When do the ’22 registration plates come out?

'22 number plates

New reg plates drop twice a year, once in March, and once again in September, and when they do arrive on the market, they will usually affect the value of your car.

When is the DVLA ’22 plate release date?

The ’22 plate will launch on the 1st of March 2022. They are released at this time every year and are named after the year they are produced. For six months – before the ’72 plates enter the market in September – they will represent the newest cars on the market.

How do the DVLA ’22 number plates work?

All cars produced after 2001 have plates that follow a certain format:

  • Two numbers represent when the car was registered 
  • Two letters represent the region where the car was registered (one for the general area, the second for the specific office)
  • And they will contain three other random letters

In March, the numbers that represent the ‘when’ part of the registration will just be the numbers of the year. However, in September, it’s the year plus 50, so the same car registered six months later would be a ’72 reg. Here are a few examples for a car registered in London (L) at Borehamwood (represented by K):

Year of purchasePurchased after MarchPurchased after September
2002LK02 MTWLK52 MTW
2003LK03 MTW LK53 MTW
2015LK15 MTW LK65 MTW
2022LK22 MTWLK72 MTW

Regional identifiers don’t use I, Q, and Z. In fact, Z will only appear on a reg if it was selected as one of the three random letters at the end. 

How do the DVLA ’22 number plates work?
A slick new car that looks ready for the new ’22 reg plates

’22 plate rules

The general rules around car registration plates won’t change with the arrival of the ’22 plate. Both the back and front of a vehicle need to show reg plates. Some other key rules include:

  • White plates on the front, yellow on the back (unless your car is a vintage model and was registered before 1973)
  • Numbers and letters must be 79 millimetres tall
  • There must be a space between the numbers that mark the year and the three random letters
  • Since 2001, all registration plates must be in a specific font – called the Charles Wright font 

For car owners, you are not allowed to change or purposefully obscure your reg number. You can be fined up to £1,000 for doing so – and any car without clear reg plates will also fail its MOT.

Other additions to new ’22 plates

Depending on where you plan to drive your car and what sort of car it is, there are some things you can (or must) add to your registration plate.

UK cars that will be driven abroad must have nationality identifiers on their plates. This is the addition of a Union flag and a badge saying ‘UK’. (Previously ‘GB’.)

Drivers of electric vehicles and cars with zero CO2 emissions can use plates that have a green tab, either as the colour background to the nationality identification or simply as a block colour tab. It’s an optional addition, though, so not all zero-emissions cars will automatically be given a green tab. 

’22 plate rules

Why do ’22 plates affect my car value? 

It’s not the ’22 plates themselves that impact value, it’s more that for the six months before the ’72 plates come out, ‘22s represent the newest cars on the market. Having newer models on the market will always drive down the value of older models. 

Where can you buy ’22 plates?

You don’t actually need to have a new car in order to get a ’22 plate – you don’t even need to have a car. 

You can buy a ’22 plate online and hold it on what’s known as a retaining certificate. With this, you can then use it on a vehicle in the future. This service is usually used for personalised private number plates, however – and it’s relatively uncommon that you would see a ’22 plate that isn’t denoting the actual age of the vehicle.

Looking to sell your car?

If you’re looking to sell your car, you’ll probably find you get a better price before the new plates launch. Motorway allows you to find great offers from more than 5000+ verified car dealers, helping you to find the best price to sell your car quickly. Get a valuation now.

Ready to buy a new car?

Our guides have everything you need to know about the DVLA and the documentation around owning a car, plus tips on car ownership.