Categories and types of license plates in Cyprus

Категории и виды автомобильных номеров на Кипре
11 November 2023 Irina Zholnirova

You have probably noticed vehicles with "colored" license plates: the usual white ones, but also yellow, blue, red, and even black. There is also such a car on the island, which has no alphanumeric designation at all, but only the flag of the Republic. We tell you what the license plates in Cyprus tell you below.

1. What is on the license plate

You will not find any supernatural symbols and features on Cypriot license plates. According to European tradition, they have the following designations and "markings":

  1. plate background color;
  2. font style and color (mostly black);
  3. a code of letters, numbers or a combination of letters, numbers or numbers;
  4. the emblem or flag (EU, Republic of Cyprus or other);
  5. additional digits indicating dates.

Interestingly, it is impossible to determine the region in which the vehicle is registered by license plates. The number of regions or cities is not indicated on the license plates in Cyprus. The only exceptions are cars from the territories of British military bases (Akrotiri and Dhekelia). Also in the occupied territories (Northern Cyprus, or unrecognized TRNC), there are some differences in license plates compared to the Republic of Cyprus.

2. Cars of ordinary people

The appearance and the number of characters on the license plates of ordinary cars depend on the year of their production. If we take a historical perspective, we can see a trend of "increasing" the number of symbols, which is not surprising. As time went on, there were more and more vehicles, hence the identifiers had to have as many variations as possible.

Note: letter identifiers do not use the entire Latin alphabet, but only a part of it. These are the letters ABEHKMNPTXYZ.

Until 1930, the island (which, as we remember, was a British colony) had numbers in the format BOOK CODE + THREE DIGITS. The letter code indicated the area in which the vehicle was registered: F for Famagusta, K for Kyrenia, N for Nicosia, LL for Limassol, L for Larnaca and P for Paphos. The background for the license plates was black and the numbers and letters were white. This visual "design" remained in place until 1973.

Between 1930 and 1948, the format of the plates was LETTER + FOUR DIGITS. In 1948 the letter was removed, but not for long: in 1950 it was returned, removing one digit. In 1956, the letters increased to two, while the three digits remained.

In 1973, the colors of the background and symbols on the license plates were changed: the front plates became white, the rear plates became yellow, and the letters and numbers became black. The format of TWO LETTERS + THREE DIGITS was retained until 1990.

Since 1990, Cypriot license plates have been in the format: THREE LETTERS + THREE DIGITS. This format has been retained to this day.

Since 2003, when Cyprus joined the European Union, a small but significant detail was added: a vertical blue stripe with the image of the EU flag and the letter code CY, which stands for Cyprus, appeared on the left edge.

In the occupied territories of Northern Cyprus in 2018, they did something similar: they applied a similar blue stripe, but it depicts the stamp of the vehicle registrar and indicates the registration number of the license plate manufacturer.

Note: the format of license plates in North Cyprus remains the same - TWO BOOKS + THREE DIGITS. Until 2018 they were on white plates at the front and yellow plates at the rear. Today, both plates on autos at TRCC are white with black symbols.

From 2013 until today, Republic of Cyprus license plates have the month and year of registration between the letter and number combination.

3. Designated vehicles

The most common license plates are red and yellow license plates with different letters and number combination formats. It is very fortunate to see black license plates.

3.1 Taxis

Cabs in Cyprus are very easy to recognize - they have yellow license plates on both the front and back. Until 2013, an additional Latin symbol T was placed in front of the letters.

3.2 Rental cars

Rental cars have red license plates. Until 2013, an additional Latin symbol Z was placed in front of the letters. It is very convenient for foreigners to drive a rented car: other drivers see that the driver may not be a local and help him in every possible way. And the traffic police are not so picky.

3.3 Buses and state-owned trucks

This category has blue additional license plates. For buses, it is the abbreviation ΛΔΧ - Λεωφορείο Δημοσίας Χρήσης (public service bus). For municipal freight transportation - ΦΔΧ - Φορτηγό Δημοσίας Χρήσης (public service truck).

3.4 Historic vehicles

Black license plates with a blue stripe with the EU coat of arms have a white font and the usual alphanumeric format. Such plates were introduced in 2013 for vehicles manufactured 40 years ago and earlier.

3.5 Trailers/trailers and trucks

A format of FOUR/FIVE DIGITS + ST (fixed letter code) was provided for trailers. It could be on a yellow, yellow with a blue EU stripe, or white with blue EU stripe background.

Since 2013 the format has changed, it could be as follows:

  1. P00 + THREE DIGITS on a yellow background with a blue stripe;
  2. P 00 + THREE DIGITS on a white background with a blue stripe;
  3. P00 (month, year) + THREE DIGITS on a white background with a blue stripe;
  4. P0 (month, year) + FOUR DIGITS on a white background with a blue stripe;
  5. P (month, year) 0 + FOUR DIGITS on a white background with a blue stripe.

Commercial truck license plates are currently no different from cab license plates. They have the format THREE letters (month, year) + THREE DIGITS on yellow plates on the front and back. Until 2013, they were completely the same as license plates on regular cars.

4. Special categories

These include license plates that show a person's occupation or foreign nationality.

4.1 Diplomatic license plates

Before 1990, diplomatic license plates were easy to distinguish from the rest of the traffic - they had a green tint. After 1990 they acquired the usual white-yellow color, having changed only the format: TWO DIGITS OF STATE CODE + SD + TWO DIGITS. In 2004, a blue EU stripe was added. Since 2017, both license plates have been white and the format has been transformed into TWO DIGITS OF STATE CODE + SD (month, year) + THREE DIGITS.

4.2 Temporary numbers

Before Cyprus joined the European Union, temporary license plates for foreign nationals could be obtained on the island. They had the format FOUR DIGITS + V + TWO DIGITS of the year of registration.

Local temporary license plates look like white (front) and yellow (back) plates with the format THREE BUTTONS + THREE DIGITS with a blue EU stripe on the left and a red stripe with the expiration date (digits) on the right.

4.3 Peacekeeper numbers

UN peacekeepers have special license plates on their cars. They are painted in a bluish color, and the font is white. The format is as follows: UN/UNF letters - hyphen - THREE DIGITS.

4.4 Dealer numbers

Dealer numbers are distinguished by a red font on a white background. Before 1990, these were the letters DL + THREE DIGITS. From 1990 to the present day it is ΔΟΚΙΜΗ + DIGITAL DEALER CODE + THREE DIGITS.

Note: ΔΟΚΙΜΗ translates as "test", or "trial".

4.5 British military base numbers

The numbers from the territories of Akrotiri and Dekelia bases retained two plate colors (white on the front, and yellow on the back). They are in the format SBAA - hyphen - TWO DIGITS.

4.6 The National Guard and the President of the Republic of Cyprus

Cyprus National Guard numbers are white plates with an image of the old version of the Greek flag, the letters EF, and a few numbers. There may be 5 or fewer of them.

The license plate of the President's car has no letters or numbers at all - it has only the flag of the Republic of Cyprus on it. Thus, the President's car is always very easy to recognize.

For a large selection of cars visit DOMCar portal
Source: DOM
Photos: Flickr, DOM, wikipedia
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