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DVLA Number Plates Legislation

Avoid a police check or a fine by following this simple guide on number plate regulations. It covers legislation for the 'Display of a Vehicle Registration Mark' on cars and other motor vehicles in the United Kingdom.

Important Information iconIt is illegal to use any vehicle, car or motorcycle, on a public highway if the number plate font style does not conform to DVLA number plate law in the United Kingdom.

NUMBER PLATE LAW: All vehicles needs to be road legal and conform to DVLA number plate rules to avoid the risk of prosecution.

It relates to the correct use of letters and fonts on number plates. The laws also govern the colours and spacing of numbers.

Adding cartoon character pictures or your favourite logo is not permitted. Driving with customised or stylized letters and italic figures (including the fixing bolts) is not allowed.

Vehicles must comply with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for car number plates and all other driving rules.

The United Kingdom introduced some mandatory changes to the legal DVLA number plate regulations. Since then, all vehicle registration marks must now adhere to the new font style.

Note: In June 2020 the Department for Transport announced the introduction of green number plates along with a multi-million pound investment for electric vehicle research aimed at helping to accelerate a zero-emission future for the United Kingdom.

Road Legal Number Plates Law

Displaying Number Plates

You must comply with DVLA rules for displaying vehicle registration. Failing to do so can result in a possible fine up to £1,000.

Personalised Registration Numbers

How to purchase a cherished or personalised vehicle registration number online. The guide also explains how to assign it to your car or motorcycle in the United Kingdom.

>Note: You can use DVLA Personalised Registrations service to buy a personal registration number for your vehicle. You can also buy some cherished numbers at auction or through private dealer sales.

Put a Registration Number on a Vehicle

You can use the service to put a registration number on a vehicle with DVLA if it’s registered with them. It should be available for inspection, taxed, or have a Statutory off Road Notification in place for the last 5 years.

Note: This DVLA service is available Monday to Saturday (8am to 6pm). There are certain conditions where you cannot to put a registration number on a vehicle. Examples would be a ‘Q’ registered vehicle or to make the vehicle look newer than it really is.

Registered Number Plate Supplier

You must use a registered supplier to get number plates made up. They will need to see original documents that prove your identity (e.g. your passport).

Note: Take proof that you have entitlement to the registration number. The V5 vehicle registration certificate will suffice.

Take a Registration Number off a Vehicle

You can apply to take a registration number off a vehicle. You may want to transfer it to another vehicle or hold on to it for use again in the future. The cost for this service is £80 and the registration number gets retained in the name of the registered keeper.

Note: You cannot retain a registration number starting with ‘Q’. This service is available Monday to Saturday (8am to 6pm).

Trade Licence Plates

The DVLA issue trade licences and trade plates for those who operate in the motor industry. Car manufacturers, dealers, and repairers will need to use motor trade licence plates.

Transfer a Vehicle Registration Number

You need to contact the DVLA to transfer a registration. They will need to update the V750 entitlement certificate on your car or motorcycle.

V750 Certificate and V778 Document

You will need to renew your registration to keep using it. You can also renew or replace a V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document (e.g. after it’s been lost or stolen).

Note: The process for showing that you can assign a personalised registration number is to receive either the certificate of entitlement V750 or the V788 retention document.

DVLA Number Plate Legislation and Regulations in United Kingdom