Personalized number plates: how to apply, prices, availability check and ideas 2022

Personalized number plates: how to apply, prices, availability check and ideas 2022

The legal process of acquiring personalized number plates is not as complicated as some assume. The documents the authorities ask you to submit will determine whether your application for personalized number plates will fail or succeed.

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Personalized number plates
A blue car without a number plate. Photo: @Tnarg
Source: UGC

There are many reasons people get personalized number plates, and you need to do your research if you need to change number plates in South Africa. There is a cost to incur and other requirements to meet.

How do you apply for personalized number plates?

Since personalized plates are few, your car will stand out, and you can quickly trace it if it gets stolen. You might need these plates for security or prestige. Regardless of your reasons, learn how to legally apply for a personalized number plate.

1. Pick a number plate

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Choose a number or name. It should not exceed 7 characters, should not be offensive, and must comply with the requirements of a normal number plate, like having the province's logo.

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2. Check the availability of the number plate

Contact the provincial traffic departments to verify whether the plate you have chosen is available; it should not be a duplicate of any other person's plate.

3. Look for the necessary documents for the application

Since motorists must verify all personal and address particulars, you must have these documents to apply for a personalized number plate:

  • Copy of your identity document
  • Copy of the vehicle’s registration certificate
  • Proof of postal and residential address (Utility bill)
  • Affidavit confirming your residence (in case you lack a utility account)
  • Confirmation letter from ward councillor (in case you have an informal settlement)

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Businesses or organizations need these documents:

  • A business number from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission or a traffic register number certificate (TRN)
  • A copy of their proxy or representative's South African ID
  • A letter with the business' letterhead.

4. Visit the nearest registering authority to complete the application form

Personalized number plates
A wide-angle photograph of vehicles travelling on the road. Photo: @skdunning
Source: UGC

After finding an available personalized number plate, visit your nearest local traffic registry office to complete the application form called SLN1. Bring the necessary documents with you for submission.

If you are in Western Cape province, hand-deliver your application forms to the Western Cape's Department of Transport and Public Works walk-in centre between 8 am and 3 pm.

Alternatively, send the forms to or post them to PO Box 2603, Cape Town, 8000.

5. Make the payment

The plate you chose will be subjected to the Member of the Executive Committee's (MEC) approval. If your application is approved, you will be issued a letter of approval requesting some fees. Upon paying the prompted fees at the office, you will receive several documents, including:

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  • An order letter permitting the car's manufacturer to make the personalized number plate.
  • A licensing letter.
  • An SLN2 form to complete.
  • A PLN2 certificate that permits you to get your desired plate.

How to register the vehicle under the new plate and have it fixed on the car

Your local motor vehicle registering office will need the licensing letter and PLN2 certificate to register the vehicle under the new personalized number plate.

After that, conduct an SA number plate check procedure to ensure it is registered. If the registration has gone through, visit the vehicle's official manufacturer to create and fit the new number plate on the car.

How long does it take to get personalized number plates?

After submitting your documents, the officials will check their validity and ascertain whether you are legible for a personalized plate.

If the information on the application form and the documents are in order, your application will be processed on the same day.

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Personalized number plates
A black Dodge Challenger Coupe and another car behind it travelling in one direction. Photo: @Garvin St Villier
Source: UGC

How to check if number plates are taken in South Africa

Your provincial traffic department has online or mobile phone call services for the public to check if a number plate is available.

What is a personalized number plate's cost in South Africa?

The number plates prices vary with the charges your provincial traffic department has set. Make inquiries at your local registering authority. Here are links to your local municipalities' directories (addresses and locations):

There are several places in the Johannesburg municipality where you can seek help, including Randburg Licensing Department, Roodepoort Licensing Department, Midrand Licensing Department.

The City of Tshwane is the single-largest metropolitan municipality in the country, with seven regions, 105 wards and 210 councillors.

The City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality is in the southern peninsula of the Western Cape Province. It is the second-most populous city after Johannesburg and the second-largest economic centre in South Africa.

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The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is one of Eastern Cape Province's two metropolitan municipalities. In addition, the region comprises Kariega (formerly Uitenhage), Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), and Despatch.

Apply for a personalized plate at any of the offices of Eastern Cape's 40 municipalities. Visit Alfred Nzo District, Amahlathi, Amathole District, Blue Crane Route, etc.

Some of Free State's 24 local municipalities are Dihlabeng, Fezile Dabi District, Kopanong Local, Lejweleputswa District, and Letsemeng.

Personalized number plates
A luxury car driving through a paved road. Photo: @Garvin St Villier
Source: UGC

You will love the services of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan's local municipality. You can also go to Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg Metropolitan, or other offices. There are 11 municipalities in Gauteng province.

Visit AbaQulusi, Alfred Duma, Amajuba District, Big 5 Hlabisa, or other local municipality offices in KwaZulu-Natal province to apply for a personalized number plate. The province has 54 municipalities.

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Ba-Phalaborwa, Greater Giyani, Bela-Bela, Blouberg, Capricorn District, and Elias Motswaledi are among Limpopo province's 29 municipalities.

Mpumalanga has 20 local municipalities. The top five are Albert Luthuli, Bushbuckridge, Dipaleseng, Ehlanzeni District, and Emakhazeni.

Visit any of North West province's 23 municipalities, including Bojanala Platinum District, City of Matlosana, Ditsobotla, Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District.

The province has 32 local municipalities, and the top five are Gamagara, Dikgatlong, Emthanjeni, Frances Baard District, and Ga-segonyana.

It has 30 local municipalities, including Cape Wineland District, Beaufort West, Bergrivier, Bitou, and Breede Valley.

You can also contact the Department of Transport and Public Works walk-in centre for more inquiries regarding the application process for personalized number plates:

  • Motor vehicle administration: 8 am to 2.30 pm
  • Street address: C/o Dorp & Loop Streets, Cape Town, 8000
  • Postal Address: Private Bag X9185, Cape Town, 8000
  • Telephone: 0860 212 414

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Personalized number plates
Aerial photography of cars at a road intersection. Photo: @Joey Lu
Source: UGC

Cost of personalized number plates in South Africa

Western Cape is the most expensive place to acquire a personalized plate, followed by Gauteng. The number plates prices depend on the number of characters your want on your plate, which should not be more than seven. Here is a sample guide of Western Cape's fees:

  1. 1 x alpha or numeric character at R10 000.00, e.g. 1-WP or B-WP
  2. 2 x alpha and/or numeric characters at R6 000.00, e.g. 11-WP or 1A-WP or AB-WP
  3. 3 x alpha and/or numeric characters at R4 000.00, e.g. 111-WP or ABC-WP
  4. All others, up to a maximum of seven alpha and/or numeric characters at R1 750.00, e.g. JOHNNY2-WP or RUN2ME-WP
  5. 3 x digits and letters at R10 000.00, e.g. CA 1
  6. 4 x digits and letters at R6 000.00, e.g. CA 11 or CAW 1
  7. 6 x digits and letters at R2 000.00, e.g. CA 1111 or CAW 111
  8. All others at R600.00, e.g. CA 123-456 or CAW 12345

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You pay more for lower digit plates in Western Cape because they are popular, but the reverse is true in Gauteng. According to Business Insider's price estimates in 2020, Western Cape's single-digit CAA plates (1 – CAA) cost as high as R150 000.00. The double-digit CAA plates cost R75 000.00, and the triple-digit CAA plates cost R8 000.00.

Meanwhile, the single alpha or numeric character WP plate goes for R10 000.00 (1 – WP), two characters cost R6 000.00, and three characters cost R4 000.00. Others cost R1 750.00, but the maximum is seven letters or numbers. These number plates prices must have risen by now.

No matter what your personalized number plates preferences are, find out what your region charges to get them done. You can always add a personalized touch to your vehicle if you want to.

READ ALSO: How to check if you have outstanding traffic fines

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The government fines those who break these rules. These fines are warnings; hence failure to pay them has grave consequences.

Source: Briefly News

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