Assigning a Personal Number Plate to a Vehicle: A Comprehensive Guide

If you've recently purchased a shiny new car, maybe it's time to indulge in a fresh custom license plate. But how exactly can you transfer this new plate to your vehicle? Fear not, because the process is relatively simple and can be done through traditional mail or even online.

You can acquire personalized license plates either with a Retention Certificate or by directly transferring them to your vehicle. So, if you currently have your registration on a Certificate of Entitlement or Retention Certificate, keep reading to discover precisely how to assign a private license plate to your car.

Here's what you'll find in this article:

When it comes to obtaining a new license plate for your car, you have the option to purchase a private plate from a private company or individual. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to provide any physical documents; you merely require the correct documentation to obtain a license plate once you're ready to assign it to your vehicle.

After successfully purchasing the plate, you will have one of the following:

  • A retention document (V778)
  • A Certificate of Entitlement (V750)
  • An online reference number

Any of these options will serve as proof of ownership for your license plate.

It's important to note that you cannot use a private license plate that misleads others into thinking your vehicle is newer than it actually is. For example, you can't use an "18" registration number on a vehicle from 2008. Additionally, you cannot assign a number beginning with "Q" or "NIQ," nor can you put a private plate on a "Q" registered vehicle.

1. How to apply for license plate assignment to your car?

When it comes to assigning a license plate to your car, the vehicle must be registered under your name. Once that's confirmed, you can proceed with transferring the license plate to your vehicle, either online or through mail.

If you purchase a personalized license plate in person from a company, many of them will handle the number transfer to your vehicle free of charge. However, if you buy the plate online or want to manage the assignment yourself, request a V750 or V778 certificate from the company, allowing you to complete the process at home. But how do you go about putting a private plate on a new car? We've got you covered:

How to assign a private license plate online?

Nowadays, the most convenient and quickest way to assign or transfer a license plate from one car to another is through the website. Whether your car is currently registered to another vehicle or held on a Certificate of Entitlement (V750) or Retention Document (V778), it can be accomplished in as little as five minutes.

There is no fee required for this process, but you must ensure that all your documentation is in order. This includes possessing a valid V778 document or an unexpired V750 certificate.

Keep in mind that if you recently purchased the vehicle and are not the registered keeper, you must wait until you receive the updated V5C log book.

Once your application is accepted by the DVLA, you will receive a confirmation email with an authorization certificate for your license plate (eV958). If you already have your plates, make sure to attach them as soon as possible. However, before you hit the road with your new plates, it is essential to inform your insurance company that your registration number has changed. Failure to do so can result in being uninsured.

If you need to have your new plates produced, you can proceed once you have received your new log book (V5C) or by using your V750/V778 certificate at a DVLA approved license plate supplier. The authorization certificate for your license plate (eV958) can also serve as confirmation.

How to assign a private number plate via mail?

In the event that you do not have access to the internet, there is an alternative option to submit your necessary paperwork to the DVLA through the mail. However, it is important to note that this method generally takes a significantly longer amount of time. In certain situations, mailing the documents becomes a requirement when you receive the following notification:

  • "This registration number cannot be assigned," or
  • "We need to further review your application due to the vehicle's licensing history."

To proceed with this method, you must send your completed application and the corresponding documents to the following address: DVLA Personalised Registrations, Swansea, SA99 1DS.

What is the timeframe for assigning a private number plate?

Once you have successfully assigned a private number plate to your vehicle, a new log book, also known as a V5C, will be sent to you via mail. Please be aware that it may take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks for this document to reach you. However, do not worry, as you will not have to wait over a month to use your new plates. Once your application has been approved, you can immediately start using your new plates.

2. How to transfer a registration number from one vehicle to another?

Photo credit: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

If your private plate is currently attached to another vehicle, the process for transferring it is slightly more involved and must be completed in two stages. You may be wondering, "how do I remove a personalised number plate?" To accomplish this, you must place the plate on retention either online or through the mail.

In order to retain your registration number plate, you are required to complete a V317 form (section B) and inform the appropriate authorities that the plate will be removed. The form provides various options for what you desire to do with the number once it has been removed, such as transferring a private plate from one vehicle to another.

To complete the process of removing a number plate, you will need to submit a one-time fee of £80. If you are transferring number plates to a new vehicle, it is essential to have the vehicle's log book (V5C) readily available. If you apply online, the personalised number plate will be promptly removed, assuming your vehicle does not require an inspection. After submitting your plate removal application, make sure to keep the reference number provided.

However, if you choose to complete the application by mail, the number plate will be removed within two weeks, provided that your vehicle does not require an inspection. The following items must be sent to the DVLA:

  • V317 form, titled "transfer or retain a vehicle registration number"
  • Your vehicle's log book (V5C) or the new keeper's supplement, along with a completed V62 form titled "application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C"
  • A fee of £80

Once the number plate has been successfully removed, the subsequent step is to assign it to your desired vehicle, initiating the process of changing personalised number plates.

To learn how to accomplish this, refer to the "How to apply to assign a number plate to your car" section in this article.

Photo credit: james Weston / Shutterstock

3. What if I want to present a personalised number plate as a gift?

UK number plate format

If you wish to give a personalised number plate as a gift, the process is surprisingly straightforward. It follows a similar procedure to when you purchase a personalised number plate for yourself. To learn more about gifting personalised number plates, you can visit the following website:

When it comes to acquiring a custom license plate, such as when making a personal choice, there is no need for any vehicle documentation. These documents are only required for the transfer of the registration, which can be carried out by the recipient of the gift at a later date. Once you have chosen the ideal registration plate, it will be appended to a certificate that includes your name as the "purchaser" and the recipient's name as the "nominee".

You have the option to request the delivery of the plate to either your own address or the recipient's address. However, if you are not ready to present the plate so early, you can keep it for a year, without any charge. After one year, the DVLA will impose a fee of £25 to renew it.

Featured image credit: Lenscap Photography / Shutterstock

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