UA number plate: ultimate guide about Ukraine license plates

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Publié par Eplaque - 4 min de lecture ⏳

Le 17/08/2023 - Mis à jour le 06/09/2023

The war in Ukraine has triggered a flood of refugees across Europe. Since 2021, an unusually high number of cars with UA number plates can be seen in France, in the Uk, in Germany, etc. If you were wondering what UA means on a license plate, you have the answer: it is a Ukrainian plate.

However, the letter code UA and the Ukrainian flag are not the only clues that provide info about the origin of the driver. We are going to review in depth the Ukrainian vehicles registration system. How to read an UA number plate, in particular the meaning of the letters found on a UA car plate. But also how to get French plates for a car from Ukraine.

What does a Ukrainian number plate look like?

A UA number plate is easy to recognize. First, the left banner displays the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Namely sky blue and yellow. On the old visual (see the second UA plate below, the personalized one), we find the coat of arms of the Ukrainian State in yellow on a blue background. On a yellow background, the letter code of Ukraine, UA, is written in black.

ua number plate
Source: Andrew J. Kurbiko

On more recent UA number plates as above, the design has been adapted to follow the European Union template. The left band therefore has a dark blue background, with the country code UA below. The Ukrainian flag replaces the European stars above. This section replaces what is called the “euroband” on a French plate.

How to read a license plate from Ukraine?

A standard Ukrainian number plate follows the following structure: AB 1234 AB. However, you can find quite original personalized UA number plates (see below). A classic Ukrainian plate includes a letter code that identifies the province, or oblast, of registration:

Old area codeLetter code since 2013 Area
AAKAKiev (city)
AIKIKiev oblast
BTHT Kherson
BXHX Khmelnytskyi
CAIA Cherkasy
CBIB Chernihiv
CEIE Chernivtsi
CHIH Sevastopol (city)

The next 4 digits and the 2 letters at the end of the plate are assigned sequentially, and arbitrarily. As such, a Ukrainian registration number can have an exact copy in other countries. Indeed, Bulgaria and Spain use the same structure, for example. While Spain separates letters and numbers with dashes, which allows differentiation, Bulgaria does not. That’s why the left part of the plate is so important.

Vanity UA number plates

Motorists can choose a vanity UA number plate. Not only the « registration number » can be freely chosen with almost no constraint (no offensive remarks, etc.). But the applicant can also print on the right of his or her custom license plate a drawing of his choice. As far as we know, no other country in the world offers this possibility. For example, here is a « Petro » plate, which features a skull on a pink background:

Source: Andrii crimea ua

Here the owner has chosen to use Cyrillic. Standard UA numberplates, however, only use the Latin alphabet in order to comply with the Vienna Convention.

Red UA number plates from Ukraine: temporary registration

If you see a red plate with the Ukrainian letter codes UA and flag on the left, it is a temporary plate from that country. There are several types of Ukrainian temporary plates. The first 2 characters, a wee smaller than the following registration number, define the exact type of UA temporary registration granted by such a red number plate:

  • From T0 to T9: Ukrainian temporary registrations for automotive professionals
  • From 01 to 27: temporary registration in Ukraine for individuals (export or registration in another oblast). The number corresponds to the province of registration
  • TP: for special vehicles (agriculture, construction, etc.)

How to get a French registration certificate for a Ukrainian car?

Ukraine is not part of the European Union in 2023. Therefore, the registration in France of a vehicle from this country is similar to a request for a “carte grise” for a vehicle imported outside the EU. Such request requires obtaining 2 specific supporting documents:

  • A customs clearance certificate (846A in France)
  • An “RTI” (réception à titre isolé) for car approval

The 846A is obtained at French customs. It will be returned in exchange for payment of 20% VAT and 10% customs duties. However, if the owner is settling in France (main residence), he will be exempt from these costs.

The RTI is done at the DREAL (province) or the DRIEE (Paris area), depending on the applicant’s region of residence. While waiting for this step to be completed, a temporary WW registration valid for 4 months may be requested.

Other supporting documents to obtain French plates

A Ukrainian vehicle owner who wishes to obtain a French registration title must also ensure that he can provide:

  • A proof of address in France
  • Future owner’s valid driving license

A proof of address usually consists of a water or electricity bill or a rent receipt. However, a certificate of accommodation may also be presented if the applicant lives with a host family.

As for the driver’s license, it can be Ukrainian. But it must be accompanied by a certified translation or an international driving permit.

Finally, you will have to provide the usual supporting documents to get a French car registration certificate. Namely a proof of identity, a French technical inspection (MOT) called contrôle technique, etc. For more information on this subject, see our page about registering an imported vehicle.

UA number plate FAQ

What does UA mean on a license plate? And UK?

UA is the ISO 3166-2 (2-digit) country code of Ukraine. Attention, don’t assume that a UK plate concerns Ukraine, it is not at all the case. UK is the new ISO 3166-2 code for the United Kingdom. It replaces GB since Brexit.

Ukrainian number plate: why UA?

Probably because UK was already used, although not in the context of cars registration at the time (GB was used), for United Kingdom.

What does UA mean on a number plate from India?

An Indian registration plate starting with UA indicates that the owner lives in Uttaranchal State, and that it is an old registration. Nowadays Uttaranchal uses the code “UK”.

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