no way affiliated to the DVLA or DVLA Registrations. PYR is a registered frequent buyer of DVLA Registrations and Private Plates. Personally Yours Registrations is a registered DVLA number plates supplier (No: 27154). Some private number plates offered by us originate from Government stock.