How does the number plate system work?



The current car registration format came in to play in September 2001 and is made up of three parts:

If we take the plate HG65 MLR as an example:

1. The first two letters represent the ‘local memory tag’. This is where the vehicle was registered. The first represents the region and the second a DVLA local office.

2. The third and fourth digits are numbers known as the ‘age identifier’. These are changed every six months in March and September. The easiest way to remember this is to think of March as the year and September as the year plus 50. For example:

• '14' was introduced in March 2014 and '64' in September 2014
• '15' in March 2015 and '65' in September 2015
• '16' in March 2016 and '66' in September 2016

In other words, if car has a '14' plate, it was registered between the beginning of March and the end of August in 2014, and a '64'-plate car was registered between September 2014 and the end of February 2015.

3. The last three letters are randomly chosen and allocated to a dealership when the car is registered. However, bear in mind some personalised plates don’t follow this system.




Age identifier

Year1 March to
end August
1 September to
end February
2001/02 51
2002/03 02 52
2003/04 03 53
2004/05 04 54
2005/06 05 55
2006/07 06 56
2007/08 07 57
2008/09 08 58
2009/10 09 59
2010/11 10 60
2011/12 11 61
2012/13 12 62
2013/14 13 63
2014/15 14 64
2015/16 15 65
2016/17 16 66
2017/18 17 67
2018/19 18 68
2019/20 19 69
2020/21 20 70
2021/22 21 71
2022/23 and so on until 50/00
in 2050/51


Region identifier

1st Letter =
Region I.D.
RegionLocal OfficeFirst 2 Letters Combined =
DVLA Local Office I.D. Tag
A Anglia
Peterborough
Norwich
Ipswich
AA AB AC AD AE AF AG AH AJ AK AL AM AN
AO AP AR AS AT AU
AV AW AX AY
B Birmingham
Birmingham
BA - BY
C Cymru
Cardiff
Swansea
Bangor
CA CB CC CD CE CF CG CH CJ CK CL CM CN CO
CP CR CS CT CU CV
CW CX CY
D Deeside to Shrewsbury
Chester
Shrewsbury
DA DB DC DD DE DF DG DH DJ DK
DL DM DN DO DP DR DS DT DU DV DW DX DY
E Essex
Chelmsford
EA - EY
F Forest + Fens
Nottingham
Lincoln
FA FB FC FD FE FF FG FH FJ FK FL FM FN FP
FR FS FT FV FW FX FY
G Garden of England
Maidstone
Brighton
GA GB BC GD GE GF GG GH GJ GK GL GM GN GO
GP GR GS GT GU GV GW GX GY
H Hampshire + Dorset
Bournemouth
Portsmouth

HA HB HC HD HE HF HG HH HJ
HK HL HM HN HO HP HR HS HT HU HV HW HX HY
(HW will be used exclusively for the Isle of Wight)
K Milton Keynes
Luton
Northampton
KA KB KC KD KE KF KG KH KJ KK KL
KM KN KO KP KR KS KT KU KV KW KX KY
L London
Wimbledon
Stanmore
Sidcup
LA LB LC LD LE LF LG LH LJ
LK LL LM LN LO LP LR LS LT
LU LV LW LX LY
M Manchester + Merseyside
Manchester
MA -MY
N North
Newcastle
Stockton
NA NB NC ND NE NG NH NJ NK NL NM NN NO
NP NR NS NT NU NV NW NX NY
O Oxford
Oxford
OA - OY
P Preston
Preston
Carlisle
PA PB PC PD PE PF PG PH PJ PK PL PM PN PO PP PR PS PT
PU PV PW PX PY
R Reading
Reading
RA - RY
S Scotland
Glasgow
Edinburgh
Dundee
Aberdeen
Inverness
SA SB SC SD SE SF SG SH SJ
SK SL SM SN SO
SP SR SS ST
SU SV SW
SX SY
V Severn Valley
Worcester
VA - VY
W West of England
Exeter
Truro
Bristol
WA WB WC WD WE WF WG WH WJ
WK WL
WM WN WO WP WR WS WT WU WV WW WX WY
X Export
-
XA - XY
Y Yorkshire
Leeds
Sheffield
Beverley
YA YB YC YD YE YF YG YH YJ YK
YL YM YN YO YP YR YS YT YU
YV YW YX YY

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