There are occasions when you may need to separate your personalised registration from your car. The usual reason is because the car is going to be sold and you don’t want lose the rights to display your personalised plate.
There are two options available when removing a registration from a vehicle; you can either transfer a registration direct to another vehicle (postal applications only), or you can apply to remove a registration from a vehicle (place it on a retention). Once retained, a registration can be held on certificate for as long as you like – or it can be put on (assigned) to another vehicle.
The quickest and easiest way to take a number plate off a vehicle is to retain it online. The registration can then be put on a different vehicle straight away using the online facility (subject to acceptance). It costs the same amount of money to retain or transfer a private plate (£80). By using the online facility you are effectively completing a cherished transfer online; just as a two step process – take a plate off (retain) and put a plate on a vehicle (assign).
If your online retention application is successful you should receive a replacement V5C Registration Certificate by post within five working days. Your V778 Retention Document usually arrives (by separate post) a couple of days after the V5C log book.
If you get a message saying ‘this registration number cannot be retained online’ ring the telephone number on-screen and speak to an advisor. Often the DVLA telephone assistant can make a simple adjustment allowing the application to be processed at the second attempt.
If you provide an email address while completing your online retention application, you will receive confirmation that your application is complete.
If your application can’t be completed online, download form V317 and apply by post.
Changes have been made to the retention scheme since this article was originally published in 2010. The information you are reading is regularly updated and reflects changes as recent as August 2016.
Documents required to retain a private number plate:
The V5C Registration Certificate – often called the ‘log book’
DVLA form V317 signed by the registered keeper of the vehicle (for postal applications)
£80 fee (cheque, bankers draft or postal order payable to DVLA Swansea for postal applications – credit or debit card if applying online)
Where should you apply?
Postal applications should be sent to:
If you are applying to retain your private number plate because you intend to sell your vehicle, it is definitely wise to plan ahead. It can take four weeks for DVLA to process a retention application by post. Please allow enough time to separate your cherished registration ensuring you have replacement vehicle documents from DVLA before selling or part-exchanging your car.
DVLA will automatically issue an age-related replacement registration when you retain the existing plate. Typically the vehicle is reunited with its original registration.
Since Monday 9th March 2015 all V778 retention documents issued by DVLA are valid for 10 years with no fee payable to renew or extend the document. For more information about these changes, read: It now costs less to retain your personalised registration.
If you would like to put your retained private plate on a different vehicle, you can assign a private number plate online.
On the left-hand side of your retention document, just above section 1, you will most likely see the words: ‘THE ASSIGNMENT FEE HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID’. This indicates there are no additional fees payable to DVLA to put your retained plate on a vehicle.
For more information please visit the number plates & vehicle registration section at GOV.UK or contact DVLA.