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Vehicle registration plate

The meaning of «vehicle registration plate»

A vehicle registration plate, also known as a number plate (British English), license plate or license (American English), or licence plate (Canadian English), is a metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. All countries require registration plates for road vehicles such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Whether they are required for other vehicles, such as bicycles, boats, or tractors, may vary by jurisdiction. The registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric ID that uniquely identifies the vehicle or vehicle owner within the issuing region's vehicle register. In some countries, the identifier is unique within the entire country, while in others it is unique within a state or province. Whether the identifier is associated with a vehicle or a person also varies by issuing agency. There are also electronic license plates.

In Europe, most governments require a registration plate to be attached to both the front and rear of a vehicle, although certain jurisdictions or vehicle types, such as motorcycles, require only one plate, which is usually attached to the rear of the vehicle. Special vehicles such as agricultural and construction equipment might have the licence plate attached to other parts of the vehicle. National databases relate this number to other information describing the vehicle, such as the make, model, colour, year of manufacture, engine size, type of fuel used, mileage recorded (and other similar data in jurisdictions where vehicles are regularly inspected for roadworthiness every year or two), vehicle identification number (chassis number), and the name and address of the vehicle's registered owner or keeper.

In the vast majority of jurisdictions, the government holds a monopoly on the manufacturing of vehicle registration plates for that jurisdiction. Either a government agency or a private company with express contractual authorization from the government makes plates as needed, which are then mailed to, delivered to, or picked up by the vehicle owners. Thus, it is normally illegal for private citizens to make and affix their own plates, because such unauthorized private manufacturing is equivalent to forging an official document. Alternatively, the government will merely assign plate numbers, and it is the vehicle owner's responsibility to find an approved private supplier to make a plate with that number.[citation needed]

In some jurisdictions, plates will be permanently assigned to that particular vehicle for its lifetime. If the vehicle is either destroyed or exported to a different country, the plate number is retired or reissued; exported vehicles must be re-registered in the jurisdiction of import. China requires the re-registration of any vehicle that crosses its borders from another country, such as for overland tourist visits, regardless of the length of time it is due to remain there; this has to be arranged with prior approval.[citation needed] Other jurisdictions follow a "plate-to-owner" policy, meaning that when a vehicle is sold the seller removes the current plate(s) from the vehicle. Buyers must either obtain new plates or attach plates they already hold, as well as register their vehicles under the buyer's name and plate number. A person who sells a car and then purchases a new one can apply to have the old plates put onto the new car. One who sells a car and does not buy a new one may, depending on the local laws involved, have to turn the old plates in or destroy them, or may be permitted to keep them. Some jurisdictions permit the registration of the vehicle with "personal" ("vanity" or "cherished mark") plates.

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