A new registration
If you’ve just treated yourself or someone else to a custom number plate, then you’ll probably be very keen to get this showing on the relevant car or van as soon as possible. You might also wish to replace your current plate because it is worn, faded, or damaged.
If so, this guide will help to answer the question of “where can I get number plates made?”
A word of caution
To really put your individual stamp on your new plates, you might be tempted to ask for different fonts, italics and styles of numbers and letters. As long as the number plate is clearly visible, then that’s all that matters, right?
Well actually no. In fact, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle showing number plates that do not conform to the exacting standards laid out by the DVLA. If you do not comply, you risk a fine of up to £1,000, and your car would fail its MOT too.
What kind of number plates are legal?
There are only two types of plates that are legal in the UK. The first applies only to cars that were first registered before 1973. Historic vehicles like this are permitted to display a different kind of plate from others, in keeping with their age and appearance. Apart from this exception, vehicles have to display the exact format as laid out by the DVLA - and the criteria regarding font, size, spacing and colour are very precise indeed.
Black plates are permissible only for vehicles over a certain age. If the car or van was first registered in the UK before 1st January 1973, black plates may be used. The lettering on these must be white, grey or silver, and the font, sizing and spacing must match the DVLA rules.
Pre-1973 cars are rarely seen on the roads today, so the majority of vehicles display the modern type of plates. This means a white plate for the front and a yellow plate for the rear, with the size and spacing of the characters and even the font matching exactly what the DVLA says they must be. You must not space the letters differently or use italics, either.
A registered number plate supplier
To ensure you comply with all the above, as well as the law, you must get your number plates made up only by an approved supplier. The DVLA publishes a list of these, which you can search to find one close to you.
Before they even begin to start making up your number plates, the supplier is obliged to make a couple of checks. You should therefore take some form of photographic identification with you, so they can see you are who you claim to be. The second check relates to your right to use that number plate on that specified vehicle, so you should also take along the V5C, otherwise known as your car’s log book.
Who are these suppliers?
Some of the registered suppliers are companies who sell private plates, so you can order them at the same time as paying for your new registration. Otherwise, there are a range of outlets that make number plates. The best way to find one is to use the DVLA’s own search tool to locate an approved supplier in a convenient place for you. This specialist will make up the plates you need to show in order to conform to UK law.