Irish Number Plates

By: Ross O'donnell

Irish number plates are some of the most popular and commonly seen private car registrations on our roads today. The format of Irish number plates differs from their DVLA counterparts by reading 3 letters followed by up to 4 digits. These registration numbers differ by displaying the letters I or Z within the registration. The addition of these letters to Irish registration numbers enables them to read interesting names and words such as GIL, BIL, WIL and BIG. The letter Z is used on current style DVLA number plates however the letter I is not as it can be mistaken for a number 1. Some examples of Irish registration numbers are DIG 3694, ANZ 348, and LIB 25.

One of the most famous Irish number plates is VIP 1. This stunning private registration number was first issued by the DVLNI in 1979 for the forthcoming visit of Pope John Paul II and used on the "Popemobile" for the duration of his visit. After his tour the number plate was sold at auction and released into the market. This classic car registration changed hands a couple of times before it was sold in July 2006 to Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea FC, for a record breaking ?285 000. There has never been any other number plates from the VIP series released making this car registration number very important indeed.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland (DVLNI) is the governing body responsible for the administration of Irish number plates and driving licenses in Northern Ireland as well as dealing with other road and vehicle related issues such as supplying information on vehicles to the Police. The DVLNI divides up Northern Ireland into 5 administering regions with each area displaying different combinations of letters on their number plates. Only when a series has been exhausted does the administering region move on to the next series. For example, one region had worked through the registration series SLZ 1 up to SLZ 9999 and has since moved on to the next series which is TLZ 1 to TLZ 9999.



If you live in Northern Ireland and wish to purchase a UK registration number (administered by the DVLA) which is held on certificate you must bear in mind that it cannot be assigned directly to a vehicle registered in Northern Ireland. The registration number must first be assigned to a vehicle registered with the DVLA and then transferred onto the vehicle in Northern Ireland via the DVLNI. Unfortunately for the purchaser however this involves two lots of transfer fees. However, buying a UK DVLA number plate which is already on a car can be transfer directly onto a vehicle in Northern Ireland.

DVLA number plates can be transferred of a vehicle and held on what is known as a retention certificate. The registration can be held indefinitely on certificate and assigned to a vehicle at a later date. The DVLNI however does not currently provide a retention facility so in order for an Irish number to be held on retention it must be transferred onto a DVLA registered vehicle (?80) and then onto a retention certificate (?105). The number plate is therefore deemed a DVLA registration so in order to be assigned to an Irish vehicle again it must go through the same process of two transfers.

Irish number plates are very distinctive and can provide a cost effect solution when purchasing a personal number plate. As they are all considered dateless (no age identifier) they can be assigned to any aged vehicle which means they are particularly popular for people looking to hide the age of their car or add a distinctive mark to their vehicle.

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