Ultimate Guide to Car Plates

Ultimate Guide to Private Number Plates

Can I sell my private number plate?

If you don’t need to use your private number plate you can sell it. To transfer the number plate you will need to use a DVLA form V317. So if, you are transferring a number plate from one car to another car by selling it:

  1. You will need to remove it from the original car
  2. Assign it to the new owner of the registration plate
  3. Don’t scan your V750 or V778 forms or certificates and post or upload them on the internet; and not email them
  4. If the number plate is already on retention (not on the car), you still have the right to sell it if you no longer need it
  5. Private number plates can only be used on the car which has been registered; has the appropriate road tax and legally can be used on the roads in the United Kingdom
  6. When you have bought a private number plate you have the right to put it on a car registered in your name or the buyer’s registered car

How can I take a private registration number from a car?

Private number plates can be removed from your car if you don’t need to use it anymore or it can be transferred to another car you own or it can be sold.

UK car number plates explained?

I you are thinking of buying a UK car number plate or one needs to be transferred you will need to ensure that the number plate complies with DVLA requirements. The type, size, colour and placement of the number plate needs to be carefully checked.

  • Should have a compliant font and type face
  • The height and width of each letter must be that required by the DVLA
  • The GB and Euro symbol should be placed on the left hand side in a blue strip
  • Each letter should be 79mm tall and 14mm thick
  • The space between each letter has to be 11mm wide
  • Each plate has to have the British Standard mark with “BS AU 145d” written on it in small letters
  • The manufacturers identity should be printed in small type also
  • The British Standard Mark should be on the right hand side
  • The person who makes the number plate for you must be registered with the DVLA and authorised by them to produce car plates
  • Those producing illegal number plates may be fined up to £1000.00 and this is to ensure that illegal number plates are not produced in case of identity theft
  • The car plate suppliers have to be keep official records which may be used by the police or the DVLA
  • Once the number plate is fixed it needs to be kept clean at all times in order to comply with the law and you could face a fine of up to £1000.00
  • Number plates can be easily damaged and a replacement should be ordered quickly
  • If the plate needs to be replace you will need to provide the vehicle Log Book and appropriate identification to the manufacturer of the plate
  • Normal number plates should be offensive to the general public
  • Private number plates are a useful asset and a joy to have

Ensure that private number plates comply with the law and the DVLA requirements.

Car plate registration insurance 

If your car is burnt out or written off by your insurance company, the chances are that you may lose your private number plate along with your investment.

You have to make sure that your number plate is covered by your insurance policy otherwise there could be a problem as the owner of the number plate.

There is a risk if you are not prepared regarding how you can obtain insurance for your personalised number plate.

When you net renew your car insurance and you are worried about your number plate, speak to your broker that you have a private number plate which also needs to be insured.

In order to keep your private or cherished number plate contact the DVLA and your insurance company or broker that you want to keep your number plate in case of an accident. Make sure that your insurance company sends a letter of “NON-INTEREST” to the DVLA in order to keep your number plate. Also if there is no car to transfer the plate to make sure you pay the retention fee.

Also make sure that your car has a valid MOT and car tax whether the car is written off stolen or not recovered.

Most expensive number plates

Cars may be expensive to buy but buying car licence plates can be more expensive than the car you are buying.

The cost of private car plates can be a few hundred pounds or a few hundred thousand pounds.

We list below the most expensive United Kingdom number plates:

  1. 1D
  2. 1S
  3. 25O
  4. D1
  5. F1
  6. G1
  7. GB1
  8. M1
  9. S1
  10. X1

DVLA Registration Plates

The UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) control the issue of private registration plates. Your personalised registrations must be place on a vehicle which has the appropriate road tax and current MOT.

Also, make sure that the insurance company of your car can insure the number plate as well.

If you are using a personalised number plate which is incorrectly registered you could face a fine of £1000.00. In order to transfer your private number plate and register it with the DVLA you will need to receive and complete a V750 which will have the full assignment instructions.

The process time with the DVLA can take approximately 10 days.

Younger car plate numbers cannot be used on older cars and older car plate numbers can be used on younger cars.

Registration car numbers identify cars and all such registration numbers are in the ownership of the Secretary of State who controls their ownership.

In order to obtain a correctly formatted car number plate, you have to have them made from a registered Number Plate Supplier (RNPS). If the number plate is not compliant with the law it could be withdrawn by the DVLA. Also, you may be liable to a £1000.00 fine.

It is important to remember that you buy the right to the registration and there is no right to the number until it is assigned to your car.

As previously stated you will need to have a certificate of entitlement reference V750. Each registration will last 10 years and can be renewed 28 days prior to expiry.

How can I assign my car registration?

If you have a:

  • V750 certificate of entitlement or
  • V778 certificate of retention

And want to have the car registration private number plate on your car, and then you have to do the following steps:

  1. Send your application to the DVLA
  2. Enclose a V5C registration form document
  3. If applicable, a new owners supplement V62 form
  4. Make sure that the registration plate complies with the age of the car, new plates cannot be placed on an older car
  5. You will also need to have a compliant MOT certificate an road tax

After the DVLA has had some time to process the documents, the DVLA will send you a V5C Registration Form relating to your change of private plate.

Next steps are:

  1. To inform your insurance company of using a private number plate and your intention to own the plate in the case that your car is scrapped. The registration mark should remain your property and obtain a cover note from your insurance provider to state this in writing.
  2. Fit the compliant new DVLA type number plate to your car.

British Plate Requirements

The layout of the number plate must consist of 2 letters representing the month and year, a gap and 3 random letters. The first two letters are the area identifier, the next 2 numbers are the year identifiers and the last 3 letters are random.

The letters and numbers should be 79mm high and 50mm wide with a gap of 1mm between the letters or numbers.

All car number plates should indicate the supplier of the plates name and their post code:

  • Must be displayed in the centre
  • Should not exceed 178mm high
  • Have a height of 13mm maximum
  • There should be no advertising
  • A small single catch line is permitted
  • The plate should have on the left hand side the Euro logo which should be retro-reflective and have no print on it
  • The reference relating to the British standard BS AU145d should be in the bottom right edge including the manufacturer’s trade mark
  • The manufacturer of the number plate has to keep all records for a minimum of 2 years, which will include information for individuals such as:
    • Registration number
    • Date
    • Full name and address with post code
    • Proof of identity and ownership
    • Name of the staff involved from the plate supplier

The plate must also have the following:

  • The new acrylic plastic material should be used which absorbs more light and has improved reflectivity
  • The plate should be tested for weathering and delaminating
  • All number plates suppliers have to be registered with the DVLA
  • The plate can be purchased by someone who is not the registered owner of the vehicle

The law requires that you:

  • Don’t alter the plate once supplied by an approved supplier
  • You could be fined up you £1000.00
  • The DVLA may withdraw the registration mark
  • The car may not pass the MOT test
  • Plastic or metal plates can be used which are fully compliant



  • Age identifier: the plate has a two digit year/date reference
  • Assignment fee: the DVLA charge a fee for transferring from retention to the assigned car
  • Black and white style number plates: black and white number plates can be used cars pre-dating a certain year; cars manufactured before 1 January 1975 can use the older style
  • Cherished number: means a personal number plate, private number plate, personalised registration mark and the like
  • Cherished registration: means a private number plate as defined by the DVLA
  • Cherished transfer: the process of transferring from one car to another car
  • CNDA: means Cherished Numbers Dealers Association
  • Current registration plate: means the plate format has two letters for the regional identification, the year identifier and there random letters at the end; the DVLA issue these new plates on 1 March and 1 September each year
  • Dateless registration: is a number plate without a date/age identification and can be transferred to any car
  • Department of Transport: the main government department under which the DVLA has authority to govern
  • Donor (seller): is the person or company who passes the ownership of the mark to the new owner of the registration number
  • Donor vehicle: means the vehicle from which the number plate came
  • DOT: means the Department of Transport
  • DVLA new release: new plates are released twice a year by the DVLA and may be auctioned
  • DVLA registrations: means that you can buy unissued marks from the DVLA
  • DVLA select: is the older name or the DVLA registrations
  • DVLA: means the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
  • DVLC: means the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre
  • Entitlement: means you have the right to display the number plate and you have no legal ownership
  • Grantee: means the person able to complete the assignment or transfer as named on the V778 form
  • Illegal plates: car plates which may be subject to penalties
  • Irish number plates: means that these plate should be only used in Ireland
  • Legal plates: must comply with the DVLA requirements MOT compliance and observe police guidance
  • Local identifier: identifies the tax office location o the number plate using the first and second characters of the plate mark
  • Log book: is the DVLA V5 registration document
  • MOT: this is the annual test of roadworthiness issued by the Ministry of Transport
  • New format plate: refers to the current registration plate
  • Nominee name: is the registered keeper of the mark as stated on the V5c
  • Nominee: has no entitlement to the plate mark to be transferred to a car in their name. Their name appears on the V750 and v778 DVLA documents
  • Personalised registration: means a private number plate and not the original car plate
  • Plate numerology: the study of car registration plates
  • PNDA: means the Personal Numbers Dealers Association
  • Prefix registration: is the first letter preceding the number of the plate
  • Prefix: means the registered mark starts with a letter and not a number
  • Private plate: refers to personalised car plate registration
  • Purchaser: mean the Grantee will transfer the registered mark to the Purchaser using the V750 retention document
  • Q marks: refers to car plates which cannot be transferred
  • Receiving car: is the car which will display the transferred plate
  • Recipient (buyer): is the one person or company who has bought to transferred the mark from the Donor
  • Recipient vehicle: is the car with the assigned or transferred number plate
  • Recipient: is the nominated person holding the transferred car registration
  • Registered keeper: means the legal keeper of the car as stated on the DVLA V5 document
  • Registered keeper: the V5C registration document contains the name of the mark
  • Registration mark: is a series of numbers and letters unique to every car as issued by the DVLA
  • Registration number: refers to the registration mark and must comply with BS AU 145d
  • Retention (V778): the DVLA will issue a retention document if the plate is not immediately used. The period of retention can be up to 10 years and before the expiry date it needs to be renewed otherwise you will lose your right to have the mark. There is a fee to be paid to the DVLA to hold the certified mark.
  • Retention certificate: proves that you entitlement to the private registration mark
  • Retention: means that the DVLA gives you 12 months to hold the certificate of entitlement
  • RNC: means Registration Numbers Club
  • Road tax: is the DVLA excise duty
  • Sale of marks: means the sale o unissued car plate numbers by the DVLA
  • Suffix: means a letter was added to the end of the numerals to create further combinations
  • Transfer fee: is the DVLA fee to transfer a plate from one car to another
  • Transfer process: this will initiated by us on the purchase of the mark in accordance with the DVLA regulations
  • V10 form: means the car license application
  • V317 form: means a previous form for transferring number plates
  • V5 form: means the DVLA car ownership logbook document
  • V55 form: means the first application of a car number plate
  • V62 form: is the DVLA form required for the V5C document to be replaced
  • V750 form: means the DVLA retention certificate indicating the number plate mark
  • V778 form: this is used by the DVLA to move the plate from the car to retention
  • V778/1 form: this form is used by the DVLA to transfer the car number plates to retention
  • V7948 form: this is a DVLA certificate showing the car number plate entitlement
  • Vanity plate: is the reference to private number plates used in the United States