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Transferring a Personalised Registration Plate

Transferring a Personalised Registration Plate

If you have a personalised plate and you are buying a new car, your cherished plate can be easily transferred. Here's our step by step guide to how ...

Step 1 Taking your cherished plate off your current vehicle

You can take your personalised number plate off your current vehicle online providing;

  • You vehicle is registered with the DVLA
  • It can move under its own power
  • It has been taxed or declared SORN continuously for the previous 5 years
  • It is a vehicle which has an MOT or HGV test certificate

Very occasionally the DVLA may request to inspect your vehicle, they will let you know if this applys to you.

Take your private registration number off a vehicle online

To complete the online process you will need;

  • The 11 digit document reference number from your V5C vehicle registration certificate
  • A valid credit or debit card as this service will cost £80

Once this process is complete, you will be left with a retention certificate number for your personlised number plate.

If you use the online process your private number plate will be removed straight away. Usually, the original registration number will be reassigned to the vehicle so you can put the old numberplates back on. There are always exceptions though, so make sure you double check!

A new V5C registration certificate will be sent to you.

Step 2: Putting your personalised number plate on your new vehicle

Putting your personalised number plate on your new car can also be completed online for free. To do this the vehicle must;

  • Be registered with the DVLA
  • Have a current VSC with the name and address of the current keeper (you!) displayed correctly
  • Be able to move under its own power
  • Have been taxed or declared SORN continuously for 5 years (or lifetime of vehicle for those younger than 5 years) with no gaps

It is a rarity, but DVLA do have the right to request to inspect your vehicle. They will make contact with you if they wish to do this.

Put a private registration number on a vehicle online

To complete the online process you will need;

  • The retention certificate number from the online service to take a private registration number off a vehicle.
  • The 11 digit document reference number from the vehicles current V5C registration certificate.

Once the process is complete you must put your private registration number on your vehicle straight away. Make sure you keep the original number plates as they are likely to be reassigned should you ever take the cherished number plate off again.

A new V5C registration certificate will be sent to you.

Applying to transfer a personlised number plate by post

If, for any reason, you would prefer to complete this process by post you will need a V317 form. You can download this from the DVLA website or collect a copy from your local post office.

Download the V317 form

The conditions, information required and cost are all exactly the same as for the online process above. You will need to pay the £80 fee by cheque, bankers draft or postal order made out to 'DLVA Swansea' and send your completed form to;

DVLA Personalised Registrations,


SA99 1DS.

Instances where you cannot put a personlised number plate on a vehicle

There are some circumstances in which the DVLA will not allow a personlised number plate to be put on a vehicle. These are:

  1. If the vehicle is a 'Q' registered vehicle (e.g. a kit car or when identity or age cannot be confirmed)
  2. If the personalised number plate will make the vehicle appear newer than it really is.

What should I do if I don't yet have a car to transfer my personalised number plate to?

You may find yourself in the situation where you will have sold your current vehicle before you have purchased a new one. In this case there will be no vehicle to transfer your personlised number plate to.

You can take off your personalised number plate from your old car and retain it until you are ready to put it on your new car. This can be done online following step 1: taking off your personlised number plate above. You will then keep your retention certificate number until you are ready to put the number plate on a new car.

If you are applying to remove your number plate via the post using a V317 form, you need to fill out the section marked for receiving a retention certificate (V778) and retain this until you are ready to put the number plate on a new car.

If it becomes close to 10 years and the number plate has not been used, you will need to renew your retention certificate (V778). This is free and can be done online.

Can I transfer my personlised number plate to a new leased car?

There are a few scenarios to consider if you are leasing a new vehicle and want to apply your personal plate to it.

If you own your current car

If you own your car which currently carries the private plate, providing the new car is not pre-registered, you can transfer your registration from your existing vehicle to the new car in the following way;

  • Download the V317 form
  • Complete section A
  • Send to the supplying dealership along with the V5 for your vehicle and a cheque for £80 to cover the transfer fee.

N.B. this is a slightly longer process than retaining the plate and applying it a registration, see below:

If you own the vehicle and hold the V5 for it, you can also retain the registration number online (cost £80) to speed things up but you will need to ensure that a nominee is added of whoever the finance company may be of your new vehicle as this has to match the first line on the V5/registration doc (seek this information from your broker/dealer). You can only do this once the retention certificate has been received after the online application and you should add the ‘nominee’ in section 2 and sign section 6, then return to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DS. Alternatively you can complete a V317 form to retain the number plate and add a nominee in section B which means that you do not have to return the certificate to the DVLA and saves a little time vs the online method, to retain by post you will need to send the V5 and the completed V317 form along with a cheque for £80 to DVLA to the address above.

Transferring your personalised plate from lease car to lease car

If your existing vehicle is a lease car, you will need to need to discuss this with your current lease provider, who will most likely suggest that you put the plate onto retention at the cost of £80 to DVLA and they will have to control the paperwork as they hold the V5. The whole process usually takes around 2 weeks and as the V317 form will have to be completed in most instances, you can specify to the lease company that you need a nominee added to the retention certificate. At this point the same process as above is followed, a retention certificate will be received with the correct nominee if your vehicle is being applied to another leased vehicle and you will need to issue this to the supplying dealer. Alternatively if you aren’t applying it straight away you will receive the certificate in your name and you can keep the certificate for 10 years or until your decide what you want to do next. Most finance companies charge a small admin fee to process this if you are taking your plate off their vehicle.

If you are changing plates after delivery of your new lease car

If you want to apply your plate to a vehicle after delivery and you own your car you should retain the plate, if it is already on retention then send the retention certificate to the finance company or broker, signing in section 1 and 6 as the finance company can change the nominee at the same time as applying the plate to the vehicle. There may be a small admin fee for this and the vehicle must be live on the finance companies system before it can be applied. If your new vehicle is pre-registered, you will need to put the plate onto the vehicle after delivery as the registration document has already been issued with the age related plate applied. SO once the contract is activated you will be able to apply the plate.

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