H-license plate for classic cars

As soon as a car owner receives an H license plate, the use of the vehicle is not restricted. However, there are restrictions on the visual appearance, which advertising on classic cars is basically inadmissible. In addition, vintage cars with H license plate may not be rented commercially. Similarly, a commercial use of trucks with H license plate is not permitted.


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Use on public roads requires proof by means of a HU sticker on the rear license plate.

In contrast to the regular license plate, the vintage license plate is not available as a season license plate. For vintage car owners benefit from a cheap and flat tax rate.

Driving on environmental zones possible

Incidentally, with your classic car and a H license plate you can also drive in urban environmental zones. Foreign trips are also possible.

Structure of the license plate

The vintage license plate is similar to the regular license plate. From left to right follow:

  • Country code on blue background with euro sign
  • Letter identifier for the district or the city
  • Plaque of the district
  • One or two letters
  • A number combination
  • The letter H for “historic vehicle”

In contrast to the regular license plate, the TÜV sticker is omitted. Due to the “H” at the end of the vintage license plate may contain a maximum of 8 places.


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When is a classic car really an oldie?

Oldtimers are according to their name (English = old time, German time = German time) vehicles that are characterized primarily by their old age. Basically, every car owner is free to designate his vehicle the way he wants it. However, if the car is to be registered as a classic car, a relatively fixed definition applies. Thus classic cars are defined according to the vehicle registration regulation (FZV §2, Nr.22) as:

Vehicles that have been on the market for the first time at least 30 years ago, are largely in their original condition, are in good condition and are used to maintain the cultural heritage of the vehicle. Vehicle Registration Ordinance §2 Nr.22

In summary, this means:

  • The vehicle must be at least 30 years old.
  • The vehicle must comply with the original state in all main assemblies.
  • Changes and conversions must be more than 30 years ago.
  • The vehicle has no technical defects and there are no major signs of wear.

The age of the car is therefore not only crucial, whether it can be classified and registered as a classic car. Whether or not you can register your car as a vintage car is decided by an expert from an officially approved testing center such as TÜV or Dekra. After having checked your car, the appraiser draws up a report stating, for example, whether the car is still in its original state or how good the condition is. In addition, the traffic safety of the classic car is checked during the inspection.

The following features can prevent classification as classic cars:

  • Rough accident damage that has not been resolved, such as heavy dents or paint damage
  • Strong rusting
  • Spare parts that do not correspond to the original


In recent years, in addition to the term “classic car” and the Youngtimer has established. These are vehicles that are at least 15 years old but can not be registered as old-timers due to their “young” age. However, the term Youngtimer has no influence on the vehicle registration. These vehicles can only be driven with a regular license plate.


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Costs for the H license plate

Anyone wishing to apply for an H license plate must expect additional fees in addition to the registration fees. These are attributable to the main inspection and the report, which are carried out in an approved test center such as the TÜV.

The appraisal by an expert costs on average about 100 euros. For a historic motorcycle you have to budget a little less. For the main inspection you have to pay the same fees as for conventional cars. That’s around 70 euros. Main inspection and assessment must be carried out every two years.

For the application to the Admissions Office usually about 40 euros are due.

All in all, you have to reckon with appraisals, HU and approval costs between 200 and 250 euros .

Save thanks to special license plates

Oldtimer owners can save with a H license plate in many areas. So applies for classic cars a uniform tax rate, regardless of engine capacity.

For motorcycles, an annual flat rate of 46.02 euros in taxes is levied, for all other vehicles (regulated in §9 (4) no. 1 or no. 2 KraftStG) the owners have to pay 191.73 euros per year.

You can also save on car insurance. Since many insurers assume that a registered old-timer compared to a “normal” motor vehicle is rare and then moved only for pure driving pleasure, they offer customers special vintage tariffs. These motor insurance policies are then associated with significantly lower costs.

Pay attention to the conditions of the insurance

Pay attention to the conditions when concluding your vintage car insurance. If, for example, you travel more than 10,000 kilometers per year with your vintage car, the tariff can even rise again. This mileage is usually estimated for the calculation of the insurance amount.

Further advantages of the H-mark:

  • Vintage cars with the corresponding license plate do not need a catalytic converter.
  • With a vintage car you can drive the environmental zone without the appropriate sticker. This also eliminates the regular emission test.
  • If the license plate size does not fit, no changes to the vehicle must be made.

Loss of benefits in the absence of status

In order for you to benefit from the advantages of your classic car, the status must be preserved. If you do not get approval after a main inspection or if the report regarding the H-plate is negative, your benefits will also be lost. This also applies in the event that you make modifications to the vehicle, which do not correspond to the original state.