Displaying number plates

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

Characters on a number plate can be 3D.

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.

Read leaflet INF104: vehicle registration numbers and number plates - height and size measurement, for more information.

If you have a trailer, read leaflet INF291: trailer registration numbers and number plates.