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.