Registration plates
 

Registration plates

General information

Trafi registers vehicles in Finland and subcontracts the manufacture of official registration plates. Currently there are 28 different types of plates manufactured, plus some old models which are still in use. Vehicles of the Finnish Defence Forces and those registered in the Åland Islands have their own plates.

EU registration plates were introduced in Finland in 2001. EU plates are automatically given to all vehicles unless the owner makes a separate request for old model plates. If desired, EU plates can be changed for old model ones at inspection sites.

Registration plates used in Finland are made of aluminium with a reflective membrane coating. Numbers and letters are embossed and painted. The embossing height is 1-1.2 mm.

The number sequence of the registration plate cannot start with a zero, nor can zero be the only number. The letter combination CD is reserved for diplomatic vehicles.

Usually the next available ID is given as the plate number. Special registration plates with a selected ID are also available upon request. A special registration plate is a regular plate with a special ID. The ID is subject to certain restrictions and requires a separate application subject to a fee. The application fee for a special registration plate is EUR 850.

A vehicle has one or two plates depending on the vehicle class. In certain cases, a vehicle can also be given an additional plate.

 

Lost or damaged registration plate

If a registration plate is lost or damaged, the registered owner or holder of the vehicle must submit a written report at an inspection station on how it was lost or damaged. There are registration plate order forms available at inspection stations; the owner or holder must fill in the form and sign it. The registration plate(s) ordered to replace a lost or damaged registration plate may be collected from the inspection station where the order was placed. The plate(s) must be paid for when ordering.

Vehicle with two registration plates: only one registration plate lost

You must give a detailed description on the order form of how the registration plate was lost. A new plate will be ordered to replace the lost one, and you must collect it from the inspection station. The inspection station may authorise you to operate the vehicle with a temporary registration plate bearing the vehicle’s registration number for a maximum of one month.

Vehicle with two registration plates: both registration plates lost

If both registration plates of a vehicle have been lost, you must submit a copy of the report of an offence submitted to the police in addition to your description of how the plates were lost. In such a case, it is recommended that the registration number of the vehicle be changed. You will then immediately receive new registration plates with the new number at the inspection station and thus avoid any difficulties in traffic with the police or Customs.
If you wish to use the old registration number, you may be pulled over by the police, because the report of lost/stolen registration plates will remain on file with the police until the lost plates are found.

Vehicle with one registration plate: registration plate lost

If the only registration plate on a vehicle with one registration plate (e.g. a moped) has been lost, you must submit a copy of the report of an offence submitted to the police in addition to the registration plate order form. A reliable report of your own on how the plate was lost will also be acceptable if the report excludes the possibility that the registration plate has been stolen or could be misused. The inspection station may authorise you to operate the vehicle with a temporary registration plate bearing the vehicle’s registration number for a maximum of one month.

 

Special Registration Plate

Using Trafi's electronic form, you can apply for a unique registration number (special registration plate) for your vehicle, with the personalised number of your choice. The decision on a special registration plate costs EUR 850.

If you would like to make a query for free registration numbers or are unable to utilise the electronic form, please contact Trafi's service number at +358 (0)29 534 5100 (local network charge/mobile call charge).

How to apply for a special registration plate

To apply for a special registration plate, you need to fill in an electronic application form (form in Finnish or in Swedish). You do not need to print out the electronic application form, but should send it to Trafi electronically.

If you are unable to fill in the electronic application form, you can print out the pdf application form (form in Finnish or in Swedish). You can submit your application to Trafi by post, fax or e-mail (contact information included in the form).

Report detailed information on your vehicle on your application. Trafi cannot make a decision on the special registration plate or order the registration plate if the application is not fully filled out. The registration number will be granted to the vehicle that has first applied for it.

You may withdraw your application in writing before the decision has been made.

Claiming the decision on special registration plate

If you submit the special registration plate application to Trafi in electronic format, you can indicate whether you would like the decision in electronic form. You may only obtain the special registration plate decision in electronic format, if you have an e-mail address and a valid personal e-banking ID. In this case, you will receive a link by e-mail. Click on the link to pay for the decision with your e-banking ID, and collect the electronic decision from the form service.

If you do not yet have a personal e-banking ID or would not like to receive the decision electronically, it may be sent to you by e-mail or post.

The fee for a special registration plate decision is EUR 850. If you fail to collect the decision, the fee may be recovered by enforcement without a separate court order.

Registration of special plates

Trafi will send the granted special plates at the inspection site indicated in your application. You can register your plates at the site. You will need to present your special plate decision for this.
The inspection site will charge a fee for the registration and the
plates.

The vehicle must be registered for the special plates within three months of the date of the decision or the decision will be suspended.

Decisions concerning special registration plates are vehicle-specific. If you would like to install existing plates on another vehicle, you must apply for a new special registration plate decision.

Restrictions concerning registration numbers on special registration plates

The restrictions concerning special registration plates include:

  • Special registration plates for passenger cars can have two to three letters and a number up to three digits long.
  • Special registration plates for motor cycles and mopeds can have either two or three letters and a number up to three digits long, or vice versa.
  • The letter combination CD is reserved for diplomatic vehicles only.
  • Zero cannot be the first or only digit in the plate’s number sequence.
  • The use of the letters W, Q, Å, Ä and Ö is subject to restrictions for registration numbers of mopeds and snow mobiles.

Special registration plates with a black background can be issued for

  • veteran vehicles or vehicles that have already had such plates, or
  • vehicles imported from abroad that have been commissioned prior to 1972.
 

Additional registration plate

You can apply for Trafi's permit for an additional registration plate, for example if your registration plate is covered by temporary equipment.

Trafi may grant a permit for an additional registration plate, subject to a charge, if:

  • the registration plate is covered by temporary equipment attached to the front or rear of the vehicle
  • a Finnish towing vehicle is used to tow a foreign trailer that has not been registered in its home country, i.e. the trailer does not have a licence plate.

Application

You may apply for an additional registration plate either with Trafi’s application form (form in Finnish or in Swedish) or a free-form written application. The free-form application must contain the following details:

  • Applicant’s name (owner/holder of the vehicle)
  • Vehicle’s registration number
  • Vehicle's make
  • Three last digits of the serial number
  • Information on the additional registration plate’s purpose of use
  • Power of attorney, if needed

Submit the completed application for an additional registration plate:

  • by mail to: Trafi, PO Box 320, 00101 Helsinki
  • by e-mail to:
  • by fax to: 029 534 5095.

Using the registration plate

The additional registration plate will be sent by post. The invoice for the registration plate will be sent later. The total price for an additional registration plate consists of the permission to use the plate and the price for the plate itself (other registration plate). You can check the price on the Customer prices for registration site. Additional registration plates are made on order and the time of delivery is approximately 2–4 weeks.

Trafi will not provide a separate decision on granting the plate. Details of the additional registration plate are recorded in the vehicle register.

When there is no longer need to use of the additional registration plate, the plate must be returned to the nearest vehicle inspection office. However, in case of a change in the vehicle ownership, the plate does not need to be returned it the new owner also needs the additional registration plate.

 

Transfer permits

Transfer permits can be granted for the temporary transfer or use of a vehicle. A transfer permit is a permit that includes transfer marks affixed to the vehicle and motor insurance.

A transfer permit can be issued for a vehicle that has not undergone a first-time registration, a decommissioned vehicle or a vehicle that has been removed from the vehicle register prior to 2 November 2007. A vehicle banned from use or traffic can be granted a transfer permit in order to take it for repair or inspection. The transfer permit can be acquired no sooner than seven days before the permit becomes valid. The serial number of the vehicle must be presented together with the application.

The permit does not come into force unless the vehicle is covered with continuous motor liability insurance or temporary motor liability insurance, and the statutory vehicle tax has been paid. Taking into account the purpose of the transfer permit, the vehicle must be suitable for traffic and its structure, equipment, condition and other features deemed safe.

The permit must be kept with the vehicle whenever it is used in traffic.

Purposes for which the transfer permit can be granted:

 

Export registration

Export registration can be granted to a vehicle which has not been previously registered and which is handed over in Finland to be used in another country. Usually, export-registered vehicles are new, unregistered cars, for which taxes have not been paid. A decommissioned used vehicle can also be granted export registration for the duration of transfer.

When a vehicle is brought back to Finland as removal goods, a sale restriction is entered in the register. For more information on the sale restriction, please contact Tax Administration. The export registration date will be marked as the vehicle’s commissioning date.

Applying for export registration

To apply for export registration, please use export registration application form (B518) (form in Finnish or in Swedish). Submit the form to Trafi (the address is on the form), appending the original, completed and signed registration documents. There is more detailed information on the form as to which documents must be filled in, signed and appended to the application.

The documents needed for export registration are largely the same as those needed when a vehicle is registered for the first time (advance notification certificate and registration inspection certificate). If the vehicle has been previously registered or was privately imported, it must always undergo a registration inspection in Finland before the export registration can be completed.

In addition to the details of the applicant (owner, possible co-owner and holder of the vehicle), the export registration application must include a Finnish address for the delivery of export plates, as well as a billing address. Other details to be included are the start date (and possible end date) of the export registration, the transfer location and the customs procedure location. Please remember to complete and sign all the registration documents related to export registration. Export registration requires the existence of a continuous motor liability insurance policy that is valid in Finland. The insurance company must enter the policy details for the vehicle identification number in the VATI insurance database. The start date of the insurance must be at the latest the start date of the export registration and no earlier than the beginning of the month in question.

Export-registered vehicles are not subject to vehicle tax.

Validity of export registration

For previously unregistered vehicles, export registration is valid for one year from the end of the first month of registration. In other words, if an export registration is granted at the beginning of June, it is valid until the end of June the following year. The validity period can also be shorter if the applicant so requests.

For a decommissioned vehicle or a used vehicle not previously registered in Finland, the export registration is valid only for the duration of transport from Finland to the target country (1–30 days depending on the target country). The validity of export registrations cannot be extended.

Whether the Finnish export licence plates can be used for the whole duration of the export registration or whether the vehicle must be registered in the local vehicle register of the target country depends on the target country’s national legislation. For further information on export registration, please contact the relevant authorities of the target country such as that country’s embassy or Customs. If an export-registered vehicle is registered abroad, the motor insurance company must be notified so that the vehicle's insurance can be cancelled.

No separate notification is needed for Trafi, nor are the export registration plates returned unless otherwise stated in the export registration certificate. The customer may submit a copy of a foreign registration certificate to Trafi if he or she so wishes, so that Trafi can cancel the export registration.

Temporary use of export registered vehicles in Finland

Prior to being exported, an export registered vehicle can only be used in Finland for transferring it from the point of delivery to the point of export, or, in connection with the emigration of its owner, to the domicile of the owner and thereon further to the point of export.

An export registered vehicle may temporarily be used in Finland for a compelling reason, a customary holiday trip or other comparable short stay. It cannot, however, be used during the month immediately following the emigration or the month immediately preceding the immigration.

The owner or holder is responsible for obtaining arrival and exit markings from Customs on the back of the export registration certificate.

If an export registered vehicle is obtained during a holiday in Finland, the customer must be able to prove to traffic police that he/she lives abroad.

For more information on the deadlines for using an export registered vehicle in Finland, please contact Tax Administration.

 

Test plate certificate

On application, Trafi can grant a company a test plate certificate that entitles it to drive its vehicle with test plates. The test plate certificate is valid for one year from the date of issue. If needed, several test plate certificates can be granted to one company.

Applying for a test plate certificate

A test plate certificate is applied for with licence application form B301. The original application form is submitted to Trafi (address on the form) together with applicant's extract from the Trade Register. In addition, the applicant must take out test plate insurance which must be included in the insurance database (VATI). If the extract from the Trade Register does not list the person signing the application as a signatory of the company, a power of attorney must also be enclosed. The test plate certificate and registration plates are delivered to the customer by post, to the address given on the licence application. A separate invoice will be sent for the test plate certificate fee. Further details on the prices of test plate certificates and number plates are available here.

Using test plates

Test plates can be used to drive unregistered, decommissioned vehicles or vehicles banned from traffic due to non-inspection or non-roadworthiness (when transferred for repair or inspection). When using test plates on a vehicle, vehicle-specific registration plates must be covered or removed.

Test plates can only be used if the vehicle tax has been paid. The original, valid test plate certificate must be kept with the vehicle at all times while driving.

Vehicles equipped with test plates can only be used in traffic when being driven as part of one of the following certificate recipient’s operations:

  • test related to the study or development of the vehicle or its equipment
  • test drive or sales presentation
  • other transfer directly related to the manufacture, sale, equipment, repair or inspection of the vehicle.

Test plates can be used by the holder of the test plate certificate or his/her representative (employee etc.) A private individual can use test plates without the presence of their holder if the vehicle is being test driven with the intention of buying it, the vehicle tax has been paid and the driver carries the original test plate certificate and a temporary usage licence issued by the car dealer (valid for 24 hours).

Test plates cannot be loaned to another company or to private individuals.

Use of plates when car tax is unpaid

If the vehicle tax of a vehicle that has not yet been first-time registered is outstanding, the vehicle can be used with test plates in the presence of the holder of the test plate certificate or the holder’s representative, if:

  • the transfer of the vehicle is immediately related to testing the certificate holder's vehicle or its equipment for R&D purposes
  • the vehicle is being test driven to ensure its technical performance
  • the vehicle is being used for a short demonstration with the intention of selling it to someone living permanently outside of Finland

    Note! For those living permanently in Finland, driving vehicles with test plates before the tax has been paid is not allowed.
  • the vehicle is being used for other transfer immediately pertaining to its manufacture, export, repair or inspection, or if it is being equipped for the purpose of being sold.

For more information on the Vehicle Taxation Act, please contact Finnish Tax Administration.

Consequences of misuse of test plate certificate

Trafi can revoke an individual test plate certificate if it is used in an unlawful manner or if the test plate certificate has remained unpaid. Similarly, Trafi can revoke all of a holder’s test plate certificates if the test plate certificate has been repeatedly misused or the misuse of the test plate certificate has otherwise been deemed particularly serious.

Misuse of the test plate certificate is reported to Trafi’s Transport Taxation Unit which assesses whether the misuse pertains to using a vehicle that has been banned from traffic. Misuse of test plate certificate could lead to an additional tax of 1000 euros or more.

Renewing a test plate certificate

The test plate certificate is renewed annually without reapplication, unless the certificate holder has made a notification of cancellation during the certificate's period of validity, or the certificate has been cancelled by Trafi, or Trafi decides not to renew it for a certain reason. A prerequisite for the renewal of a test plate certificate is the payment of the test plate insurance and certificate fee.

Cancelling a test plate certificate

If, after the end of their period of validity, the holder no longer wishes to use test plates, the inspection office must be notified that they will no longer be required, at the latest by the second working day after the period of validity has expired. This notification must be made using the expired test plate certificate and the test plates must be returned at the same time, as must any unpaid test plate certificate for the following year.

 

EU registration plates

EU registration plates were introduced in Finland in 2001. Since then vehicles have automatically been given EU plates unless the owner specifically requests for old model plates. If desired, EU plates can be changed for old model ones at an inspection site.

A vehicle equipped with EU registration plates does not need a separate national ID when in the EU area. Outside of the EU, a nationality sticker is required.

EU plates with a new plate number

Old model registration plates can be replaced with EU plates at an inspection site. Upon replacement the vehicle’s plate number will change.

The EU plates may be collected from the inspection station by the owner or holder of the vehicle. The person collecting the plates must either present an ID or the notification part of the registration certificate. The old plates must be handed in at the inspection station when the new plates are collected.

The total price for EU plates with a new plate number consists of the new registration plates (vehicle registration plate) and a registration fee. You may check the price on Trafi’s website for customer prices for registration (link on the right).

EU plates with the old plate number

If EU plates with the old (current) plate number are desired for the vehicle, the plates are ordered at an inspection site. The notification part of the registration certificate is not needed.

The normal delivery time for the plates is two weeks from the order. The plates are collected from the inspection site by the person who placed the order. When collecting the new plates, the old plates must be returned to the inspection site.

You may check the price of the plates with the old plate number (other registration plate) on Trafi's website for customer prices for registration (link on the right).

EU nationality stickers

An EU nationality sticker is the sticker with the member state’s country code which must be affixed to a vehicle when driving outside of the EU. Vehicles with no EU plates must display a nationality sticker when in another EU country.

The Finnish nationality sticker bears the code FIN. Nationality stickers can be purchased from well-stocked service stations or the online store of the Automobile and Touring Club of Finland (in Finnish), for example.

In addition to nationality stickers required when driving abroad, non-mandatory “EU stickers” are also available. When abroad, nationality stickers cannot be replaced by an EU sticker or a similar EU emblem.

Sticker placement

Nationality stickers are placed in a visible place on the vehicle such as on the tailgate or a window.

Licence plates and transfer marks must remain easily readable. No other stickers or marks may be affixed to the licence plate or its immediate vicinity. However, a transfer mark can be placed on top of the registration plate provided that it completely covers the plate.

 

Seizing of register plates

If your vehicle’s register plates have been seized by an authority for surveillance reasons, you can collect them at an inspection office when you have done what the authority requires. Seized register plates will be kept at the inspection office for 3 months, after which they will be scrapped.

 

Cleaning of registration plates

The ID on registration plates must be clearly visible in traffic, and thus the registration plates will have to be cleaned once in a while. The plates are usually cleaned when the vehicle is washed. Registration plates may require special cleaning, however, and attention should be paid in selecting the cleaning method, because the materials used when manufacturing registration plates pose limitations to the cleaning agents that can be used.

The following can be used to clean registration plates:

  • regular household detergents (such as dishwashing liquid)
  • white spirit that does not contain aromatic solvents containing aliphatic hydrocarbons (such as engine washing agent).

The following cannot be used to clean registration plates:

  • detergents that contain active chlorine
  • solvents that contain a high quantity of aliphatic alcohols, ketones, esters or aromatic solvents (such as ethanol, acetone, toluene, thinner)
  • solvents that contain chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • paint removal agents
  • gasoline
  • glass detergent
 

History of registration plates

  • Right after Finland gained independence, in 1917–1922, different registration plates were issued for each town and city.
  • 1922-1929: The standard plate has a white field, on which a provincial designation and four-digit number was marked.
  • 1930s to 1940s: Annual plates were issued. Plates for odd-numbered years were white with black markings, and plates for even-numbered years were black with white markings. The registration plate ID consisted of a provincial designation, dash and a (maximum) four-digit number. A seal and the last two digits of the current year were marked on the left side of the plate.
  • The annual plates were no longer issued after 1950. The standard registration plate ID after that consisted of two letters, a dash and a (maximum) three-digit number, embossed in white on a black field. The first letter was the provincial designation.
  • 1960: A white border was added to the plate. The registration plate ID consisted of three letters and one or two numbers.
  • The current registration plate type was introduced in 1972.
  • The size of the vehicle registration plate was reduced in 1996. The old dimensions were 123 mm x 342 mm and 123 mm x 397 mm.
  • The transfer registration plate was replaced with the transfer mark in 2000.
  • EU registration plates were introduced in 2001 for cars, trailers and motorcycles.
  • 2008: The registration plate ID for motorcycles changed. Before 2008 it consisted of 2-3 letters and a (maximum) three-digit number. Since 2008 the ID consists of a (maximum) three-digit number and 2-3 letters.
  • 2012: The old vehicle registration plate was replaced with a small white plate.
  • 2013: The manufacturing of tall EU registration plates for trailers started.
 

Vehicle country codes

Vehicle country codes can be found in here.

 

Types of registration plates in Finland

The following pages give further information on the vehicle registration plates used in Finland.

All vehicles registered in Finland are normally issued with EU registration plates. However, plates without the EU marking can be ordered on request.

 

Elsewhere on the Web

Tax Administration

Finnish Customs

 

Contact information

Registration plate information desk
Registration advice
Phone +358 29 534 5100 (local network charge/mobile call charge)
E-mail:

Advice on transfer permits, test plate certificates and export registration
Switchboard
Phone: +358 29 534 5000 (local network charge/mobile call charge)

Temporary motor
liability insurance
Finnish Motor Insurer's Centre

 

 
 
 

 

Page updated 07/14/2017