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The current number plate format was introduced in 2001
You can easily work out how old a vehicle is once you understand the way the 'age identifier' changes over time. Here's our guide.
New registrations changed from annual to twice yearly in 1999. Shortly after, in September 2001, the current format number plate was introduced, made up of three parts:
|Year||1 March to
|1 September to
|2022/23||and so on||until 50/00
New rules about typefaces and 'GB' plates came into force with the introduction of the new plates.
Under rules introduced in April 2009, drivers in England, Scotland and Wales can display the Union flag, Cross of St George, Saltire or Red Dragon of Wales.
This amendment to the Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 means that drivers in England, Scotland and Wales can display the Union flag, Cross of St George, Cross of St Andrew (also known as the Saltire) or Red Dragon of Wales as well as one of the following identifiers: GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain, GB, UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom, UK, CYMRU, Cymru, CYM, Cym, ENGLAND, England, ENG, Eng, SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO, Sco, WALES or Wales.
No other symbols or flags can be displayed on number plates.
You can still choose to display the blue European Flag with "GB" within the circle of stars on your number plates.
This allows you to travel within Europe without the need to display the conventional oval sticker to identify the member state in which the vehicle is registered.
If your number plates display a national flag and identifier then you will still have to display the conventional oval 'GB' sticker when travelling in Europe.
For more information on the rules visit the official DVLA website.
The old 'prefix' system with a leading single letter to show the year of first registration began on 1 August 1983 with the introduction of the 'A' prefix and ended with 'Y', which ran from 1 March 2001 until 31 August 2001.
Before 1983, letters were used as a suffix. The table below shows both systems.
|Old suffix letters||Old prefix letters|
|Jan '63 to Dec '63||A||A||Aug '83 to July '84|
|Jan '64 to Dec '64||B||B||Aug '84 to July '85|
|Jan '65 to Dec '65||C||C||Aug '85 to July '86|
|Jan '66 to Dec '66||D||D||Aug '86 to July '87|
|Jan '67 to July '67||E||E||Aug '87 to July '88|
|Aug '67 to July '68||F||F||Aug '88 to July '89|
|Aug '68 to July '69||G||G||Aug '89 to July '90|
|Aug '69 to July '70||H||H||Aug '90 to July '91|
|Aug '70 to July '71||J||J||Aug '91 to July '92|
|Aug '71 to July '72||K||K||Aug '92 to July '93|
|Aug '72 to July '73||L||L||Aug '93 to July '94|
|Aug '73 to July '74||M||M||Aug '94 to July '95|
|Aug '74 to July '75||N||N||Aug '95 to July '96|
|Aug '75 to July '76||P||P||Aug '96 to July '97|
|Aug '76 to July '77||R||R||Aug '97 to July '98|
|Aug '77 to July '78||S||S||Aug '98 to Feb '99|
|Aug '78 to July '79||T||T||March '99 to Aug '99|
|Aug '79 to July '80||V||V||Sept '99 to Feb 2000|
|Aug '80 to July '81||W||W||March 2000 to Aug 2000|
|Aug '81 to July '82||X||X||Sept 2000 to Feb 2001|
|Aug '82 to July '83||Y||Y||March 2001 to Aug 2001|
(7 November 2012)