What You Need to Know About License Plate Frame Size

A license plate frame is a crucial component of the license plate, typically a metallic or plastic border that surrounds the registration tag. It serves many purposes, primarily holding the license plate in place.

The frames come in various designs and sizes to meet multiple applications. This begs the question, what is the standard license plate frame size? The size may vary depending on location and use and reflect the area’s license plate size laws.

You are in the right place if you want to learn more about registration plate frame size, as we will comprehensively discuss all you need to know.

license plate frame size

What Size Are License Plate Frames?

Car license plate frame size depends on license plate size; most of the time, they are equal. In the USA, license plates did not have a standard size for a long time. The situation changed in 1956 after an agreement with the Automobile Manufacturers Association to standardize the number plate size to 6 by 12 inches.

License plate frame dimensions for most vehicles in North America are 6 by 12 inches and 4 by 7 inches for motorcycle plates. Temporary license plates measure 11 by 6 inches. The table below summarizes the size of license plate frames in different countries.

Country License Plate Frame Dimensions
USA 12 x 6 inches
UK 20.5 x 4.4 inches
Australia 14.6 x 5.3 inches
India 13.3 x 7.8 inches
Japan 13 x 6.5 inches
China 17.3 x 5.5 inches
France 20.5 x 4.3 inches

The license plate frame should be the correct size per your territory laws so that it does not cover the license plate characters, which is illegal. Moreover, when talking about license frame dimensions, the focus is more on the internal measurements. The outer measurements can be larger, especially for decorative brackets.

How to Choose the Right License Plate Frame Size for Your Car?

When getting a license plate frame for your vehicle, the size should be same to that of your license plate. It would be best if you refer to your country’s laws regarding registration plate size to get the befitting license plate bracket. 

In the USA, you will get 12 by 6-inch license plate brackets, the size of standard license plates. However, you should be keen on the measurements of frames of imported vehicles, as they might be that of the original country. You can change the frame to the legal one before getting a license plate.

Where to Buy License Plate Frames?

You can get license plate frames from various outlets, starting with your local auto parts store, where you can consult on the best variety. Alternatively, you can rely on online car part retailers for excellent deals.

The frames are typically of the recommended size and come in various shapes and designs as dictated by your state’s or country’s traffic laws. You may also go for used car frames sold by car owners who want to dispose of theirs. Such holders are usually very cheap, but you must be keen on product defects.

For your convenience, buy brackets that come in a complete package, including screws, license plate pads, fastening equipment, and more.

How to Replace License Plate Frame?

Like most vehicle parts, license plate holders get beaten over time, prompting a replacement. You know you need a new frame when you notice signs of wear and tear or rattling noises when driving. Replacement is effortless, and you should follow the steps highlighted below.

  • Start by getting a new bracket, ensuring it meets your standards. Additionally, you should have the right tools for the job, such as the right screw sizes, and driving tools.
  • Gently remove the old frame by unscrewing the screws and fasteners. Keep the screws in a safe place if you will be reusing them. Be careful not to damage your vehicle’s paint job when working on the old bracket.
  • Clean the spot where the old license plate holder was to eliminate grime and dirt that may affect the installation of the new frame. Don’t forget to clean the screw slots.
  • Attach the new frame following the provided instructions. Align it properly, with the screws fitting into the proper slots for a perfect fit.
  • Test for stability and tighten the screws if necessary.

Related Queries

Are License Plate Frames of Different Sizes?

License plate frame sizes vary depending on the country and designation. The size of the frames should be equal to that of the license plate, and different countries have different legal license plate sizes. For instance, in the USA, the registration plate size is 12 by 6 inches, meaning plate holders should be of similar size.

Regarding designation, you realize that standard vehicle frames are larger than those for motorcycles and smaller utility vehicles. In the USA, motorcycles use roughly half-size license plate frames measuring 4 by 7 inches.

What Are the Dimensions of a License Plate Holder?

The dimensions of a car registration plate holder depend on which country you are in, and they should be equal to those of the license plate holder. In the USA, a license plate bracket should have internal dimensions of 12 by 6 inches to adequately accommodate the license plate.

A smaller holder is illegal as it may cover some text on the plate. A bigger one will look out of place and may not support the license plate as required.

In European Union countries, the plate frame is larger, considering they use larger license plates measuring 20.5 by 4.3 inches. On the other hand, motorcycles and utility vehicles use smaller license plate frames, with dimensions of 4 by 7 inches in the USA.

Do License Plate Frames Fit All Cars?

When choosing a license plate frame for your car, you need to check the mounting holes where you attach the screws. The number of holes varies depending on the vehicle model. USA and Canadian cars are compatible with license frames with two or four mounting holes. In other territories, the holes might be more or placed in different spots.

The good thing is you can get license plate attachments that make your holder compatible with various plates.

Are There Standard Frame Sizes?

Registration brackets are standard, depending on the country. The standard license plate frame size in the USA and parts of Canada is 12 by 6 inches for cars and 4 by 7 inches for small utility vehicles and motorcycles. The standard license plate size in the EU is 20.5 by 5.3 inches; thus, the license plate frame should be this size.

How Are Plate Sizes Measured?

The measurement of license plate sizes factors in their width and height. In the USA, the standard width of the license plates is 12 inches, with the bolt holes being 7 inches apart, while the height is 6 inches. Along the height, the bolt holes are 4.75 inches apart. The plates are usually 0.027 to 0.032 inches thick and weigh around 0.22 pounds. Digital license plates are slightly heavier.

Final Words

License plate frames serve many purposes, mainly anchoring the license plate. You may also use it for decorative purposes or branding. This discussion touches on registration plate frame sizes, and we learn that the dimensions change from one place to another, reflecting the size of the license plate.

Some countries, like those in the European Union require larger frames due to their big number plates. In the USA, the holders are slightly smaller. Always get a license plate bracket of the right size, ensuring that the license plate characters are visible, to be on the right side of the law.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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