Vehicle registration plates of Romania

Romanian vehicle registration plate issued in 2007
Romanian vehicle registration plate issued before 1 January 2007

The standard format for vehicle registration plates in Romania is a blue vertical stripe (the "Euroband") on the left side of the plate displaying the 12 stars of the European Union and the country code of Romania (RO), followed – in black characters on a white background – by a one- or two-letter county code and a combination of two or three[1] digits and three capital letters. On plates issued before 1 January 2007 the flag of Romania was used instead of the 12 European stars. The digits and letters are usually assigned at random, unless a customization fee is paid. The plates are issued for each car and for each owner, and they must be returned when the car is either sold or scrapped, although the new buyer is entitled to request continued use of the old number plate. Letter combinations that may form obscene text in Romanian are not issued. The letter "Q" is not used as it may be confused with "O". Also the three-letter code cannot start with "I" or "O", as they can be mistaken with "1" or "0" (until 1999, "I" and "O" were not used at all).

The front plate usually carries a round label displaying the month and year until when the technical inspection of the vehicle is valid. They have different background colors depending on the year displayed.

From 1 January 2010, the authorities in Bucharest began issuing plates with three digits instead of the former two, as it was estimated that the number of available two-digit combinations would run out before the end of that year.[2]


In Romania, vehicle license plates are issued based on:

Current license plates

There are six other types of license plates in use in Romania:

There is a variation of this format, used for test vehicles, and having 3 digits following the county code, and the "PROBE" text after the digits. The smallest number used is 100 or 101.
Code Country
105  Austria
123   Switzerland
125  Finland
126  France
150  Netherlands
166  Turkey
216  Georgia

County codes

Map of the codes.

This is the table of counties, their county code and their county capital cities.

Code County Capital
AB Alba Alba Iulia
AG Argeș Pitești
AR Arad Arad
B Bucharest (Capital)
BC Bacău Bacău
BH Bihor Oradea
BN Bistriţa-Năsăud Bistriţa
BR Brăila Brăila
BT Botoșani Botoșani
BV Brașov Brașov
BZ Buzău Buzău
CJ Cluj Cluj-Napoca
CL Călărași Călărași
CS Caraș-Severin Reșiţa
CT Constanţa Constanţa
CV Covasna Sfântu Gheorghe
DB Dâmboviţa Târgoviște
DJ Dolj Craiova
GJ Gorj Târgu Jiu
GL Galaţi Galaţi
GR Giurgiu Giurgiu
HD Hunedoara Deva
HR Harghita Miercurea Ciuc
IF Ilfov Bucharest
IL Ialomiţa Slobozia
IS Iași Iași
MH Mehedinţi Drobeta-Turnu Severin
MM Maramureș Baia Mare
MS Mureș Târgu Mureș
NT Neamţ Piatra Neamţ
OT Olt Slatina
PH Prahova Ploiești
SB Sibiu Sibiu
SJ Sălaj Zalău
SM Satu Mare Satu Mare
SV Suceava Suceava
TL Tulcea Tulcea
TM Timiș Timișoara
TR Teleorman Alexandria
VL Vâlcea Râmnicu Vâlcea
VN Vrancea Focșani
VS Vaslui Vaslui


1900s - 1908

Plates were first issued at the beginning of the twentieth century. The plates took the simple form of white numbers on a black background, and were home made. The numbers belonged to the owner and not the car, and the list of owners and their numbers was published monthly in the Revista Automobila magazine, edited by the Romanian Royal Automobile club. As there were so few cars (139 in 1908), it was not necessary to note the region on the number plate. Registration was done centrally by the Mayor of Bucharest. Interestingly, the first number registered was 0, to Prince Bibescu, president of the Automobile Club (ACR). Institutes as well as individuals could own the numbers.

1908 - 1966

In 1908, a letter to the Mayor of Bucharest addressed the need for a more standardized system with a regional indicator also appearing on the license plate. This was approved in September or October and the new licence plates appeared within the month. In Bucharest and most other counties, the standard plate was a number, followed by a hyphen and the regional abbreviation. Bucharest, for example, was B (Bc before 1914), while Craiova was Cv. In some districts, however, the county code did not come after the number until the 1920s. Period photos of, for example, Lugoj, show the abbreviation Lgs, appearing both before and after the number, depending on whether the owner had changed the license plates to conform to the new regulations. Official royal cars generally had a crown displayed on the plate instead of any other combination.

This system was in place until 1966. However, the frequent territorial and administrative changes of the period meant that the codes changed often. For example, after 1960 a car registered in Craiova as 150-Cv would have changed its license plate to 150-OL, corresponding to the new administrative region Oltenia. Similarly, when Brașov changed its name to Orașul Stalin in 1952, the regional code was also changed to O.S., before reverting to Bv in 1960. By the 1960s all codes were two letters long and capitalised.

Special numbers were used occasionally to denote the type of vehicles they were on. For a period in the 1930s, in Bucharest, numbers between 10,000-B and 12,999-B (the comma was used as thousands separator) were taxis; some had Tx as an additional tag, as did buses, which started with 15,000-B. In the 1950s, small commercial vehicles were given numbers over 25,000, large commercial vehicles and buses numbers over 50,000, tractors over 65,000 and motorcycles over 75,000. By 1966, when the system was changed, in Bucharest cars had reached over 23,000 and motorcycles over 90,000. Although in the interbellum period 1 was the smallest number possible (0 in Bucharest), under Communism numbers started with 101, possibly after the Soviet system, 01-01.

Interwar-period county codes

Code Capital County
Al Alba-Iulia Alba
Ar Arad Arad
Pt Pitești Argeș
Bc Bacǎu Bacǎu
Flt Fǎlticeni Baia
Bǎlţi Bǎlţi
Bei Beiuș Bihor (1940-44)
Ord Oradea Bihor
Br Brǎila Brǎila
Bv Brașov Brașov
Bt Botoșani Botoșani
Bz Buzǎu Buzǎu
Bzg Bazargic Caliacra
Ch Cahul Cahul
Orv Oraviţa Caraș
C.Lg Câmpu-Lung Câmpu-Lung
Mr.C Miercurea-Ciuc Ciuc
Cţi Cernǎuţi Cernǎuţi
C.Al Cetatea Albǎ Cetatea Albǎ
Clj Cluj Cluj
Cţa Constanţa Constanţa
Gl Galaţi Covurlui
Tg Târgoviște Dâmboviţa
Cv Craiova Dolj
Dr Dorohoi Dorohoi
Sl Silistra Durostor
Huși Fǎlciu
Fgs Fǎgǎraș Fǎgǎraş
Tg.J Târgu Jiu Gorj
Ht Hotin Hotin
Dv Deva Hunedoara
Cl Cǎlǎraşi Ialomiţa
Iași Iași
B București Ilfov
Is Ismail Ismail
Chs Chișinǎu Lǎpușna
Sgt Sighet Maramureș
Tr.S Turnu-Severin Mehedinţi
Tg.M Târgu-Mureș Mureș
Cp.L Câmpulung-Muscel Muscel
Btr Bistriţa Nǎsǎud
Pn Piatra-Neamţ Neamţ
Odh Odorhei Odorhei
St Slatina Olt
Oh Orhei Orhei
Pl Ploești Prahova
Focșani Putna
Rdţ Rǎdǎuţi Rǎdǎuţi
Rm.S Râmnicu-Sǎrat Râmnicu-Sǎrat
Ro Roman Roman
Cr Caracal Romanaţi
St.M Satu-Mare Satu-Mare
Zal Zalǎu Sǎlaj
Lgș Lugoj Severin
Sb Sibiu Sibiu
Dej Dej Someş
Sor Soroca Soroca
Stj Storojineţ Storojineţ
Suc Suceava Suceava
Seg Sighet Târnava-Mare
D-in Diciosânmartin Târnava-Micǎ (pre 1926)
Blj Blaj Târnava-Micǎ (post 1926)
Tc Tecuci Tecuci
Tr.M Turnu-Mǎgurele Teleorman
Tmș Timișoara Timiș-Torontal
Tgh Tighina Tighina
St.G Sfântu-Gheorghe Trei-Scaune
Tl Tulcea Tulcea
Trd Turda Turda
Bd Bârlad Tutova
Rm.V Râmnicu-Vâlcea Vâlcea
Vs Vaslui Vaslui
Gg Giurgiu Vlaşca

1966 - 1992

Old Romanian license plate

In 1966 the whole system was changed. The new plates were initially issued in the format aa-BB-ccccc:

An interesting development was the connection between the license plate and the social status of the car owner. For example, the "important" cars (i.e. those belonging to the nomenklatura) generally used 1, then the county, then three digits. Nicolae Ceaușescu's ARO sported the "1-B-111" license plate. By the mid-1970s, any plate with three digits was considered important (regardless of the number at the front), and although older cars had been initially issued with three-digit combinations, many owners were "asked" by the authorities to change their numbers. In an age where most people had the same car - the Dacia - such distinguishing features were considered important. By the 1980s, in Bucharest 1-B with 3 or 4 digits and 2-B and 3-B with three digits were also considered important numbers. Furthermore, the legend that the three-digit formula, where the middle number was the sum of the other two numbers, signified real importance sprang up. Thus, many senior Communist leaders had numbers such as 1-B-363, while the Neamţ County party secretary had 1-NT-165 on his black Volga.

Foreign citizens and organizations were issued plates with 12-B (later 12-xx in other counties). 14-B was used for rental cars, but since 1990 some official cars had such number plates too.

There were also some stylistic variations. Numbers on a yellow (rather than white) background were state property, but since all trucks, buses and other heavy vehicles were state property, those with yellow background plates belonged to ministries or other special state organizations. Numbers with white letters on a black background were issued to vehicles of the foreign organizations in Romania, but also to vehicles belonging to religious organizations.

Temporary plates had the county code and then a number beginning with 0; test drive plates had a number beginning with 0 and then the county.

In late 1977 the manufacture of plates was standardized and they were all made on a pressed steel rectangle; previously plates had been plastic, cast iron, enamel, porcelain or even plaster. In around 1982, after 19-B-9999 had been reached, it was decided to begin the series 1-B with five digits. In 1983, after a brief reorganization of the counties, IF (Ilfov County) was dropped, CL (Călărași County) and GR (Giurgiu County) were introduced, and the Bucharest Agricultural Sector (Sectorul Agricol Ilfov) issued plates beginning with 9-B and followed by five digits. The fonts used on the number plates changed slightly in 1988.


The system was finally changed in 1992, when new reflective plates were introduced, with the numbering system still in use today. For a brief while, plates were still issued under the old system, until the end of May 1993. One reason was to please the European authorities and to make Romanian cars safer when being driven abroad (the new plates being reflective); another was - allegedly - to hide the identities of previous Communist leaders, whose importance was visible on their bumpers. Indeed, in the weeks after the Romanian Revolution, many changed their license plates to Army plates to avoid trouble. Nevertheless, they remained valid until late 2000, and for many years 1-B-101 and 1-B-106 were seen being driven around Bucharest on cars owned by tennis player Ilie Năstase.

In the mid-1990s, urban myths circulated that the new "powerful" license plates began with B 06. However, this was quickly superseded by the rumour that they contained a W in the three-letter sequence. Although this is not strictly incorrect - many, such as the cars used by Traian Băsescu and Prince Charles, do - certainly not all such numbers are of any significance.

Special plates

The Army license plates

The license plates before around 1945 were white and had a number beginning with a zero. In front of the number was the initial of the Ministry of Defense State Undersecretaries:

This system was subsequently abolished when all military vehicles had the prefix A (for Armată, Army) in front of the registered numbers, which start at 100. This system lasted until 2005 and is still visible today. Numbers smaller than 10,000 are generally kept for cars.

Diplomatic license plates

Until 1956 these were standard plates, with "CD" prefix attached to them. In 1956 oval and square plates were introduced, oval for CD (Corps Diplomatique) and square for TC (auxiliary staff). CD or TC went above a three- or four-digit number. In the early years (at least up till 1959), CD plates had the year at the bottom, in small lettering.

Special license plates

In the pre-1968 system, "CO" (Cetăţean de Onoare, Citizen of Honor) was occasionally seen on private cars before 1941.

Vehicles belonging to traffic monitoring service had a plate with the text "Controlul circulaţiei" (Traffic monitoring) and a serial number.[8]


Wartime Transnistria occupied by Romanian forces briefly had its own special plates. These began Tr-number-regional suffix. Thus, the Cadillac of the regional administrator had Tr-1-Ods (for Odessa). These numbers were very short-lived.

Royal family

Vehicles belonging to Romanian royal family all had a rectangular white plate with a drawing of the Steel crown of Romania in the middle.[8][9]


  1. "Numerele de inmatriculare auto din Bucuresti vor fi formate si din trei cifre". România Liberă. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  2. "Numere de inmatriculare cu trei cifre, pentru Bucuresti". 4 January 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  3. Published in Monitorul Oficial nr. 958 from 28 December 2002; Approved by Law 49 from 8 March 2006, published in Monitorul Oficial nr. 246 from 20 March 2006.
  4. Published in Monitorul Oficial nr. 941 from 21 November 2006.
  5. Standard SR 13078:1996 "Road vehicles. Retro-reflective registration plates for motor vehicles and trailers"
  6. Standard SR 13140:1996 "Road vehicles. Content and structure of registration provisional and running test numbers to be relief embossed on retro-reflective registration plates"
  7. "Inmatriculari". Directia Regim Permise de Conducere si Inmatriculare a Vehiculelor. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  8. 1 2 Article 6 from Legea nr. 121 asupra poliţiei circulaţiei pe drumurile publice, published in Monitorul Oficial, part I, nr. 90 from 21 April 1947, page 3076.
  9. Article 17 from Regulament de aplicare a Legii privitoare la circulaţia automobilelor, published in Monitorul Oficial nr. 117 from 28 August 1921, page 4617.
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