Vehicle registration plates of Sweden
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Vehicle registration plates of Sweden are used for most types of vehicles in Sweden. They have three letters first, a space and three digits after, when read from left to right. The combination is simply a serial number and has no connection with a geographic location. The last digit is used to show what month the car has to undergo vehicle inspection. Vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, public buses and trolley buses use the same type of plate as normal private cars and cannot be directly distinguished by the plate alone. Military vehicles have special plates.
Ordinary plates have black text on a white background. They consist of three letters first, a space and three digits after. This space was formerly used for a taxation sticker. Above it the vehicle identification number is printed and above the last digit the date of plate manufacture is printed. All vehicles must legally carry both a front and a rear plate except for motorcycles, trailers (rear only), tractors and other off-road machinery (front only). The registration number is tied to the vehicles VIN and remains unchanged, even after change of ownership, until the vehicle is scrapped or exported. So it is possible to decommission a registered vehicle for any length of time. A decommissioned registered vehicle does not require road tax or a valid insurance. The registration plate remains on the vehicle while decommissioned. Registration numbers of scrapped, exported and de-registered vehicles are put in quarantine before they are re-used with new registered vehicles.
The only possible coding to be seen by looking at the plate alone is when the vehicle must undergo inspection. The last digit of the plate denote this. Note that the months May and June are missing. This is to reduce the number of inspections for the summer months. Vehicles that don't undergo inspection within their period gets an automated failure and may not be driven on public roads.
|Last digit||Inspection month||Inspection period|
Disallowed letters and combinations
All letters in the Swedish alphabet are used, except the letters I, Q, V, Å, Ä and Ö. 91 letter combinations are not used, since they may be offensive, political or otherwise unsuitable. Examples: APA (monkey), DUM (stupid), FAN (devil, damn), FEG (cowardly), FEL (error, wrong), FUL (ugly), GAY, HOT (threat), LAT (lazy), NRP (Nordiska Rikspartiet), OND (evil), SEX, SUP (snaps), TOA (toilet), UFO, USA, XXL (extra extra large) and many others. Also "WTC 911" was disallowed due to the disaster in World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11 2001 (911) as well as "WTC 119", because dates are read as day/month in Swedish. The road authority has made the list, which is larger than those in most other countries, to avoid requests to replace issued plate numbers once they are deemed unacceptable, which would cause administrative problems.
Sizes and EU stripe
|Old ordinary plate (last production date 31 dec 2013)||480×111|
|EU stripe plate||520×111||EU stripe|
|"American" plate||300×111||EU stripe|
|Square MC plate||119x155||EU stripe|
Starting in the mid-1990s, smaller plates of 30×11 cm were offered for special applications where standard plates would not typically fit, e.g. American domestic market vehicles. These plates are made in a narrower typeface. Up until then large, square plates were used for these applications; however, these were too large height-wise for some American cars, in which case motorcycle plates were issued instead. There is also a self-adhesive plastic 'plate' for use on snowmobiles, ATV's and similar, where the design of the vehicle can make it awkward to fit a real plate. The blue EU stripe was introduced in 2002 as option. As of 1 January 2014 all new manufactured plates have the EU-stripe, and there are no exceptions for old veteran vehicles. Motorcycle owners have often changed plates since it's often hard to find a place for the oval "S"-sticker otherwise needed abroad.
In the middle of the rear plate, a sticker had to be attached to allow driving. This sticker was sent to the owner when the road tax and the liability insurance had been paid and the vehicle had been approved by the car test authority. Valid for one year, its colour varied with the year, and the clearly visible month number of expiry could easily be discerned by police. Since the 1st January 2010, the tax sticker was abolished in Sweden.
In addition to the ordinary registration plate of three letters and three digits, you may have a personal registration plates. The personal registration plate works as an alias to the ordinary plate and can have (almost) any text or number combination up to seven characters, if it isn't used already. It costs 6000 kr (about 640 €) to get personal number for a vehicle. They are valid for ten years and may be moved to another vehicle. The approval sticker was placed to the left, not in the middle. Text too offensive or illegal is not allowed. For instance, the 64SALE number was not allowed, as the number 6 and the word "sex" are homonyms in the Swedish. A sticker declaring the alias relationship between the ordinary plate and the personal plate must be attached in one of the vehicle's windows. The above-mentioned limitation on allowed letters (I, Q, V, Å, Ä, Ö) do not apply to personal plates.
Dealer plates have black text on a green background. These plates are used on vehicles without registration, insurance and vehicles which have failed inspection. The dealers have reported their car not to be driven, meaning they don't have to pay road tax. Cars can be parked for months awaiting sale. The cars can be used for short test drives with one of these licence plates. Unlike normal Swedish license plates the dealer plate is not tied to any vehicle but to the plate owner. These plates can also be used by car manufacturers to test vehicles. The plate has a sticker indicating if the plate is for cars, trucks or trailers. The plate shows that the owner has a special insurance that covers test drives.
Diplomatic plates have black text on a blue background. They consist of two letters, three serial digits and a last letter. The first two letters shows which diplomatic mission the vehicle belongs to. The letters don't correspond to any country acronym e.g. American diplomats don't have US as their first two letters. They're ordered by the sovereign states' name in the French language. Thus AA denotes South Africa (i.e. Afrique du Sud). AB denotes Albania (i.e. Albanie) and so forth up until DT. The three digits are just a serial number. The last letter shows what kind of task the diplomat has. The approval sticker was placed last on the right. Just like the personal plates these vehicles have a standard format registration as well, which means a re-registration is not needed if the vehicle changes owner.
|AA||South Africa||i.e. Afrique du Sud|
|AE||Not in use|
|AF||United States of America|
|AI||Not in use||Letter I not used|
|AO||Not in use|
|AQ||Not in use||Letter Q not used|
|AZ||Korea (ROK)||South Korea|
|BA||Korea (DPRK)||North Korea|
|BB||Not in use|
|BI||Not in use||Letter I not used|
|BO||Not in use|
|BQ||Not in use||Letter Q not used|
|BR||Not in use|
|CI||Not in use||Letter I not used|
|CO||Not in use|
|CQ||Not in use||Letter Q not in use|
|CR||Not in use|
|DC||Not in use|
|DI||Not in use||Letter I not used|
|DO||Not in use|
|DQ||Not in use||Letter Q not in use|
|DU||UNHCR||Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees|
|DW||World Maritime University|
|EA||ESA||European Space Agency|
|EI||Not in use||Letter I not used|
|EK||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|EO||Not in use|
|EP||Republic of Macedonia|
|EQ||Not in use||Letter Q not used|
|EU||IDEA||International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance|
|EW||Not in use|
|EY||CBSS||Council of the Baltic Sea States|
|EZ||Not in use|
|FB||Congo||Republic of the Congo|
|FE||GIWA||Global International Waters Assessment|
|FF||Apostolic Nunciature||Holy See|
|FG||Not in use|
|FH||GWP||Global Water Partnership|
|FI||Not in use||Letter I not used|
|FJ||United Arab Emirates|
|B||Embassy||Vehicles owned by the embassy|
|D||Administrative or technical staff|
|I||International organisation staff|
Taxi plates have black text on a yellow background. Taxis get yellow plates after they are approved. The plates have the same registration as the car had before it was a taxi. Thus if it isn't used as a taxi anymore or if the car or the Taximeter fails inspection, the normal plates are put back on and the yellow ones are confiscated. The plates do not have an approval sticker but a smaller T indicating taxi in the right hand corner. If a car has personal plates and is going to be used as a taxi it will get personal yellow plates without the little T in the right corner.
Temporary plates have white text on a red background. Used as a temporary registration for import and export. Like the standard plates, it has three letters and three digits, but with an expiry day and month to the left and year to the right. When an imported vehicle has been approved it will get ordinary white plates with the same registration as previously given on red plates.
Military plates have yellow digits on a black background. The licence plates consist of four to six digits and may be used for all kinds of vehicles, such as ordinary automobiles and tanks. The 1906 series format is still used. The register and issuing of plates is done by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration thus completely separate from the civilian counterpart.
Until 1973 the plates contained one or two letters and up to five digits. The letters are standardised codes for the counties of Sweden. A second letter (A or B) was used for some counties for which the 5 digits were not enough to cover all vehicles.
The typeface used was not consistent as the vehicle owner bought either a plate or a kit from various dealers, such as petrol stations.
Opposite to many other countries, there were no special codes for police, post or other national services apart from the military. One tradition was that the official vehicle of the governor had the number 1 after the county code, however "A 1" belonged to the king.
These plates were not used after 1974. All vehicles had to replace the plates. There are no historic plates in Sweden and historic cars have to use modern (post-1973) plates. All vehicles over 30 years old and not being used as a commercial vehicle are regarded as "veteran" by the road authority, becoming tax-exempt and only needing to pass vehicle inspection every second year. These vehicles use ordinary plates and approval stickers.
- A, AA, AB - City of Stockholm
- B, BA, BB - Stockholms län
- C - Uppsala län
- D - Södermanlands län
- E, EA - Östergötlands län
- F, FA - Jönköpings län
- G - Kronobergs län
- H - Kalmar län
- I - Gotlands län
- K - Blekinge län
- L, LA - Kristianstads län (today part of Skåne län)
- M, MA, MB - Malmöhus län (today part of Skåne län)
- N - Hallands län
- O, OA, OB - Göteborgs och Bohus län (today part of Västra Götalands län)
- P, PA - Älvsborgs län (today part of Västra Götalands län)
- R - Skaraborgs län (today part of Västra Götalands län)
- S, SA - Värmlands län
- T, TA - Örebro län
- U, UA - Västmanlands län
- W, WA - Kopparbergs län (today Dalarnas län)
- X, XA - Gävleborgs län
- Y - Västernorrlands län
- Z - Jämtlands län
- AC - Västerbottens län
- BD - Norrbottens län
- no letter - military vehicles
After 1973 the format changed to three letters followed by three digits. The typeface was custom made to increase readability, and the plates were made in embossed sheet steel. In January 1984 the plates were changed to plastic with reflective tape on them, still embossed. This caused problems since the tape would wear off and decrease the readability of the plate. In January 1994 a new plate was introduced that was made from a solid piece of plastic, with a customised Helvetica typeface. The issue of these plates was halted quickly when Photoblocker spray paint became popular and on the 1st January 2002 were they replaced with embossed aluminium plates clad in 3M reflective film.
- Combinations exempt from usage on registration plates Swedish Transport Administration, in Swedish. Note: Page 1 shows combinations earlier not used, but are used since October 2010. Page 2 shows the 91 combination still not in use.
- Media related to License plates of Sweden at Wikimedia Commons