Vehicle Registration (Number) Plates
Malta has a unique way to identify motor vehicles. Since 1995, a three letter, three number system has been in use for vehicle registration. The characters are always printed in black on a white background, and to the left is a blue box with the European flag and the letter M (for Malta) underneath it in white.
There are different types of number plate which identify the different usage of a vehicle, to that of a privately owned one. For example;
Cars which are being leased, all end with QZ (eg XQZ 001).
As from 2017, Vintage and Classic vehicle registration plate characters are printed in silver on a black background.
Taxis have the letters TAXI, and after the three numbers, another letter which is either M or G. This signifies where the vehicle originates (eg TAXI 001M, for Malta, or TAXI 001G, for Gozo).
Private buses, minibuses and coaches, all end with PY (eg XPY 001).
Trailers all begin with a TR (eg TR 1234).
Public buses are registered with BUS as their letters (eg BUS 001). Prior to their replacement by the current Malta Public Transport buses, they were registered with DBY, EBY or FBY (eg DBY 001, EBY 001 or FBY 001).
Tax free cars all begin with a TF (eg TFX 001).
Mobile post offices in Malta begin with a POSTA (eg. POSTA 1).
Government owned cars begin with a GV (eg GVX 001)
Police vehicles are registered using GVP as their letters (eg GVP 001).
Vehicles of the Armed Forces of Malta are registered using GVA as their letters (eg GVA 001).
Vehicles belonging to the Department of Health use GVH letters on their plates (eg GVH 001). Interestingly, vehicles belonging to the Civil Protection Department (fire appliances), use GVH (eg GVH 001) letters on their plates.
Fire appliances at Malta International Airport use MIA (eg MIA 001) letters on their plates.
Diplomatic or Embassy vehicles use CD as their first 2 letters (eg CDX 001).
Chauffeur driven vehicles used by Ministers of Government use the format GM followed by two numbers, (eg GM 01).
The President, the Prime Minister and Archbishop are exempt from number plates and use their respective emblems instead.
Hearses use HRS (eg HRS 001).
Hearse in Malta
Public Bus Number Plate
Malta Taxi Number Plate
Police GVP plate
Fire GVH plate
Privately Owned Vehicles
All privately owned vehicles are allocated randomly chosen marks, other than the first letter shows in which month the vehicle's annual tax disc is due for renewal.
The following is a table of letters by month:
Jan: A M Y
Feb: B N Z
Mar: C O
Apr: D P
May: E Q
Jun: F R
Jul: G S
Aug: H T
Sept: I U
Oct: J V
Nov: K W
Dec: L X
As you can see, every letter of the alphabet is used over the complete year.
Registration numbers that are not personalised but randomly issued by the licencing authority, cost €70 (£61). A personalised plate in the three letter and three number format, (eg ANN 123), costs €200 (£175), or customised plates with any combination from one to ten characters and/or numbers will cost €1500 (£1320).
The €1500 option
I think that the vehicle registration system in Malta is well thought out, and if ever you visit Malta for a holiday, then hopefully I have given you an insight into the sort of vehicles that you are likely to see and that you will be able to understand the meaning of the humble number plate.
Picture of the week
Considering the ‘woke’ times that we live in, I’m surprised the owner of this vehicle, got away with it.