Are 4D Number Plates Legal?

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In the UK, it’s possible to have vehicle number plates constructed using one of several distinct styles prescribed by the DVLA. One of the most popular reg plate styles are 4D number plates.

Recently, rumours have been circulating that 4D number plates are now illegal. However, there is no truth in those rumours; 4D number plates are legal, as long as you follow some essential rules prescribed by the DVLA.


What Is a 4D Number Plate?

4D number plates are essentially a variation of the familiar 3D reg plates. They are made using professionally laser-cut acrylic letters instead of the gel letters found on 3D number plates.

One of the draws of 4D number plates compared with alternates like 3D reg plates is they have a more modern and contemporary look. What’s more, they have an eye-catching design and quickly become a focal point on any vehicle.

4D number plates look fantastic with either standard registrations or when they get used as private number plates. It’s no wonder they have fast become a popular and affordable addition to any car.


The Myths Surrounding 4D Number Plates

It’s no secret that the Internet rumour mill has been on overtime regarding 4D number plates. Put simply; there have been rumours that 4D number plates have become illegal with the latest DVLA changes to number plate rules.

If you’re thinking of getting 4D number plates for your new private registration, you might be wondering whether you’ll get pulled over by the police for breaking the DVLA’s number plate rules.

The truth is, 4D number plates have not become outlawed. They are perfectly legal for use on any vehicle, provided they get manufactured according to the DVLA’s UK number plate rules.


What Are the Rules for UK Reg Plates?

The DVLA stipulate that number plates fitted to any vehicles used on public roads should get made of a reflective material.

The letters and numbers used on UK reg plates must be black and displayed on a white background for front number plates or a yellow background for rear plates. There should be no background patterns, and they must get marked with the number plate supplier’s details.

You cannot use non-standard fonts or different coloured backgrounds in your number plates, but you can use 3D (raised) characters. Plus, you can also display certain symbols or flags to the left of your registration marks.


Recent Changes to UK Number Plate Rules

Firstly, there have been no changes to 4D number plates (or 3D reg plates). The changes made by the DVLA are as follows and apply to number plates made on or after the 1st September 2021:

  • Plates must have the BS AU 145e British Standard number printed on them;

  • The characters cannot get shown over three lines;

  • Motorcycles registered on or after the 1st September 2021 must only have a rear number plate;

  • Subtle changes to the spacing and size of characters.



4D number plates are entirely legal, providing they follow the DVLA’s rules on fonts, spacing, colours, and British Standards marks, the same as with other styles of UK number plates.