With a few exceptions, vehicles with a maximum speed of six kilometres per hour or more depending on their type and their trailers must be provided with an official licence plate as soon as they are used on a public road.
Licence plates are issued by the registration authorities of the urban or rural district (registration district) in which you have your principle residence (for companies or associations: company premises or location of the association). The first group of letters on the licence plate indicates the registration district for the vehicle. This is followed by a vehicle-specific identifier made up of numbers and letters.
Official number plates must also have a registration seal from the registration authorities. This does not apply to trailers with matching plates, which are exempt from registration.
Please note that you can only apply for a personalised licence plate during the registration procedure. It is not possible to change the licence plates once they have been issued. We do not recommend getting the licence plates made up in advance but to do so during the registration. You can get this done by going to the private companies which are usually located close to the vehicle registration offices.
Note: The design of the licence plates and how they are to be attached to the vehicle are legally stipulated. All newly registered vehicles or those re-registered after a change automatically receive a licence plate with the Euro strip. Licence plates which were issued previously (without a Euro strip) must display a separate "D" sticker indicating the nationality in a prominent position when travelling abroad.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Verkehrsministerium released it on 01.07.2019. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.
To the procedures and services
- Applying for an export registration number
- Applying for a green sign
- Reporting loss or theft of numberplates
- Vehicle registration plates or stickers - replacement in case of illegibility or damage
- Applying for temporary vehicle registration
- Applying for an old timer registration
- Applying for a red registration number (dealer registration)
- Applying for a seasonal registration
- Applying for an interchangeable number plate
- Applying for or reserving a vanity plate
- Versicherungskennzeichen für Kleinfahrzeuge beantragen