Skip to content

Irish number plates explained

What are Irish number plates?

When we say, "Irish" number plates we nearly always mean registrations from Northern Ireland - which is, of course, part of the UK and thus under the supervision of DVLA where car registrations are concerned.

It used to be possible to export car registrations from the Republic of Ireland to the UK and then to register them on UK vehicles. In 1987 a change in the rules put an end to that and meant that no more numbers from the Republic of Ireland could be transferred to the UK. ROI numbers that were exported to the UK before 1987, however, may still be transferred between UK cars.

What is the appeal of Irish registrations?

For generations, the year identifier code has been a prominent feature of number plates issued to vehicles in England, Scotland and Wales. Old suffix and prefix numbers had a year letter, while the current style registrations have a numeric year code. Many drivers find this frustrating as it means that a shiny new car may stay shiny, but its number plate will stop it looking new within a few months. (For more information on car registrations formats, please see this page.)

Irish number plates provide a terrific solution to this annoying state of affairs. Irish plates do not contain obvious year codes in the same way as registrations from other parts of the UK do. This means that an Irish number plate is effectively dateless and will give no clue to the age of your still-shiny, nearly new car. Another very significant benefit of an Irish private number plate is that, as it is dateless, it can be assigned to a vehicle of any age. This is in stark contrast to plates issued to cars in England, Scotland and Wales that bear a year identifier. Those plates may only be displayed on vehicles first registered in or after the year indicated by the registration's year code. Irish plates offer a relatively inexpensive way of getting your own dateless registration.

While it is permitted to hide the age of a car with an Irish registration plate, it is not permitted to make an old car look younger by displaying a number plate with a misleading date code. On the other hand, if you want to make your car look older by assigning a plate with an older date code, well, that’s up to you.

How to buy dateless Irish number plates

Buying car registration plates from Northern Ireland used to be more complicated and unwieldy than buying an English, Scottish or Welsh registration, especially if the purchaser wanted the number on a car registration plate retention certificate. However, the process is now exactly the same as that for buying any UK registration. If anything, it is simpler as one doesn’t need to worry whether the registration is the right age to go on the car.

Check out our great selection of dateless Irish number plates.

The role of DVLA

Car registrations and number plates, including personalised number plates, in the UK are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle licensing Agency, usually known as the DVLA. It issues new registrations twice a year and also maintains the central database that records details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads, along with their keeper and registration information.

Regtransfers works closely with DVLA to complete registration transfers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regtransfers is a DVLA registered supplier of personal car registrations and number plates and is listed on the DVLA Registrations website. All number plates supplied by Regtransfers comply with DVLA's prescribed standards and regulations.

DVLA administers all UK registration transfers and issues updated registration documents when the registration number of a car is changed, or when a registration is removed from a vehicle and placed on a retention document in accordance with the DVLA Retention Scheme.

DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Regtransfers is not affiliated to the DVLA or DVLA Personalised Registrations. Regtransfers is a recognised reseller of unissued Government stock.

Number plate regulations

When a car is on the road, it is an offence to display number plates bearing any number other than the vehicle's officially recorded registration number. If you purchase a private registration, learn how to transfer private plates before displaying the new number.

All registration number plates displayed on UK vehicles must comply with the official number plate regulations. DVLA oversees enforcement of number plates display regulations and maintains a register of approved manufacturers and retailers of vehicle number plates.

Regtransfers is not part of, and is not formally affiliated with DVLA.

Return to the top of the page