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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

Display of nationality and registration marks

UK-registered aircraft are required by law to bear nationality and registration marks. There are a small number of exceptions to this (see below).

For full information and guidance see our publication CAP 523: Display of Nationality & Registration Marks on Aircraft.


The aim of registration marks is to enable an observer to readily identify the aircraft, and as such they should be displayed clearly and to the best advantage, all in one colour which contrasts with the background. Marks must be of a specified size, as set out in CAP 523.


To check if a particular registration mark is available and to get further details on the policy regarding the issue of registration marks please see Availability and Reservation of UK Registration Marks.


There are two highly specific exemptions from the requirement to bear nationality and registration marks: they may be granted for specific filming work and for historically accurate military liveries.

See our guidance on exemptions for more details.