Vehicle registration plates of Austria

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Example of a license plate in Austria

Austrian car number plates are mandatory vehicle registration plates displaying the registration mark (German: Kennzeichen) of motor vehicles in Austria. They are used to verify street legality as well as to identify and recognise the vehicle.


The license plates are made of metal; the imprinted text is in black letters and digits on a white background. Since November 1, 2002 the common design comprises a blue section on the left with EU circle of stars and the country code ('A') like other vehicle registration plates of the European Union. On the top and bottom, there are red-white-red tribands, the national colors of Austria. Two plates have to be present on each car- one on the front and one on the rear. Dealer plates are white letters on a green background, temporary plates are white letters on a cyan background, and foreign trailers are white letters on a dark red background.

For motorbikes and cars with smaller areas for plates, license plates are also available which are smaller and have two lines of text. Moped plates are in different appearance and shape,and colored as white letters on a red background.

Lettering system[edit]

License plate issued in Vienna (W stands for Wien)

The alphanumeric format for registration plates is "XX-(provincial emblem)-number-letter(s)" or "XX-(provincial emblem)-personalised lettering-number";

  • XX - one or two identification letters denoting the district where the registered keeper resides. As a general rule, State capitals have one letter; other districts have two letters.
  • state - heraldic emblem of the federal state the district belongs to; diplomatic vehicles have a dash instead (–) or the Federal Eagle.
  • the numbers/letters are issued in ascending order

there are several lettering schemes:

  • The plates must contain at least 3 characters. At least one must be a digit and one must be a letter. In countryside districts, the maximum is 5 characters. Usual plates start with a digit and end with a letter. Personalized plates, which can be obtained paying extra fee, are ordered vice versa. (exceptions: see below)
  • Cars in state capitals can spot up to 6 characters (at least one digit and at least one letter with a minimum of 4 characters) (e.g. W 12345 A).
  • Until the year 2000 the plates were issued by the district administrations, who used a variety of lettering schemes, e.g. one digit and three letters (e.g. FK 1 ABC in the Feldkirch district), two digits and two letters (e.g. WL 12 AB in the Wels district).
  • Since 2000 the vehicle registration have been carried out by car insurance companies on behalf of the government. The branch offices of these companies issue the plates, which show three digits and two letters (e.g. XX 123 AB) in each district.
  • There are standardized abbreviations for special types of cars. But most of them are in use in Vienna only:
    • BB - Bundesbahnen (Federal Railways), only with Index "W", e.g. "W-xxx BB"
    • BE - Bestattung (funeral services)
    • EW - E-Werk (electric power company)
    • FF - Freiwillige Feuerwehr (volunteer firemen)
    • FW - Feuerwehr (firemen)
    • GW - Gaswerk (gas power company)
    • GT - Gütertransport (vehicles transporting goods)
    • KT - Kleintransport (private vehicles transporting parcels)
    • LO - Linienomnibus (public service buses)
    • LR - Landesregierung (Local government of Niederösterreich)
    • LV - Landesregierung (Local government of Tyrol)
    • MA - Magistrat Wien (Community service in Vienna)
    • MW - Mietwagen (rental car or bus service [with driver])
    • RD - Rettungsdienst (ambulance vehicles)
    • RK - Rotes Kreuz (Red Cross)
    • TX - Taxi (taxis)
  • Army, diplomats, police etc. just have a number (starting with 1, incrementing)


From 1906 until 1919, the plates always composed by one letter followed by Roman numerals and three numbers (e.g. "BXV 639"). Temporary admission plates always followed by prefix. The prefixes are G= Bosnia and Herzegovina, U= Hungary, Z= All other countries.

From 1919 until 1930,The plates format is same as before but become authority supplied.

From 1930 until 1939,The plates composed by one letters followed by 5 numbers. (e.g. B 25364) The thousands of digits are district reserved.

From 1939 until 1945,The plates composed by two letters followed by a hypen and a 7 numbers. (e.g. W - 1347595) They are followed Nazi Germany system.

From 1945 until 1946,The plates composed by coat of arms followed by max 6 numbers. They are only issued in USSR captured regions.

From 1947 until 1989,The plates composed by two letters followed by 6 numbers and a dot/5 numbers with a letter and a dot (e.g. "W 236.B82"),the first numbers were blocks reserved for vehicles,second ones were a serials,when they run out they began issuing "XX 999.X99". The background is white on black for private vehicles (unknown for all other vehicles). Two letters are the prefixes set by state and federals,they are:

Personalised plates[edit]

In Austria, it is possible to obtain a customized registration plate by payment of 245 (=227+18) Euros. The alphanumeric format is "xx-province- customized lettering-one digit number", which makes them easily distinguishable from standard plates (e.g. G TOMMY 1)


  • Federal (these have the Austrian coat of arms instead of the provincial emblem)
    • A - federal officials
    • BB - Bundesbahnen (Federal Railways) - obsolete, ÖBB vehicles have now W - XXX BB plates
    • BD - Kraftfahrlinien Bundesbus (Bus Service) - now for ÖBB Postbus coaches
    • BG - Bundesgendarmerie (federal police) - obsolete since 2005 when Gendarmerie and police merged, but still valid on Gendarmerie/police cars registered before 2005
    • BH - Bundesheer (Federal Army)
    • BP - Bundespolizei (federal police) - since 2005 the only prefix for all newly registered police cars
    • FV - Finanzverwaltung (Financial Administration)
    • JW - Justizwache (Justice police)
    • PT - Post & Telekom Austria (national post and phone company), now only for postal cars
    • ZW - Zollwache (Customs officials) - obsolete since 2005 when Zollwache merged with federal police

External links[edit]

Media related to License plates of Austria at Wikimedia Commons