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The most important point to remember is that it is an offence to rearrange your registration number to make it resemble a name or word more closely.

Remember, the actual reason for displaying registration numbers on vehicles is so the keeper can be identified easily for law enforcement purposes.

Number Plates on Cars, Vans and Four Wheeled Vehicles

Font Size, Measurements and Spacing

Front number plates must show black characters on a white background and the rear number plate must have black letters on a yellow reflective background.

The specific number plate sizes and measurements are as follows:

  • Height of characters: 79mm
  • Width of characters: 50mm (except for '1' or 'I')
  • Space between characters: 11mm
  • Space between groups: 33mm

Number Plates on Motorcycles

Font Size, Measurements and Spacing

Motorcycles registered from September 1st 2001 must only display a number plate at the back.

The law around number plates and motorcycles is as follows:

  • Height of characters: 64mm
  • Width of characters: 10mm (except for '1' or 'I')
  • Space between characters: 10mm
  • Space between groups: 30mm

Number Plates on Tricycles

Tricycles manufactured from motorcycles must follow the above requirements for motorcycles, whereas tricycles made from four-wheeled vehicles (e.g. quad bikes) must meet the requirements of these vehicles.

Backgrounds, Identifiers, Flags and Fonts

Honeycomb backgrounds are illegal on number plates but 3D lettering and a border are allowed for your car reg. The following flags are permitted on UK number plates:

  • Union Jack
  • St. George Cross
  • St. Andrew Cross (or Saltire)
  • Welsh Dragon
Union Jack St. George Cross St. Andrew Cross Welsh Dragon

The following identifiers are also allowed on number plates in the UK:

  • GB
  • UK
  • CYM
  • ENG
  • SCO

The various identifiers must be displayed on the left hand side of the number plate. The flag must be placed above the identifier, neither of which can be more than 50mm wide.

Displaying the Standard GB Sticker

This is still required, however if you display the Euro symbol and the GB (Great Britain) identifier on your number plate, then you do not need a separate GB sticker.

The Euro symbol also has definite requirements:

  • Minimum height: 98mm
  • Minimum width: 40mm
  • Maximum width: 50mm
  • Reflective background with 12 reflective yellow stars
  • Sign of the member of state (GB) in white or yellow

Last updated: Friday 20th March 2020

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