The UK Rules
Trade Licence Plates

Motor Trade Licence Plates: How to Apply

The DVLA issues 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.

TRADE PLATES UK: A trade licence plate is a temporary number plate. It does not follow the same rules as those for displaying vehicle registration.

Trade plates are for vehicles that are in the 'temporary possession' of a motor trader. The purpose is to save dealers the cost and time to register and tax every car in their possession.

If you are a motor trader, vehicle tester, or repairer you can apply for a trade licence from DVLA.

Motor Trader Eligibility

Motor traders can only use trade licence plates on vehicles that are 'temporarily' in their possession. That means it must take place in the course of the business. Typical examples would include:

Vehicle Tester Eligibility

Vehicle testers can use the trade licence only on vehicles submitted to them for testing. But, that can also include trailers, accessories, and some other equipment.

Misuse of Trade Licence Plates

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency make it an offence to:

Note: Unauthorised use of DVLA trade plates can result in a fine up to £5,000 and a prison term not exceeding two years.

How to Apply for Trade Licence Plates

You can apply for a trade licence at any point during the year. But the month you apply will determine the amount you pay and how long your licence is valid for.

For example, in January you have the option to apply for a 12 month licence. This is not the case in any other month of the year since all licenses expire on either the 30th June or the 31st of December.

If you want to get the most value from your trade licence then January is the best time to apply. If you apply in February then you pay the same rate of duty for all vehicles, but your licence is only valid for 11 months.

Motor Trade Licence Plates: How to ApplyChoose the correct trade plate renewal application form from this list and then download the PDF document for completion:

Note: Further guidance is available on how to fill in a VTL301 application form if it will be your first trade licence.

You will need to supply one of these documents when applying for a first trade licence or renewing trade plates:

Note: Remember to send copies (not originals) as the DVLA do not return trade plate application documents.

DVLA Motor Trade Licence Plates in United Kingdom