Find a Private Number Plate GuidePrefix Style Guide
About Prefix-Style registrations
Prefix style registrations were introduced by the DVLA in August 1983. They use the structure A*BBB, where A is a letter which represents the period that the vehicle was first registered, and * is a 1-3 digit number. This style is the reverse of its predecessor the Suffix style, which follows the format BBB*A. Prefix style registrations cannot incorporate the letters I, Q or Z; O and U can only appear in the last three letters.
Prefix style registrations were initially released annually and were issued between 1st August and 31st July of each year. This changed with the introduction of the T-registrations on 1st March 1999, which started the bi-annual release of registrations in the periods 1st March - 31st August, and 1st September - 28th February.
This style of registration lends itself perfectly to initials or short words, for example D24AWN, G50RGE or M321GAN. For those who want to emphasise their names, they can choose shorter registrations such as M21LEE, or H6VRM. It also allows for combinations such as M155XXC (Miss) or K155ESS (Kiss), H20UBR (H2O for plumbers) and for some more unusual eye-catching registrations like T31SLX.
How to use the search
If you have a specific prefix style registration in mind, you can use our “Prefix Style Search” to try and find what you are looking for.
Please note: When choosing a prefix style registration it is important to note that you cannot make a vehicle look newer than it is. This means that you will need to check that the age of the registration is suitable for your vehicle. In this instance the age identifier is represented by first letter of the registration mark.
To see whether your vehicle is suitable for a registration you can check it by selecting your vehicle age in our Transfer Age Rules Checker.
To search for a specific registration, you can follow these steps:
- Select the letter you would like at the start of the registration (this is the age identifier).
- Choose 1-3 numbers from the drop down combinations. If you are trying to spell a word and need to fill the space where a letter should be you can use any number, or select the number that most closely resembles the letter you need. E.g. using the number 3 for E or 55 for SS.
- Finally, choose three letters. Many use these for initials. If any of these characters do not hold any significance to you, you can leave the selection as “ANY”.
- If the combination you have selected is not available, our search will offer you similar matches directly from our database.
Please note that you will need to select at least 2 characters to be able to search for registrations.