Registration plates by month of issue


Over the years, the registration plate system has been changed a number of times and this page is here to explain how they work and what’s changed. All new vehicles added to UKev display the registration plate in the description where applicable, this page will help you understand what you can tell from each number plate such as the year it was registered, where it was registered and more.



Current Style (2001 Onwards)

  Front Rear
On 1 September 2001, the UK adopted a new style of registration plate that would last for 49 years. It consists of a two- letter location identifier followed by a two-digit year identifier and then three random letters. A new number is introduced every six months.

The two-letter location identifier works from the location of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s office where the car was first registered. The table below shows how these work.

Area First Letter Second Letter DVLA Office

Anglia A A B C D E F G H J K L M N Peterborough
O P R S T U Norwich
V W X Y Ipswich

Birmingham B A-Y Birmingham

  Cymru (Wales) C A B C D E F G H J K L M N O Cardiff
P R S T U V Swansea
W X Y Bangor

Deeside to Shrewsbury D A B C D E F G H J K Chester
L M N O P R S T U V W X Y Shrewsbury

Essex E A-Y Chelmsford

Forest and Fens F A B C D E F G H J K L M N P Nottingham
R S T V W X Y Lincoln

Garden of England  G A B C D E F G H J K L M N O Maidstone
P R S T U V W X Y Brighton

Hampshire & Dorset  H A B C D E F G H J Bournemouth
K L  M N O P R S T U V W X Y Portsmouth

K A B C D E F G H J K L Luton
M N O P R S T Y V W X Y Northampton

London  L A B C D E F G H J Wimbledon
K L M N O P R S T Stanmore
U V W X Y Sidcup

Manchester & Merseyside M A-Y Manchester

North  N A B C D E F G H J K L M N O Newcastle
P R S T U V W X Y Stockton

Oxford O A-Y Oxford

Preston  P A B C D E F G H J K L M N O P R S T Preston
U V W X Y Carlisle

Reading R A-Y Reading

Scotland  S A B C D E F G H J Glasgow
K L M N O Edinburgh
P R S T Dundee
U V W Aberdeen
X Y Inverness

Severn Valley V A-Y Worcester

West of England  W A B C D E F G H J Exeter
K L Truro
M N O P R S T U V W X Y Bristol

Yorkshire Y A B C D E F G H J K Leeds
L M N O P R S T U Sheffield
V W X Y Beverley

Prefix Style (1983-2001)

  Front Rear
A123 BCD
A123 BCD
From 1983 until 2001 a different style of registration plate operated. It consisted of a single-letter age identifier followed by one, two or three numbers and then a three-letter combination, two of which gave an indication to the vehicle’s origin. Prefixes Q, U, I, Z and O were not released, although Q is issued to cars that have been greatly modified from their original specification. From S registration onwards letters were issued twice-yearly. Because the age identifying letter is at the front, this type of registration is known as ‘prefix’ style.





The numbers and the first of the three letters are assigned ‘at random’.The last two letters give the location of where the vehicle was registered. These are shown in the table below in alphabetical order. Where an index mark is followed by an asterisk (*) this means the office has now closed and the series of marks may have been allocated to another near-by office.

AA Bournemouth BA Manchester CA Chester DA Birmingham EA* Dudley
AB Worcester BB Newscastle CB Manchester DB Manchester EB Peterborough
AC* Coventry BC* Leicester CC Bangor DC* Middlesborough EC Preston
AD Gloucester BD Northampton CD Brighton DD Gloucester ED* Liverpool
AE Bristol BE Lincoln CE Peterborough DE* Haverfordwest EE Lincoln
AF Truro BF Stoke on Trent CF Reading DF* Gloucester EF* Middlesborough
AG Hull BG* Liverpool CG Bournemouth DG* Gloucester EG Peterborough
AH Norwich BH Luton CH Nottingham DH* Dudley EH* Stoke on Trent
AJ* Middlesborough BJ Ipswich CJ* Gloucester DJ* Liverpool EJ* Haverfordwest
AK Sheffield BK Portsmouth CK Preston DK Manchester EK* Liverpool
AL Nottingham BL Reading CL Norwich DL Portsmouth EL Bournemouth
AM* Swindon BM Luton CM Liverpool DM Chester EM* Liverpool
AN Reading BN Manchester CN Newcastle DN Leeds EN Manchester
AO Carlisle BO Cardiff CO Exeter DO Lincoln EO Preston
AP Brighton BP Portsmouth CP* Huddersfield DP Reading EP Swansea
AR Chelmsford BR Newscastle CR Portsmouth DR Exeter ER Peterborough
AS Inverness BS Aberdeen CS Glasgow DS Glasgow ES Dundee
AT Hull BT Leeds CT Lincoln DT Sheffield ET Sheffield
AU Nottingham BU Manchester CU Newcastle DU* Coventry EU Bristol
AV Petersborough BV Preston CV Truro DV Exeter EV Chelmsford
AW Shrewsbury BW Oxford CW Preston DW Cardiff EW Peterborough
AX Cardiff BX* Haverfordwest CX* Huddersfield DX Ipswich EX Norwich
AY* Leicester BY Stanmore CY Swansea DY Brighton EY Bangor

FA* Stoke on Trent GA Glasgow HA* Dudley JA Manchester KA* Liverpool
FB Bristol GB Glasgow HB Cardiff JB Reading KB* Liverpool
FC Oxford GC* Croydon HC Brighton JC Bangor KC* Liverpool
FD* Dudley GD Glasgow HD* Huddersfield JD Wimbledon KD* Liverpool
FE Lincoln GE GLasgow HE Sheffield JE Peterborough KE Maidstone
FF Bangor GF* Croydon HF* Liverpool JF* Leicester KF* Liverpool
FG Brighton GG Glasgow HG Preston JG Maidstone KG Cardiff
FH* Gloucester GH* Croydon HH Carlisle JH Reading KH Beverley
FJ Exeter GJ* Croydon HJ Chelmsford JJ Maidstone KJ Maidstone
FK* Dudley GK* Croydon HK Chelmsford JK Brighton KK Maidstone
FL Peterborough GL Truro HL Sheffield JL Lincoln KL Maidstone
FM Chester GM Reading HM Wimbledon JM Reading KM Maidstone
FN Maidstone GN* Croydon HN* Middlesborough JN Chelmsford KN Maidstone
FO* Gloucester GO* Croydon HO Bournemouth JO Oxford KO Maidstone
FP* Leicester GP* Croydon HP* Coventry JP* Liverpool KP Maidstone
FR Preston GR Newcastle HR* Swindon JR Newcastle KR Maidstone
FS Edinburgh GS Luton HS Glasgow JS Inverness KS Edinburgh
FT Newcastle GT* Croydon HT Bristol JT Bournemouth KT Maidstone
FU Lincoln GU Sidcup HU Bristol JU* Leicester KU Sheffield
FV Preston GV Ipswich HV Wimbledon JV Lincoln KV* Coventry
FW Lincoln GW Sidcup HW Bristol JW Birmingham KW Sheffield
FX Bounremouth GX Sidcup HX Wimbledon JX* Huddersfield KX Luton
FY* Liverpool GY Sidcup HY Bristol JY Exeter KY Sheffield

LA Stanmore MA Chester NA Manchester OA Birmingham PA* Guildford
LB Stanmore MB Chester NB Manchester OB Birmingham PB* Guildford
LC Stanmore MC* London NE NC Manchester OC Birmingham PC* Guildford
LD Stanmore MD* London NE ND Manchester OD Exeter PD* Guildford
LE Stanmore ME* London NE NE Manchester OE Birmingham PE* Guildford
LF Stanmore MF* London NE NF Manchester OF Birmingham PF* Guildford
LG Chester MG* London NE NG Norwich OG Birmingham PG* Guildford
LH Stanmore MH* London NE NH Northampton OH Birmingham PH* Guildford
LJ Bournemouth MJ Luton NJ Brighton OJ Birmingham PJ* Guildford
LK Stanmore MK* London NE NK Luton OK Birmingham PK* Guildford
LL Stanmore ML* London NE NL Newcastle OL Birmingham PL* Guildford
LM Stanmore MM* London NE NM Luton OM Birmingham PM* Guildford
LN Stanmore MN not used NN Nottingham ON Birmingham PN Brighton
LO Stanmore MO Reading NO Chelmsford OO Chelmsford PO Portsmouth
LP Stanmore MP* London NE NP Worcester OP Birmingham PP Luton
LR Stanmore MR* Swindon NR* Leicester OR Portsmouth PR Bournemouth
LS Edinburgh MS Edinburgh NS Glasgow OS Glasgow PS Aberdeen
LT Stanmore MT* London NE NT Shrewsbury OT Portsmouth PT Newcastle
LU Stanmore MU* London NE NU Nottingham OU Bristol PU Chelmsford
LV* Liverpool MV Sidcup NV Northampton OV Birmingham PV Ipswich
LW Stanmore MW* Swindon NW Leeds OW Portsmouth PW Norwich
LX Stanmore MX Sidcup NX* Dudley OX Birmingham PX Portsmouth
LY Stanmore MY Sidcup NY Cardiff OY London NW PY* Middlesborough

RA Nottingham SA Aberdeen TA Exeter UA Leeds VA Peterborough
RB Nottingham SB Glasgow TB* Liverpool UB Leeds VB Maidstone
RC Nottingham SC Edinburgh TC Bristol UC* Wimbledon VC* Coventry
RD Reading SD Glasgow TD Manchester UD Oxford VD withdrawn
RE* Stoke on Trent SE Aberdeen TE Manchester UE* Dudley VE Peterborough
RF* Stoke on Trent SF Edinburgh TF Reading UF Brighton VF Norwich
RG Newcastle SG Edinburgh TG Cardiff UG Leeds VG Norwich
RH* Hull SH Edinburgh TH Swansea UH Cardiff VH* Huddersfield
RJ Manchester SJ Glasgow TJ* Liverpool UJ Shrewsbury VJ* Gloucester
RK London NW SK Inverness TK Exeter UK Birmingham VK Newcastle
RL Truro SL Dundee TL Lincoln UL Wimbledon VL Lincoln
RM Carlisle SM Carlisle TM Luton UM Leeds VM Manchester
RN Preston SN Dundee TN Newcastle UN Exeter VN* Middlesborough
RO Luton SO Aberdeen TO Nottingham UO Exeter VO Nottingham
RP Northampton SP Dundee TP Portsmouth UP Newcastle VP Birmingham
RR Nottingham SR Dundee TR Portsmouth UR Luton VR Manchester
RS Aberdeen SS Aberdeen TS Dundee US Glasgow VS Luton
RT Ipswich ST Inverness TT Exeter UT Leicester VT* Stoke on Trent
RU Bournemouth SU Glasgow TU Chester UU Wimbledon VU Manchester
RV Portsmouth SV not used TV Nottingham UV Wimbledon VV Northampton
RW Coventry SW Carlisle TW Chelmsford UW Wimbledon VW Chelmsford
RX* Reading SX Edinburgh TX Cardiff UX Shrewsbury VX Chelmsford
RY* Leicester SY not used TY Newcastle UY Worcester VY Leeds

WA Sheffield XA not used YA* Taunton I_ not used
WB Sheffield XB not used YB* Taunton Q_ not used
WC Chelmsford XC not used YC* Taunton Z_ not used
WD Birmingham XD not used YD* Taunton
WE Sheffield XE not used YE Wimbledon
WF Sheffield XF not used YF Wimbledon
WG Sheffield XG not used YG Leeds
WH Manchester XH not used YH Wimbledon
WJ Sheffield XJ not used YJ Brighton
WK* Coventry XK not used YK Wimbledon
WL Oxford XL not used YL Wimbledon
WM Liverpool XM not used YM Wimbledon
WN Swansea XN not used YN Wimbledon
WO Cardiff XO not used YO Wimbledon
WP Worcester XP Birmingham YP Wimbledon
WR Leeds XP Wimbledon YR Wimbledon
WS Bristol XP Northampton YS Glasgow
WT Leeds XP Oxford YT Wimbledon
WU Leeds XP Chelmsford YU Wimbledon
WV Brighton XP Leeds YV Wimbledon
WW Leeds XP Luton YW Wimbledon
WX Leeds XP Norwich YX Wimbledon
WY Leeds XP Bristol YY Wimbledon
XP Middlesborough
XR Middlesborough
XS Middlesborough
XT Middlesborough
XU Middlesborough
XV Middlesborough
XW Middlesborough
XX Middlesborough
XY Middlesborough

Suffix Style (1963-1983)

  Front Rear
ABC 123D
ABC 123D
From 1963 until 1983 registration plates were the reverse of the 1983 to 2001 system. This meant that they started with three letters (which give an indication of its origin) followed by up to three numbers and then one letter. The letter at the end indicates the year in which it was registered, hence the name ‘suffix registrations’.

The first two letters give the office where the registration was issued. This is exactly the same as the last two letters in the prefix system, so the large table above can be used.




Other Styles


While almost all vehicles in the UK have registration plates of the type shown above, there are various other types of registration plate in use. Before the introduction of yellow and white reflective plates, UK cars had silver or white letters on a black background (as shown in the picture above). Vehicles that were registered before 1963 had one to three letters and one to three numbers on their registrations. The most-prized registration ‘A1’ was issued in 1903.

Some other registrations that are sometimes seen on UK roads include:

ABC 123 Pre-1963 style of registration
1 AB Very old registration, often transferred to a modern vehicle
ABC 1234 Northern Ireland uses a system of three letters and four numbers
J12345 Jersey uses a J, followed by 5 numbers
12345 Guernsey uses only numbers
G 12345 D Gibraltar uses a G followed by numbers then a letter
12 AB 34 The military uses a 2-2-2 combination of letters and numbers
AB 12 CD This is another example of a military registration
123 AB This is a trade plate

Irish Registrations

 All photographs on UKev Ireland have the registration plate of the vehicle in the text where available.
This page is designed to give a guide to what information you can find out about a vehicle from its plate.The system of vehicle registration plates in the Republic of Ireland is very simple compared to the UK.
Here is an example plate:The first two numbers are the year. Issues start on 1 January and end on 31 December. In this example the “06” refers to 2006. Registrations in this format were first used in 1987, so range from 87 to 99 and then from 00 to the current year.

The letter or pair of letters in the middle shows in which county or city the owner lived when the vehicle was registered. The following table shows all of the possibilities:

C Cork LS Laois
CE Clare MH Meath
CN Cavan MN Monagham
CW Carlow MO Mayo
D Dublin OY Offaly
DL Donegal RN Roscommon
G Galway SO Sligo
KE Kildare TN North Tipperary
KK Kilkenny TS South Tipperary
KY Kerry W Waterford City
L Limerick City WD Waterford
LD Longford WH Westmeath
LH Louth WW Wicklow
LK Limerick WX Wexford
LM Leitrim

The last number (between 1 and 99999) is the ‘random’ part to distinguish vehicles.

Also appearing on the left of the registration plate is the EU flag and country identifier. This is required on all modern Irish vehicles, whereas it is optional in the UK.

Lastly the county or city referred to by the letter identifier is written in full Gaelic at the top of the plate.

Often Garda and other services’ vehicles carry a Dublin regsitration even though they are posted to other areas.