The UK Rules
Private Registration

DVLA Personalised Number Plates

There are several ways to get DVLA personalised plates for a vehicle. You get buy personal numbers at an auction or direct from the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency.

This step by step guide explains how to get a private (personalised) number plate and then assign it or transfer it (e.g. to a car or motorcycle).

Private Registrations | Table of Contents

So, you have some interest in buying DVLA cherished plates and using them on your vehicle? Well, there are two easy ways to buy a private (personalised) registration.

You can make the purchase from a private dealer or you can order number plates online from DVLA in Swansea.

Doing so should give you the legal right to use the private number on your vehicle. If so, providing you have the correct documentation, you can make an application to put it on (assign it).

Personalised Number Plate Retention

What if you choose not to use the private number any longer? In this case, you can keep it by applying to 'take it off' the vehicle and put it 'on retention' (e.g. for use at some time in the future).

Important: The V778 retention document that you get would serve as proof that you still have the legal right to use it.

Selling Personalised Number Plates

You can also sell a DVLA personalised (private) registration, or give it away as a gift, if you no longer want to use it.

Transferring a Private Number

There is a two step process to transfer a private number from one vehicle to another. So, to make a DVLA private plate transfer, you would need to:

  1. Apply to take the number off the vehicle that you are transferring it from (e.g. online or by post).
  2. Assign the private (personalised) number to the vehicle that you are transferring it to.

Note: You can also use Form V317 to apply to keep a vehicle registration number (retention) and then put it on another vehicle (assign it).

How to Buy Personalised Number Plates

Buying Direct from the DVLA

In fact, 'DVLA Personalised Registrations' has millions of personalised number plates that you can choose from, including auction plates and cherished plates.

Buying at a DVLA Auction

A DVLA personalised number plates auction takes place several times a year (5 live and 4 timed) around the country. You can also view a catalogue online that shows DVLA future auctions and an updated list of cherished numbers that are available.

Note: You can make a bid at a personalised plates auction online, in person, by telephone, or in writing.

A V750 certificate of entitlement proves that you have the legal right to assign the private (personalised) number to a vehicle. As the highest bidder, you would receive the V750 document after payment.

Buying from a Private Dealer

You can also buy private registration from a dealer or from another person. As a rule, reputable dealers would take care of the transfer on your behalf.

But, you would need to get the V750 certificate of entitlement or the V778 certificate of retention from the private dealer to keep or assign the number yourself.

How to Assign a Private Number Plate

You are going to need at least one of the following documents to assign a private (personalised) number to a vehicle (e.g. car or motorcycle):

You would get at least one of these after buying exclusive registration numbers or taking the number off another vehicle that you already own.

You will not be able to:

  • Assign a number beginning with letters 'Q' or 'NIQ'.
  • Put a private number on a vehicle with a 'Q registration' (e.g. unable to confirm its age or identity).
  • Use a private number if it makes the vehicle appear newer than it is (e.g. using an '07' registration number on a vehicle registered in 2003).

The vehicle must be:

  • Already registered with the DVLA in the United Kingdom and available for inspection.
  • Able to move under its own power and a type that needs an MOT (or HGV test certificate).
  • Taxed continuously for the past five (5) years (or had a SORN in place).
  • Taxed currently (or have a SORN in place). It will need taxing if the Statutory Off Road Notification has been in place for more than five (5) years.

Note: After checking the application, the DVLA would contact you if they want to inspect the vehicle.

When assigning a private number:

  • Apply online or use postal methods if the vehicle is already registered to you.
  • The DVLA will send a new V5C in your name if you bought a used vehicle. Following that you can then apply online or by post.
  • Give the V750 or V778 document to the dealer and ask them to apply on your behalf if the vehicle is brand new.
  • Apply online or by post if the vehicle is registered to someone else and you would like to transfer the private number to them.

Providing you already have the vehicle log book (V5C) there is no charge to apply online or by post.

There is a different process to follow if there is a private number already on the vehicle. In this case, you must apply to take the number off first. Failing to do so means you may lose the right to use it.

Assign a Car Number Plate Online

The DVLA will assign the number straight away if the vehicle is not going to need a visual inspection. So, be prepared (e.g. find your nearest number plate supplier) to put new plates on the vehicle after applying online.

Important: The service to assign a number online is open from 7am to 7pm and also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

Applying by Postal Methods

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will take about two (2) weeks to assign a number if you apply by post (unless the vehicle needs an inspection). You would need to send:

Note: Are you assigning the number to someone else's vehicle? If so, you should add them as a 'nominee' by completing section 2 of the V750 or the V778.

What if you want to tax the vehicle at the same time? In this case, you would also need to include (all):

After Assigning a Private Number

The DVLA will send you:

  • The original MOT certificate (if you sent one).
  • A new vehicle log book (V5C registration certificate). You should allow up to six weeks for it to arrive.

You would then need to:

  • Fix new number plates onto the vehicle before driving it on public roads.
  • Notify the insurance company about the new registration number.

Important: It is wise to keep the original registration number and plates. DVLA would reassign them if the private number is taken off the vehicle. You must wait until you get the new log book (V5C) before selling it or getting rid of it (e.g. scrapping your vehicle).


Take a Registration Number Off a Vehicle

There are several reasons for taking a private (personalised) number off a vehicle. You would need to take off a personal number to (either):

  • Assign DVLA personalised number plates to another vehicle.
  • Keep or 'retain' the number for use sometime in the future.

Note: In most cases, they will reassign the original registration by automatic process after taking off the private number. You cannot keep any number if it starts with the letters 'Q' or 'NIQ'.

The vehicle must be:

  • Already registered with the DVLA in the United Kingdom and available for inspection.
  • Able to move under its own power and a type that needs an MOT (or HGV test certificate).
  • Taxed continuously for the past five (5) years (or had a SORN in place).
  • Taxed currently (or have a SORN in place). It will need taxing if the Statutory Off Road Notification has been in place for more than five (5) years.

Note: After checking your application, the DVLA would contact you if the vehicle will need an inspection.

Application to Take Off a Number

The current cost to apply online or by post is £80 (providing you already have the vehicle log book). You would need to apply by postal methods if the vehicle is not registered in your name.

Applying Online

The DVLA will remove the number straight away if they do not need to inspect the vehicle. So, you will be able to assign it after you applied to take it off (using the online reference number).

Important: The service to assign a number online is open from 7am to 7pm and also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

Applying by Post

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency will take about two (2) weeks to remove a number if you apply by post (unless it needs an inspection). You would then need to send:

  • A completed Form V317 'application to keep a vehicle registration number (personalised number plate) and put it on another vehicle'.
  • The vehicle log book (V5C) or the green 'new keeper' slip along with a completed V62 'application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C'.
  • Payment for the transfer fee (currently £80).

If you want to tax the vehicle at the same time you would need to include (all):

After Taking Off a Private Number

The DVLA will send you:

  • A new log book (V5C) that shows the replacement registration number (allow up to six weeks).
  • The original MOT certificate (if you sent one).
  • A V778 retention document if the private (personalised) number has been registered in your name. If not, the 'nominee' would receive the V778 document.

You would then need to:

  • Get number plates made up and fix them onto the vehicle before driving it on public roads.
  • Notify the insurance company about the new registration number.

What about the Private Number?

A V778 retention document serves as proof that you still have the legal right to assign the personalised number for the next ten (10) years. But, you would lose your right to use a private number if you fail to renew it before the V778 expires.

Important: Selling or destroying the vehicle before getting the V778 means you would also lose the right to use the private number. You can choose to give up your right to use a personal number if you do not assign it.


How to Renew or Replace a Private Number

The right to use your private (personalised) number plates needs renewing every ten (10) years (unless used on a vehicle). Private numbers bought before 2015 need renewing on an annual basis. Your V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document will confirm the requirement.

Renewing a V750 or V778 Document

The DVLA will send a reminder letter or email if you are not using your personalised vehicle registration. It will notify you that your right to use it is about expire. There is no fee to renew a private number and you can do so for up to ten (10) years.

How to Renew a V750 Online

You need to have an account (or create one) with 'DVLA Personalised Registration' to renew your V750 certificate of entitlement online.

Making Renewals by Post

You can renew by post by filling in the form on the V750 certificate or V778 document and then sending it to the address written on the form.

What if the V750 or V778 has Expired?

You will be able to buy the right to use a private registration number again, if (both):

  • You got the V750 or V778 before the 9th of March 2015.
  • It has expired since the 1st of May 2011.

Note: You would need to apply by the 18th of December 2019. The DVLA will refuse applications after this date. The fee is £25 for each year (or part year) that it has been expired.

Fill in the form on the V750 certificate or V778 document and then send it along with the current fee to the address written on the form.

You would need to send a letter to DVLA Personalised Registrations if you do not have the V750 or V778. The letter must explain why the document is not in your possession. You must also include:

  • Details of your private (personalised) registration number.
  • Proof of your name and address (e.g. a driving licence, passport, and copy of a utility bill).
  • The current fee for V750 or V778 renewal.

How to Replace a Lost V750 or V778

Send a letter to 'DVLA Personalised Registrations' if your V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document is lost or stolen. You can ask for a replacement V750 or V778, providing:

  • It has not already expired.
  • You have the legal right to use the number (e.g. your name was on the V778 or V750 document as 'grantee').
DVLA Personalised Registrations
Swansea
SA99 1DS

Note: Allow up to four (4) weeks to get a new V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document.


Selling or Giving a Private Number

You can buy a DVLA private number plate as a gift for someone. You can also sell a private (personalised) number that you already own. Either way, the benefactor must assign the number to their vehicle before using it.

You should follow the same steps for assigning a private number to someone else if you will be giving it away as a personalised number plate gift.

Selling a Personalised Number Plate

There are several ways of selling your private number. You can either sell it yourself or you can use the services of a private number dealer.

Important: You should never share a photograph or a scan of the V750 or V778 document. Fraudsters use illegal scams to put private numbers on other vehicles.

Using a Private Dealer

Most private number dealers will complete the whole process on your behalf. They will try to find a buyer, arrange for the payment, and then transfer the registration to the vehicle of the person who bought it from you.

Selling it Yourself

You can also choose to sell your private number yourself, without using a dealer. Once you find a buyer, you would need to follow the steps for assigning a private number to someone else to assign it to their vehicle.

Assigning Your Personalised Number to Someone Else

You can use the online service or postal methods to put your private number onto someone else's vehicle. The DVLA would then send a replacement log book for the vehicle that contains the new private number assigned to it.

To assign it online you need:

  • The details of your V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document.
  • The details of the log book (V5C) of the vehicle that you will be assigning the number to.

When you assign a number online it is usually assigned with immediate effect. The digital service opens from 7am to 7pm and is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

To assign by post, send DVLA:

  • Your V778 or V750 form (after filling in sections 1 and 2 and signing it).
  • The log book (V5C) relevant to the vehicle that you want to put the personalised number on.

What if a Nominee Dies?

If the nominee dies, the person with the legal right to use the private number will be able to change the 'nominee'.

You would need to fill in section 2 of the V750 or V778 document and add the details of the new nominee. Remember to sign the form and send it to the DVLA Personalised Registrations address.

DVLA Buying a Number Plate as a Gift

There is one topic that tops the list of personalised registration gifts - that is NAMES! A survey shows most motorists would choose to have their own name on a number plate - if it was given as a gift.

So, let's take a closer look:

The survey, conducted by the DVLA, included 1,000 motorists. They wanted their thoughts on personalised registrations for cars. As you might expect, personal names and nicknames topped the list.

But, registrations representing a business were also a popular choice. Somewhat surprisingly, those that represented a favourite sports team, or a family pet, also ranked high on the list.

DVLA Personalised Registrations list over 50 million different permutations. They also revealed that those most searched for on their website were 'BE11 CKY' and 'SB51 MON' (during the year 2017).

Some DVLA personalised number plates sell at auction for hundreds of thousands of pounds. But, anyone looking for a DVLA private number plate gift on a smaller budget can find registrations starting at £250.

Members of the public can buy personalised registrations online 24 hours a day. The DVLA has a dedicated team to help customers find the number they want over the phone.

Interesting Facts about Personalised Registrations

The DVLA has now been providing personalised registrations to motorists for thirty years. Since their first auction took place in 1989 they have sold close to 6 million numbers to motorists.

At the time of writing, sales of personalised (private) registrations have generated almost £2 billion for the Treasury.

The five most expensive registrations sold by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are:

  • 25 O (sold for £400,000)
  • 1 D (sold for £285,000)
  • 51 NGH (sold for £201,000)
  • 1 RH (sold for £196,000)
  • K1 NGS (sold for £185,000)

Note: The DVLA considers the combination of certain numbers and letters to be too rude or offensive with the arrival of 2020 (20-plate registration) and bans them from use. Typical examples include OR19 ASM, AS19 OLE, DO19 POO, and DO19 SHT.


How to Change Your Name or Address

Changing Address Online (V750)

You can use your 'DVLA Personalised Registrations' account to change your address online (for the V750 certificate of entitlement only).

Changing Address by Post (V750 or V778)

You would need to fill in the 'change of address' section in the V750 or V778 to change your address by postal methods. Sign the form and send it to the DVLA Personalised Registrations address.

What if you do not have the V750 or V778 document? In this case, you would need to write a letter stating the details of your new address. Sign the letter and send it to DVLA Personalised Registrations.

You would also need to send some proof of your identity which can be a copy of:

  • A household bill (sent out to you within the last three months).
  • A medical card.
  • A bank or a building society statement (sent out to you within the last three months).
  • Your birth certificate.
  • Your Council Tax bill for the current year.
  • Your current and valid British driving licence.
  • Your passport.

Changing Your Name (V750 or V778)

You would need to use postal methods to change your name on a V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document. You would need to send some proof of your new name, such as a copy of:

  • Your marriage certificate.
  • A deed poll (that shows you used legal methods to change your name).
  • The decree nisi or decree absolute (from a divorce).

Use the section marked 'nominee details' in the V750 or V778 document to make a name change and then sign it. Send it, along with the proof of your name change, to the 'DVLA Personalised Registrations' postal address.

What if You Do Not have the V750 or V778 Document?

In this case, you would need to write a letter stating the full details of your new name. Sign the letter and send with some proof of your name change to DVLA Personalised Registrations.

Fixing Errors and Mistakes

You can fix any mistakes by writing a letter stating what the error relates to. Send the letter along with the V750 or V778 document to the postal address of DVLA Personalised Registrations.


Giving Up Your Right to Use a Private Number

Even though you have the right to use a private (personalised) number, you can decide not to assign it to a vehicle. It means you may qualify for a refund of £80.

It relates to the fee that you paid when (either):

  • You first bought the number (e.g. included in the cost).
  • You took the number off a vehicle.

You would be able to apply for a refund if:

  • After paying the fee, the number did not get assigned to any vehicle.
  • You have the latest V778 or V750 document (providing it is still valid you can get a replacement from the DVLA if you lost it).

Note: Documents issued before the 9th of March 2015 only qualify for a refund once they expire. But, you cannot replace a document once it expires.

You would need to tick the section marked 'Give up the right to this registered number (surrender)' on the V778 or the V750 document. Remember to sign it and then send it to:

DVLA Personalised Registrations
Swansea
SA99 1DS

Important: You will not be able to use DVLA personalised number plates after giving up your right. The process differs if the person who has the legal right to use a personal number has died.


If the Person with the Right to the Number Dies

You may be the beneficiary if the person with the right to use the private (personalised) number dies. If so, or if you have the 'role of executor' after a death, you would be able to (either):

  • Keep (retain) the DVLA private registration number (or transfer it to another vehicle).
  • Put the personalised registration into someone else's name (e.g. a nominee).
  • Give up the right to use the number and then apply for a refund (see details above).

You would need to send a form to the DVLA and provide them with documentation that proves you have the legal right to use the private number.

Proving You Have the Legal Right

The DVLA will need either the original the death certificate, or a certified copy, when you send in the form. They will also need at least one of these documents:

Keep, Transfer, or Give the Number to Someone Else

The correct form to use, and send to the DVLA, will depend on whether the personalised number is already assigned to a vehicle.

If the private number is already assigned, you would need to use:

  • Form V317 (fill in section 2 of the old blue forms).
  • Section 2 for the new style log book (e.g. the front cover contains multi-coloured numbered blocks).
  • Section 6 for the older style log book.

Remember to include the details of the person that you would like to transfer the number to (e.g. the next of kin or the executor of the will). The current cost is £80.

If the personal number is not assigned to a vehicle you would need to send the documents that prove you have the right to use it, along with (either):

  • The V778 retention document
  • The V750 certificate of entitlement form

The executor of the will needs to sign the V778 or V750 document and provide you with a covering letter stating whether you want to keep the number or give it to another person.

If you are not in possession of either the V778 or the V750 you would need to send:

  • Documentation that proves you have the legal right to use the number.
  • A covering letter signed by the executor that confirms you do not have the vehicle documents and explains your intentions for the personalised registration.

DVLA Private Registrations Guide for United Kingdom

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