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DVLA Registrations Information

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Vehicles using UK roads are identified with the DVLA registrations system. The registrations issued under the system have varied in form since its inception at the beginning of the 20th Century, but the basic elements have remained.

UK dvla registrations consist of a string of numbers and letters. Early registrations consisted of a letter code to identify the area in which the registration was issued and a unique number to idetify the vehicle. All versions in recent decades have also included a code denoting the year of issue. For more information on the various forms the system has assumed over the years, please see our car registrations overview.

The transfer and display of vehicle registrations are pretty tightly regulated. Although one may still see number plates with mis-spaced characters, cartoon emblems and decorative lettering fonts, these will become fewer and fewer as the authorities become less tolerant of rule-breaking. For many reasons it is felt that the clear and correct display of car registrations is of great importance.

With the advent of congestion charges in cities and towns, the police experienced an increase in instances of number plates "cloning", where vehicles display number plates stolen or reproduced from another vehicle. This obviously makes it difficult to track down drivers who evade payment. It is a ploy also used by drivers who habitually break speed limits and by criminals who wish to make detection harder. With the rising cost of fuel, fake or cloned plates are now being used increasingly often in "drive-offs" from petrol stations. Drivers fill their tanks and drive away without paying. Clearly, forecourt CCTV is of limited help if the cars it films are displaying fake plates rather than genuinely issued DVLA registrations.

DVLA Number Plates: Our Policy

At we are often asked by customers if number plates can feature custom spacing to make the number/letter combinations look more like words or names. Sadly, without exception, we have to explain that such customisation is not allowed. Not only will we not supply, or facilitate the supply, of illegal non-standard DVLA number plates, but we have to explain to the customer that if they do find a manufacturer who will provide such plates then they risk trouble with the police and the DVLA. Penalties for contravening the regulations specifying the correct format for DVLA registrations may include hefty fines, and even the loss of entitlement to the car registrations involved.

In addition to controlling the issue and display of vehicle registration numbers, the DVLA deals with driving licenses and vehicle licenses ("road tax"). The DVLA is also responsible for issuing vehicle documentation such as "log books". The main DVLA headquarters is in Swansea, but there are a number of local offices scattered throughout the country. You will find a list of local offices if you follow the link below.

If you would like to know more then please click to visit our main DVLA info page. These pages are within the Regtransfers site and do not take you to the DVLA.

The DVLA is the official regulating body, and neither Regtransfers nor any other private registrations company is affiliated to the DVLA.

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