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How Do Guernsey Number Plates Work?

An island based in the English Channel, Guernsey is close to the French coast. Known for beachfront resorts such as Cobo Bay, it’s a British Crown dependency that remains self-governing. From its beautiful coastal cliff sides to its historic attractions like Castle Coronet, Guernsey is an ideal place for motorists to holiday and take in the island sights. If you’re planning a trip to Guernsey, you may notice the number plates can look quite unusual and the rules of the road are different too.

If you’re wondering exactly how do Guernsey number plates work, then read on for everything you need to know.

Guernsey number plate format

Unlike UK plates, Guernsey registrations don’t contain letters; they only feature numbers. Plates show up to six characters which are often displayed in silver on a black background. However, they are also allowed to use black characters on white and yellow plates like the current specification here in the UK. In addition to the numerals, Guernsey plates also display an oval emblem featuring the letters GBG, which stands for Great Britain and Northern Ireland - Guernsey. In some instances, Guernsey’s international vehicle registration code is also displayed on plates.

Sequential order

Mandatory since 1909, Guernsey plates are issued sequentially for the most part, but in 2011 the Environment Department introduced some new plates numbers beginning with either one or two zeros to expand the different registrations available to drivers. While adding letters to the number plates of Guernsey was considered, it was decided that it would take away an element of the island’s unique identity and an “aspect of Guernsey life”.

Sought-after potential number plate combinations formed with additional zeros such as 007, the number famed by British fictional spy James Bond, were deemed valuable. Instead of releasing these number plates sequentially, it was decided they would be auctioned off. Auctioning of the total quantity of plates was estimated to raise funds of around £11 million for Guernsey by auctioneer Clive Maides.

As with the UK, lower numbers are highly prized and command the highest price tag when sold.

Special number plates of Guernsey

There are several number plates in Guernsey that indicate individuals of importance. The registration with the numeral one represented is reserved and displayed by the Bailiff of Guernsey’s vehicle. The Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey’s official vehicle carries no plates at all, but his private cars sport the registration numbers G1 and G2.

The Fire and Rescue Services of Guernsey vehicles also require no number plates.

If you’re visiting Guernsey and pick up a hire car, it will feature a separate plate that displays a black letter H on a yellow field. As Guernsey roads have different laws, these H plates are to inform the drivers behind that the car in front of them may not be fully aware of the rules.

Rules of the road for Guernsey

Just like in the UK, drivers in Guernsey need a driving licence and insurance to be legally allowed to use the roads. Cars drive on the left hand side but the maximum speed limit is only 35mph. Many roads that are narrow have even lower limitations, like 15mph. Cyclists, walkers and horse-riders can be found on many roads and have right of way.

Junctions should be entered with other cars in turn and you’ll find box junctions, which you can’t enter until your exit is completely clear. A sign not seen in the UK, sporting a yellow line through the exit sign of a minor road, tells drivers to give way to any traffic on a major road.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

If you want to get a personalised number plate made, you must ensure you go to a registered number plate supplier. This supplier will need to see proof of your identity and proof that you’re entitled to that registration number.

UK number plates change every March and September, on the first of the month. This is when the year identifier changes, for example from 19 to 69 in 2019/20. The former applies from March, and the latter from September.

Much like a personalised or cherished number plate in any other part of the UK, all personalised number plates in Northern Ireland must be registered with the DVLA in Swansea. This system has been in place since 2014.

To find out the registered keeper of a vehicle number plate here in the UK, apply in writing to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). However, it will only provide these details if you have a reasonable cause.

You can discover certain information about the vehicle that a number plate is on fairly simply, but to find out who it actually belongs to is a little more tricky. Your best port of call is the DVLA.

Personalised number plates can be a good investment as they nearly always retain their value and often increase in price. Investing in these plates is not risk free though, so it shouldn’t be undertaken without careful research.

A simple transfer from one vehicle to another can be completed online with the DVLA and you can make the switch as soon as you've finished the process. Organising it by post takes longer – expect two to five weeks.

Creating your own personalised number plate is relatively simple, and many websites are designed to make this process easier. However, there are some rules about what you can and can’t choose for your registration number.

The process of removing a personalised number plate from a vehicle will differ depending on whether you want to save the number plate for future use, sell it on, or immediately reassign it to another vehicle.

A number plate’s value varies according to how desirable and unusual it is. A number plate featuring a name, word or initials that a lot of people want is likely to fetch a higher price.