If you’re interested to see where a certain registration hails from, you can look it up on our helpful table provided below. If you’re looking for an even quicker way to identify a number plate and complete your search, you can also try out our number plate and age checker search tool – a handy feature when you need a number plate identifier.
|Regional Identifiers||Region||DVLA Office|
|AA, AB, AC, AD, AE, AF, AG, AH, AJ, AK, AL, AM, AN||Anglia||Peterborough|
|AO, AP, AR, AS, AT, AU||Anglia||Norwich|
|AV, AW, AX, AY||Anglia||Ipswich|
|BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, BF, BG, BH, BJ, BK, BL, BM, BN, BO, BP, BR, BS, BT, BU, BV, BW, BX, BY||Birmingham||Birmingham|
|CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, CF, CG, CH, CJ, CK, CL, CM, CN, CO||Cymru||Cardiff|
|CP, CR, CS, CT, CU, CV||Cymru||Swansea|
|CW, CX, CY||Cymru||Bangor|
|DA, DB, DC, DD, DE, DF, DG, DH, DJ, DK||Deeside to Shrewsbury||Chester|
|DL, DM, DN, DO, DP, DR, DS, DT, DU, DV, DW, DX, DY||Deeside to Shrewsbury||Shrewsbury|
|EA, EB, EC, ED, EE, EF, EG, EH, EJ, EK, EL, EM, EN, EO, EP, ER, ES, ET, EU, EV, EW, EX, EY||Essex||Chelmsford|
|FA, FB, FC, FD, FE, FF, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FL, FM, FN, FP||Forest and Fens||Nottingham|
|FR, FS, FT, FV, FW, FX, FY||Forest and Fens||Lincoln|
|GA, GB, GC, GD, GE, GF, GG, GH, GJ, GK, GL, GM, GN, GO||Garden of England||Maidstone|
|GP, GR, GS, GT, GU, GV, GX, GY||Garden of England||Brighton|
|HA, HB, HC, HD, HE, HF, HG, HH, HJ||Hampshire and Dorset||Bournemouth|
|HK, HL, HM, HN, HO, HP, HR, HS, HT, HU, HV, HX, HY||Hampshire and Dorset||Portsmouth|
|HW||Hampshire and Dorset||Portsmouth (Used exclusively for the Isle of Wight)|
|KA, KB, KC, KD, KE, KF, KG, KH, KJ, KK, KL||-||Luton|
|KM, KN, KO, KP, KR, KS, KT, KU, KV, KW, KX, KY||-||Northampton|
|LA, LB, LC, LD, LE, LF, LG, LH, LJ||London||Wimbledon|
|LK, LL, LM, LN, LO, LP, LR, LS, LT||London||Stanmore|
|LU, LV, LW, LX, LY||London||Sidcup|
|MA, MB, MC, MD, ME, MF, MG, MH, MJ, MK, ML, MM, MN, MO, MP, MR, MS, MT, MU, MV, MW, MX, MY||Manchester and Merseyside||Manchester|
|NA, NB, NC, ND, NE, NF, NG, NH, NJ, NK, NL, NM, NN, NO||North||Newcastle|
|NP, NR, NS, NT, NU, NV, NW, NX, NY||North||Stockton|
|OA, OB, OC, OD, OE, OF, OG, OH, OJ, OK, OL, OM, ON, OO, OP, OR, OS, OT, OU, OV, OW, OX, OY||Oxford||Oxford|
|PA, PB, PC, PD, PE, PF, PG, PH, PJ, PK, PL, PM, PN, PO, PP, PR, PS, PT||Preston||Preston|
|PU, PV, PW, PX, PY||Preston||Carlisle|
|RA, RB, RC, RD, RE, RF, RG, RH, RJ, RK, RL, RM, RN, RO, RP, RR, RS, RT, RU, RV, RW, RX, RY||Reading||Reading|
|SA, SB, SC, SD, SE, SF, SG, SH, SJ||Scotland||Glasgow|
|SK, SL, SM, SN, SO||Scotland||Edinburgh|
|SP, SR, SS, ST||Scotland||Dundee|
|SU, SV, SW||Scotland||Aberdeen|
|VA, VB, VC, VD, VE, VF, VG, VH, VJ, VK, VL, VM, VN, VO, VP, VR, VS, VT, VU, VV, VW, VX, VY||Severn Valley||Worcester|
|WA, WB, WC, WD, WE, WF, WG, WH, WJ||West of England||Exeter|
|WK, WL||West of England||Truro|
|WM, WN, WO, WP, WR, WS, WT, WU, WV, WW, WX, WY||West of England||Bristol|
|YA, YB, YC, YD, YE, YF, YG, YH, YJ, YK||Yorkshire||Leeds|
|YL, YM, YN, YO, YP, YR, YS, YT, YU||Yorkshire||Sheffield|
|YV, YW, YX, YY||Yorkshire||Beverley|
Registrations were created to help ensure that the authorities could easily recognise vehicles, and they’re still used in this way today. Since they were first launched in 1903, each UK number plate has had a region identifier included in the alphanumeric characters it’s made up of.
The region where the car was first registered, as well as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) office for the specific area, are displayed on all number plates in the UK in use today.
The codes currently used to identify the region that a registration comes from are different to those of the first plates issued. To identify the origin of a vehicle was much more difficult previously unless you could look up the code, but today’s system is much easier to follow.
An example of this is the area code for London, which was previously the letter A since it is England’s capital city. Today, the letter L is used for London under a system sometimes referred to as the “official local mnemonic”.
While the first letter of the regional identifier gives you the broader area where a car was first registered, the second letter allows you to zero in with more accuracy and pinpoint a more precise location. Using London as an example again, if a number plate regional identifier shows an L and an A, it means the car was registered in Wimbledon. If it displays the letters L and Y, the car was first registered in Sidcup.
To keep life simple, we’ve compiled all the information you need in one place, from comprehensive charts that allow you to scan through and find where a vehicle comes from by looking up its regional identifier, to a plate finder facility that can allow you to discover its age and origin in seconds.
How do number plates work?
Number plates are designed to let officials and motorists identify a vehicle clearly and quickly when they need to. If you know how to read a plate, you can tell a car’s age and where it was first registered. Issued by the DVLA, the current format for UK plates consists of two letters followed by two numbers and then a sequence of three letters.
What do the letters on a number plate mean?
The first two letters on a current UK plate are an origin identifier and tell you precisely where a vehicle was first registered, including the region plus the issuing DVLA office. But these aren’t the only letters on a plate - so what about the last three letters? Quite simply, these are issued sequentially and are designed to differentiate the vehicle from others registered in the same year in the same place.
What do the numbers on a number plate mean?
The two numbers on a current UK number plate are an age identifier. Plates are issued twice a year from March 1st to August 31st and from September 1st to February 28th. Plates released in the first six months take their numbers directly from the year, for example for 2019 they’ll be one and nine. Plates in the second release take the year and add 50, so for 2019 they’ll show a six and a nine.
Number plate location and age checker
Do you want to know when a particular registration mark was released? Simply enter it into the box below and we will tell you when, where or if it was first registered.