Vehicle registration plates of Hungary
Number plates in Hungary have a white background with black letters. Usually a three-letter combination is followed by a three-number combination.
Plates issued 1958 to 1990 were in the format AA▪12▪34. Plates issued between 1990 and May 1, 2004, when Hungary joined the European Union had the Hungarian flag above the letter 'H' for Hungary. Since Hungary joined the European Union, the left side has a blue stripe with 12 yellow stars and the letter 'H'. However, these new plates are only visible on vehicles purchased or registered after May 1, 2004, and the former plates are still valid. The current system of registration plates started with AAA-001 in 1990, with the old format plates being replaced with new ones upon their first technical inspection in the 1990s. As of 2005, the sequential system has reached the letter K for the first letter. The current first letter on registration plates is the letter L, which is being issued since (2008), and as of October 2010, this letter is quickly running out. It can be expected that letter M plates will be issued as early as 2011. Plates starting with JDA-001 have the EU flag on them. Motorcycles have 'U' as first letters, Trucks have 'F', and Trailers formerly also had 'F' and now have 'X'. Unlike many other countries in the European Union, in Hungary mopeds are not required to be registered and thus have license plates, either, their owners are only to possess a document claiming their ownership.
Diplomatic plates have a blue background and white writing with the letters 'DT' followed by a four digit numerical combination. (e.g. DT 12–34). Police (Rendőrség) vehicles have 'RB' as the first letters followed by a four digit numerical combination. (e.g. RB 12–34) Specialty plates are issued for certain organizations as well. Magyar Televízió (the Hungarian television agency) uses the combination 'MTV' for the first three digits of the plates on its vehicles.
As of 2006, the National Ambulance Service is permitted to use their old format MA 12–34 registrations, but on the new EU-style plates. The Budapest Transport Limited (BKV Rt.) uses plates beginning with BPO-123, or BPI-123, and the transport company identifies the buses internally by the numbers 01-23 and 11–23 respectively. This system is only used on Ikarus buses (because in the former license plate system, two letters were followed by four numbers, thus and old plate BP 0123 have been changed to BPO-123), whilst Volvo buses use a yellow 'F' plate***.
In 2012, the Hungarian government wanted to replace the old "three-letter-three-number" license plates with a new system, that will show the place where the car is registered ("area code"). The new license plates were not introduced in 2012 nor 2013.
A short summary of some special plates, indicating the format as well:
- ABC-123: Normal series. ABCD-12 and ABCDE-1 are personalised plates (price about 340EUR and 1320EUR).
- EXX-123*,**: A taxi registration plate. Most common are EAA-001 to EDZ-999.
- FXX-123*,**: A vehicle which is not registered as "automobile", but as a "truck".
- MTV-123: Hungarian Television plate.
- XXX-123: A trailer plate, formerly this would have been an 'F' plate. 'X' plates are white.
- UXX-123: Motorcycle plate. Recent issues are beyond UXA-123, so a new system may follow shortly.
- YXX-123: A "slow vehicle" plate. This plate is red on white, and special regulations apply.
- CK 12–34: Consular plate. Used by consular, but not diplomatic bodies.
- DT 12–34: Diplomatic plate. Used by diplomatic, but not consular bodies. Plate is white on EU-blue (pre-EU version was lighter blue).
- HA 12–34: Hungarian Army plate. (Order 35/2000 states that Army plates begin with 'H')
- MA 12–34: National Ambulance Service plate.
- OT 12–34: Old-timer registration plate. For antique cars (older than 30 yrs). (Non-EU plate version only)
- RB 12–34: Hungarian Police plate. (Order 35/2000: Police and Border Patrol plates begin with 'R'. RA, RF, RK also in use.)
- RR 12–34: Hungarian Customs and Excise plates, but also prisoner transports use this.
- M12 3456: Agricultural vehicles usable in transport.
- C-X 1234: A vehicle owned by a non-Hungarian national, natural or legal person.
- X-A 1234, X-B 1234 and X-C 1234: Rent-a-car plates, no longer used since May 1, 2004.
*EXX and FXX plates are "commercial plates", thus they are yellow.
**Series EEA to EZZ and FAA to FHZ are given out as normal.
Temporary plates (no EU plate version):
- E-12345: Temporary plate.
- P-12345: An experimental or trial vehicle ("Próba"). May only carry one person at a time.
- V-12345: A car which must undergo a customs process.
- Z-12345: A car which is to be exported from Hungary.
Note: in Hungary, an "automobile", or a "person-carrier" is defined in the Highway Code as a "vehicle licenced to carry no more than 9 persons, including the driver, provided that the car is not restricted to carrying fewer persons." Usually it is restricted to 5 persons. The issue of Vehicle Registration Plates is regulated by the "Order No. 35 of 2000 of the Minister of Interior Affairs".
There is no system in use giving the exact date and place of the issue of the plate. Naturally, it is included in the car registration documents, but there is no simple way, like in the UK, to tell the age of the car, or a simple way, like in Germany (as well as in most countries in C/E Europe), to tell where the car is from. However, as plates are issued by the Documents Office of each municipality with issuing rights, and as they get plates in boxes of 50 pairs, there are some ways to tell where the plate is from. Also, one is able to tell approximately when a plate was issued, by looking at the sequence of letters. However, as plates come in boxes of 50, it isn't incommon, that a plate beginning with 'KD' is issued before a 'KC' plate, and so forth. This means that you could be between three to six months off when guessing the age of a plate.
The old-style (non-EU) licence plates are based on the Hungarian Standard "MSZ 140/1990".
- Media related to License plates of Hungary at Wikimedia Commons