A Guide to the New March 2021 UK Registration Plates

Despite constantly changing times, the methods of creating a unique registration plate remain the same. Every Spring and Autumn, new cars get a registration plate with a new year. On March 1st and September 1st, the numbers on the plate update to represent the new season in which the car is registered. These numbers are called the ‘age-identifier’.

Any new vehicle registered in the UK from March 2021 will have the age-identifier ‘21’, and any vehicle registered from September 2021 onwards will have the age-identifier ‘71’. And of course, the process starts all over again in 2022 and every year following until February 2051. At this point, the DVLA will have to decide on a whole new registration plate system.


This table presents the general idea until September 2025:

Year March-August September-February
202121 plate71 plate
202222 plate72 plate
202323 plate73 plate
202424 plate74 plate
202525 plate75 plate

March 2030 will introduce age-identifiers with ‘30’ upwards. The Spring registration plates will begin with 30s and the Autumn plates, beginning in September of each year, will begin with 80s.


Where do the letters come from?

The letters in registration plates are seemingly random to most, however there is sensical reasoning behind each section of a plate.

The first two letters of a registration plate are referred to by DVLA as ‘memory tags’. These memory tags identify the region in which the car was registered and even more specifically, which postal area within the region.

As addressed earlier, the numbers (or age-identifier) represent the year the car was registered. The final three letters on any UK registration plate are generated randomly. The only letters that are never used in registration plates are I and Q, whilst Z only makes rare appearances.

At the end of 2020, the Government gave the green light to green flashes, now available on registration plates for electric and hybrid vehicles. These plates are available per each driver’s preference but are expected to be rolled out more frequently around the country as electric and hybrid vehicles continue to become increasingly popular.