Vehicle registration plates of Poland

Vehicle registration plates of Poland

In common with many countries, Polish car number plates indicate the region of registration of the vehicle encoded in the number plate.


According to Polish law the registration plate is tied to the vehicle, not the owner. There is no possibility for the owner to keep the licence number for use on a different car, unless it's a custom number. The licence plates are issued by the powiat (county) of the vehicle owner's registered address of residence, in the case of a natural person. If it is owned by a legal person, the place of registration is determined by the address of its seat. Vehicles leased under operating leases and many de facto finance leases will be registered at the seat of the lessor. When a vehicle changes hands, the new owner must apply for new vehicle registration document bearing his or her name and registered address. The new owner may obtain a new licence plate although it is not mandatory when new owner's residence address lies in the same area as the previous owner's. In such a situation the licence plates are usually carried over to the new owner, because the change carries an additional cost.

The change in system shown below in 2001 is related to the reduction in the previous year of the number of voivodeships in Poland from 49 to 16, modelled on the German system of "Länder". The pre-2001 licence plates (white letters on black background) can be used indefinitely, but since they are obsolete they have to be replaced in case of change of vehicle's ownership.

In the pre-2001 model, there were not sufficient letters in the Polish alphabet for each of the old voivodeships to have a single letter. Only the standard latin alphabet were used (outside Q), the specific Polish characters with diacritics were excluded in order to make the plates fully internationally readable. Therefore two letters had to be used to indicate the vehicle's origin (the middle administrative level of powiat was not introduced until 1999). Since the change, the first letter denotes the new voivodeship. One additional letter is used in cities with rights of powiat (including all 49 capitals of the old voivodeships and every major city). Two additional letters are used in any other powiat.

It is not necessary for EU citizens to re-register the vehicles they have brought with them, which are duly registered and taxed elsewhere in the EU, when living in Poland. This emerges from European law, although local regulations have to date not been changed to reflect the law, leading to officials locally sometimes giving incorrect advice on this point. If in doubt, refer to your Embassy.

Polish car number plates since May 1, 2000

Since the year 2000 Polish car plates have black letters on a white background. The switch was mode in accordance to other EU countries and to increase visibility. The licence plates issued until May 1, 2006 bear a Polish national flag. Plates issued after that date have the 12 EU stars instead of the flag.

The licence plates are invalid without the two adhesive stickers with a hologram placed on the license plates, and an adhesive plaque bearing the same number as the plates on the inside of windshield. If the vehicle uses only one licence plate the excessive sticker must be attached to the registration papers. The plaque cannot be replaced if destroyed, the change of the whole set is required.

Each powiat uses a unique two or three letter code, with first letter denoting powiat's voivodeship. The number pools listed below are not used in any particular order, although one pool is usually depleted before the next one is used. A visible gap exists between the area code and series, but there is no possibility of confusion if the number is written down without it unlike in German system.

The following characters are used in licence plate examples:
* X - voivodeship code
* XY, XYZ - powiat code
* J, K, L - any allowed letter
* digits

The letters used in licence plates include all standard latin alphabet letters outside of Q (not used at all in Polish language). The letters B, D, I, O, and Z cannot be used in series area (on the right, after the gap), because they can be confused with digits. Only custom plates can include these letters, but Q still cannot be used. The leading 0 in numbers is never omitted.

Licence plate types and combinations

Cars, trucks, and buses
* XY 12345
* XY 1234J
* XY 123JK
* XY 1J345
* XY 1JK45
* XYZ J234
* XYZ 12JK
* XYZ 1J34 (first digit cannot be 0)
* XYZ 12J4 (last digit cannot be 0)
* XYZ 1JK4 (neither digit can be 0)
* XYZ JK34
* XYZ 12345
* XYZ 1234J
* XYZ 123JK

:The number of available unique numbers is 1 235 799 for each two letter powiat code, and 866 799 for each three letter powiat code. Note that the combinations "XYZ 1234" and "XYZ 123J" are not used, because they would lead to creation of numbers identical to these in the old system. To avoid confusion these sets were excluded and may be used again when the old system goes out of use.

Motorcycles, mopeds, and agricultural vehicles
* XY 1234
* XY 123J
* XYZ J234
* XYZ 12JK
* XYZ 1J34 (first digit cannot be 0)
* XYZ 12J4 (last digit cannot be 0)

Classic cars
* XY 12J
* XYZ 1J

:These plates use black text on yellow background with an additional picture of a vintage car on the right side. Only cars older then 25 years and out of production for 15 years are eligible to be registered as classic cars with a notable exception of prototypes that were never produced. These plates are issued on a case by case rules.

Temporary and export plates
* X1 2345
* X1 234J

:These plates use red text on white background. The windshield plaque in not issued with it.

Testing vehicle
* X1 234B

:These plates use red text on white background. The last character is always the letter B. The windshield plaque in not issued with it. Only car manufacturers and automobile R&D centres are issued these plates.

Custom plates
These plates use standard black letters on white background. Each custom number starts with the letter denoting voivodeship and a single digit, followed by the gap. This digit and next characters can be picked by the owner. Outside the availability the following constrains are used:
* after the gap between 3 and 5 characters can be used
* the first character must be a letter
* no more than 2 last characters can be digits
* all letters come before digits (ie. they cannot be intermixed)
* any standard latin letter outside Q can be used (unlike common licence plates)
* resulting plate must not contain or resemble offensive contents

Diplomatic plates
* X 12345

:White symbols on blue background. First three digits indicate country.

Service plates
* HP J2345
* HP J23KLVehicles utilised used by the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration use licence plates beginning with "H" instead of the voivodeship code. The second letter denotes the service, for example "HP" is used by the Polish Police. Any standard latin letter outside Q can be used (unlike common licence plates). These services are also allowed to use common licence plates.

Military plates
* UC 12345
* UA 1234 (motorcycles only)
Polish military uses licence plates beginning with "U" instead of the voivodeship code. The following letter denotes the usage of the vehicle, however it cannot be U or O. For example military trucks have licence plates beginning with "UC". The trailing T in the number denotes a tracked vehicle. Military is not obliged to use the standard licence plates on tracked vehicles, armoured cars and armoured personnel carriers - they can be painted on the vehicle itself or applied as a sticker.

District indicators

U# - Military

HP# - Police

HW# - Border Guard

HK# - Internal Security Agency, Foreign Intelligence Agency

HB# - Government Protection Bureau

HC# - Customs Service

HS# - Fiscal Control

HM# - Military Counterintelligence Agency, Military Intelligence Agency

1976 - 2000 series

Plates 1976 - 2000 series are still valid. It has white letters on black background. There was coding too: ### **** or ### ***# (at the beginning configuration with letter in the end was used for public cars only)

There was following coding (49 regions):

Biała Podlaska BP, BA, BS

Białystok BK, BT, BI

Bielsko-Biała BB, BL, BO

Bydgoszcz BY, BG, BD, BC

Chełm CH, CM, CU

Ciechanów CI, CN, CA

Częstochowa CZ, CE, CO

Elbląg EL, EG, EB

Gdańsk GD, GK, GA, GN

Gorzów Wlkp. GO, GW, GR

Jelenia Góra JG, JE, JA

Kalisz KL, KZ, KP

Katowice KA, KT, KB, KC, KD, KX

Kielce KI, KE, KJ

Konin KN, KM, KF

Koszalin KO, KG, KY

Kraków (Cracow) KR, KK, KW, KV

Krosno KS, KU, KH

Legnica LG, LC, LI

Leszno LE, LS, LN

Lublin LU, LL, LB

Łomża LO, LM, LA

Łódź LD, LZ, LF, LW

Nowy Sącz NS, NO, NA

Olsztyn OL, ON, OT

Opole OP, OE, OD

Ostrołęka OS, OK, OR

Piła PI, PA, PY

Piotrków Tryb. PT, PK, PU

Płock PL, PC, PB

Poznań PO, PN, PZ, PW

Przemyśl PR, PM, PE

Radom RA, RO, RD

Rzeszów RZ, RE, RW

Siedlce SE, SD, ST

Sieradz SI, SA, SB

Skierniewice SK, SN, SF

Słupsk SL, SP, SG

Suwałki SU, SW, SO

Szczecin SZ, SC, SM

Tarnobrzeg TG, TB, TE

Tarnów TA, TN, TW

Toruń TO, TU, TY

Wałbrzych WB, WY, WH

Warszawa (Warsaw) WA, WS, WI, WU, WG, WF, WX, WZ, WM, WT, WP, WV

Włocławek WL, WK, WE

Wrocław WR, WO, WC, WW

Zamość ZA, ZM, ZC

Zielona Góra ZG, ZE, ZN


Police MO

Military U

Border Guard HW

1956-1976 series

Since June 19, 1956 Polish car number plates has 2 letters and 4 digits, and since May 13, 1964 letters can stand after digits.

Individual elements meant:
* first letter - code of voivodeship,
* second letter - code of powiat,
* digits - code of vehicle.

Codes of voivodeships:
* A - Białystok Voivodeship
* B - Bydgoszcz Voivodeship
* C - Kielce Voivodeship
* E - Koszalin Voivodeship
* F - Łodź Voivodeship
* G - Gdańsk Voivodeship
* H - Opole Voivodeship
* I - city of Łódź
* K - Cracow Voivodeship
* L - Lublin Voivodeship
* M - Szczecin Voivodeship
* O - Olsztyn Voivodeship
* P - Poznań Voivodeship
* R - Rzeszów Voivodeship
* S - Katowice Voivodeship
* T - Warsaw Voivodeship
* W - capital city of Warsaw
* X - Wrocław Voivodeship
* Z - Zielona Góra Voivodeship

Codes of special forces:

* Y - Citizen's Militia
* D - army (cars)
* U - army (other vehicles)
* N - Border Guard

ee also

* European license plates

External links

* [ Polish Registration Vehicle Act (example plates when you are patient :-) )]
* [ The highest number on Polish plates]
* [ Index of Polish personalized plates]
* [ Details about plates in Warsaw]

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