Flags, symbols and identifiers
You can display one of the following flags with identifying letters on the left-hand side of the number plate:
- Union flag (also known as the Union Jack)
- Cross of St George
- Cross of St Andrew - also known as the Saltire
- Red Dragon of Wales
The letters, or national identifiers, you can have are:
- UNITED KINGDOM, United Kingdom or UK
- GREAT BRITAIN, Great Britain or GB
- CYMRU, Cymru, CYM or Cym
- ENGLAND, England, ENG, Eng
- SCOTLAND, Scotland, SCO or Sco
- WALES or Wales
Rules for number plates
The number plates on your vehicle must:
- be made from a reflective material
- display black characters on a white background (front plate)
- display black characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
- not have a background pattern
- be marked to show who supplied the number plate
- be marked with a British Standard number - this is ‘BS AU 145e’ for plates fitted after 1 September 2021
The characters must not be removable or reflective. If your number plates were fitted after 1 September 2021, they must also be a single shade of black.
Your number plates can also:
- have 3D (raised) characters
- display certain flags, symbols and identifiers
- display a green flash, if you have a zero-emission vehicle
If you ride a motorbike or motor tricycle
Motorcycles and motor tricycles registered on or after 1 September 2001 must only display a number plate at the rear of the vehicle.
If you ride a motorbike or motor tricycle registered before 1 September 2001 you can also display a number plate at the front, but you do not have to.
Motorcycle and motor tricycle number plate numbers should be on 2 lines.
Towing a trailer
Your trailer must display the same number plate as the vehicle you’re towing it with. If you’re towing more than one trailer, the number plate must be fixed to the trailer at the back.
Taking commercial or heavy trailers abroad
If your trailer needs to be registered to go abroad, you need to fix the trailer registration plate to the back, as well as the towing vehicle’s number plate.
Fix the trailer registration plate as far away as possible from the towing vehicle’s number plate.
If you cannot fix the trailer registration plate on the back of your trailer, fix it to both sides instead. Make sure they’re clearly visible.
Letter spacing, size and style
The characters on a number plate need to be a certain height and size.
The flag must be above the identifier. You cannot have the flag or letters on the number plate margin, and neither can be more than 50 millimetres wide.
Driving outside the UK
If your number plate includes the UK identifier with the Union flag (also known as the Union Jack), you do not need a UK sticker.
However, you will need to display a UK sticker clearly on the rear of your vehicle if your number plate has any of the following:
- a GB identifier with the Union flag
- a Euro symbol
- a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
- numbers and letters only - no flag or identifier
If you’re in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.
If you have a GB sticker, cover or remove it before driving outside the UK.
You do not need a UK sticker or number plate to drive in Ireland.