Replacement Vehicle Registration Numbers

In a previous blog post we covered how to retain a personalised number plate. It prompted a number of questions regarding replacement registration numbers. Some people were asking; do I have to buy a replacement registration number from the DVLA?

When you apply to retain your personalised registration, the DVLA will automatically issue a replacement registration for your vehicle. It is generally an age-related plate and is non-transferable.

JDR6 VW TouranThe best way to explain the procedure is to use an example. I own a VW Touran which has the personalised plates JDR 6. If I apply to transfer or retain JDR 6, the DVLA will issue an appropriate replacement registration for the VW Touran as part of the process.

As the vehicle was first registered in June 2006, the DVLA would issue a ’56’ registration as a replacement. It is highly likely that the Touran would be reunited with its original registration; FL56 XOY. There are no additional fees to pay to the DVLA for your replacement registration.

After your application has been dealt with you will receive a new V5C Registration Certificate (log book) showing the allocated registration. You can use the V5C Registration Certificate as proof of entitlement when you buy a set of replacement number plates for your vehicle. You should contact your motor insurer, tracker provider & recovery agent (AA/RAC/Green Flag) to notify them of the vehicle’s new registration mark.

I hope this clears up any confusion surrounding replacement registration numbers when applying to retain or transfer a personalised number plate.

I Want My Private Number Plate Back!

Love is a wonderful thing…that is how the song goes anyway. So what happens when it all goes wrong?

Imagine if your relationship with your loved one turned sour and subsequently passed the point of no return. What would be top of your list when it came to dividing the assets? Would your private number plate be up there?

For the purpose of this true story the names have been changed to protect the husband and wife whose relationship is sadly no more. We will refer to them as Cheryl and Ashley.

broken heartWe received a call at Simply Registrations from Cheryl. She wanted to sell her personalised registration quickly and was asking for a sensible price. We are talking several thousand pounds just to give you an idea of the sum of money involved.

An agreement was reached and a member of our team drove to the leafy suburbs in a very nice part of Essex. The deal was done, Cheryl received her payment in cash as requested and we collected the DVLA document for the number plate.

Approximately three weeks later Cheryl telephoned our office again. The call went something like this:

“Hi it’s Cheryl. You bought a number plate from me a few weeks ago. It actually belonged to my soon to be ex-husband Ashley and he wants it back. I’ve given him your number but be warned, he is very angry”.

Later that day a man with a very serious sounding voice rang and informed us we had something that belonged to him and he wanted it back. It was Ashley. After some serious huffing and puffing, Ashley realised that we were not part of the plot to deprive him of his treasured personalised registration. In fact we would only be too delighted to reunite him with his prized possession; there was just the small matter of payment to be discussed.

Ashley wanted his registration plates back on his Porsche. He decided to buy back his registration and left other matters to be handled by the courts. We have left out the words he used to describe his soon to be ex-wife, but as you may imagine, they were not very complimentary. Thankfully Ashley was very grateful to Simply Registrations; he was reunited with the part of him he felt was missing and another happy client drove off into the sunset.

So what is the moral of this story? It is to remind owners of personalised registrations to keep their documents safe and to check the listings of number plates available on a regular basis. You never know, there could be one particular registration listed for sale at that you think belongs to you!

Why Do People Buy Private Number Plates?

If you already have private number plates on your car, do you know the real reasons behind why you bought them? Did you secretly expect admirers to fall at your feet as you drove into the car park in your exclusive, limited edition supercar? Were you hoping that displaying an eye-catching personalised registration would roll back the years for you? Today we are investigating the real reasons why people buy the things that they do.

According to one presenter at a marketing seminar I attended last week, a purchase is the result of satisfying one of three things; a need, a want or a desire.


Personally I believe British motorists buy private number plates to satisfy a desire. The marketing expert went on to explain everything in more detail. Have a read of the points below and decide whether you agree with what she had to say.

Desires are the results of emotions. If a person has a strong, burning desire to satisfy, then logic no longer comes into the equation.

The desire contributors are:

To increase your sex appeal
To feel young again
To demonstrate affection or love
To improve your social standing
To gain prestige or to impress your peers
To get one up on the neighbours
To be socially acceptable or more popular

Generally the types of purchases that fall into the desire category are niche products and services; items or experiences that cause people to pay over the odds to get what they really want.

Having read the list of desire contributors, can you think of a purchase that you may have made for one of the above reasons?

If you already own a personalised number plate, did any of the aforementioned factors influence your decision to buy?

I used to think that owning a personalised plate was all about satisfying an ego. Having attended the seminar I now realise we are all just trying to demonstrate affection and love.

Retention of a Personalised Number Plate

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.

The quickest and easiest way to take a private 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 to retain or transfer a private plate (currently £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 application to take a number plate off a vehicle is successful you should receive a replacement V5C Registration Certificate (logbook) by post within five working days. Your V778 Retention Document usually arrives (by separate post) a couple of days after the V5C log book.

online retention application

If you get a message saying ‘this registration number cannot be retained online’ call the telephone number displayed on screen and speak to a member of the the DVLA online support team. They may be able to assist you enabling the online application to be completed at the second attempt.

It is best to provide an email address when completing your application to take a private number plate off a vehicle online. You will then receive an email confirming that your application is complete.

retention application confirmation email

If your application cannot be completed online, download form V317 and apply by post.

DVLA form V317

Changes have been made to the retention scheme since this article was originally published in 2010. The information you are reading was last updated in December 2018.

Documents required to retain a private number plate:

The V5C Registration Certificate – often called the ‘logbook’

DVLA form V317 (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:

Personalised Registrations
SA99 1DS

If you are applying to retain your private number plate because you intend to sell your vehicle, it is 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.

All V778 retention documents issued by DVLA are valid for 10 years with no future fees payable to renew or extend your entitlement.

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.

Do You Have a Nice Reg?

There are lots of number plate information websites out there, but in our opinion Nice-Reg is certainly one of the best.

There are tons of great photos on the site, arranged into categories such as; Number 1’s, Words/Names and often the most sought after of all registrations; the single number/single letter registration plates. There are also lots of useful articles and links to other similar number plates and registrations websites. Nice-Reg is maintained by David, a self-confessed number plate enthusiast.

Click over to the Nice-Reg website right now; a great source of number plate photographs and information.