Checking your vehicle age

Check if your chosen registration will suit the intended vehicle below.

If you are unsure of the vehicle's age but know the registration mark, and model click here.

Why do I need to check the age of my vehicle?

Our government is keen to prevent fraudsters attempting to make vehicles look younger than they actually are so that they can then sell them for more money. To prevent this from happening, the DVLA does not permit 'younger' registration marks to be transferred to older vehicles. However it does permit 'older' marks to be transferred to younger vehicles without hindrance.

Some registration marks do not carry an 'age identifier' within their sequence (please see below for examples). This is true of mainland UK registrations from pre 1963 and registration marks originally from Northern Ireland. These two types of registration can be transferred to any age of vehicle. All other types of registration marks carry 'age identifiers' and so if you choose one of these it's always best to check if it can be legally transferred to your chosen vehicle, before you buy it.

Examples of registration types and age identifiers

Mainland UK Dateless number plates (issued between 1903 and 1963)
  • No age identifier
  • Examples:
    A 1 A 123 ABC 123 1 A 123 A 123 ABC
Northern Ireland Number plates (from 1903 on)
  • No age identifier
  • Examples:
    1 AZ AZ 1 AZ 1234 ABZ 1 GIL 123 GAZ 1234 BIG 1234 JUI 135
Suffix Number plates (Issued between 1963 and 1983)
  • Age identifier is the last letter (suffix).
  • Examples:
    ABC 1D ABC 123F WOO 13Y ANN 4S PAU 10S HEL 3N
Prefix Number plates (issued between 1983 and 2001)
  • Age identifier is the first letter (prefix).
  • Examples:
    A1 ABC A123 ABC S5 UES A117 ONY P4 ULS T4 MMY K155 ESS B16 CAR S4 UCY K1 NGS
Current Style/ New style Number plates (from 2001 on)
  • Age identifier is the number group.
  • Examples:

What other transfer rules do I need to consider?

In order to have a personalised registration number assigned to your vehicle, the vehicle must be:

  • an appropriate age to receive the registration number (as explained above).
  • registered, or about to be registered in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, in your name or in the name of the Nominee (this must match the present registered keeper of the vehicle and it can be you, someone else or a leasing company etc).
  • taxed or being taxed, or has a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) in force at the time of the transfer assignment application.
  • a type that has to have an MoT or Goods Vehicle Test (GVT) certificate.
  • not registered in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or carry a Q registration plate.