UK number plate regulations for JDM cars

by Andrew Harris
8 years ago

Just to clear up any confusion regarding UK regulations on number plates.

Certain imported vehicles may be permitted to display number plates with smaller characters if the vehicle does not have European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval the vehicle’s construction/design cannot accommodate standard size number plates.  Well, we’re okay on the first one and, for some of us the second one also gives us an option.  People with short registrations and certain front bumpers may not be so lucky.  The law that covers all this is The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) (Amendment) Regulations 2002.

The law for regular/traditional number plates (pre September 2001) is as follows:

Characters Group 1
Height 89mm
Width (except the number 1) 64mm
Stroke 16mm
Side margin 25mm
Top & bottom margin 13mm
Space between characters 13mm
Space between groups 38mm

For those that feel they qualify for the smaller number plates the sizes are as follows:

Character Height 64mm
Character Width 44mm
Character Stroke 10mm
Space between characters 10mm


Other rules you may not be aware of:

It is perfectly legal to display the Euro symbol with “GB” on the left hand side of the plate, provided it does not cause the plate to contravene any other rules on spacing and character sizes.  If you have this symbol on your number plate there is no need to have a “GB sticker” in the car when travelling abroad.  Other symbols – Union flag, Scottish Saltire, Cross of St George and Red Dragon – are permitted but no other symbols are allowed.

Sticker number plates are not illegal as long as they conform to all other regulations and 3D characters are allowed also.