Applying for an interchangeable number plate
Do you have two vehicles of the same class and with the same registration plate size? You can apply for an interchangeable number plate for these. It serves the purpose of an alternative to seasonal registration and more flexible vehicle use.
Examples of possible vehicle combinations:
- 2 cars
- A car and camper van
- Two motorcycles
- Two light trailers
Note: One or both vehicles with an interchangeable number plate can be an old vehicle with an H number.
You cannot use the vehicles at the same time. The vehicle on which the complete number plate is not located cannot be parked on public roads or in public car parks, rather only in garages or on private land.
Tip: The restricted use should be taken into account by insurers when calculating the premiums. Please request further information from your insurance company.
Note: The interchangeable number plate does not affect the amount of vehicle tax.
the licensing authority responsible for your principal residence, business headquarters or branch
The licensing authority is:
- in urban districts: the city council (Stadtverwaltung)
- in rural districts: the rural district office (Landratsamt)
The vehicles must be two of the same vehicle class with the same number plate size of the following classes:
- M1 (vehicles for the carriage of persons with a maximum of eight seats in addition to the driver's seat)
- L (for example motorcycles, four wheel light vehicles and certain four wheel vehicles)
- O1 class trailers (up to 750 kg permitted weight)
You cannot obtain an interchangeable number plate in the following cases:
- Two vehicles of different classes (for example a car and a motorcycle)
- Vehicles with
- season registration
- temporary registration
- red number plate
- green number plate
- export number plate
The following also applies:
- you may not have any unpaid charges or expenses from previous registration procedures. If you are more than 30 euros in arrears, the licensing authority is not permitted to register your vehicle until you have paid the outstanding amount. If the outstanding amount is less than 30 euros, the licensing authority may decide whether or not to register your vehicle despite the arrears.
- You may not have vehicle tax arrears of five euros or more. Fines for late payment, interest and default penalties will be taken into account when the outstanding amount is calculated.
If you appoint a representative to register your vehicle, you must give this person written power of attorney. This must include a declaration of consent to the licensing authority giving your authorised representative information about outstanding fees and expenses. Your representative must present the written power of attorney and provide personal identification.
You or your representative must apply for the issuing of an interchangeable number plate at the competent licensing authority. The licensing authority of the district in which you have your principal place of residence, place of business or branch location is responsible.
Should an application form be necessary, you can obtain this from the licensing authority in advance and fill this in at home. Depending on the service provided by your licensing authority, you can download a form or use an online service for this purpose.
The licensing authority may ask you to show the vehicle.
The licensing authority will issue the interchangeable number plate to your vehicles and provide the plates with the stickers (main inspection and stamp).
Tip: You can generally have the number plates made during the processing of your application. Please contact private providers in this respect who can usually be found near the licensing authorities. In case of interchangeable number plates, these may need to be ordered in advance.
The licensing authority will automatically inform your insurance company.
The application for the issuing of an interchangeable number plate relates to two vehicles and can lead to various registration procedures (for example new registration, de-registration, new registration with and without a change of owner, re-registration relating to one or two vehicles). The documents which are required vary from case to case.
You can find lists of the documents for the individual registration procedures on our websites under:
- De-registration of a vehicle (putting out of use)
- New registration of a vehicle (in case of change of owner)
- New registration of a vehicle (without a change of owner)
- Re-registration of a vehicle
- Registration of a vehicle
Please contact your licensing authority for further information.
Fees will be payable, depending on the administrative expense. As the application for the issuing of an interchangeable number plate relates to two vehicles and may lead to differing registration procedures, the fees differ from case to case.
Note: In case of interchangeable number plates, the fees in case of registration, change of registration number, change to registration type, as well as relocation from a different district - with and without a change of owner - increase by 6 EUR per vehicle.
- § 8 Abs. 1a Fahrzeug-Zulassungsverordnung (FZV) (Zuteilung von Kennzeichen)
- § 9 Abs. 2 Nr. 8 Fahrzeug-Zulassungsverordnung (FZV)
- § 10 Fahrzeug-Zulassungsverordnung (FZV) (Ausgestaltung und Anbringung der Kennzeichen)
- § 1 Gesetz über die Verweigerung der Zulassung von Fahrzeugen bei rückständigen Gebühren und Auslagen (Fahrzeugzulassungsverweigerungsgesetz) (Verweigerung der Zulassung)
- § 13 Kraftfahrzeugsteuergesetz (Feststellung der Besteuerungsgrundlagen, Nachweis der Besteuerung und Zulassungsverweigerung bei Steuerrückständen)
- Gebührenordnung für Maßnahmen im Straßenverkehr (GebOSt)
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Verkehrsministerium released it on 16.08.2021. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts. In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.