Are 4D Number Plates Illegal?

Number plates are a legal requirement for any vehicle in the UK, and there are strict regulations surrounding their design and display.

However, in recent years, a new type of number plate has emerged, known as a 4D plate. These number plates have become increasingly popular among car owners who want to give their vehicles a different look.

But are 4D number plates legal? In this blog post, we'll explore the laws surrounding number plates in the UK and answer the question of whether or not 4D plates are illegal.

What Are 4D Number Plates?

4D plates use black PMMA acrylic characters which are placed over the top of the completed number plate and stand slightly proud, making them more visually striking than traditional number plates.

The number plate is made in the traditional way by printing the registration on the reflective material, laminating the plate with it’s usual clear acrylic and then sticking the black acrylic characters over the top.

What Are the Laws Regarding Number Plates?

The laws regarding number plates in the UK are governed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). There are strict regulations in place to ensure that number plates are easy to read and identify the vehicle they are attached to.

Some of the key regulations around number plates include:

  • The size of the letters and numbers
  • The type of font used
  • The spacing of the letters and the numbers
  • The type of material the plate must be made from
  • Display black characters on a white background (front plate)
  • Display black characters on a yellow background (rear plate)

Additionally, each plate that is fitted after 1 September, 2021, must be marked with the new British Standard number, which is BSAU 145e as opposed to the previous 145d. All number plates must be made of tested and approved reflective material to ensure that they are clearly visible in all lighting conditions too.

A Range of Sample 4D Plates

Are 4D Number Plates Illegal in the UK?

As long as the 4D plates are manufactured from tested and approved acrylic and reflective material with solid-black, non-reflective characters and meet the other BSAU 145e standards, then 4D number plates are completely legal on UK roads. Ultimately, the plates must be readable both during the day and the night and the characters cannot be removable.

In the unlikely event that a raised letter or number were to fall off, we’ve manufactured all our 4D plates to have the registration also printed underneath the raised characters, ensuring that your plate will always remain road legal and save you from any potential fines.

How To Ensure Your Number Plate Is Legal

Although having a 4D plate isn't illegal, it is illegal to have a plate that can't be read. From certain angles, it can be difficult or even impossible to read a 4D number plate if the letters are raised too high. This is why all 4D plates must be made to the BSAU 145e standards.

It’s also vital that you make sure that your 4D plates are either purchased through a reputable supplier or, if printing your own plates, that they meet the correct standards.

At Uniplate, we ensure that all our 4D plates are manufactured to British Standards and rigorously checked before being dispatched. All our components, which can be purchased separately to make your own plates, also conform to the legislation outlined.

Where Can You Get Legal 4D Number Plates?

You can get quality 4D number plates directly from Uniplate. We only sell our plates to the public face-to-face, and as long as you have the relevant documents for the vehicle they can be made, while you wait, at our Tamworth factory.

If you’re a business that’s looking to print your own 4D plates, we also supply the equipment needed to do so. As the UK’s premier number plate specialist, we stock everything necessary to create the perfect 4D number plate, including PMMA acrylic, Oralite reflective backing and PMMA 4D characters.

With our expertise and affordable printing systems, you can easily implement a 4D plate into your business’ production line that’s road legal, thanks to our streamlined and straightforward process.

Get Your 4D Number Plates Today

While 4D plates are not illegal on vehicles, it’s vital to ensure that they meet the BSAU 145e standards if they're to be used on UK roads without consequences.

Our 4D number plates are manufactured using high-impact acrylic and Oralite reflective sheeting, followed by laser-cut 4D digits applied in high gloss black. As with all our plates, we manufacture them to meet British Standards and to withstand UK road conditions. Whether you’re looking for a single 4D number plate or looking to implement printing the plates into your production process, Uniplate is the one-stop supplier for all your number plate needs.



For more information on how we can help, contact our sales team on 01827 310 000 or email us directly at Our team would love to hear from you and are always happy to help.