The indicator

License plates make it possible to identify a vehicle in road traffic.

They must therefore always be legible, clean and placed in the appropriate places. In addition, the rear license plate must be illuminated in the dark.

Indicators provide information:

  • national origin
  • the registration district and the federal state
  • the date of the next general inspection
  • the valid approval

[Translate to English:] Welche Kennzeichen gibt es?

[Translate to English:]

Du warst auf der Autobahn unterwegs und darüber nachgedacht, welche Buchstaben-Kombination auf den Kennzeichen für welchen Ort in Deutschland steht? Eine Übersicht zu den Kennzeichen aller Städte und Gemeinden in Deutschland haben wir hier für dich verlinkt. 

Einen Überlick über die verschiedenen Arten von Kennzeichen - von Saisonkennzeichen bis Kurzzeit-Kennzeichen - kannst du dir verschaffen, wenn du dich durch die Gallerie klickst. 

What do the respective license plates mean?

Since the year 2012 you can apply for a so-called change number plate. This makes it possible to register two cars with the same number plate. In some cases, motor insurers offer special conditions for this procedure.
The small, separate part, on the right side, of the license plate remains firmly on the vehicle, while you change the large part, depending on which car you want to drive. 
It goes without saying that the car "without" license plates is not allowed to drive on public roads, but must be parked in your yard, garage or similar.

For vehicles that are not operated all year round, you can apply for a seasonal license plate. You decide for yourself for which period - at least two and at most eleven months - the seasonal license plate should be valid. It is valid from the first day of the above month until the last day of the month below. The season license plate saves you the otherwise necessary annual registration and deregistration of the vehicle and the associated costs.

A vehicle registered for the first time 30 years or more ago may, upon request, be assigned a historical registration number. The vehicle will then be taxed at a flat rate.

Vehicles that are exempt from motor vehicle tax, e.g. working machines, receive green license plates.

Red number plates are used by motor vehicle manufacturers with non-approved motor vehicles for

  • test runs
  • ferry crossings
  • test drives

Short-term license plates lose their validity merely because of the passage of time (see expiration date in the yellow field on the right). They are allocated on request if you wish to make a test drive or transfer within the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany with a non-registered vehicle.

These licence plates are used for the export abroad of vehicles no longer registered with their own motive power.

Small motorcycles, light motor vehicles, mopeds or patient elevators which do not have a registration number but are subject to insurance require an insurance number plate. It shall apply for one year from 1 March in each case.

In the case of a custom license plate, you can influence your "number" against payment in order to personalize the license plate. Please note that some combinations of letters or numbers are prohibited in Germany. A list can be found under Spiegel Online.

Driving school sign on car roof

Find your driving school

But before you start looking for your first own car, you can first search for the perfect driving school that will make you fit for traffic.