International ovals

Ovals are stickers that are attached on the rear of the car and it needs to show the country where it comes from when it's abroad. History of ovals starts at the beginning of the 20th century: because international traffic increased it was deemed necessary to put nationality marks on vehicles and 12 countries, included Italy, decided to introduce ovals (1910). Later, even if at different times, ovals spread all over the world in almost every country. But paradoxically ovals were substituted with the nationality mark directly on the plate itself just in Europe, where they were born (see Italian plates of 1999), following directives of the European Community. In this way the mess about ovals (you can easily see a plate from one country with an oval from another one as a souvenir of a trip!) is going to be reduced and it should be easier to drive across Europe where borders don't exist any more.

Codes of ovals are controlled by United Nations (Distinguished Signs of Vehicles in International Traffic), but in spite of this I found many tables of codes with many differences between one another. Moreover some codes are not official, though in use and some borders changed in recent years creating new countries: all these things made my research about ovals even harder and I've got doubts about many of them.

In the first picture you can see an oval from Italy, in the second an oval from San Marino, while in the third picture CD stands for Corpo Diplomatico (diplomatic corps) and in the forth picture CC stands for Corpo Consolare (consular corps): they aren't official ovals (you cannot find them on the table below, but the CC oval was often used on cars of the consular corps before the consular plates were created in 1997), but you can see them on the rear of some diplomatic and consular vehicles.

In the table there are only those codes in use today, with the origin of the letters (when known), the year it was introduced and the history of ovals previously used in that same country. In many cases you can read "unofficial": it means that that code is not official, though in use. I hope that notation I used is clear enough.

Italy San Marino Diplomatic Corps Consular Corps


A
Austria (1910-, Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1918)
ADN
Yemen (Aden 1938-1967, South Yemen 1967-1990, Yemen 1990-, unofficial: YE and YAR)
AFG
Afghanistan (1971-, unofficial)
AL
Albania (1934-)
AM
Armenia (unofficial, ARM unofficial)
AN
Angola (unofficial, PAN Portuguese Angola 1932-1956)
AND
Andorra (1957-)
AUS
Australia (1954-, includes Cocos Is. and Norfolk Is.)
AZ
Azerbaijan (1993-, unofficial)
B
Belgium (1910-)
BD
Bangladesh (1978-)
BDS
Barbados (1956-)
BF
Burkina Faso (1984-, unofficial)
BG
Bulgaria (1910-)
BH
Belize (British Honduras 1938-, unofficial: BZ)
BI
British India (1912-47, see IND and PAK)
BiH
Bosnia and Herzegovina (1993-)
BM
Bermuda (unofficial)
BOL
Bolivia (1967-, RB Republica Bolivia 1963-1967))
BR
Brazil (1930-)
BRN
Bahrain (1954-)
BRU
Brunei (1954-)
BS
Bahamas (1950-)
BU
Burundi (unofficial)
BUR
Myanmar (Burma 1956-, BA 1937-1956)
BVI
British Virgin Islands (unofficial)
BY
Belarus (Byelorussia 1992-, unofficial)
C
Cuba (1930-)
CAM
Cameroon (-1972 and 1984-, TC Trust de Cameroon 1932-1975, RUC République Unie du Cameroun 1972-1984, RFC République Federale du Cameroun -1984)
CB
Belgian Congo (Congo Belge 1931-1960)
CDN
Canada (Canadian Dominion 1956-, NF New Foundland 1938-1949, CA 1952-1956)
CFS
French Somaliland (Côte Française des Somalis -1970, see SO)
CGO
Congo (1961-1972 and 1998-, ZR 1973-1980, ZRE 1980-1998, see RCL)
CH
Switzerland (Confoederatio Helvetica 1911-)
CI
Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire 1961-)
CL
Sri Lanka (Ceylon 1932-)
CN
People's Republic of China (?-)
CNB
Borneo (Colony of North Borneo 1955-63 unofficial, SNB State of North Borneo 1938-1955)
CO
Colombia (1952- unofficial)
CR
Costa Rica (1956-)
CS
Czechoslovakia (1922-1993, see CZ and SK)
CV
Cape Verde Islands (unofficial: CPV)
CY
Cyprus (1932-)
CZ
Czechia (1993-)
D
Germany (1910-)
DA
Danzig (1922-39, see D)
DDR
East Germany (Deutsche Demokratische Republik 1974-89, see D)
DK
Danmark (1914-)
DOM
Dominican Republic (1952-)
DY
Benin (Dahomey 1961-78)
DZ
Algeria (Al Djazair 1963-)
E
Spain (España 1910-)
EAK
Kenya (East Africa Kenya 1938-, EA 1932-1938)
EAT
Tanzania (East Africa Tanganyika 1938-, EA 1932-1938, unofficial: EAZ East Africa Zanzaibar)
EAU
Uganda (East Africa Uganda 1938-, EA 1932-1938)
EC
Ecuador (1962-, EQ Equador -1962)
ES
El Salvador (1978?-, unofficial)
EST
Estonia (1994-, EW Eesti Vabariik 1930-1940 and 1992-1993)
ET
Egypt (1927-)
ETH
Ethiopia (1964-)
F
France (1910-, includes French colonies)
FIF
French India (France Inde Français 1925-30)
FIN
Finland (1993-, includes Aland, SF Suomi Finland 1921-1993)
FJI
Fiji (1971-)
FL
Liechtenstein (Fürstentum Liechtenstein 1923-)
FLK
Falkland Islands (unofficial)
Faroe Islands (1996-, FR 1976-1996)
G
Gabon (1974-)
GB
United Kingdom (Great Britain 1910-)
GBA
United Kingdom: Alderney (1924-)
GBG
United Kingdom: Guernsey (1924-)
GBJ
United Kingdom: Jersey (1924-)
GBM
United Kingdom: Isle of Man (1932-)
GBZ
United Kingdom: Gibraltar (1924-)
GCA
Guatemala (Guatemala Central America 1956-, G 1952-1956)
GE
Georgia (1992-, unofficial: GEO)
GH
Ghana (1959-, WAC West Africa Gold Coast 1932-1959)
GM
Guam (unofficial, see USA)
GR
Greece (1913-)
GRL
Greenland (unofficial)
GUY
Guyana (1972-, BRG British Guyana 1955-1972)
H
Hungary (1910-, Austro-Hungarian Empire before 1918)
HK
Hong Kong (1932-)
HKJ
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (1966-, JOR Jordan 1955-1966)
HO
Honduras (unofficial)
HR
Croatia (Hrvatska 1992-, NDH Nesavisna Drzava Hrvatska 1941-1945, CRO 1991)
I
Italy (1910-)
IL
Israel (1952-, M Palestine Mandate/Medinat Ysrael 1930-1948)
IND
India (1947-)
IR
Iran (1936-, PR Persia 1933-1936)
IRL
Ireland (1962-, GB Great Britain -1922, SE Irish Free State/Saorstát Éireann 1924-1938 EIR Eire 1932-1962)
IRQ
Iraq (1930-, unofficial)
IS
Iceland (Ísland 1936-)
J
Japan (1964-)
JA
Jamaica (1932-)
K
Cambodia (Kampuchea 1956-)
KS
Kyrgyzstan (1992-, unofficial: KGZ)
KWT
Kuwait (1954-, unofficial: KT)
KZ
Kazakhstan (1992-, unofficial: KAZ)
L
Luxembourg (1911-)
LAO
Laos (1959-)
LAR
Libya (Libian Arab Republic 1972-, LT Libya Tripolitania 1960-1971)
LB
Liberia (1967-)
LS
Lesotho (1967-, BL Basutoland 1935-1967)
LT
Lithuania (1925-40 + 1991-)
LV
Latvia (1991-, LR Latvija Republik 1927-40 and 1991-1992 unofficial)
M
Malta (1966-, GBY Great Britain Malta 1924-1966)
MA
Morocco (Al Magrib 1956-, French Morocco 1924-1930, MT Morocco Tanger 1933-1956, ME Spanish Morocco/Marruecos Español 1935-1952)
MAC
Macao (unofficial)
MAL
Malaysia (1967-, Jo Johore + KD Kedah + KL Kelatan + PS Perlis + SS Straits Settlements 1932-1948, FM Federated Malay States 1948-1958, FM Federation of Malaysia + PTM Persekutuan Tanah Malaysia 1958-1967)
MC
Monaco (1910-)
MD
Moldova (1993-, unofficial, MDV in 1992)
MEX
Mexico (1926-)
MGL
Mongolia (1997-, unofficial: MNG)
MK
Macedonia (1993-)
MN
Montenegro (1913-18, see YU)
MOC
Mocambique (1932-56 and 1975-)
MS
Mauritius (1938-)
MW
Malawi (1965-, NP Nyasaland Protectorate and EAN East Africa Nyasaland 1938-1960, RNY Republic Nyasaland 1960-1965)
N
Norway (1922-)
NA
Dutch Antilles (Netherlands Antilles 1957-, CU Curaçao 1946-1957)
NAM
Namibia (1993-)
NAU
Nauru (1968-)
NEP
Nepal (1970-)
NGN
Netherlands New Guinea (1955-63)
NIC
Nicaragua (1952-)
NL
Netherlands (1910-)
NZ
New Zealand (1958-, includes Cook Is.)
OM
Oman (unofficial)
P
Portugal (1912-)
PA
Panama (1926-)
PE
Peru (1937-)
PK
Pakistan (1986-, PAK 1947-1986)
PL
Poland (1921-)
PN
Palestine (unofficial)
PNG
Papua New Guinea (1981-)
PR
Puerto Rico (unofficial, included in USA)
PY
Paraguay (1926-)
Q
Qatar (1972-)
RA
Argentina (Republica Argentina 1927-)
RB
Botswana (Republic Botswana 1967-, BP Bechuanaland Protectorate 1935-1967)
RC
Taiwan and Republic of China 1932-
RCA
Central African Republic (République Centrafricain 1962-)
RCB
Congo Brazzaville (République Congo Brazzaville 1962-)
RCH
Chile (Republica Chili 1930-)
RCL
Congo Leopoldville (République Congo Leopoldville) (1960-70?)
RE
Réunion (unofficial)
RG
Guinea (République de Guinée 1973-)
RH
Haiti (République Haiti 1926-)
RHV
Burkina Faso (République Haute Volta 1978?-, HV Haute Volta 1961-1978?)
RI
Indonesia (Republic Indonesia 1955-, IN Netherland Indies 1915-1949, IN Indonesia 1949-1956)
RIM
Mauritania (République Islamique de Mauritanie 1964-, MU -1964)
RL
Lebanon (Republic Lebanon 1952-, LSA Lebanon Syria Alaoutes 1929-1931, SL Syria Lebanon 1931-1952)
RM
Madagascar (Repoblika Demokratika Malagasy 1962-)
RMM
Mali (1962-)
RN
Niger (Republic Niger 1975-, NIG 1961-1975)
RO
Romania (1981-, R 1930-1981)
ROK
South Korea (Republic of South Korea 1971-)
ROU
Uruguay (Republic Oriental of Uruguay 1981-, U 1926-1981)
RP
Phillippines (Republica Pilipinas 1975-, PI Pilipinas 1952-1975)
RPB
Benin (République Populaire du Bénin 1984-)
RSM
Republic of San Marino (1932-)
RU
Burundi (Ruanda Urundi 1960-)
RUS
Russia (1992-, unofficial: RU)
RWA
Ruanda (1964-)
S
Sweden (1911-)
SA
Saarland (1925-35 + 1945-56, see D)
SA
Saudi Arabia (1972?-, AS Al-Arabiya Al Saudiya -1974, unofficial)
SB
Serbia (1911-18, see YU and SCG) (*)
SCG
Serbia-Montenegro (Srbia Cerna Gora, 2003-)
SCN
St Kitts and Nevis
SD
Ngwana (Swaziland 1935-)
SGP
Singapore (1952-, SS Straits Settlements 1932-1952)
SK
Slovakia (1993-, SO 1939-1945, unofficial: SQ 1993, see CS)
SLB
Solomon Islands (unofficial)
SLO
Slovenia (1992-)
SME
Surinam (1936-)
SN
Senegal (1962-)
SO
Somalia (1972?-, SP Somaliya Protectorate 1935-1960, unofficial: BS British Somaliland)
STP
São Tome and Principe
SU
Soviet Union (1926-1992, R Russia 1910-1926)
SUD
Sudan (1963-, unofficial)
SWA
Namibia (South West Africa 1935-1966)
SY
Seychelles (1938-)
SYR
Syria (1952-, LSA Lebanon Syria Alaoutes 1929-1931, SL Syria Lebanon 1931-1952)
T
Thailand (1955-, SM Siam 1930-1955)
TCH
Chad (Tchad 1972-1964, unofficial)
TG
Togo (1962-, TT Trust de Togo 1932-1962)
TJ
Tadjikstan (1995-, TD 1991-1995, unofficial: TAD)
TM
Turkmenistan (1994-, TMN 1992-1994)
TN
Tunisia (1957-)
TR
Turkey (1935-)
TS
Trieste (1945-54, later divided between Italy and Yugoslavia)
TT
Trinidad and Tobago (1964-, TD Trinidad 1938-1964)
TW
Taiwan (see also RC)
UA
Ukraine (1992-, unofficial: UR)
UAE
United Arab Emirates (unofficial, TO Trucial Oman in 1960s)
USA
United States of America (1949-, US 1909-1949, includes Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Is. Wake Is.)
UZ
Uzbekistan (1995-, UZB 1992-1995)
V
Vatican City (1930-)
VN
Viet Nam (1953-, SM Siam 1930-1955)
WAG
Gambia (West Africa Gambia 1932-)
WAL
Sierra Leone (West Africa Sierra Leone 1937-)
WAN
Nigeria (West Africa Nigeria 1937-, unofficial: NGR)
WD
Dominica (Windward islands Dominica 1954-, unofficial)
WG
Granada (Windward islands Granada 1932-)
WL
St. Lucia (Windward islands St. Lucia 1932-)
WS
Western Samoa (1962-)
WV
St. Vincent (Windward islands St. Vincent 1932-)
YAR
North Yemen (1970?-, YMN in 1960s)
YU
Yugoslavia (1952-2003, SHS Kraljevina Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca 1926-1936, Y 1936-1952)
YV
Venezuela (1955-)
Z
Zambia (1966- unofficial, NR Northern Rodesia 1938-1960, RNR Republic North Rodesia 1960-1966)
ZA
Union of South Africa (Zuid Afrika 1936-, SAU Suid Afrikaanse Unie 1933-1936)
ZRE
Zaire (1981-, ZR 1973-1980)
ZW
Zimbabwe (1979-, SR South Rodesia 1932-1960, RSR Republic South Rodesia 1960-1979, ZM 1979)

(*) The oval SB is also used by Seborga, though it is not official. If you are interested, in the page about the small principality you can also find a picture where you can see such an oval.




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Plates in Rome by Michele Berionne