30 Sep '16

Spot Arabic Number Plates in London

Spot Arabic Number Plates in London

When driving or strolling by the roads many of us have spotted glamorous, personalised and eye-catching vehicles, some of these vehicles may display personalised modifications which make them stand out even further. With further speculation many of these vehicles display foreign number plates, these vehicles come from all over the world with the Middle East being a popular destination for those who like to modify and display their vehicles.

It is likely many of us have witnessed an array of flash cars lined up in the popular area of Knightsbridge usually outside Harrods in London. From sparkly gold metallic cars to diamond encrusted convertibles, most likely with a foreign number plate clearly on display. It is not surprising that these vehicles attract much attention as passers-by are often seen taking a quick snap of the vehicles on their phones. 

Popular destinations from which these vehicles derive are Saudi Arabia and the UAE and for this reason many of the foreign number plates are easy to spot due to the number plates displaying Arabic digits and text. The car owners are known to compete with one another to see who can carry out the most outstanding modifications, whilst also gaining attention from the public and the media.

Recently in the UK many super-cars have been spotted displaying foreign number plates, amongst the many which have been shipped across and spotted are a £400,000 Mercedes AMG, a £1m Pagani Huayra, a glistening £300,000 Rolls Royce, and a Qatari owned £200,000 Ferrari 458 all displaying eye-catching colours, interior and modifications. One of the super-cars spotted, a £150,000 Maserati Gran Turismo, was given a unique look by adding a shiny silver bonnet in contrast to the deep red body of the car.

Car enthusiasts would be in for a treat when viewing some of the line ups on show, with the foreign number plates in place; these vehicles are temporary eye candy for many of us, as foreign number plates indicate a temporary visit from the owners.  Yet the question is how you can tell where these cars and their owners come from, especially if the plate texts are in totally different scripts from what we are used to seeing and look very similar to each other.  Well there are some very tell-tale differences between plates from the Middle East which the keen car spotter can use to identify which part of the region these cars come from, we’ve highlight our top 5 commonly spotted Middle Eastern number plates in the UK.

1) Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Number Plates

Abu Dhabi is one of the major emirates that forms the union that is known as the United Arab Emirates, Although less famous than its neighbour Dubai, Abu Dhabi is still a Key oil producing emirate and with its growing tourist market, money is not in short supply. We can see this on the streets of London every summer. Spotting a car from Abu Dhabi can sometimes be a challenge as some plates are completely written in Arabic and on a plain white background which unless you could read Arabic meant they were a bit of a mystery.

But since 2015 the Abu Dhabi government introduced a new number plate design to which reinforced the emirates brand identity, still on a clean white background the new designed number plate which is most likely to be the one sported by thunderous supercars roaring down London streets, also contain a contrasting red Abu Dhabi emblem with English text which is very hard to miss.  These plates definitely could make for some very colourful show plates on the right car.

2) Dubai

Dubai Number Plates

Dubai is the most well-known of the 7 emirates that make up the UAE, and it definitely lives up that hype, hosting some of the tallest buildings in the world and some of the most expensive and luxurious properties in the Emirates if not the entire region, Dubai is a real hub of wealth for the gulf region.

This is reflected in the stunning Dubai plated machines that come to visit our shores each year.

Contrary to the very bright and bolshie image of Dubai as an emirate and a city, the Dubai number plates is a relatively simple affair, with Arabic script and English numerals on a plain white background, the only real give away that these plates are from Dubai is the face that they have “Dubai” written on the number plate itself. That’s pretty much a dead giveaway that the stunning car you have been salivating over is from Dubai.

3) Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia-Number Plates

Saudi Arabia is known for is fabulous Petro dollar riches and for having some of the wealthiest royal families in the world, and very much a leading member of the GCC. As one of the largest producers of oil in the world, the common stereotype would have you believe that all Saudi citizens are wealthy, whilst this is not true, those that are definitely love their cars and are responsible for bringing in some amazing pieces of motoring art into the country. Saudi number plates whilst not being very visually in your face do have a very peculiar look to them; they can be seen sporting four rectangle boxes within the plate containing English Numerals and letters in the bottom two boxes and their Arabic equivalent on the top two. Although the clearest indicator for a Saudi number plate is the KSA initials which stand for “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.

4) Qatar

Qatar Number Plates

Qatar is a relatively small Kingdom in the Arabian Gulf originally known for pearl diving, since the discovery of oil in the nation, this small nation has boomed from the influx of petro dollars and the development of its natural gas industry, leading it to have one of the highest per capita GDP’s in the World. We see these GDP driving down London roads each summer, drawing the attention of groups of keen car spotters.

Qatari number plates are some of the easiest number plates to spot, they virtually shout “I am from Qatar” with their tell-tale serrated burgundy colour Qatari flag edged designs. Just in case you missed that they also say Qatar in contrasting white on burgundy.

5) Kuwait


Kuwait is a very small oil rich country bordering Iraq and Saudi Arabia, with its highly petroleum focussed economy and relatively small population as with like Qatar means has one of the highest GDP’s in the world. So it’s not surprising that wealthy Kuwaitis bring over their wonderful supercars and SUV’s when they come to the UK on holiday.

Kuwaiti number plates are relatively similar to Dubai number plates in the sense that they are quite plain with a white background and contrasting black text and numbers. The only direct give away for a number plate from Kuwait is that the plate has Kuwait written on the right of the plate, which is a relatively easy spot.

Whilst not everyone can take their supercar with them on their holiday, you can still represent your personality where you are and in your home city. With our Number Plate Builder we can build you an array of show plates and road legal number plates as you need.

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