Vehicle registration plates of Sweden

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A plate from 2010 to 2013 (no sticker needed)

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[edit]

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 get an automated failure and may not be driven on public roads.

Last digit coding
Last digit Inspection month Inspection period
1 January November–March
2 February December–April
3 March January–May
4 April February–June
5 July May–September
6 August June–October
7 September July–November
8 October August–December
9 November September–January
0 December October–February

Disallowed letters and combinations[edit]

All letters in the Swedish alphabet are used, except the letters I, Q, V, Å, Ä and Ö. 91[1] 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[citation needed] 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[edit]

Plate Size (mm) Notes
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 1994, 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 is often hard to find a place for the oval "S"-sticker otherwise needed abroad.

Flag of Europe.svg
S
EDI 101

Taxation sticker[edit]

All vehicles except taxis had to use a tax sticker (the sticker on the pictured plate is an interim sticker).

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.

Special plates[edit]

Personal plates[edit]

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[edit]

2003 series, dealer's plate.

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[edit]

2002 series, diplomatic.

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 (Letters I and Q not used). 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.

Diplomatic mission (country) code
Code Country Notes
AA  South Africa
AB  Albania
AC  Algeria
AD  Germany
AE  Armenia
AF  United States
AG  Angola
AH  Saudi Arabia
AJ  Argentina
AK  Australia
AL  Austria
AM  Bangladesh
AN  Belgium
AO Not in use
AP  Bolivia
AR  Botswana
AS  Brazil
AT  Bulgaria
AU  Canada
AW  Chile
AX  China
AY  Colombia
AZ  South Korea Republic of Korea
BA  North Korea Democratic People's Republic of Korea
BB Not in use
BC  Cuba
BD  Denmark
BE  Dominican Republic
BF  Egypt
BG  Ecuador
BH  Spain
BJ  Ethiopia
BK  Finland
BL  France
BM  United Kingdom
BN  Greece
BO Not in use
BP  Guatemala
BR Not in use
BS  Hungary
BT  India
BU  Indonesia
BW  Iraq
BX  Iran
BY  Ireland
BZ  Iceland
CA  Israel
CB  Italy
CC  Japan
CD  Kenya
CE  Laos
CF  Lebanon
CG  Libya
CH  Malaysia
CJ  Morocco
CK  Mexico
CL  Mozambique
CM  Nicaragua
CN  Nigeria
CO Not in use
CP  Norway
CR Not in use
CS  Pakistan
CT  Panama
CU  Netherlands
CW  Peru
CX  Philippines
CY  Poland
CZ  Portugal
DA  Romania
DB  Senegal
DC Rhonia
DD  Sri Lanka
DE   Switzerland
DF  Tanzania
DG  Czech Republic
DH  Thailand
DJ  Tunisia
DK  Turkey
DL  Russia
DM  Uruguay
DN  Venezuela
DO Not in use
DP  Vietnam
DR  Serbia
DS  Zambia
DT  Zimbabwe
DU UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
DW World Maritime University
DX Nordic Council
DY  Namibia
DZ  Sudan
EA ESA European Space Agency
EB  European Union
EC  Burundi
ED  Estonia
EE  Latvia
EF  Lithuania
EG  Croatia
EH  Slovenia
EJ  Slovakia
EK  Bosnia and Herzegovina
EL  Eritrea
EM  Ukraine
EN  Cyprus
EO Not in use
EP  Macedonia
ER  Kuwait
ES  Honduras
ET  Rwanda
EU IDEA International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
EW Not in use
EX  Cape Verde
EY CBSS Council of the Baltic Sea States
EZ Not in use
FA  Belarus
FB  Congo Republic of the Congo
FC  El Salvador
FD  Syria
FE GIWA Global International Waters Assessment
FF   Vatican City Apostolic Nunciature
FG Not in use
FH GWP Global Water Partnership
FJ  United Arab Emirates
FK  Moldova
FL  Georgia
FM  Azerbaijan
FN  New Zealand
Diplomatic status (last letter) code
Code Diplomatic status Notes
A Ambassador
B Embassy Vehicles owned by the embassy
C Diplomat
D Administrative or technical staff
E Consulate
F Consul
G Consulate staff
H International organisation
I International organisation staff

Taxi[edit]

2002 series, taxi plate.

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[edit]

2002 series, temporary plate.

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[edit]

1906 series, military plate.

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.

History[edit]

1906-1973 series[edit]

1906-1973 series (A = Stockholm).

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.

Codes[edit]

Post 1973[edit]

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 1 January 2002 they were replaced with embossed aluminium plates clad in 3M reflective film.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.

External links[edit]