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Number plate retention - how to guide

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general faq’s | buying faq’s | selling faq’s

If you have a personalised car number plate, you may want remove it from your current vehicle at some point. Perhaps you're selling your current vehicle, or selling it on. Retaining a personalised number plate is reasonably straightforward. But first things first: check whether you can retain your personalised number plate

Can I place my personalised car number plate on retention?

See our number plate retention checklist below:
  1. You must be the registered keeper of the vehicle, named on the V5 log book
  2. Your number plate must be transferable.Check the V5/V5C log book. Look for the words non transferable.
  3. Tax disc on the vehicle should be current.You may be able to retain the personalised car number plate if the tax disc exprired less than 12 months ago, and you declared a SORN with no time gap.
  4. Your vehicle should have a current MOT (if applicable).You may still be able to retain the car number plate, if the MOT expired less than 12 months ago.
  5. Your vehicle should be 'testable'.Some vehicles, for instance tractors, electric cars, and milk floats, don't qualify under the DVLA's number plate scheme.
  6. Q and NIQ number plates can not be retained
For full rules see

Retaining a personalised car number plate

If you need to remove your personalised car number plate from your vehicle, but don't have another vehicle to transfer it to, you can place it on a number plate Retention Document V778. Here's what you need to do:
  1. Complete DVLA form V317 Application to Transfer or Retain a Vehicle Registration Number.You can get this from your local DVLA Office, or download it here: number plate retention form
  2. Take the completed form (or send it by post) to your local DVLA office with the following documents:
    • V5/V5C Vehicle Registration Certificate for the vehicle - original document
    • MOT certificate for the vehicle (if applicable) - original document
    • Tax disc details - serial number and expiry date.We suggest you take a photocopy of the tax disc to avoid error.
  3. You may be asked to produce your vehicle at the DVLA office before the personalised number plate retention is approved.
You'll find full instructions on the V317 form.

How long to retain a personalised number plate?

Placing a car number plate on retention takes around 4 weeks. The DVLA office may decide to inspect your vehicle before the number plate retention is approved - so this could slow things down. You should allow time for this if you are selling (or trading in) your car. Note: If the MOT or tax has run out, don't drive your vehicle to the DVLA office if you are asked to produce it for inspection!

How do I get a replacement car number plate?

When the retention of your personalised car number plate is approved, the DVLA will issue you with another registration number. All you will then need to do is have the number plates made up. Replacement registration numbers are often issued as non transferable - so you won't be able to sell it. But you will be able to assign a registration number plate to the vehicle in the future.

How much to put personalised car number plate on retention?

Current DVLA fees:
Transfer direct from vehicle to vehicle: £80
Retain a car number plate onto a V778 Retention Document: £105


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