List of international vehicle registration codes

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Example of the white oval plate or sticker; this one represents Switzerland
A 1960 Borgward Isabella showing the international vehicle code NL (Netherlands)
Estonian registration plate in EU standard format with international code EST

The country in which a motor vehicle's vehicle registration plate was issued is indicated by an international licence plate country code, formerly known as an International Registration Letter[1] or International Circulation Mark[2] displayed in bold block uppercase on a small white oval plate or sticker near the number plate on the rear of a vehicle.

The allocation of codes is maintained by the United Nations as the Distinguishing Signs Used on Vehicles in International Traffic[3] (sometimes abbreviated to DSIT), authorised by the UN's Geneva Convention on Road Traffic of 1949 and the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 1968. Many vehicle codes created since the adoption of ISO 3166 coincide with ISO two- or three-letter codes.

The 2004 South-East Asian Agreement ... for the Facilitation of Cross-Border Transport of Goods and People uses a mixture of ISO and DSIT codes: Myanmar uses MYA, China CHN, and Cambodia KH (ISO codes), Thailand uses T (DSIT code), Laos LAO, and Vietnam VN (coincident ISO and DSIT codes).[4]

In the European Economic Area, vehicles from one member state do not need to display the oval while within another state, provided the number plate is in the common EU standard format introduced in the 1990s, which includes the international vehicle registration code on the plate.[5]

Current codes[edit]

Note: an asterisk (*) indicates that this code is unofficial (does not appear in the UN list of distinguishing codes).

Code Country From Before Notes
A  Austria 1910
AFG  Afghanistan 1971
AG*  Antigua and Barbuda
AL  Albania 1934
AM  Armenia 1992 SU Formerly part of the Soviet Union
AND  Andorra 1957
ANG*  Angola 1975 PAN: 1932–1957, P: 1957–1975 Formerly a territory of Portugal
ARK* Antarctica Antarctica
AS*  Asturias Territory of the Kingdom of Spain, E is the official code.
AUA*, ARU*  Aruba NA Formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles
AUS  Australia 1954
AX*  Åland Islands 2002 SF Territory of Finland. FIN is the official code.
AXA*  Anguilla
AZ  Azerbaijan 1993 SU Formerly part of the Soviet Union
B  Belgium 1910
BD  Bangladesh 1978 PAK Formerly East Pakistan
BDS  Barbados 1956
BF  Burkina Faso 1990 RHV / HV until August 2003, 1984; (République (de)) Haute Volta (Upper Volta)
BG  Bulgaria 1910
BH  Belize 1938 former British Honduras. Uses BZ unofficially since 1980, although still officially registered as BH as of 2007.
BHT*  Bhutan
BIH  Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993 YU Bosna i Hercegovina
BOL  Bolivia 1967
BR  Brazil 1930
BRN  Bahrain 1954
BRU  Brunei 1956
BS  Bahamas 1950
BUR  Burma 1956 BA Also known as Myanmar.
BVI  British Virgin Islands
BW  Botswana 2003 BP unofficially for Botswana. Officially RB for Republic of Botswana. Formerly Bechuanaland Protectorate
BY  Belarus 1992 (2004) SU Byelorussia; formerly part of the Soviet Union. The UN was officially notified of the change from SU to BY only in 2004.[6]
BZ*  Belize 1980 former British Honduras. Still officially registered as BH (as of 2007).
C  Cuba 1930
CAM  Cameroon 1952 F & WAN Formerly a territory of France
CDN  Canada 1956 CA Canadian Dominion[citation needed]
CH   Switzerland 1911 Confœderatio Helvetica (Latin)
CI  Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire) 1961 F Formerly a territory of France
CL  Sri Lanka 1961 Formerly Ceylon
CN*  People's Republic of China
CO  Colombia 1952
COM*  Comoros F Formerly a territory of France
CR  Costa Rica 1956
CV*  Cape Verde 1975 P Formerly a territory of Portugal
CY  Cyprus 1932
CYM*  Wales Part of the United Kingdom, CYM from Cymru (Wales), GB is the official code.
CZ  Czech Republic 1993 CS Formerly Československo (Czechoslovakia)
D  Germany 1910 Deutschland (German); also used until 1974 by  East Germany, which then used DDR until German reunification in 1990
DJI*  Djibouti F Formerly a territory of France
DK  Denmark 1914
DOM  Dominican Republic 1952
DY  Benin 1910 Part of AOF (Afrique occidentale française) − 1960 Dahomey (name until 1975)
DZ  Algeria 1962 F − 1911 Djazayer (Algerian Arabic); Formerly part of France
E  Spain 1910 España (Spanish)
EAK  Kenya 1938 East Africa Kenya
EAT  Tanzania 1938 EAT & EAZ East Africa Tanzania; formerly East Africa Tanganyika and East Africa Zanzibar
EAU  Uganda 1938 East Africa Uganda
EAZ  Zanzibar East Africa Zanzibar
EC  Ecuador 1962
ENG*  England Part of the United Kingdom, GB is the official code.
ER  Eritrea  ItalyAOI 1890 - 1936,  United Kingdom 1936 - 1964  Ethiopia 1964–1993  Eritrea1993–Present  ItalyItalian,  United Kingdom British Ethiopia Ethiopian Eritrea Eritrean Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian), Ethiopia, United Kingdom, Eritrea
ES  El Salvador 1978
EST  Estonia 1993 EW 1919–1940 & 1991–1993; SU 1940–1991 Eesti Vabariik (Estonian); Formerly part of the Soviet Union
ET  Egypt 1927
ETH  Ethiopia  Italy1936-1941  United Kingdom1941-1964, Ethiopia1964–Present Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian), Ethiopia Africa Orientale Italiana (Italian)
F  France 1910
FIN  Finland 1993 SF Suomi Finland (Finnish/Swedish)
FJI  Fiji 1971
FL  Liechtenstein 1923 Fürstentum Liechtenstein (German)
FO  Faroe Islands 1996 Føroyar. Sometimes FØ or Fø[citation needed]
FSM*  Federated States of Micronesia
G  Gabon 1974 ALEF − 1960 Afrique Équatoriale Française
GB  United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) GB is the official code. 1910 Before 1922 it was used for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
GBA  Alderney 1924 Great Britain – Alderney
GBG  Guernsey 1924 Great Britain – Guernsey
GBJ  Jersey 1924 Great Britain – Jersey
GBM  Isle of Man 1932 Great Britain – Isle of Man
GBZ  Gibraltar 1924 Great Britain – Gibraltar [Z was assigned because G was already used for Guernsey]
GCA  Guatemala 1956 Guatemala, Central America
GE  Georgia 1992 SU Formerly part of the Soviet Union
GH  Ghana 1959 WAC − 1957 West Africa Gold Coast − 1957
GQ*  Equatorial Guinea E Formerly a territory of Spain – Spanish Guinea − 1968
GR  Greece 1913
GUY  Guyana 1972 BRG Formerly British Guiana − 1966
GW*, RGB*  Guinea-Bissau 1974 P Portuguese Guinea – 1974. República da Guiné-Bissau
H  Hungary 1910
HK*  Hong Kong 1932
HKJ  Jordan 1966 JOR Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
HN*  Honduras
HR  Croatia 1992 SHS 1919–29, Y 1929–53, YU 1953–92 Hrvatska (Croatian). Formerly part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kraljevina Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca – Croatian), then part of Yugoslavia.

In the period immediately following Croatia's declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it was common to see unofficial oval stickers with the letters "CRO" sold across Croatia. Despite the initial anticipation that Croatia's international vehicle registration code would be "CRO", Croatia officially opted for the 2-letter "HR" (Hrvatska) code instead.

I  Italy 1919
IL  Israel 1952
IND  India 1947
IR  Iran 1936
IRL  Ireland 1962 GB − 1910, SE − 1924, EIR − 1938 Formerly Great Britain, Saorstát Éireann, Éire. Currently there is a campaign underway by Irish Language activists to have the name of the country in the native language represented by changing the code back to EIR or ÉIR. This is unnecessary, as Statutory Instrument No. 269 of 1961 provides: " ... the letters EIR are used to indicate the name of the State but the letters IRL may be substituted therefor."
IRQ  Iraq 1930
IS  Iceland 1936 Ísland (Icelandic)
J  Japan 1964
JA  Jamaica 1932
K  Cambodia 1956 F − 1949 Known as Kampuchea 1976–89. Formerly a territory of France.
KAN*  Saint Kitts and Nevis
KIR*  Kiribati
KN*  Greenland GRO Kalaallit Nunaat
KP*  Democratic People's Republic of Korea
KS  Kyrgyzstan 1992 SU − 1991 Formerly part of the Soviet Union
KSA  Saudi Arabia 1973 SA
KWT  Kuwait 1954
KZ  Kazakhstan 1992 SU − 1991 Formerly part of the Soviet Union
L  Luxembourg 1911
LAO  Laos 1959 F – 1949 Formerly a territory of France (French Indochina)
LAR  Libya 1972 I − 1949, LT Libyan Arab Republic; Formerly a territory of Italy
LB  Liberia 1967
LS  Lesotho 1967 BL Basutoland − 1966
LT  Lithuania 1992 SU 1940–1991 Formerly part of the Soviet Union
LV  Latvia 1992 LR 1927–1940, SU 1940–1991 Latvijas Republika (Latvian); Formerly part of the Soviet Union
M  Malta 1966 GBY 1924–66
MA  Morocco 1924 Maroc (French)
MAL  Malaysia 1967 PRK – 1957, FM 1954-7, PTM 1957–67 formerly Perak, then Federated Malay States, then Persekutuan Tanah Melayu (Malay)
MC  Monaco 1910
MD  Moldova 1992 SU − 1991 Formerly part of the Soviet Union
MEX  Mexico 1952
MGL  Mongolia 1997
MH*  Marshall Islands
MK  Macedonia 1992 YU − 1992 Formerly part of Yugoslavia
MNE  Montenegro 2006 MN – 1913–1919, SHS 1919–29, Y 1929–53, YU 1953–2003, SCG 2003–2006 Formerly part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca – Serbo-Croatian), then part of Yugoslavia and then Serbia and Montenegro (Srbija i Crna Gora – Serbian)
MO*  Macau 1930s? former Portuguese overseas province
MOC  Mozambique 1975 MOC: 1932–56, P: 1957–75 Formerly part of Portugal. Moçambique (Portuguese)
MS  Mauritius 1938
MV*  Maldives
MW  Malawi 1965 EA 1932–38, NP – 1938–70, RNY option 1960–65 Formerly the Nyasaland Protectorate
N  Norway 1922
NA  Netherlands Antilles 1957
NAM  Namibia 1990 SWA Formerly South West Africa
NAU  Nauru 1968
NC*  New Caledonia
NEP    Nepal 1970
NI* Northern Ireland Part of the United Kingdom, GB is the official code.
NIC  Nicaragua 1952
NL  Netherlands 1910
NZ  New Zealand 1958
OM*  Oman
P  Portugal 1910
PA  Panama 1952
PAL*  Palau
PE  Peru 1937
PK  Pakistan 1947?
PL  Poland 1921
PMR*  Transnistria 1990 SU − 1991, MD 1991 Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic – officially part of  Moldova. Formerly part of the Soviet Union.
PNG  Papua New Guinea 1978
PR*  Puerto Rico
PS*  Palestine
PY  Paraguay 1952
Q  Qatar 1972
RA  Argentina 1927 República Argentina (Spanish)
RB  Botswana 1966 BP Republic of Botswana. Unofficially uses BW. Formerly Bechuanaland Protectorate
RC  Republic of China (Taiwan) 1932
RCA  Central African Republic 1962 République Centrafricaine (French)
RCB  Republic of the Congo 1962 République du Congo Brazzaville (French)
RCH  Chile 1930 República de Chile (Spanish)
RG  Guinea 1972 République de Guinée (French)
RH  Haiti 1952 République d'Haïti (French)
RI  Indonesia 1955 Republik Indonesia (Indonesian)
RIM  Mauritania 1964 République islamique de Mauritanie (French)
RKS*  Kosovo 2010 SRB; KS 1999–2010; RKS 2010 Serbia claims Kosovo as part of its territory.
RL  Lebanon 1952 République Libanaise (French)
RM  Madagascar 1962 République de Madagascar (French)
RMM  Mali 1962 AOF − 1960 République du Mali (French). Formerly part of French West Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française)
RN  Niger 1977 AOF − 1960 République du Niger (French). Formerly part of French West Africa (Afrique Occidentale Française)
RO  Romania 1981 R
ROK  Republic of Korea 1971
RP  Philippines 1975 Republic of the Philippines
RSM  San Marino 1932 Repubblica di San Marino (Italian)
RU  Burundi 1962? Belgian territory of Ruanda-Urundi
RUS  Russia 1992 SU Formerly part of the Soviet Union
RWA  Rwanda 1964 RU − 1962 Formerly part of Ruanda-Urundi − 1962
S  Sweden 1911
SCO*  Scotland Part of the United Kingdom, GB is the official code.
SD  Swaziland 1935
SGP  Singapore 1952
SK  Slovakia 1993 CS 1919–39,1945–92, SQ 1939–45 Formerly Československo (Czechoslovakia)
SLE*  Sierra Leone 2002 officially WAL; SLE is only used on local licence plates, written below the national flag
SLO  Slovenia 1992 SHS 1919–29, Y 1929–53, YU 1953–92 Formerly part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, then part of Yugoslavia
SME  Suriname 1936
SMOM*  Sovereign Military Order of Malta
SN  Senegal 1962
SO  Somalia 1974
SOL*  Solomon Islands
SRB  Serbia 2006 SB – 1919, SHS 1919–29, Y 1929–53, YU 1953–2003, SCG 2003–2006 Formerly part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca – Serbo-Croatian), then part of Yugoslavia and then Serbia and Montenegro (Srbija i Crna Gora – Serbian)
STP*  São Tomé and Príncipe 1975 P Formerly a territory of Portugal
SUD  Sudan 1963
SY  Seychelles 1938
SYR  Syria 1952
T  Thailand 1955
TCH, TD  Chad 1973 Tchad (French)
TG  Togo 1973
TJ  Tajikistan 1992 SU − 1991 Formerly part of the Soviet Union
TL*  Timor-Leste P, RI Formerly a territory of Portugal, then part of Indonesia
TM  Turkmenistan 1992 SU − 1991 Formerly part of the Soviet Union
TN  Tunisia 1957 F − 1956 Formerly a territory of France
TO*  Tonga
TR  Turkey 1935
TT  Trinidad and Tobago 1964
TUV*  Tuvalu
UA  Ukraine 1992 SU Formerly part of the Soviet Union
UAE  United Arab Emirates
USA  United States 1952 Correctly used by U.S.-registered vehicles abroad. Today, U.S.-owned vehicles registered in Europe use the licence plate code of the country in which they are registered, in common with the practice for every other country in cases where its nationals register a vehicle in a foreign jurisdiction.
UY  Uruguay 2012 ROU
UZ  Uzbekistan 1992 SU Formerly part of the Soviet Union
V   Vatican City 1931 On the Pope's vehicles and on local licence plates SCV (Stato della Città del Vaticano) is used.
VN  Vietnam 1953
VU*  Vanuatu
WAG  Gambia 1932 West Africa Gambia
WAL  Sierra Leone 1937 West Africa Sierra Leone; on local licence plates SLE is used
WAN  Nigeria 1937 West Africa Nigeria
WD  Dominica 1954 Windward Islands Dominica
WG  Grenada 1932 Windward Islands Grenada
WL  Saint Lucia 1932 Windward Islands Saint Lucia
WS  Samoa 1962 formerly Western Samoa
WSA* Western Sahara Western Sahara 1932 SH − 1976 formerly Sahara Español (Spanish); now mostly occupied by Morocco, with some territory administered by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic
WV  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1932 Windward Islands Saint Vincent
YAR  Yemen North Yemen formerly known as the Yemen Arab Republic
YV  Venezuela 1955 the same code is used for aircraft
Z  Zambia 1964 NR formerly Northern Rhodesia
ZA  South Africa 1936 Zuid-Afrika (from Dutch; in Afrikaans it is Suid-Afrika[7])
ZRE  Democratic Republic of the Congo 1971? CB, RCL, CGO, ZR Congo Belge (French), République de Congo Léopoldville (French), Congo (Kinshasa), Zaïre
ZW  Zimbabwe 1980 SR, RSR formerly Southern Rhodesia until 1965, Rhodesia unrecognised until 1980

Codes no longer in use[edit]

Code Country Until After Notes
ADN Colony of Aden Aden 1980 Y From 1938. a.k.a. South Yemen, People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (1967)
BA  Burma 1956 BUR From 1937.
BP Bechuanaland Protectorate Bechuanaland Protectorate 1966 Now Botswana
CS Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia 1992 CZ / SK Split into Czech Republic and Slovakia.
DA  Danzig, Free City of 1939 D (1939–1945)
PL (since 1945)
Danzig (German for Gdańsk)
DDR East Germany German Democratic Republic 1990 D From 1974 (used D until 1974), Deutsche Demokratische Republik
GBY  Malta 1966 M Changed after Independence from UK
EW  Estonia 1993 EST Eesti Vabariik (Estonian)
FR Faroe Islands Faroe Islands 1996 FO Føroyar (Faroese)
GRO Greenland Greenland KN Grønland (Danish language) / Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenlandic language)
HV Republic of Upper Volta Haute Volta, now Burkina Faso 1984 BF Upper Volta
LR  Latvia 1927–1940 SU, LV Latvijas Republika (Latvian)
R Romania Romania 1981 RO
RNY Rhodesia-Nyasaland Fed. 1953–1963 NP, NR, SR Now Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe
ROU  Uruguay 1979–2012 UY República Oriental del Uruguay (Spanish)
RSR Southern Rhodesia 1965–1979 SR Now Zimbabwe
RT  Togo 1973 TG République togolaise (French). Formerly French Togoland − 1960
SA Saar Territory (League of Nations mandate) 1926–1935 D SA is again Germany's Saarland
SA  Saar Protectorate 1947–1956 D SA is again Germany's Saarland
SB Serbia Serbia 1919 SHS Serbia became part of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes
SCG Serbia and Montenegro Serbia and Montenegro 2006 MNE, SRB From Serbian name "Srbija i Crna Gora". Now Montenegro, Serbia
SF  Finland 1993 FIN SF from "Suomi – Finland" (the names of the country in its official languages, Finnish and Swedish)
SHS Kingdom of Yugoslavia Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes 1929 Y Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca – Serbo-Croatian. Kingdom changed its name to Yugoslavia
SU Soviet Union Soviet Union 1991 EST, LT, LV, BY, MD, UA, TJ, TUR, GE, KZ, UZ, KS, AZ, AM, RUS
SWA South West Africa 1990 now Namibia
TS Free Territory of Trieste Free Territory of Trieste 1947–1954 Territory A Zone. Now part of Italy
Y Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia 1953 YU Yemen started using Y afterwards
YU Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia 2003 BIH, HR, MK, MNE, SRB, SLO Now Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Note1
There are unofficial codes in common use, such as "BZH" for Brittany, "VL" for Flanders, "V" for Vojvodina/Vajdaság and "CD" for "Corps Diplomatique". These often signify places which are not internationally recognised as independent states. See http://www.kingkong.demon.co.uk/where/unoff.htm for a list of some of these.
Note2
Some licence plates indicate from which part of the country they originate. See http://www.kingkong.demon.co.uk/where/where.htm for these origins.

References[edit]

  1. ^ See Georgano, G. N. and Andersen, Thorkil Ry; The New encyclopedia of motorcars, 1885 to the present; p. 18 ISBN 0525932542
  2. ^ See Harding, Anthony and Bird, Anthony; Guinness Book of Car Facts and Feats: A Record of Everyday Motoring and Automotive Achievements; p. 243. ISBN 0851122078
  3. ^ United Nations, Distinguishing Signs Used on Vehicles in International Traffic, 15 February 2007
  4. ^ Agreement between and among the Governments of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the People's Republic of China, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, the Union of Myanmar, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for the Facilitation of Cross-Border Transport of Goods and People, Annex 2: Registration of Vehicles in International Traffic, 2004 (also here [1] and here [2])
  5. ^ European Council (1998-11-10). "Council Regulation (EC) No 2411/98 of 3 November 1998 on the recognition in intra-Community traffic of the distinguishing sign of the Member State in which motor vehicles and their trailers are registered". Official Journal L 299. EUR-Lex. pp. 1–3. Retrieved 2008-07-05. "Article 3: Member States requiring vehicles registered in another Member State to display a distinguishing registration sign when they are being driven on their territory shall recognise the distinguishing sign of the Member State of registration displayed on the extreme left of the registration plate in accordance with the Annex to this Regulation as being equivalent to any other distinguishing sign that they recognise for the purpose of identifying the State in which the vehicle is registered." 
  6. ^ [3][dead link]
  7. ^ See article .za

Further reading[edit]

  • "RPW": Neil Parker and John Weeks, Registration Plates of the World, Europlate; 4th edition (2004)

External links[edit]