Transferring number plates


The process of number plate transfer is obviously very important to anyone with a unique registration number. From a legal standpoint, when you purchase a personalised registration plate, you obtain the right to attach that number to a vehicle you own. However, if you then decide to sell that car and buy a new one, or you have multiple vehicles and decide you want your plate on a different one, it isn't as simple as just taking it off and reattaching it! Instead, there is a specific procedure which needs to be completed in order to transfer a number plate.

You can do a number plate transfer from one vehicle to another if:

  • ‌• You own both vehicles
  • ‌• You're buying the vehicle in question
  • ‌• Someone else owns the vehicle

The only time you can't transfer a personalised number plate is if it starts with a 'Q', since this is used to indicate a vehicle which has an uncertain age or origin, or if the age identifier numbers make the car look newer than it is - see our guide 'UK Number Plates Explained' for more information. Both vehicles need to be taxed (or the tax ran out within the last 12 months), registered with the DVLA and are able to be inspected if required. If you meet the eligibility requirements, the actual process of transferring number plates is relatively simple. Fill out a V317 ‘Application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number’ form and send it off to the DVLA enclosed with an £80 transfer fee and the vehicle registration certificate. If the personalised registration plate is being transferred to somebody else's car, then both parties need to complete the application form. Visit the website to obtain a copy of the V317 form for number plate transfer.

Retaining a registration number

Number plate retention allows you to hold onto a personalised number plate in a V778 retention document instead of it being specifically assigned to a vehicle, ensuring that you can reassign it to a vehicle at a later date. The retention of a number plate is essentially the same as transferring number plates; it requires you to the fill out the same V317 form, and the eligibility conditions are identical. The fee is £80, as before, and the retention lasts for 10 years. Visit the website to obtain a copy of the V317 form for number plate retention.