How to Ensure Your Car Number Plate is Legal in the UK?

This seems like a straightforward inquiry, but it really has a surprising number of layers of complexity. Learn the criteria for a valid number plate in the UK and how to comply with them. According to studies, almost all UK motorists are unaware of what constitutes a valid number plate in the country. Number plates for sale UK gives you a chance to get a legal number plate. Furthermore, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are six times more likely to have purchased unlawful number plates from an unlicensed number plate seller than drivers over the age of 45. 

According to statistics supplied by UK police agencies, the number of illegitimate number plates increased by 18% between 2016 and 2017. In 2016, authorities found 7,876 plates that were unfit for the road. In 2017, that number jumped by more than 1,000 to 9,031. Extreme increases were seen in a number of British regions. The greatest growth occurred in Warwickshire, Dorset, Gwent, and Northumberland, which each had an increase of 179%, 161%, 96%, and 94%, respectively. More than 13,000 drivers were captured in 2020 with changed number plates, according to data given by Compare The Market. This is more than every other illegal upgrade combined.


The British Standard is the most prominent. Back in September of 2021, we upgraded to BSAU 145d from our previous version, BS AU 145e. The British Standard specifies the minimum requirements for a valid UK licence plate. This includes the required retro reflective quality and quantity, as well as the required size and font of letters. The mandatory information or GB signs, as well as the colour yellow (rear plates), are also included. The many tests that must be performed on a number plate to ensure that its individual pieces are of legal quality are spelled out in the British standard. 

The second source of authority over licence plates is the government, through the Act of Parliament known as The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001. Here’s when it starts to get tricky. In the last 50 years, several laws and statutes have been passed that regulate the making and displaying of license plates. There have been five separate legislative instruments that have amended the aforementioned Act of Parliament. There has recently been a need for a 7mm space to be left between the registration characters and the mandatory information on a number plate (postcode, BS AU 145e, etc.). Before the updates, this data could go wherever so long as it didn’t overlap with any characters. So, it’s crucial that you, or more significantly, your license plate provider, stay abreast of any legal developments.


There are three pieces of mandatory information that must be included on every license plate that can be easily checked to see whether the plate is legitimate. This includes the component manufacturer’s mark, the BSAU 145e lettering, and the issuing company’s zip code. Something like a brand name or a symbol. This reveals three pieces of data that authorities or mechanics could want. It might be a dealership, a garage, or even a firm like Fourdot where you had the plates created. The plate’s BSAU 145 E marking indicates that the product complies with the latest version of the British Standard. Last but not least, the manufacturer’s mark identifies the source of the product’s components. An auto dealership could have provided you with a set of plates, but the plates’ components would have come from a manufacturer outside of the company.

Technology advancements in police and vehicle monitoring often prompt the introduction of such regulatory instruments. In light of the proliferation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, the most recent Statutory Instrument prioritizes maintaining a clutter-free zone immediately around the registration. These kinds of cameras have recently become commonplace. New SMART highways, police cars, high-tech parking garages, and the London Congestion Charge Zone all make use of them.


  • It’s important to buy plates from a reliable vendor. Make sure they have a DVLA Number and that you can simply get in touch with them. This is evidence that they are a legit vendor we can do business with.
  • Do not alter the character spacing of your registration from what is seen on your V5 or V750. There is a certain format for registration, and if you deviate from it, you will have a base license plate.
  • Do not use “display plates.” Don’t buy anything advertised as a “display plate” if you need a real license plate. This indicates they are not allowed for use on public roads and were instead designed for display at auto exhibitions.
  • The rules are simple: white for the front and yellow for the back.
  • The use of carbon, Highline, and 3D effects is no longer permitted, and all characters must be a solid black color. As of the year 2021, they are officially against the law.

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