Number Plate Size Guide

This knowledge base article provides a basic Number Plate Size Guide, covering standard and private registration formats. Including the registration font size and margins that are legally required.

If you’re looking for information on a number plates elements, layout or font size, check out our What is a Legal Number Plate article. For basic information on testing & standards certification, take a look at our BSAU145e article.

Legal Number Plate Sizes

We’ll start off by stating there’s no legal number plate size in the UK. Instead the regulations state a number plate must have certain elements on it. This means at least a registration and supplier identifier, alongside the BS Number. And all these elements have set sizes and spacing clearly defined. So it’s the elements on a number plate that sets its legal size.

For example, a standard 7 digit number plate has a min-height of 101mm with legal spacing. And a width of 460mm including the centre gap and outer margins. But you will need to add more space for a side badge and a border. This is why manufacturers settled on a size that can accommodate most elements. Thus the industry Standard of 520x111mm.

Registrations & Spacing

As you know, there is just one legal registration font – Charles Wright. Which is both easy to read and photograph, even when moving. And the regulations set out its size and spacing based on the type of vehicle, whether it’s 2,3 or 4 wheel.

Note: The images below use a fake DVLA registration, which includes a number one. For ease, our suggested minimum sizes use 7 full width digits. And nothing has been added for printing or fabrication tolerance.

Standard Registration Size (4 wheel single line)

Most vehicles show a centred 7 digit registration on a single line. This is the 4-wheel format, the most common type you will see on UK roads. And it’s displayed on over 95% of all vehicles.

Here the digits are 79mm high and 50mm wide, except the number 1 which is just 14mm wide. Each digit has a 14mm stroke width, with a 11mm space between each one. Except the gap between the year and random digits, which is 33mm.
Standard Registration Size & Spacing
Next there’s a 7mm margin around the registration, before the supplier and BS number. Which have to be at least 3mm for readability. Finally there must be 11mm between the edge of the plate & registration. So fabrication allowing, the outer 11mm margin can be used to calculate a minimum size. For 7 digit registrations @ 79x50mm, this is 460x101mm.

4×4 Registration Size (4 wheel two line)

Compact 4 by 4 registrations are still based on the same 4-wheel format as standard plates. But it displays the 3 random digits on a second line. Usually this plate is found on off-road vehicles, that carry a spare wheel.
4 by 4 Registration Size & Spacing
This registration still uses 79x50mm digits, but it drops the random digits onto another line. Which means no 33mm margin between them. Instead the two rows are separated by a 19mm gap. Of course, the free space on the bottom row can now be used for a badge. So for a 7 digit registration @ 79x50mm on 2 lines, it’s 255x199mm.

Motorcycle Registration Size (2 or 3 wheel)

To help them fit on the bike, Motorcycles have a smaller number plate than cars. Below you can see it also uses a second line for the 3 random digits. In fact, this 2 & 3 wheel format also uses a smaller font size too.
Motorcycle Registration Size & Spacing
Here the characters have become 64mm high by 44mm wide. Each digit has a 10mm stroke width, and the space between them drops to 10mm. The 3 random digits are placed on their own line, 13mm below the year issued. Even more compact, 7 digit motorbike registrations @ 64x44mm are 228x163mm.

Private Registration Sizes

Most private registrations still use 7 digits, but are sought after because they represent a name, sport or other cherished word. And reduced digit registrations are even more noticeable & expensive. In addition, they come in an array of formats but the rules on font size remains the same. As does the 11mm margin, from Reg to the edge of the number plate.

Single Line Registrations
Since it’s the most popular format, we’ve only included figures for single line registrations. And we’ve added nothing for printing or fabrication tolerance. This simple number plate size guide covers 4 to 7 digit registrations.

The example registrations below use standard 79x50mm digits and spacing with a 33mm gap.

  • 7 Digits (4/3 Split) – 460x101mm
  • 6 Digits (3/3 Split) – 399x101mm
  • 5 Digits (2/3 Split) – 348x101mm
  • 4 Digits (1/3 Split) – 277x101mm

Our Number Plate Sizes

As a leading manufacturer, we provide number plate components in multiple sizes. Including the Standard, Short & Oversized Plates used on most vehicles in the UK. Alongside those are a selection of less common and bespoke sizes for customers and dealerships. Which includes media for Import, Harley and Shaped number plates.

Our online NP-Component Shop has over 40 common number plate sizes and components. Alongside assembly instructions and fixings and fittings for mounting them on vehicles.

Standard Plates

To cover the standard number plate sizes which account for 99% of vehicles we provide Oblong, 4×4 and Motorcycle components. Therefore these sizes are large enough for 7 digit registrations and its legal spacing. In addition, we offer options for side-badges and pre-printed advertising lips.

  • Oblong – 520x111mm
  • 4×4 – 280x203mm (11x8in)
  • Motorcycle – 229x178mm (9x7in)

Short Number Plates

For those interested in offering Short Number Plates we provide cover for 4 to 7 digit registrations. And these match-up well with the minimum Reg sizes we’ve quoted above. Of course, we’ve stuck with 111mm heights for consistency.
Tennants Number Plate Size Guide

  • 3 to 4 Digits – 330x111mm
  • 5 Digits – 355x111mm
  • 6 Digits – 406x111mm
  • 7 Digits – 465x111mm

Oversized Plates

If you want to make large number plates for luxury car brands, we recommend our Oversized Plates. Here you’ll find 9 different sizes to match models like the BMW SUV and Bentley Continental. As a result these are also great for minimalist plates, providing plenty of free space around your registrations.

  • Oversized 1: 520x121mm
  • Oversized 2: 520x127mm
  • Oversized 3: 520x140mm
  • Oversized 4: 520x152mm
  • Oversized 5: 520x165mm
  • Oversized 6: 533x127mm
  • Oversized 7: 533x152mm
  • Oversized 8: 559x184mm
  • Oversized 9: 565x184mm

Further Information

This Number Plate Size Guide is just a quick overview of the rules on sizes. None of the figures provided here include tolerances for printing, which can add a few millimetres each side. And this is because you can’t print right up to an edge. If you have any questions on your plate production & it’s legality contact our sales or customer services team.

We provide components for 3 number plate constructions in over 100 sizes. Including rolls and specialist pre-printed media for classic and lipped-plates. And each plate construction is Certified to prove it passes current British Standards.