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.

144 replies
  1. Nik
    Nik says:

    Dear James,
    I am about to buy a private plate which is currently on retention.
    I would ideally like to put this on my lease vehicle (Arval). Registered Keeper is Arval.
    Does this mean that the seller will fill out the details and the grantee will be Arval? Or in other words am I buying a plate that I will not own?
    Im not sure the best way to deal with this and a little concerned when it comes to the end of the contract that I will not get my plate back for which I have spent a lot of money.
    Is there anything I need to do to ensure a smooth transfer.

    Thank you

  2. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Janet, Please notify your motor insurer you wish to retain your private registration. You still need to apply to DVLA and may have to include a letter of no interest and the engineers report (both available on request from your motor insurer).

  3. Janet newsham
    Janet newsham says:

    Hi my vehicle has been written off but has private reg plates on th e insurance company is due to pick the vehicle up on Wednesday 2nd November I have the old number plates to give them but I want to keep my private plates how do I go about doing this please

  4. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Alan, DVLA is currently taking 7-10 days to deal with retention applications by post. You could continue to drive your existing car until the plate transfer is complete, at which point you could pick up your new car displaying your private plates. This would avoid any issues linked to the congestion charge and your resident permit. With any form of cherished transfer the instruction from DVLA (in relation to number plates) states: “you should put these on your vehicle as soon as possible”.

  5. Alan
    Alan says:

    James – thanks for prompt reply. Follow up is to ask if I use postal system as you advise, there could be an interim period (days/weeks?) when I would be driving a new car without the registered plate linked to Congestion Charge/Resident Permit etc. Do I simply have to accept this will be the case and there is no way I can make the transfer timing as close as possible? Could I ask the question again about how long after paying the £80 online number retention I have before I must take the plate off the car and use the one allocated by the DVLA? I’m thinking about what could be done in advance to save time. Alan

  6. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Alan, Considering your situation, I think the best option is to submit a combined application by post to DVLA once you have chosen a new car. This would be a request to transfer your cherished plate from your current vehicle to your new vehicle (form V317) while notifying DVLA you are the new keeper at the same time. This method removes the requirement for an interim registration. You would need to tax the new vehicle (using the V5C/2 new keeper’s details section of the log book) prior to sending off your application to DVLA. In the future DVLA hopes to introduce a system which will allow combined applications to be processed online.

  7. Alan
    Alan says:

    Forgive my lack of research, but newbie at this. Am I naive to think I could do everything almost simultaneously? In an ideal world, I want to transfer our cherished plate when we find a car to buy in the next month or so. Happy to set process in motion in advance but really need to keep existing registration number right up to the last minute. I’m a Central London resident (Mayfair) so Westminster Resident’s Permit, Congestion Charge Exemption and in my case Westminster ParkRight White Disabled badge (blue badge not affected) all have my registration in their system (by number plate, not VIN etc). The horror of taking my reg off, then notifying/registering all the above of the interim reg, then notifying them again of my ‘reinstated’ reg number on the new car is mortifying. Every CC camera and CEO Parking will issue a penalty ticket on a daily basis.
    I’m really hoping I can somehow pay the £80 now, keep my current plate on the car ‘indefinitely’, find a new car and then over a weekend i) put the Replacement Registration on current car prior to sale or trade-in; ii) transfer my current number to the new car having had the plates made up in advance.
    Am I dreaming? How long would I have to keep my number on current car in spite of paying and applying to Place it on Retention?

  8. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Carolyn, As you assume, all that is needed is a change of keeper on the car. You can make the change on the last day of the month and then purchase tax the next day (on the first day of the month) using the document reference number on the V5C/2 new keeper supplement. Alternatively you can wait until the tax is due to expire and process the change of keeper online the next day. Use the vehicle enquiry website to check when the tax expires.

  9. Carolyn
    Carolyn says:

    I own a car which has always been my sons. I want to register it in his name now. It has on it his personalised number plate which is also in my name still. What is the best process for making this change? I am assuming it is best to do at the change over of a month as we will have to swap the tax over is that the case?

  10. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Hayley, You can use the car providing it is legal in all other respects (tax, insurance, MOT, etc). After the retention application is complete DVLA will issue a new V5C Registration Certificate (log book). You should use the new V5C when selling the car.

  11. Hayley Wroe
    Hayley Wroe says:

    Hi James,

    Im looking to put my private reg plates on retention, due to me selling the car, however once i have done this can i still use the car or do i have to wait for some sort of document to come through? i have the old reg plates with the old v5 document can i sell it straight away?

  12. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Karen, He can still send the application to DVLA by post by simply following the instructions on the V750. It may be easier to go to a public library or borrow a friend’s smartphone to get access to the internet and complete the assignment online.

  13. karen
    karen says:

    Hi james, my friend has a v750 and a v750/5 form, as he bought a private plate but has not re-newed the retention because he believed it was now free from 2015 and he thought he just had to hold on to it. The retention date ran out on 1st March 2016 but he has now purchased a car and would like to put his private plate on it.
    He doesn’t have an e mail address or computer, could you please advise us if he can still go ahead by post. thank you

  14. Angela
    Angela says:

    Hi James
    Great advice. I put ny private plate on retention 5 years ago and payed one fee to do this. Can i now put this plate on another car or sell it? Or is there further fees to pay?

  15. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Gary, Yes, once the plates are fitted please notify your motor insurer, recovery agent and tracker provider.

  16. gary
    gary says:

    Hi James

    When I transfer my car to my new private number plate do I have to inform my insurers of the new registration details.

  17. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Alice, The instruction from DVLA is to fit new plates ‘as soon as possible’.

  18. alice
    alice says:

    Hi James,

    I am planning on putting my number plate on retention in order to swap them onto my new car when it arrives. If i complete the forms online, what is the time limit for swapping the physical plate over on my current car to the newly assigned registration plate? Do I have to do it straight away or am I able to wait a few days to get them made up?


  19. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Steve, If you retain online you will be notified of the replacement registration on screen and the V5C should follow by post in 2-3 days. As you say, it makes sense to delay taxing the car until the end of the month if you may sell it by then. Yes, the new keeper needs to tax the car, they can do this using the document reference number from the V5C/2 (new keeper section/green slip). The retention document usually arrives a day or two after the V5C log book. Once your new car is registered in your name and address and you have the V5C you can apply to put your private plate on.

  20. Steve Soffe
    Steve Soffe says:

    Hi James,

    Many thanks for your response, so if I retain it online now and it goes through I should get a new V5 with probably the original registration in 2-3 days by post?

    I am only thinking if I am selling the car and I get the new car before the 31st July it makes no sense re-taxing it? As am I right in thinking the new owner has to re-tax anyway? (Change of ownership rule?)

    I am guessing the new person can re- tax using the V5 that comes through to me?

    In terms of the retention certificate of the personal plate, I presume this comes after the V5?

    Once I get my new vehicle V5 in my name can I then put a request in online to put the plate back on my new vehicle?

  21. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Steve, It doesn’t matter which way round you do it, the tax status automatically updates with the vehicle. If you do it now you can use the reference number on the V11 reminder letter from DVLA. If you retain your plate first, you can use the document reference number from the replacement V5C log book if you buy car tax online.

  22. Steve Soffe
    Steve Soffe says:

    Hi James,

    We are looking to sell our vehicle and purchase a new one. My current vehicle has my personal plate on which I want to retain. I was going to do this online now, however I have just had tax renewal through the post today which needs renewing by 31st July.

    Am I better off putting the plate on retention online now first, waiting 2-3 days for the V5 and then I presume I can re-tax the car?

    Or should I tax the car first then apply for the retention?

    My thoughts were to retain first?

  23. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi John, You can tax your new car online straight away using the document reference number from section 10 of the V5C/2 (new keeper section/green slip). The tax will automatically swap over from the current registration to your private plate when the plate transfer completes. Don’t notify DVLA you have sold your old car until the plate has been taken off it and you have the replacement V5C showing a standard-issue plate.

  24. john Armstrong
    john Armstrong says:

    Hi James,
    I recently changed my car through a dealer and agreed as part of the purchase that they would pay to change my personal reg over to my new car. I knew that because i had not started the process to retain my plate i would have to wait for the new VC5 to come through with my details as new owner. I have just left the two VC5 boith in my name and filled out a v317 to start the process. My question is what should i do regarding tax as i have never notified DVLA that i sold my old car, and do i have to wait for a replacement VC5 doc to arrive with new replacment number for my old car, before i can advise DVLA that i have sold it?
    Sorry to be a pain!

  25. Mehmet
    Mehmet says:

    Hi James

    Thanks for this information on your page. I have just purchased a new car (via finance), the car is on hold with a deposit, as i was unable to collect it today. Reason being is i am part exchanging my car, which has a private plate on. I have put my private plate on retention now, and have the old/original plates to go on the car as advised by DVLA. However the dealer needs the new log book with the old reg on it so that i can complete it all. Currently i only have the logbook with my private reg on as i only put it on retention yesterday. In your experience how long will it take the new log book to come. I know you said 2 working days above but I just wanted to check if this was still the case (or there about) Thanks

  26. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi David, If the personalised plate is currently on a vehicle you only need the V5C (log book). A V750/V778 is only applicable if the plate is held away from a vehicle. This article explains how to assign a private plate online and should tell you all you need to know – start with the paragraph ‘my private plate is held on a vehicle’.

  27. David Weller
    David Weller says:

    Hi James, I wish to transfer personalised plate (currently on vehicle) to my son’s car. I do not have V750/778 with nominee’s (son) name; your advice as to how to proceed would be appreciated, thank you.

  28. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Peter, It’s difficult to answer your question without knowing more information. Who did you buy your registration from? Did/do you have a DVLA certificate or retention document? Why couldn’t you originally assign it to your vehicle?

  29. Peter Ross
    Peter Ross says:

    I bought a registration plate 3 years ago but couldn’t assign it to my vehicle. Since then I have done nothing about it and got a new vehicle, have I lost out on the registration that i purchased?

  30. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Paul, You should fit replacement number plates as soon as possible – that usually means waiting a couple of days for the replacement V5C (log book) to arrive in the post and then going along to Halfords to get the plates made. Once the plates are on your car you should notify your motor insurer, tracker provider and recovery organisation.

  31. Paul
    Paul says:

    I’m wanting to sell my car but retain the personal plate we have. I understand the process outlined, but have questions:

    How long am I allowed to keep the existing personal plates on my vehicle, or do I have to get the new plates put on immediately?

    I assume I have to advise my insurance company immediately


  32. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Jackie, As it is a legal matter I can’t comment on your specific case, you may need to consult a legal practitioner. Generally speaking the person/company named on a DVLA document has the rights to a registration. The rights pass if a registration is assigned to a vehicle. From that moment the registered keeper of the vehicle receives/inherits the rights.

  33. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    Hi James. My ex-husband died two years ago without leaving a will. His girlfriend has now assumed ownership of all his effects, including a private plate, which she has had transferred into her name. (I don’t know how she was able to do that as I know my ex wanted our daughter to have it and would never have passed it on to his girlfriend.) The DVLA agreed to put a block on its (likely) sale until his estate was settled. That has now happened, with my daughter being named as his sole inheritor. If his effects are now legally hers is there any way his girlfriend could possibly keep the plate?

  34. RichardN
    RichardN says:

    Hi James,
    Great website, very informative! I am just preparing my car for scrap and paid £80 to retain my personalised plate before selling it. Two questions:

    1) What is the maximum period I am allowed by DVLA to by a new car and transfer the plate onto it? I think I read 10 years but can’t find the source now.
    2) Am I right in assuming there will be no fee when I transfer the plate onto my new car.

    Many thanks,

  35. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Jo, There’s no need to panic. Try again to retain your registration online and take note of what it says on-screen when notified your application can’t be processed. You may have to apply by post but you will need to cross out the information you have provided in section 9 of the V5C. It may be necessary to enclose a ‘letter of no interest’ and the engineers report (both available from your motor insurer). The crucial part is to retain the registration (by post or online) before you complete the section 9 notification.

  36. Jo
    Jo says:

    I have accidentally filled in section 9 of my v5c (before retaining my number plate). I have not sent anything off yet but am panicking now. My car is being transferred to an insurance company as it is a write off but I want to keep my private plate (I have entered the insurers details in my log book but it the log book with my private plate). I have filled in correct details on the V317 but as I also need to send my V5c back to get the original reg/new reg for the car, im concerned the insurers will have the car with my reg. Is there anything I can do?
    I was unable to do it online but will phone dvla asap.

  37. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Diane, I have never known the numbers to differ. On the email from DVLA it is called a ‘retention certificate number’ but on the paper retention document it is called a ‘document reference number’. The format is similar to: 1 15328 80654 ABC123X. Give the retention document to the garage supplying your new car and they should be able to sort it.

  38. Diane
    Diane says:

    Hi James
    Yes it is a brand new car and I have spoken to the garage and they are going to do it for me. However the certificate number I received by email from DVLA when I first retained my number differs to the certificate number on the retention document. Which one do I use? This has been such a confusing time for me and I am getting a bit fed up with the whole process, I think that this will be the last time I change my car.

  39. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Diane, Is it a brand new (unregistered) car you are buying? If so, give the garage your V778 retention document and they will register the car using your private plate. If you are buying a pre-owned (registered) car, the blog post How to assign a private number plate online may answer your question.

  40. Diane
    Diane says:

    Hi James
    Thanks for the reply I have managed to do it. However can I now put my personlised number plate onto my new car before I collect it from the garage.

  41. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Diane, The tax is automatically switched over. The car is taxed, not the actual registration.

  42. Diane
    Diane says:

    When I have applied to retain my personalized plate will my car tax still be current or will I need to re-tax my car with the new number plates so I can still drive until I get my new car. i can’t find any info at all about Car Tax the rest seems straight forward

  43. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Richard, You will receive a replacement V5C (log book) within a few days. You are then expected to buy a set of number plates and attach them to your car as soon as possible. If you were collecting your new car in 10 days it wouldn’t be too bad, but to not swap the plates for 12 weeks is pushing it. Definitely not worth the risk of being stopped by the police and fined in my opinion.

  44. Richard Bedford-Smith
    Richard Bedford-Smith says:

    Hi James,

    I have just paid £80 to the DVLA to put my currently used private plate on retention as I am intending to sell it and buy a new car. However, I have learnt today that the new car may not be available for 12 weeks whereas originally I thought the change over would be done with 10 days.

    Am I still allowed to drive around in my current car even though the number plate is technically on retention?

    Advise please. Would be greatly appreciated.


  45. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Billy, Submit your application by post to DVLA and see what response you get. They seem to be dealt with on a case by case basis. It is highly likely the vehicle will require an inspection by a DVLA representative.

  46. Billy
    Billy says:


    What’s the deal with private plates on a vehicle that has been sorn for 5 years or more. Can these still be retained or transferred?


  47. Emma Sharpe
    Emma Sharpe says:

    I have a car registered with its “standard” plate. If I buy a private plate and wish to assign the private plate to the car, what happens to the existing standard plate? Is it worth putting it on retention (£80 fee) for when I come to sell the car, or better to just wait till I want to sell the car and get another standard registration allocated to it before I sell it? Thanks.

  48. Peter
    Peter says:

    Hi James

    My father had a cherished plate on retention and recently died. My mother is the beneficiary of the Will but is incapacitated and does not drive and I have power of attorney for her.

    I wish to keep the registration and have it put in my name. Have you any idea how I can do this? I’ve trawled the internet but have, so far, come up with zilch.

  49. Roy
    Roy says:

    Hi James,
    I retained my plate in June 2015 and now want put it on another car. I have miss placed the green certificate how long does it take to get a replacement?

  50. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Roxanne, Unfortunately you can’t combine a plate transfer and change of keeper application online. Your friend can apply to retain his personal plate online, once he receives the replacement V5C (two working-days later) you can complete the change of keeper notifications online. A couple of days later when the replacement V5C arrives he can apply online to put his private plate on his new car.

  51. Roxanne
    Roxanne says:

    A friend an I want to swap cars. His car has a personal plate and mine does not. If we transfer his personal plate online to my car it’s is instant?! Can we then immediately do the v5 online instantly too? So the plate is transferred plate and ownership is done together? Is it that instant?

  52. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Glen, If your retention application is processed online you can swap the plates on your current vehicle immediately. For your new car, you have to wait until you have the V5C log book in your name and address before assigning your private plate. Read how to put a private plate on a vehicle.

  53. Glen
    Glen says:

    Hello James,

    I get my new vehicle on Sunday, my current vehicle (which will be my old vehicle) will be uninsured from this date. I plan on giving this vehicle to my partner but I need to get my private plate off and onto the new car asap. What is the best way to go about this? If I apply online can I literally swap the plates over on the same day, giving me the chance to put the original registration on my old vehicle also on the same day?

    Thanks very much,

  54. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Phil, I suggest applying online a couple of weeks before you are ready to change cars so that if the online application is rejected, you still have enough time to apply by post.

  55. Phil
    Phil says:

    Cheers I’m planing on swapping my car within the next two months, do I need to start the process of retaining it now or wait until I have picked my new car and then go through the process of transferring it the reg plate over to that while purchasing it? Which will be more cost effective and a quicker process in terms of picking up my new car?
    Sorry but thanks

  56. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Phil, The fact that you want to put your plate on a different car means you have to separate it from your existing car. You can either retain it (much quicker & easier when done online) or you can apply to do a direct transfer – submitting your application by post to DVLA. Both a cherished transfer and a retention application cost the same (£80 fee to DVLA). If you complete the retention application online you should receive a replacement V5C two working days later, three working days for the retention document by separate post. It could take up to two weeks if you apply to transfer or retain your personalised registration by post.

  57. Phil
    Phil says:

    Just wandering I want to get rid of my car and purchase a new one then putting my personalised reg plate on the new vehicle from my existing car, do I need to put the personalised reg into retention or can I just assign it to the new vehicle? And how long does the process take?

  58. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Eduardo, If your online retention application is successful you receive instant notification of the replacement registration on-screen and by email. The instruction from DVLA is to fit new number plates as soon as possible. You can continue to use the vehicle.

  59. Eduardo
    Eduardo says:

    Hi James,
    If you apply to get a retention certificate for a number plate online. How do they communicate you your new registration plate? How long does it take to get the new reg so that you can get the new plates made?

    I want to keep using the vehicke while the process is being done. Is this possible?

    Kind regards

  60. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    I would definitely wait until the seller has the replacement V5C. Remember to tax & insure the car on the correct registration and make sure the new number plates are fitted before driving away.

  61. Sharn
    Sharn says:

    Thank you so much, so If she doesn’t have it, should I wait? it’s a 2 and a half hour drive to collect the car and I don’t want a wasted journey

  62. Sharn
    Sharn says:

    Hi I went to look at a car last saturday which had a private plate on it, there was no mention in the add on Auto Trader that the owner wanted to keep the plate but she told me after I agreed to buy the car. She has had it transferred back to an old number plate as I have checked on line and the new number is on the vehicle.

    Can I still tax the car though, if she doesn’t have the new V5c document to give me? I doubt she will have received it by this saturday. Should I just wait until she has all the paperwork before going to buy the car? Or can I still buy the car with the old log book.

    I saw the log book when I looked at the car, but the new registration mumber is different as it is also an old private number that has apparently been now registered to it?? I’m confused

  63. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Marty, Unfortunately it isn’t currently possible to assign a private plate to a vehicle online until you have the V5C (log book) back from DVLA having completed the change of keeper. You can complete the change of keeper notification online, but must wait a few days for the replacement V5C to then assign your private plate online. The only way to notify DVLA you are the new keeper and apply to assign your private plate at the same time is to submit the application by post.

  64. Marty Thomas
    Marty Thomas says:

    I want to transfer my plate to a new vehicle ASAP, im in Australia working and get home sunday, but pick the car up on Monday with the plate on is this possible if I fill in the forms online, then carry the documents with me when I pick up the car, or can it be done within the week, considering it is Tuesday?

  65. Alan Holl
    Alan Holl says:


    I am moving to Dubai and want to remove my personalised plate from my car before selling it and therefore retaining my personalised plate.

    I understand that a plate of the relevant year will be assigned to my car – 99% of the time it will be revert to the original.

    My question is do I use a V317 form sent with my V5, MOT and tax disc info or do I use the V778/1 form sent with my V5, MOT and tax disc info to DVLA or do I need to take either of the above to my local DVLA office…

  66. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Rachel, It’s free! The annual renewal fee was scrapped in March this year. Send your application to DVLA and you will receive a new retention document valid for 10 years.

  67. Rachel Black
    Rachel Black says:

    I currently have a plate on retention & have received my reminder to V778 to keep it on retention but it doesn’t say how much I need to send? It used to be £25 for a year but I’m confused do I have to pay £105 & how long does this now last?

  68. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Karilyn, You should have received a replacement V5C Registration Certificate (log book) from DVLA. The registration showing on the log book should be the same as the number plates fitted to the car. You should take the number plates off your car (your cherished registration) and fit replacement number plates. Remember to notify your motor insurer once the plates are fitted.

  69. Karilyn
    Karilyn says:

    Sorry for being a thicko, this is the first time Ive done this.
    I applied to put the plate on retention, I received a V778 saying it was successful.
    So I should now take the cherished plate off and put the original reg on until I get my new car in two weeks?

  70. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Karilyn, If you have already separated your cherished plate from your current car, you should fit number plates displaying the correct registration as soon as possible.

  71. Karilyn
    Karilyn says:

    Ive received the Retention Document (V778) but I dont get my new car for two weeks.
    Do I need to remove the cherished plate and put the old one back on for the next two weeks?

  72. Drew
    Drew says:

    Does the vehicle carrying the plate you wish to retain need to have an MOT ? or just the log book.

    thank you Drew

  73. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Matt, The instruction from DVLA regarding your new plates is to ‘put these on your vehicle as soon as possible’. It is perfectly acceptable in my opinion to drive your car to collect your new set of plates. Remember to notify your motor insurer of your new registration.

  74. Matt
    Matt says:

    Thanks for the article. Please could you help me with this: If I apply to retain my personalised number plate before selling my car, when I get a new generic number plate (likely to be my car’s original) will it be legal for me to drive the car on the personalised number plate to collect a newly made set of plates, or will I have to keep the car on the driveway until the plates have been swapped?

    Thanks in advance,

  75. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Jef, You only pay the £80 fee once; when you apply to separate the plate from the vehicle. There are no fees to pay when you assign the registration in the future.

  76. Jef
    Jef says:

    Looks like the fees went up too. If i read it right its £80 to retain and a further £80 to re assign in the future making £160 instead of the old £105 all in. Am i correct in my reading of this?

  77. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Dani, If you retain your number plate online you don’t have to send any documents to DVLA. If you apply by post you should enclose the V5C with your application.

  78. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Steve, It is highly likely your vehicle will be reunited with its original registration. Please ensure you retain your personalised registration before notifying DVLA of the change of keeper. If you retain your plate online you should have a replacement V5C (log book) within a few days.

  79. steve saxton
    steve saxton says:

    if i retain my personalised registration and sell my vehicle is the vehicle issued with its orignal reg or does it get anew one ,

  80. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi John, At some stage in the vehicle’s past it has been untaxed for a period of time (according to DVLA records). Before your retention application can be processed the vehicle record needs to be looked at further by someone at DVLA. You will have to submit your retention application by post as detailed in the article above.

  81. John
    John says:

    Hi, just tried applying online to retain my number plate and I just keep getting sent through to a page saying:
    This registration number cannot be retained online

    Transaction Id YSV806150801172500

    You are unable to continue with this application online.

    We need to look into your application further due to the vehicle’s licensing history.

    Any idea what this means?


  82. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Kevin, The new rules were introduced on 9th March 2015. Your existing document is not valid for 10 years and will need renewing 28 days before 1/2/2016 (free of charge). Your next retention document will be valid for 10 years with an expiry date of 1/2/2026.

  83. Kevin Foulsham
    Kevin Foulsham says:

    I have just renewed an expired retention document and although I understand that the retention of a document is now valid for 10 years the section ‘1’ states that I must assign the registration mark to a vehicle by 01 02 2016. ? So can you please tell me whether I will be able to again renew the retention of the registration mark after 01 02 2016. Or will the right to retain the registration mark completely if I do not assign the mark by the date shown in section ‘1’ of DVLA form V778.?
    Kind regards
    Kevin Foulsham

  84. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Ian, The retention document is sent out separately and usually arrives within 48 hours of the V5C.

  85. Ian Carr
    Ian Carr says:

    Hi James, about 10 days ago I sent a postal application V317 and the V5C and the fee to DVLA, to retain the reg for my wife’s car before she disposes of it. We received the replacement V5C yesterday in the post, but no V778 retention document. Should we expect to receive these together or do they get sent back separately? If we should have received it with the V5C, can you advise a number we can contact DVLA on, as struggling to find one? Many thanks.

  86. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Usman, Did you complete the new keeper section of the V5C registration certificate (logbook) for the car you bought at auction? Effectively the car you bought no longer belongs to the previous owner. If you entered the previous owner’s name and address on the right-hand side of the V317 that is enough for DVLA to reject the application. Wait until you have the rejected application back from DVLA and give me a call.

  87. Usman
    Usman says:

    Hi James

    I recently bought a car from an auction. I filled in the V317 form to transfer the number plate to the new car. I filled in the details according to the log books as the car is not in my name yet. I’ve just called the DVLA office and theyve told me the application was rejected but cant give me any more information. I filled in my details in the existing car section and the details of the previous owner as in the new car details as the log book is still in his name. Would this be a reason why the application was rejected?


  88. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Chris, You have to extend the retention document when it’s due for renewal but there is no fee to pay. DVLA will issue a replacement V778 retention document valid for 10 years.

  89. Chris Rickeard
    Chris Rickeard says:

    Have Number on Retention Cerficate due to expire 1st June 2015 do I have to renew to qualify for 10 Year duration ?
    Many Thanks
    Chris Rickeard

  90. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Tom, There are lots of changes (relating to private plates) coming into force on Monday 9th March 2015. The retention fee is being reduced from £105 to £80, plus you no longer have to submit a paper MOT certificate with any applications to DVLA. The electronic record will be updated and can be checked using the vehicle enquiry service, but you won’t receive a replacement VT20 MOT certificate. So to answer your question, just send the V317 application form, V5C and payment of £80. Even if you send it to DVLA today it is unlikely to be processed before Monday next week.

  91. tom
    tom says:

    Hi can anyone help me! Selling my car ASAP and need to get my plate off it. Cant for the life of me find my MOT certificate! Only had the plate since september and if i type it in online it shows up with the MOT expiriy date etc. Will I be okay to send off the form, V5 and fee without the MOT certificate?

  92. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Wayne, Nothing to be concerned about, the V5C is usually the first item to come back followed shortly after by the retention document and the MOT certificate which all come separately. You should have everything by Wednesday next week.

  93. Wayne
    Wayne says:

    Recently filled in a V317 to retain a personalised plate due to selling my car. Enclosed form, payment, V5 and MOT.
    Just received the V5 today only 9 days after sending which is great, but I was expecting a replacement MOT cert and some sort of retention certificate. Do they get sent separately? or has something been missed. Unsure whether to call DVLA or wait a few days to see if anything else turns up.
    Any advice appreciated.

  94. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Jason, There’s nothing to worry about, the MOT certificate (VT 20) will soon be made obsolete. All MOT records are now held digitally, so even if you didn’t enclose the actual MOT certificate the transfer would still be processed without any problems. You can check the status of both vehicles using the vehicle enquiry service.

  95. Jason
    Jason says:

    Hi, I recently bought a new car from a dealer and my previous car has a personailsed registration on it that I want to transfer to the new car. I’ve sent the £80 with v317 off with my new cars MoT certificate and V5C with my details filled in the new keepers parts with section 8 signed by myself, I’ve also sent with it my old vehicles V5C and a duplicate MoT certificate from the same garage I got it MoT’d at. Would a duplicate MoT cause problems with the transfer process? I ask because the original MoT certificate is with my old car at the dealers as I used it as part exchange on the basis they wont sell it until I receive the new V5 and they fill in their part and I send it off. Many thanks if you can help!

  96. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Magda, The rules differ depending on whether you are separating a personalised registration from a vehicle, or putting a personalised registration on to a vehicle. In your case you are applying to retain a registration; there is only one vehicle involved, sometimes referred to as the donor vehicle. It doesn’t matter if the donor vehicle has an expired MOT providing it expired no more than 12 months ago, the same rule applies to the road tax. So to clarify; you can apply to retain your registration as your MOT only expired expired two weeks ago. If you are no longer using your car on public roads you can make a SORN declaration which will automatically trigger a refund of any full months of road tax remaining. Just to clarify a SORN declaration is different to an MOT test.

  97. Magda
    Magda says:

    Hi there, thank you for your assistance. Can I just clarify something if I may? Are you saying I don’t need to declare my car as sorn to be able to apply to retain the plate? Will they accept an expired MOT certificate? I thought the rules were that it must be a valid in date MOT certificate? It expired 6th Jan. thank you again. ,

  98. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Magda, You can retain the plate on your existing car. The current rules say the tax/MOT must not have expired more than 12 months ago. If the MOT has only just run out and you haven’t yet made the SORN you shouldn’t have any problems. Allow two weeks for the retention application to be processed.

  99. Magda
    Magda says:

    I’m purchasing a brand new car 1st March & the MOT has recently ran out, car still taxed at present. Obviously I don’t see the point in payibg for another MOT when things could be found wrong with it causing me unnecessary cost so am I able to apply for plate to be put on retention once I have declared the car sorn? And how long does this process take? Thank you.

  100. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Paul, As the rules stand you can’t change the Grantee unless the person named as Grantee on the retention document dies.

  101. Paul welsh
    Paul welsh says:

    Hi James I have 2 number plates on retention documents these are owned by me but in my father in laws name as we used to share a car I now wish to change the grantees name to mine as he is getting on and don’t drive anymore but not shore how to go about this any help would be great thanks paul

  102. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Stephen, DVLA may process the retention application if the MOT and tax expired less than 12 months ago. It’s certainly worth submitting the application; you will not be charged the £105 fee if your daughter’s car does not meet the criteria.

  103. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    My daughters car has personalised plate, it’s blown up and due to be scrapped she really wants to keep her plates. The car has no mot and tax now as we were hoping to have it fixed but the work isn’t cost effective. From what I have gathered she can’t retain her plate now is that correct?

  104. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Abdullah, Generally if the tax or MOT only recently expired, DVLA will process your application to transfer or retain your registration without any problems. Based on what you have said I don’t think it will be necessary to re-MOT your car.

  105. usman abdullah
    usman abdullah says:

    my mot is expired in next 5 days and i wanted to retention number plates for new car do i need to have mot or if i apply very next day i dont need a mot and are they must call peoples for inspect the car for retemtion thanks

  106. Rabinder Gill
    Rabinder Gill says:

    Hi , I have a plate on retention under my name, but I wish to put it on my sons car which is registered under his name. What do I need to do.

  107. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Kevin, You can apply to transfer the private plate from your son’s car to your existing car (£80 fee) and at the same time retain your private plate (£105 fee). You need to complete two V317 forms, one for the transfer, one for the retention application. When the paperwork arrives from DVLA you can then hand the retention document for your private plate to the dealer supplying your new car.

  108. Kevin Lee
    Kevin Lee says:

    I have a car with private plate , my son also has a private plate on his car, my son is buying my car, and i am buying a new one . What is the quickest and cheapest way of doing this , I am unsure of my new cars delivery date for assigning so will probably retain.
    any help appreciated

  109. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    My son bought a car 6 months ago with private plates on. It had no tax so taxed it with the green slip to give the previous owner chance to retain his plates. 5 months on I was worried about having to tax it again and sent off for the v5 which has now come in my sons name. The previous owner is now contacting my son with nasty emails saying he will send some people round to ‘sort’ us out and get the plates back. We have explained that he had 5 months to go to the DVLA to retain them and we need to relax at the end of the month but he doesn’t seem to understand.
    Could you confirm that it was his responsibility to sort the plates out and not ours? I am wondering if I need to speak to the police as he is being so threatening.
    Thanks Deb

  110. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Claire, I think you need to wait until you hear back from DVLA as it may be resolved without you having to do anything else. If you are not happy with the response from DVLA try taking it up with the motor dealer who took your car in part-exchange. They will have a record of who they sold your old car to and you could then approach the new keeper direct about getting your private plate back.

  111. claire briggs
    claire briggs says:


    Can anyone help, personlised reg on my car, but px it in. Yellow slip was sent to dvla in error. car was sold and the new keeper applied for new v5 to tax it. Dvla sent a new v5 with the personalised reg. Sent dvla a letter once slip had been sent off explaing that it was sent in error but they sat on the paperwork for over a week and in that time timeframe issued the new v5. They are now saying that they will contact the new keeper to see if they will give up the plate, if they wont they are saying ive lost it. Is there anything else i could do to try and get this back?


  112. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Shona, There are a lot of garages who won’t submit vehicle to vehicle transfers at the moment. DVLA are going through a transition period which has meant cherished transfers are not being dealt with as quickly as they used to be. Putting your retained registration onto your new car is a fairly straightforward task and can still be done at the counter of your nearest DVLA Local Office at this moment in time. You need your retention document (V778), the V5C Registration Certificate for your Mazda, the MOT Certificate and the expiry date from your existing tax disc. If your tax disc is due to expire this month I recommend taxing your car at the same time which also means taking your motor insurance certificate with you.

    The process of putting your retained personal plate on to your new Mazda is referred to as ‘assigning’ by DVLA. You can assign your registration the same day at the counter of your nearest DVLA Local Office and I recommend you go in person if it is practical to do so. Once your registration is assigned to your car there is nothing else to pay on an annual basis as the plate is no longer on retention. If you have any other questions please post them here and I will advise you accordingly.

  113. Shona Blacklock
    Shona Blacklock says:

    Hi James. Easily confused! I bought a 10 year old Mazda from a garage a month ago & the salesman said I needed to retain my personal number plate from my Honda costing me £105, I think it was because the Mazda was owned by a disabled lady? I’m still not clear as to why I needed to retain the plate, & not just do a straight swap filling in the relevant section of the form, from car to car? Also, do I need to keep paying every year, as it seems to be only retained til Sept ’14?
    All I wanted to do was put my personal plate on my ‘new’ Mazda, but its so confusing…
    Thanks, Shona !

  114. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Laura, The simple answer is yes, providing the buyer of your car agrees to it. You can notify DVLA of the new keeper and retain your private plate by adding your name and address in the Grantee section on the V317. The person buying your car would drive it away & insure it with the private plates still attached but then have to change the number plates and notify their motor insurer in a few weeks time once the retention application is processed. You have to submit the complete V5C (log-book) with the retention application which means the new keeper doesn’t get to keep the green slip (V5C/2) whilst the paperwork is being processed. Providing the buyer is in agreement it can be done. I definitely suggest handing the application in at your nearest DVLA Local Office to make sure everything is completed correctly. The new keeper must sign the V317 form as they are effectively the keeper when the application is submitted.

  115. Laura
    Laura says:

    Hi, we have a buyer for our car, and just realised we need to retain the private plate. Is there a way of changing ownership and retaining the plate in our name at the same time?

  116. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi John, I’m going to assume your private registration is displayed on your current vehicle. If that is the case and you pay £105 to retain your reg, you don’t have to pay a further £80 when you assign it to your motability car. If your circumstances are different to my assumptions, give me a bit more information and I will advise accordingly.

  117. John
    John says:

    Getting a motability car but have private i have to pay £80,thenfurther £ changeit over.

  118. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Andrew, Is your name already showing in the nominee section of the V778 (top-left underneath where the registration is shown in a box)? If so then everything seems to be in order. You do not have to sign your V5C unless you are notifying DVLA of any changes (new keeper/new address, etc.) at the same time. If it is convenient I suggest handing the application in at your nearest DVLA Local Office. They will check everything for you at the counter before sending off to Swansea. Alternatively you can post your application to: DVLA, Swansea SA99 1DS.

  119. Andrew Mantle
    Andrew Mantle says:

    Hi James, I have bought a personal number and have been assigned the Nominee by the Grantee on form V778, I now wish to assign the number to my vehicle but also wish to keep/retain the personal number I already have on my vehicle, I’m about to send the following documents to transfer and retain my personal numbers.

    Form: V778 section 1 completed with my vehicle details and signed by the Grantee
    Form: V317 (retention) sections 1, 2, and 4 completed and signed by me
    My current valid MOT certificate.
    Form V5C (my log book) do I need to sign this?
    Cheque payment for 12 months retention = £105.00

    is all present and correct?


  120. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Robbie, Most people will be reluctant to buy a second-hand car from a stranger without a V5C logbook. If you are selling to a friend or if someone in your family is buying your car, you could make a written agreement between yourselves stating the change of keeper date and that the buyer is responsible for any parking tickets/fines/motoring offences etc. Then when the V5C arrives you can officially notify DVLA of the change of keeper.

  121. robbie thomson
    robbie thomson says:

    If i go to the local dvla office to retain my cherished plate, do i need the new v5 before i can sell the car privately? or can i sell it once i get the go-ahead from the dvla?

  122. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Dean, If you go ahead and buy a plate you don’t have to retain your car’s existing registration. When you put a private plate on a car the original registration is held on the DVLA computer. When the time comes to sell your car you can retain your private plate and as part of the process DVLA will allocate an age-related registration to your car; 99% of the time it will be the car’s original registration. This article explains replacement registrations in more detail.

  123. Dean
    Dean says:

    I have been thinking about buying a plate and have hit a stumbling block after reading about retaining the original plate for the vehicle with the v317. Do I need to retain the original number by paying this fee for when I sell the car and swap my plate to a new car? Or do the dvla automatically reassign the original plate back to vehicle??

  124. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Andy, You don’t have to pay anything when you assign your plate to your new car providing the name of the Grantee or Nominee on the retention document matches the name of the registered keeper of the vehicle. The £105 retention fee is made up of an £80 transfer fee, plus a £25 admin fee. Remember you can assign your registration at the same time as notifying DVLA that you are the new keeper of the car. Go along with the paperwork to your nearest DVLA local office and they will sort it for you.

  125. Andy
    Andy says:

    Hi, if I pay the £105 to retain the plate do I then have to pay the £80 to transfer it 2 weeks later when I have a new vehicle to put it on?



  126. James Saperia
    James Saperia says:

    Hi Gemma, Yes the V5C logbook does come separately from DVLA Swansea. If you have already received the replacement tax disc and the green retention document, expect to receive the V5C in the next couple of days. Remember to notify your motor insurer when you change the number plates/tax disc.

  127. gemma
    gemma says:

    i applied to put my private number plate on retention i have received the new tax disc and document back but not the new v5 logbook do i get this separately ? Need to know asap cause someone wants to buy the car

    Thank You

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