Vehicle number plates and GB stickers – changes now in effect

Changes have come into force to vehicle number plates and there is a new requirement to display a GB sticker when driving in Europe.

Why is the Euro symbol being removed from number plates?

As the United Kingdom has left the European Union, new number plates are no longer able to display the EU symbol.  Displaying the symbol was previously permitted on UK number plates, allowing UK drivers to take their vehicles to EU countries without displaying a separate GB sticker.

When is it being removed?

1 January 2021 – so it is now in force.

Do number plates that already have a Euro symbol need to be changed?

No, although if you need to replace a number plates for any reason, you will not be able to purchase new number plates displaying the symbol.

Do I need to display a separate GB sticker if my number plates have a Euro symbol?

As the UK has left the EU, the European Directive no longer applies, and drivers will have to display a separate oval GB sticker when driving outside of the UK.

Does a GB sticker need to be displayed if the number plates do not have Euro symbol?

A GB sticker should be displayed on the rear of the vehicle when travelling abroad but those vehicles which have both the letters “GB” and the Union Flag on their number plate do not need to display a separate GB sticker when travelling in the EU, unless they are travelling to Spain, Malta or Cyprus.

How will it be enforced?

Enforcement of the number plate regulations in the UK is the responsibility of the police. 

Are there changes to older vehicles’ number plates?

Previously, vehicles manufactured more than 40 years ago were eligible to display the traditional black and silver number plates. However, from 1 January 2021, there has been a change.  Going forward, any vehicle constructed after 1 January 1980 is now ineligible to display the black and silver number plate, despite being recorded in the DVLA’s historic tax class. Those vehicles with a construction date prior to 1 January 1980 will continue to be able to legally display black and silver number plates.

Footnote: From 1 September 2021, it will also become mandatory for all new number plates fitted to vehicles to meet the revised technical standards contained in the British Standard for Retroreflective Number Plates (BS AU 145e). The new standard replaces BS AU 145d and introduces significant improvements to both the durability and readability of number plates.