UK Number Plate Country Identifier for Travel Abroad

By Dash Dynamics

29 September 2021

Leaving the European Union puts into motion a number of new changes for British residents. These are not limited to the rules and regulations that govern UK number plates while travelling abroad. On September 28th, a new regulation comes into effect for all British registered vehicles in the EU. This new regulation affects the country identifier on British number plates and vehicles.

Country Identifiers

Within the UK, there are a number of legal country identifiers permissible for legal number plates. These identifiers are found on the left-hand side of the number plate, though they are not a requirement. There are six legal variations of this identifier which include the country flag. They are:

  • UK – United Kingdom, Union Jack
  • GB – Great Britain, Union Jack
  • CYM – Cymru, Welsh Flag
  • WAL – Wales, Welsh Flag
  • SCO – Scotland, Saltire
  • ENG – England, St. George’s Cross

As of January 2021, the Euro Star symbol is no longer legally recognized.

UK country identifier

Travelling Abroad

When travelling abroad in the EU with a UK registered vehicle, these designations are narrowed down to only one. As of September 28, 2021, the only legally recognized country identifier within the EU is UK with the Union Jack.

But, fret not, as this designation can also be satisfied with a UK oval sticker or magnet attached to the vehicle. This means that if your vehicle has any of the other designations, including the retired euro stars, you do not need to fully replace the number plate. Instead, you must either cover it, or, if possible, remove the designation.

The UK designation is changed from the previous GB designation in order to better incorporate Northern Ireland. Commonly, Great Britain only refers to the three countries that compose the isle itself while the United Kingdom encompasses all four nations.

Formally, UK is the official designation now recognized by the European Union.

And there you have it! If you are on the market for a number plate and have plans to travel abroad make sure you choose the UK designation. If not, you can continue to use any of the other recognized designations within the UK.

To order your country identifier stickers, contact us!