Young Pioneer Tours

North Korean License Plates

Those with a keen eye may notice different coloured license plates while driving through the streets of Pyongyang. With blue, black, red, green and yellow license plates to be seen, each colour can give a small insight into who might be driving each car.

Blue license plates

A blue license plate in North Korea means a government-owned car

The most common colour to be seen is the blue license plate. All blue license plates are state-owned vehicles. They may be registered to companies or businesses, but are essentially all owned by the state.

Black license plates

A black license plate in North Korea means a car owned by the military

Second most common is the black license plates. These are all vehicles owned by the military and can come in the form of vans, buses and cars.

Green license plates

A green license plate in North Korea means a car related to foreign services such as embassies and NGOs

Occasionally you will see green license plates as driven by embassy workers, NGOs and other foreign organisations based in Pyongyang.

Red license plates

A red license plate in North Korea is attached to cars owned by foreign businesses, generally chinese

Red license plates are reserved for privately owned foreign vehicles, generally by Chinese businesspeople based in Pyongyang.

Yellow license plates

A yellow license plate in North Korea is attached to private cars which were awarded to people

Possibly the rarest of the plates is the yellow plate, driven exclusively by local Koreans who are lucky enough to own their own car. Famous sports people who have won gold medals or successfully performed abroad can be gifted cars, so it’s safe to say that whoever is behind the wheel of a yellow-plated vehicle has done something pretty special.

727 license plates

In amongst all these colours, look out for license plates started with 727, signifying July 27 – the DPRK’s date for their Victory Day. These cars are driven by high state officials and come in a variety of colours.

If you cannot read Korean, you might be wondering what the Korean characters at the beginning of each plate mean. These characters are the name of the city in which this car is registered.

The best way to learn more fun facts about North Korea is to join one of our tours!