Britons warned of hefty fines when driving in Europe for number plate and sticker rules

Britons warned of hefty fines when driving in Europe for number plate and sticker rules

Drivers could face a £120 fine for having incorrect number plates in EU

GB News
Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 15/02/2024

- 12:15

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said the sticker changes 'symbolises our unity as a nation'

Drivers have been warned they must have a correct UK identifier on vehicles when travelling through Europe or could risk facing fines of £120.

'UK' stickers replace the old white oval 'GB' stickers which was the main form of identification when the nation was part of the European Union.

Since leaving the EU in 2016, drivers with the ''GB' sticker have been urged to cover or remove it before driving outside the UK.

On September 28, 2021, UK stickers officially replaced 'GB' stickers. If a vehicle still has a 'GB' sticker, they will need to change it to a 'UK' sticker before travelling in Europe.

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Changing the GB licencing plate

In 2021 UK stickers officially replaced GB stickers


Vehicles which hold a number plate that already has a UK identifier such as the Union flag don’t need anything else, according to Auto Trader.

However, drivers will need to display a UK sticker on a car if the number plate has an identifier with the union flag, number and letters, without a flag or an identifier, an EU flag or a national flag of England, Scotland and Wales.

Those driving in Spain, Cyprus and Malta, will always need a UK sticker, no matter what’s on the number plate.

The ‘UK’ sticker or magnet can be purchased online for as little as £1.50 at Post Offices and in garages and cannot have the flag or letters on the number plate margin or be more than 50 millimetres wide.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “Changing the national identifier from GB to UK symbolises our unity as a nation and is part of a wider move towards using the UK signifier across Government.

“Discussions were held with representatives of the number plate manufacturers and stakeholders were notified of the change when the notification was deposited with the UN, providing a three-month notice period before the changes come into force.”

Number plates in the UK have to meet certain requirements. They must be made from a reflective material with the front plate displayed in black characters on a white background.

The rear plate must display black characters on a yellow background and the lettering must be in the Charles Wright 2001 typeface.

Letters for cars, vans and trucks need to be 11mm spaced with a height of 79mm, and a width of 44 mm.

Meanwhile, letters for motorbikes, scooters and motor tricycles, must have 10mm spacing, a height of 64mm and a width of 44mm.

In addition, they must be marked to show who supplied the number plate, including their name, postcode, and manufacturer's mark.

Plates fitted after September 2021 must also be marked with the British Standard BS AU 145e.


Changing licence plate

'Changing the national identifier from GB to UK symbolises our unity as a nation'


For plates fitted after September 2021, the characters must be a single shade of black.

Failure to comply with the latest DVLA number plate rules could see drivers hit with a fine of up to £1,000, an MOT failure or result in the registration number being withdrawn.

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