Northern Ireland Registration Plates

When it comes to number plates, those issued in Northern Ireland are special. While plates in England, Scotland and Wales are issued by the DVLA, plates in Northern Ireland have historically been issued by a different authority, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland, abbreviated DVLNI.

The DVLNI began issuing numberless registration plates in 1932 and stopped in 1963 - the same time as the rest of the UK. After the dateless era, the DVLNI released number plates that began with three letters, followed by four numbers running from 1000 up to 9999. This differed from the format in Britain where the DVLA used the three-letters-followed-by-three-numbers-format.

The first letter indicated the position in the series. So, for instance, in the registration ABZ 1234, the first letter “A” indicated when the vehicle was made. The next two letters give information about the town in which the car originated. The letters BZ for instance, denote Down while AZ denotes Belfast.

The DVLNI included the letters I and Z in its registration plates, while the DVLA did not. Having both I and Z opens up more opportunities for people wanting to personalise their registration plates. In 2014, the DVLA took over from the DVLNI. Northern Ireland registration plates can be used in Britain, allowing motorists in England, Scotland and Wales to personalise their vehicles with these additional letters.

Although the DVLNI issued all new vehicles with the default format ABC 1234, it is possible to get Northern Ireland registration plates with fewer numbers. Right from the start, the agency held back these plates with a view to selling them privately to the highest bidder later on. That means that you can get new issue Northern Ireland Registration plates with the original format, dating back to the 1960s.


Make Your Car Unique With An NI Plate

The reason Northern Ireland registration plates are so sought after is the fact that they are rarer than plates from the rest of the UK while at the same opening all kinds of possibilities for customisation. Not only do they offer a letter-number format, but motorists can also include Z and I in new ways that aren’t possible with regular DVLA number plates.

Each county and city in Northern Ireland adopted a particular registration plate naming convention. The prefixes used in particular countries and towns didn’t necessarily change with the year but rather when the series ran out of unique plates. So, for Belfast, the sequence beginning GZ lasted for five years between 1942 and 1947.

Discount Registrations makes finding your perfect Northern Ireland number plate easy. All you need to do is filter by Northern Ireland in our search tool and then type in your perfect registration plate number. Once you’ve done that, all the Northern Ireland plates matching your search will appear in the results list.

Getting Northern Ireland plate is easy. With Discount Registrations, you get the entire process managed for you. There are no complicated forms to fill out and no need to communicate with government agencies: we do all that on your behalf.