What are the new number plate rules for GB stickers?

·3-min read
The old Euro symbol GB number plates are no longer valid. (Getty)
The old Euro symbol GB number plates are no longer valid. (Getty)

New rules for number plates and GB stickers on car bumpers have come into effect across the UK.

The new rules, which came into effect on Tuesday, were not announced by the government and people only became aware after the government notified the United Nations of their intention to change their number plates.

The core change sees the long recognised GB stickers which were used for British vehicles operating outside of the country replaced with UK stickers instead.

What are the new rules?

From Tuesday the old GB stickers were no longer recognised internationally as a signifier that the driver has come from the United Kingdom.

They have instead been replaced with new stickers with UK printed on them.

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Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps revealed the new green number plates for electric cars earlier this year. (Getty)
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps revealed the new green number plates for electric cars earlier this year. (Getty)

The old EU stars which often adorned the magnets or stickers people attached to their cars have also been phased out.

Every motorist who wishes to travel abroad will need to either buy a new number plate that features the letters UK and the Union flag or a sticker.

The rules are for anyone planning to drive outside of the country must have a new UK sticker if they have any of the following:

  • a GB identifier with the Union flag

  • a Euro symbol

  • a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales

  • numbers and letters only – no flag or identifier

If they have a number plate that includes the Union flag then they do not need a sticker.

You do not need a sticker if you are driving in Ireland.

If you're in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, you must display a UK sticker no matter what is on your number plate.

Why have they been brought in?

A spokesperson for the government said: "Changing the national identifier from GB to UK symbolises our unity as a nation and is part of a wider move towards using the UK signifier across government.

"We notified the UN of our intention to make these changes in July, and have been working with the sector to implement the change."

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It has long been pointed out the GB used for the number plates did not accurately represent the four nations of the UK.

It also marks another stage in the UK's wrapping up of Brexit with EU symbols removed from most aspects of life.

What are the penalties?

Halfords has warned you could be denied entry to whichever country you are travelling to if you do not have the correct symbols on your car.

You could also face a fine.

A new sticker can be acquired from most post offices for between £1-5.

What do the experts say?

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis told the BBC: "It might only be a matter of replacing two letters, but this is a significant change for drivers who in normal times take their cars outside the UK." 

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