UK Number Plate Area Codes

Map of UK - DVLA number plate identifier regions

Most people know that a vehicle’s number plate will tell you when a car was first registered – but fewer people realise that a number plate can actually tell you where a car was registered too.

Here, we’ll explain everything there is to know car registration areas and the DVLA codes used in different parts of the UK. Alternatively, you can browse the DVLA records of area codes.

Understanding car registration area codes

To make it easy for the authorities to identify vehicles, every registration mark is actually a code that gives a clue to where that car was registered.

If you look back to the first number plates issued to cars, there was little hope of understanding where that registration was issued unless you had access to DVLA records. More recently though, DVLA number plate codes have become fairly easy to understand.

There are slightly different rules depending on which kind of number plate you’re looking at. Let’s start with current vehicle registrations – the ‘AB01 ABC’ format that was launched in 2001.

Current number plate area codes

Take a glance at a current number plate and it might just look like a series of random letters and numbers – but it’s actually only the final three letters that are randomly generated.

The numbers give you an indication of that year (and the part of the year) the car was registered – and the first two letters actually tell you where in the UK the vehicle first hit the road.

For example – the ‘AB01 ABC’ example we’ve just used would be a car that was registered in 2001 in the Anglia region. What’s more, the area code also tells you which DVLA Office first registered the car too.

These two letters are referred to as a ‘memory tag’ by the DVLA.

Number plate memory tags

Until 2013, the memory tag showed which DVLA office registered the vehicle – however, these regional offices are now all closed and the system is centralised.

Despite this, the DLVA still tend to issue these regional specific number plates to dealers in those areas. As such, if you buy a new car in Yorkshire, it will almost certainly have a registration mark beginning with Y. The same applies to E plates in Essex, O plates in Oxford – and so on.

A full list of car registration areas

Take a look at the codes for all of the UK’s regions and DVLA offices that issued them before 2013:

Regional Identifiers

Region

DVLA Office

AA, AB, AC, AD, AE, AF, AG, AH, AJ, AK, AL, AM, AN 

Anglia 

Peterborough 

AO, AP, AR, AS, AT, AU 

Anglia 

Norwich 

AV, AW, AX, AY 

Anglia 

Ipswich 

BA, BB, BC, BD, BE, BF, BG, BH, BJ, BK, BL, BM, BN, BO, BP, BR, BS, BT, BU, BV, BW, BX, BY 

Birmingham 

Birmingham 

CA, CB, CC, CD, CE, CF, CG, CH, CJ, CK, CL, CM, CN, CO 

Cymru 

Cardiff 

CP, CR, CS, CT, CU, CV 

Cymru 

Swansea 

CW, CX, CY 

Cymru 

Bangor 

DA, DB, DC, DD, DE, DF, DG, DH, DJ, DK 

Deeside to Shrewsbury 

Chester 

DL, DM, DN, DO, DP, DR, DS, DT, DU, DV, DW, DX, DY 

Deeside to Shrewsbury 

Shrewsbury 

EA, EB, EC, ED, EE, EF, EG, EH, EJ, EK, EL, EM, EN, EO, EP, ER, ES, ET, EU, EV, EW, EX, EY 

Essex 

Chelmsford 

FA, FB, FC, FD, FE, FF, FG, FH, FJ, FK, FL, FM, FN, FP 

Forest and Fens 

Nottingham 

FR, FS, FT, FV, FW, FX, FY 

Forest and Fens 

Lincoln 

GA, GB, GC, GD, GE, GF, GG, GH, GJ, GK, GL, GM, GN, GO 

Garden of England 

Maidstone 

GP, GR, GS, GT, GU, GV, GX, GY 

Garden of England 

Brighton 

HA, HB, HC, HD, HE, HF, HG, HH, HJ 

Hampshire and Dorset 

Bournemouth 

HK, HL, HM, HN, HO, HP, HR, HS, HT, HU, HV, HX, HY 

Hampshire and Dorset 

Portsmouth 

HW 

Hampshire and Dorset 

Portsmouth (Used exclusively for the Isle of Wight) 

KA, KB, KC, KD, KE, KF, KG, KH, KJ, KK, KL 

Luton 

KM, KN, KO, KP, KR, KS, KT, KU, KV, KW, KX, KY 

Northampton 

LA, LB, LC, LD, LE, LF, LG, LH, LJ 

London 

Wimbledon 

LK, LL, LM, LN, LO, LP, LR, LS, LT 

London 

Stanmore 

LU, LV, LW, LX, LY 

London 

Sidcup 

MA, MB, MC, MD, ME, MF, MG, MH, MJ, MK, ML, MM, MN, MO, MP, MR, MS, MT, MU, MV, MW, MX, MY 

Manchester and Merseyside 

Manchester 

NA, NB, NC, ND, NE, NF, NG, NH, NJ, NK, NL, NM, NN, NO 

North 

Newcastle 

NP, NR, NS, NT, NU, NV, NW, NX, NY 

North 

Stockton 

OA, OB, OC, OD, OE, OF, OG, OH, OJ, OK, OL, OM, ON, OO, OP, OR, OS, OT, OU, OV, OW, OX, OY 

Oxford 

Oxford 

PA, PB, PC, PD, PE, PF, PG, PH, PJ, PK, PL, PM, PN, PO, PP, PR, PS, PT 

Preston 

Preston 

PU, PV, PW, PX, PY 

Preston 

Carlisle 

RA, RB, RC, RD, RE, RF, RG, RH, RJ, RK, RL, RM, RN, RO, RP, RR, RS, RT, RU, RV, RW, RX, RY 

Reading 

Reading 

SA, SB, SC, SD, SE, SF, SG, SH, SJ 

Scotland 

Glasgow 

SK, SL, SM, SN, SO 

Scotland 

Edinburgh 

SP, SR, SS, ST 

Scotland 

Dundee 

SU, SV, SW 

Scotland 

Aberdeen 

SX, SY 

Scotland 

Inverness 

VA, VB, VC, VD, VE, VF, VG, VH, VJ, VK, VL, VM, VN, VO, VP, VR, VS, VT, VU, VV, VW, VX, VY

Severn Valley

Worcester 

WA, WB, WC, WD, WE, WF, WG, WH, WJ 

West of England 

Exeter 

WK, WL 

West of England 

Truro 

WM, WN, WO, WP, WR, WS, WT, WU, WV, WW, WX, WY 

West of England 

Bristol 

YA, YB, YC, YD, YE, YF, YG, YH, YJ, YK 

Yorkshire

Leeds 

YL, YM, YN, YO, YP, YR, YS, YT, YU 

Yorkshire 

Sheffield 

YV, YW, YX, YY 

Yorkshire 

Beverley

 

What about old number plate area codes?

Since our new number plate system has only been around since 2001, it’s not uncommon to see older cars with ‘prefix’ number plates.

These types of plate are a one letter, one-to-three number, then three letter format – like ‘A123 ABC’, for example. In this type of plate, the first letter indicated the car’s registration year – and the final two letters acted as the area code; in this case, BC.

Before these prefix plates came ‘suffix’ plates – which used the same format but backwards. An example of a suffix plate would be ‘ABC 123A’. Here, the final letter indicates the registration year of the car, and the second and third letter indicate the registration region; again, in this case, BC.  

The same area codes were used for prefix and suffix plates – so the following chart will help you identify the original location a registration mark comes from. There are a lot of them – so we’ve sorted them into alphabetical order so you can quickly sort through them:

A 

 

A

London

AA

Bournemouth

AB

Worcester

AC

Coventry

AD

Gloucester

AE

Bristol

AF

Truro

AG

Hull

AH

Norwich

AJ

Middlesbrough

AK

Sheffield

AL

Nottingham

AM

Swindon

AN

Reading

AO

Carlisle

AP

Brighton

AR

Chelmsford

AS

Inverness

AT

Hull

AU

Nottingham

AV

Peterborough

AW

Shrewsbury

AX

Cardiff

AY

Leicester

AZ

Belfast

B 

 

B

Lancashire

BA

Manchester

BB

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

BC

Leicester

BD

Northampton

BE

Lincoln

BF

Stoke-on-Trent

BG

Liverpool

BH

Luton

BJ

Ipswich

BK

Portsmouth

BL

Reading

BM

Luton

BN

Manchester or Bolton

BO

Cardiff

BP

Portsmouth

BR

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

BS

Aberdeen

BT

Leeds

BU

Manchester

BV

Preston

BW

Oxford

BX

Haverfordwest

BY

London (North-West)

BZ

County Down

C 

 

C

West Yorkshire

CA

Chester

CB

Manchester

CC

Bangor

CD

Brighton

CE

Peterborough

CF

Reading

CG

Bournemouth

CH

Nottingham

CJ

Gloucester

CK

Preston

CL

Norwich

CM

Liverpool

CN

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

CO

Exeter

CP

Huddersfield

CR

Southampton 

CS

Glasgow

CT

Lincoln

CU

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

CV

 Truro

CW

Preston

CX

Huddersfield

CY

Swansea

CZ

Belfast

D 

 

D

Kent

DA

Birmingham

DB

Manchester

DC

Middlesbrough

DD

Gloucester

DE

Haverfordwest

DF

Gloucester

DG

Gloucester

DH

Dudley

DJ

Liverpool

DK

Rochdale, later Manchester

DL

Portsmouth

DM

Chester

DN

Leeds

DO

Lincoln

DP

Reading

DR

Exeter

DS

Glasgow

DT

Sheffield

DU

Coventry

DV

Exeter

DW

Cardiff

DX

Ipswich

DY

Brighton

DZ

County Antrim

E 

 

E

Staffordshire

EA

Dudley

EB

Peterborough

EC

Preston

ED

Liverpool

EE

Lincoln

EF

Middlesbrough

EG

Peterborough

EH

Stoke-on-Trent

EJ

Haverfordwest

EK

Liverpool

EL

Bournemouth

EM

Liverpool

EN

Bury, later Manchester

EO

Preston

EP

Swansea

ER

Peterborough

ES

Dundee

ET

Sheffield

EU

Bristol

EV

Chelmsford

EW

Peterborough

EX

Norwich

EY

Bangor

EZ

Belfast

F 

 

F

Essex

FA

Stoke-on-Trent

FB

Bristol

FC

Oxford

FD

Dudley

FE

Lincoln

FF

Bangor

FG

Brighton

FH

Gloucester

FJ

Exeter

FK

Dudley

FL

Peterborough

FM

Chester

FN

Maidstone

FO

Gloucester

FP

Leicester

FR

Preston

FS

Edinburgh

FT

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

FU

Lincoln

FV

Preston

FW

Lincoln

FX

Bournemouth

FY

Liverpool

FZ

Belfast

G 

 

G

Glasgow

GA

Glasgow

GB

Glasgow

GC

London (South-West)

GD

Glasgow

GE

Glasgow

GF

London (South-West)

GG

Glasgow

GH

London (South-West)

GJ

London (South-West)

GK

London (South-West)

GL

Truro

GM

Reading

GN

London (South-West)

GO

London (South-West)

GP

London (South-West)

GR

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

GS

Luton

GT

London (South-West)

GU

London (South-East)

GV

Ipswich

GW

London (South-East)

GX

London (South-East)

GY

London (South-East)

GZ

Belfast

H 

 

H

London

HA

Dudley

HB

Cardiff

HC

Brighton

HD

Huddersfield

HE

Sheffield

HF

Liverpool

HG

Preston

HH

Carlisle

HJ

Chelmsford

HK

Chelmsford

HL

Sheffield

HM

London (Central)

HN

Middlesbrough

HO

Bournemouth

HP

Coventry

HR

Swindon

HS

Glasgow

HT

Bristol

HU

Bristol

HV

London (Central)

HW

Bristol

HX

London (Central)

HY

Bristol

J 

 

J

Durham

JA

Manchester

JB

Reading

JC

Bangor

JD

London (Central)

JE

Peterborough

JF

Leicester

JG

Maidstone

JH

Reading

JJ

Maidstone

JK

Brighton

JL

Lincoln

JM

Reading

JN

Chelmsford

JO

Oxford

JP

Liverpool

JR

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

JS

Inverness

JT

Bournemouth

JU

Leicester

JV

Lincoln

JW

Birmingham

JX

Huddersfield

JY

Exeter

JZ

County Down

K 

 

K

Liverpool

KA

Liverpool

KB

Liverpool

KC

Liverpool

KD

Liverpool

KE

Maidstone

KF

Liverpool

KG

Cardiff

KH

Hull

KJ

Maidstone

KK

Maidstone

KL

Maidstone

KM

Maidstone

KN

Maidstone

KO

Maidstone

KP

Maidstone

KR

Maidstone

KS

Edinburgh

KT

Maidstone

KU

Sheffield

KV

Coventry

KW

Sheffield

KX

Luton

KY

Sheffield

KZ

County Antrim

L 

 

L

Glamorganshire

LA

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LB

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LC

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LD

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LE

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LF

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LG

Chester

LH

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

KJ

Bournemouth

LK

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LL

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LM

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LN

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LO

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LP

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LR

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LS

Edinburgh

LT

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LU

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LV

Liverpool

LW

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LX

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LY

London (North-West) (used for London County Council before 1965)

LZ

County Armagh

M 

 

M

Cheshire

MA

Chester

MB

Chester

MC

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MD

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

ME

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MF

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MG

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MH

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MJ

Luton

MK

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

ML

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MM

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MN

used in the Isle of Man

MO

Reading

MP

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MR

Swindon

MS

Edinburgh

MT

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MU

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MV

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MW

Swindon

MX

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MY

London (North-East) (used for Middlesex before 1965)

MZ

Belfast

 

 

N

Manchester

NA

Manchester

NB

Manchester

NC

Manchester

ND

Manchester

NE

Manchester

NF

Manchester

NG

Norwich

NH

Northampton

NJ

Brighton

NK

Luton

NL

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

NM

Luton

NN

Nottingham

NO

Chelmsford

NP

Worcester

NR

Leicester

NS

Glasgow

NT

Shrewsbury

NU

Nottingham

NV

Northampton

NW

Leeds

NX

Dudley

NY

Cardiff

NZ

County Londonderry/Derry

O 

 

O

Birmingham

OA

Birmingham

OB

Birmingham

OC

Birmingham

OD

Exeter

OE

Birmingham

OF

Birmingham

OG

Birmingham

OH

Birmingham

OI

Belfast

OJ

Birmingham

OK

Birmingham

OL

Birmingham

OM

Birmingham

ON

Birmingham

OO

Chelmsford

OP

Birmingham

OR

Portsmouth

OS

Glasgow

OT

Portsmouth

OU

Bristol

OV

Birmingham

OW

Southampton 

OX

Birmingham

OY

London (North-West)

OZ

Belfast

P 

 

P

Surrey

PA

Guildford

PB

Guildford

PC

Guildford

PD

Guildford

PE

Guildford

PF

Guildford

PG

Guildford

PH

Guildford

PJ

Guildford

PK

Guildford

PL

Guildford

PM

Guildford

PN

Brighton

PO

Portsmouth (GPO formerly used for General Post Office vehicles)

PP

Luton

PR

Bournemouth

PS

Aberdeen

PT

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

PU

Chelmsford

PV

Ipswich

PW

Norwich

PX

Portsmouth

PY

Middlesbrough

PZ

Belfast

R 

 

R

Derbyshire

RA

Nottingham

RB

Nottingham

RC

Nottingham

RD

Reading

RE

Stoke-on-Trent

RF

Stoke-on-Trent

RG

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

RH

Hull

RJ

Manchester

RK

London (North-West)

RL

Truro

RM

Carlisle

RN

Preston

RO

Luton

RP

Northampton

RR

Nottingham

RS

Aberdeen

RT

Ipswich

RU

Bournemouth

RV

Portsmouth

RW

Coventry

RX

Reading

RY

Leicester

RZ

County Antrim

S 

 

S

Edinburgh

SA

Aberdeen

SB

Glasgow

SC

Edinburgh

SD

Glasgow

SE

Aberdeen

SF

Edinburgh

SG

Edinburgh

SH

Edinburgh

SJ

Glasgow

SK

Inverness

SL

Dundee

SM

Carlisle

SN

Dundee

SO

Aberdeen

SP

Dundee

SR

Dundee

SS

Aberdeen

ST

Inverness

SU

Glasgow

SW

Carlisle

SX

Edinburgh

T 

 

T

Devon

TA

Exeter

TB

Liverpool

TC

Bristol

TD

Manchester

TE

Manchester

TF

Reading

TG

Cardiff

TH

Swansea

 

 

TJ

Liverpool

TK

Exeter

TL

Lincoln

TM

Luton

TN

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

TO

Nottingham

TP

Portsmouth

TR

Southampton 

TS

Dundee

TT

Exeter

TU

Chester

TV

Nottingham

TW

Chelmsford

TX

Cardiff

TY

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

TZ

Belfast

U 

 

U

Leeds

UA

Leeds

UB

Leeds

UC

London (Central)

UD

Oxford

UE

Dudley

UF

Brighton

UG

Leeds

UH

Cardiff

UI

County Londonderry/Derry

UJ

Shrewsbury

UK

Birmingham

UL

London (Central)

UM

Leeds

UN

Exeter

UO

Exeter

UP

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

UR

Luton

US

Glasgow

UT

Leicester

UU

London (Central)

UV

London (Central)

UW

London (Central)

UX

Shrewsbury

UY

Worcester

UZ

Belfast

V 

 

V

Lanarkshire

VA

Peterborough

VB

Maidstone

VC

Coventry

VD

Lanarkshire/Luton

VE

Peterborough

VF

Norwich

VG

Norwich

VH

Huddersfield

VJ

Gloucester

VK

Newcastle-upon-Tyne

VL

Lincoln

VM

Manchester

VN

Middlesbrough

VO

Nottingham

VP

Birmingham

VR

Manchester

VS

Luton

VT

Stoke-on-Trent

VU

Manchester

VV

Northampton

VW

Chelmsford

VX

Chelmsford

VY

Leeds

VZ

County Tyrone

W 

 

W

Sheffield

WA

Sheffield

WB

Sheffield

WC

Chelmsford

WD

Dudley

WE

Sheffield

WF

Sheffield

WG

Sheffield

WH

Manchester or Bolton

WJ

Sheffield

WK

Coventry

WL

Oxford

WM

Liverpool

WN

Swansea

WO

Cardiff

WP

Worcester

WR

Leeds

WS

Bristol

WT

Leeds

WU

Leeds

WV

Brighton

WW

Leeds

WX

Leeds

WY

Leeds

WZ

Belfast

X 

 

X

Northumberland

XI

Belfast

XZ

County Armagh

Y 

 

Y

Somerset

YA

Taunton

YB

Taunton

YC

Taunton

YD

Taunton

YE

London (Central)

YF

London (Central)

YG

Leeds

YH

London (Central)

YJ

Brighton

YK

London (Central)

YL

London (Central)

YM

London (Central)

YN

London (Central)

YO

London (Central)

YP

London (Central)

YR

London (Central)

YS

Glasgow

YT

London (Central)

YU

London (Central)

YV

London (Central)

YW

London (Central)

YX

London (Central)

YY

London (Central)

YZ

County Londonderry

 

How do these codes apply to personalised number plates?

Many of the prefix and suffix number plates that are seen on the road today have been put on newer vehicles retrospectively.

For example, the number plate ‘A911 POR’ will almost certainly now be on a Porsche 911, rather than a car that was registered in 1983 in Portsmouth.

The truth is, when number plates are re-sold or put on different vehicles, their original meaning is lost – but even if you own a personalised plate; it’s interesting to consider where it was originally issued and where it started its road-going life!