Transferring a Personalised Registration Plate

Transferring a Personalised Registration Plate

Private or personalised number plates are very popular in the UK - in fact, there are more than 45 million of them. These unique registration numbers have been selected by drivers as a way of personalising their vehicle, ensuring it is instantly recognisable.

Whether you’ve chosen a private plate as a statement of individuality, for sentimental reasons or simply as an investment, you might be wondering whether it’s possible to put a private plate on a lease car.

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 personalised 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 personalised number plate on a vehicle

There are some circumstances in which the DVLA will not allow a personalised 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 a 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 personalised 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 personalised 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 personalised number plate to a new leased car?

Great news - yes you can! However, as you are not the legal owner of the car, it is important to ensure you follow the correct procedure to transfer your private number plate. Rivervale Leasing has got you covered with our three-point plan for the transfer of private plates.

Follow the easy steps below and you’ll have your personalised number plate transferred to your new lease car in no time.

  • Request written permission from your finance company. If you’re leasing a car through Rivervale Leasing, get in touch with the team to discuss how to obtain this.
  • Send the relevant forms to your finance provider. If you’ve recently bought new private plates then you will need to send the V750 document. If your chosen number plate has been used on another car previously, you will need to provide the V778 document.
  • In the Nominee Details section, you will need to write the name of the finance company, as they are the registered keeper of the vehicle. Once the documents have been received by the finance provider, they will process the forms and send them to the DVLA. Note that you may be charged an administration fee for this service.

Arrange for the private plate to be assigned to the lease car. There are two options here:

  • Before Delivery – Either a V750 V788 form must show the finance company as the nominee, which can then be sent to the supplying dealer (this can be Rivervale if you leased your vehicle through us) and not the finance company. The supplying dealer will then apply the plate at point of registration. There is no fee for this. This is only applicable for vehicles that haven’t been registered yet, if the vehicle is a pre-registered vehicle then it must be done after delivery.
  • After Delivery – This can not be done immediately after delivery. First, the vehicle must be set live by the funder (usually 10 days or so after delivery) at which point the customer sends off the V750 or V778 to the finance company and pays their admin fee (anything from £14.40 to £60). The finance company will then apply to the DVLA for the plate change and will email the customer once the plate can be swapped, this generally takes a couple of weeks depending on the funder. Only once you have received the confirmation email can you swap the physical plate on the car over. Delivery to plate change is usually 2-3 weeks.

Can I transfer my personalised plate between lease cars?

Yes, but you will need to discuss this with your lease provider. They will probably advise you to put your private plate on retention using the DVLA number plate retention service before setting up your new lease agreement.

How do I remove a private number plate from a lease?

Two months prior to the end of your contract, follow the steps below to arrange for your private number plate to be removed from the vehicle:

Send the cheque to the DVLA along with a V317 form not a letter!

You must inform your insurance company of the plate change, otherwise, you’ll find yourself in trouble with both the DVLA and the police!

Pay any required administration fees to the finance provider.

Once all of the above has been processed, you will receive an acknowledgement letter. After the DVLA has amended the vehicle’s registration number on their records and you have been notified, you will be required to update the vehicle's number plate straightaway. This must happen before you return the vehicle to the lease hire company.

What will happen to my private number plate?

If you no longer wish to use your private number plate, you can give up your right to do so via the DVLA website.

If you wish to keep using your DVLA private plate, you can follow the steps outlined above to assign it to your new car.

Alternatively, you can choose to put your plate on retention with the DVLA until you are ready to use it again. If you choose this option, you will be issued with a V778 retention document to show you have the right to re-assign the private number plate for the next 10 years.

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