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How to transfer a private number plate

Below gives brief description of the process of transferring a registration number from a donor vehicle to another. A private (or personalised) number plate can be bought from the DVLA or from a private dealer.

Your V778 Certificate

Unless the private (or personalised) number was a brand new DLVA issue, it is likely to have come from a donor vehicle. The donor vehicle's owner must have taken the number off first to be able to sell it. If you don't want to use your private number any more, you can apply to the DVLA to take it off your vehicle, but you can hold on to it, if you wish to use it at some point in the future. This is sometimes referred to as putting the personalised number "on retention". The legal owner of the personalised number will be issued with a V778 certificate that proves the owner still has the right to use that number.

Sale of a Private Number

When you don't want to use a private number any more, you might like to sell it. If you do so online, do not share a photograph or scan of the V778 or V750 certificate you have, because somebody other than the online buyer could potentially use it to put that private number on another vehicle.

Assigning (putting on) a Private Number to a Vehicle

Provided you have the right to a private number that is not currently in use, you can apply to assign it to a vehicle. To transfer a private number from one vehicle to another you must:

  • A. Take if off the vehicle you are transferring it from and -
  • B. Assign or put it on to the vehicle you are transferring it to.

Taking a Private Number off a Vehicle

There are two reasons why you might want to take a private number off a car:

  1. You don't wish to use it at the present time.
  2. You want to assign it ("put it on") to another vehicle.

Before you can transfer, assign or put it on to another vehicle, you must prove that you are eligible to do so. This means you must be able to prove you are the registered keeper and have the vehicle's log book (V5C).

The vehicle must be:

  • registered with the DVLA in the United Kingdom
  • of a type that needs on MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate
  • either taxed or a SORN must have been in place
  • available for inspection

It is not possible to keep a number that starts with "NIQ" or "Q".

How to take off a Private Number

This part is easy, as you can take off a private or personalised number by post or online. This process costs £80.00, but if you don't assign the private number within 6 years, you can apply for a refund. The DVLA takes all major credit cards such as MasterCard or Visa, and a wide range of debit cards. If you're posting your payment, you can use a Bankers' Draft or postal order or personal cheque.

You will not be able to use the DVLA online service, if the vehicle is not registered in your name. This means you must apply by post. Send only original documents through the post, but keep photocopies of them at home.

What happens next to the Vehicle

The postal process will take longer, but if you apply online, your vehicle will be assigned a new number instantly. Now you'll need to get new number plates made.

What happens to the private number?

You will receive the aforementioned V778 certificate that proves you are entitled to use that number for the next 10 years. However, you must renew your right to use that number before this deadline expires.

If you used the online service to take off a private number from a vehicle, you can assign the number right away to another vehicle, using the reference number you were given at the end of the "taking off" process.

So to assign the new private number to a vehicle, you will need either a

  • V778 retention document
  • V750 certificate of entitlement
  • your online reference number

You will get one of the above, when you either purchase a private number or assign a personalised number from another donor vehicle you already own.

How to assign the private Number to a Vehicle you already own

Assigning a private number can be done by post or online. Your vehicle must be:

  • registered with the DVLA in the United Kingdom
  • available for inspection
  • of a type that needs an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate

It is not possible to assign a number starting with 'Q' or 'NIQ'.

The assignment process is free of charge.

Once you have assigned your private number to a vehicle, the DVLA will send you a new log book (V5C) in the post. You must then put your new private number plates on the vehicle before you can legally drive it.

Assigning a Private Number to a brand new Vehicle

If you have your V750 or V778 document to hand when you are at the car dealership, you can ask your car dealer to assign a private number to the a vehicle you're purchasing. If you're doing a part exchange, you can ask your dealer to transfer your private number from the vehicle you're selling to the vehicle you're buying.

Both vehicles must be

  • of a type that needs an MOT or
  • heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate.

If you're transferring the private number from a vehicle you already own, the DVLA will send you the new log book (V5C) for that vehicle with a new registration number, but you must not sell or get rid of a vehicle until you receive the new log book (V5C).

Please remember to notify your insurance company of the change in registration number. We can look after all of the necessary paperwork and transfer of private number plates for you, when you either sell or purchase through us. Our friendly staff are knowledgeable in all scenarios of vehicle registration transfer.

The address for postal assignments of private numbers is:

DVLA Personalised Registrations,
DVLA Swansea,
SA99 1DS

Useful Links

You will find here a few notes and forms required for the procedure to transfer a vehicle registration.

Registration marks that show no reference to the very first registration date of a vehicle.

Plates where last letter reveals the age of a vehicle.

Widely available and often less costly than dateless registrations.

An interesting opportunity to investment in some sought after number and letter combinations.

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