Kazakhstan Vehicle License Plates To Change in August

Police in Kazakhstan have unveiled the new format for vehicle license plates in the country which are designed to conform to international standards.

Following closely on Russia’s announcement that it is to change the format of license plates (number plates) in the Federation in the near future, Kazakhstan has leapt ahead of its closest neighbour and ally by unveiling a new design and an implementation date for its new format registration plates. (Read our article about the changes taking place in neighbouring Russia)

The unveiling ceremony took place in the country’s capital city of Astana where the Chairman of the Traffic Police Committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the country, Berik Bisenkulov, showed a display of the new number formats to journalists.

The existing format in the country for standard, privately owned cars is “X NNN XXX”, consisting of a single letter which denominates the regional origin of the car, a 3-digit number and three Latin letters.

In comparison to the new scheme being introduced in Russia, Kazakhstan will not be limiting the use of Latin letters to the twelve characters which resemble Cyrillic characters. Kazakhstan has a universal policy of encouraging the use of not only the Kazakh and Russian languages in the country, but also English therefore it is not constraining the use of Latin characters. To avoid confusion when communicating a number vocally, it is common practice in the country to read letter combinations like APR as “A – Russian R – Latin R”. Despite appearing somewhat convoluted at first sight, this is actually a very effective method that everyone feels comfortable with.

Berik Bisenkulov explained that the change was being made as a result of international requirements in line with the UN Convention on Road Traffic, to which Kazakhstan is a signatory. He went on to explain that existing vehicles can continue to display their current license plates until they are scrapped or re-registered through change of ownership. All new registrations both for first-registered vehicles and for change of ownerships will be required to take the new format registration plate from August 2012.

The new plate displays the Kazakhstan flag on the left hand side above the international country code for the country (KZ) followed by three numeric digits and three smaller letters(for private vehicles). The region code will now be a two-digit numeric number boxed out on the right hand side of the plate “NNN xxx”. The use of a boxed-out numeric region code is something that has been in use in Russia since 1993 and has been abandoned on the new number plates in the Federation.

New Kazakhstan Number Plates

New Kazakhstan Number Plates

Vehicles owned and registered by Kazakhstan-based companies will have a different format consisting of two letter instead of three “NNN xx” plus region code.

Coded numbers and special number plates are frequently used in Kazakhstan with yellow backgrounds for foreign-owned private and company vehicles, red backgrounds for vehicles owned by diplomatic missions, light blue for the UN and dark blue for police vehicles. It is unclear under the new format whether these will change. It is also currently unclear whether existing ANPR / LPR systems in use in the country have been modified to be able to recognize the new plates since character sizes and spacing are different to existing numbers.

High ranking political figures also have special numbers and these will continue to exist under the new format with “0nn KZ” for Government vehicles and “0nn ADM” for Presidential Administration vehicles. The Presidential number will remain unchanged as “01 KZ”.

Personalised number plates will also be available for sale as part of the official registration process. Local preferences for such numbers as “001”, “111”, “007” and “777” can be catered for with prices up to 400,000 Tenge (1700 Pounds) for the privilege. Making such premium numbers available through official channels will reduce incidences of recognised desirable letter and number combinations being withheld from allocation so that they can be sold unofficially.

Regional number codes will be allocated to the two main cities of the Republic (01 for Astana and 02 for Almaty) and the 14 main regions within the country as follows:

03 Akmola (surrounding Astana)
04 Aktyubinsk (Now Aktobe in the far north of the country)
05 The province around Almaty
06 The Atyrau region bordering the northern Caspian Sea
07 Western Kazakhstan
08 The Zhambyl region
09 Karaganda in central Kazakhstan
10 Kostanai
11 The Kyzylorda region where Baikonur is located
12 The Mangystau region bordering the Caspian Sea
13 South Kazakhstan
14 The Pavlodar region
15 North Kazakhstan
16 East Kazakhstan

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One Response to Kazakhstan Vehicle License Plates To Change in August

  1. jnewell says:

    As of 7th September 2012, it was announced by the traffic police committee of Kazakhstan that the project to change the country’s licence plates (which was due to take place in August) has been delayed indefinitely due to technical problems.

    The technical issues weren’t revealed but are most likely as a result of problems with the country’s ANPR / LPR camera systems being unready to read and recognise licence plates in both configurations.

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