1. Overview

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) have merged to form the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Number plates (also known as licence plates) should show your vehicle registration number correctly. You can’t rearrange letters or numbers, or alter them so that they’re hard to read.

You could be fined up to £1,000 and your car will fail its MOT test if you drive with incorrectly displayed number plates.

The current vehicle registration number format was introduced in 2001. It consists of:

  • 2 letters (these refer to the office where the number was issued)
  • 2 numbers (these tell you when it was issued)
  • 3 letters chosen at random

You can get theft-resistant number plates - these make it harder for someone to remove them from your vehicle quickly and reuse them. Ask your local car dealer or registered number plate supplier for more information.

You can also get personalised number plates.

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