Vehicle registration plates of Europe

Vehicle registration plates of Europe

A European vehicle registration plate is a vehicle registration plate, a metal or plastic plate or plates attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. The registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies the vehicle within the issuing region's database. In the European Union they are based on a common format and are issued by member states. The common EU format was introduced by [ Council Regulation (EC) No 2411/98 of 3 November 1998] and entered into force on the 11 Nov 1998. It was based on a model registration plate which several member states had introduced, Ireland [ 1991] , Portugal 1992, and Germany [ 1994] .

The EU format is optional in Finland, France, Sweden, Cyprus [] and the United Kingdom. Belgium has not yet implemented the common format. []

* All Euro plates are of a standardised format, either white or yellow in colour with black characters. Yellow registration plates are used in the Netherlands and in Luxembourg; France and the United Kingdom use yellow plates at the rear and white at the front. The UK uses plastic plates, as opposed to metal plates in most other EU countries (see British car number plates). A mixture of plastic or metal plates is permitted in Ireland, France, and more recently, Germany. [] Denmark uses yellow plates for vehicles registered as commercial vehicles and in Sweden and Greece yellow plates are used for taxi vehicles. Belgium uses red characters. In Norway, cars with front seats only (used for cargo) have green plates with black characters.

* The common design consists of a blue strip on the left side of the plate. This blue strip has the European flag symbol (12 yellow stars), along with the country code of the member state in which the vehicle is registered. By convention, vehicles are expected to display oval nationality stickers at the rear when driving in other countries, but this rule has not always been observed. With a standardised EU registration plate, the nationality sticker is not needed when visiting other countries of the EU, since the country is denoted on the registration plate; it is however needed when travelling outside the EU.fact|date=October 2008

Common letter and digit systems between countries

Several countries have made efforts to avoid duplicating registration numbers used by other countries. Nevertheless this is not completely successful and there are occasional difficulties for example in connection with parking fines and automatic speed cameras.

* Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania and Belgium each use combinations of three letters and three digits.
* Norway and Denmark use two letters and five digits. The plates look very similar, but Denmark has a red border around the plate. Denmark has begun running out of combinations in this style. Use of the country code on the plate may mitigate this problem (Norway began using the system on 1 November 2006).
* The Netherlands and Portugal both use three groups of two characters (letters or numbers) in several sequencies: AA-99-99, 99-99-AA, 99-AA-99, AA-99-AA, etc. However, Portuguese plates have a white field, while those of Netherlands have a yellow one. Furthermore, plates on Dutch vehicles only contain consonants, to avoid coincidental abbreviations or words. Dutch company registered bus, truck and/or minivan plates always start with a B or a V. Dutch taxis use blue registration plates.The number of new combinations is expected to be used up sometime in 2008. By then, new registered cars in the Netherlands will use the following format of two digits-three letters-one digit ( 99-DDD-9 ).

Differing numbering systems

Individual EU member states still use differing numbering schemes and text fonts:

* Most countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia (formerly also Italy-until October 1993-, Lithuania and Spain), have systems in which there is a direct link between a letter or letters appearing on the plate and the town or district where the plate was issued (e.g. "B" and "M" in Germany for Berlin and Munich; "TN" and "ZV" in Slovakia for Trenčín and Zvolen). Some countries (e.g. Slovenia, Austria and Switzerland - although the latter is not member of the EU) even include a regional or municipal coat of arms on the plate (see Region (EU)).
* France (until January, 1st 2009) and Russia use a system with an indirect number relation to the car's place of registration.
* The UK uses a system based on the region where the car was first registered and the date of registration.
* Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy (from 1994 to 1998), Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden use plates which do not denote location.
* Italy, starting from 1999, added two blue strips at both sides. In the right one there are the two digits of the year when the plate was issued (e.g. "99", "05", "08") and again the two-letter code of the Province.
* France, starting from 2009, will adopt the same system of Italy, inserting the number of the Department in a blue strip on the right side of the plate.

Future common EU numbering systems may denote the town or region of registration, using a three-letter code.

Registration taxes

The Netherlands and Portugal have introduced differentiations into their car registration taxes to encourage car buyers to opt for the cleanest car models.In the Netherlands, the new registration taxes, payable when a car is sold to its first buyer, can earn the owner of a hybrid a discount up to 6000. Austria has had a registration tax based on fuel consumption for several years.

"See: European Commission [ Passenger car taxation] , European Automobile Manufacturers Association [ (ACEA)] "


United States military in Germany plates

Manx (not in the EU) car registration plate
Polish plates. New with EU stars and old issued before May 2006.
Lithuanian plate issued shortly before EU membership

Faroese number plate issued since 1996 (not in the EU).
Iceland (not in the EU)
European Commission officials
Car number plate of Gibraltar
Moldovan registration plate
Norwegian number plate - the letters NO
Russian registration from Moscow
Swiss license issued by Canton of Zurich
San Marino license plate
Kosovo license plate
Macedonian license plate from Tetovo

ee also

* Vehicle registration plates of the European Union


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