If you are planning to change or get rid of your car, motorbike or van, then you may need to remove and retain a personalised number plate from the vehicle. In some cases, you might be purchasing a private number plate as an investment and not intending to use it on a car, van or motorcycle. The following guide will help if either of these apply to you.
Why retain a private number plate?
Putting a private number plate on retention gives you the right to assign or sell it in future. The majority of private number plates can be placed on retention for use in the near or distant future. The exception is plates that start with “Q’ or “NIQ” .
A V778 retention document can be obtained from the DVLA, and this protects your right to the private registration. The document lasts for a decade, and can be renewed before it expires. If you retain a private plate and the donor vehicle is to be used, it will be given a replacement registration; this is often the one it formerly had.
The alternative to retention is to surrender your right to the private plate. This is not generally advisable, bearing in mind the often high value of personalised registrations.
How to retain a private number plate
A set of conditions relating to the vehicle apply to private number plate retention. It must be DVLA registered. It will also usually require an MOT pass, or in the case of a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), an HGV test pass. It should either have current road tax, or a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN). If the SORN has existed for more than five years, the vehicle needs current tax. The vehicle also has to be capable of motion by means of its own power. Sometimes, the DVLA will inspect vehicles. The organisation will get in touch if this is required.
You can apply by post or online, although only by post if the vehicle doesn’t belong to you, as the replacement log book would have to be sent to the actual owner.
How to retain a private number plate online
You can apply for your retention online between 7:00am and 7:00pm on the DVLA website. The log book, or V5C, will be needed. The private number plate will be removed straight away if an inspection is not deemed necessary, so you should be ready. Your vehicle must not be driven with the private number plate once the DVLA has confirmed its removal. Thus, you need to replace the plates with the new registration or you cannot use the car.
How to retain a private number plate by post
If a vehicle inspection isn’t required, the private number would be removed within a couple of weeks. To apply by post, you must send documentation to the DVLA. The organisation will require the log book, or if you’ve just acquired the car, the new keeper slip with a completed V62 form. You also need to send a V317 to the address on the form, enclosing the stipulated fee.
If you must tax the vehicle, you also need to send an “application for vehicle tax” (V10) form, along with the correct amount of tax and the vehicle’s MOT pass certificate.
How much is it to retain a private number plate?
The DVLA charges a transfer fee when you apply for a private number plate retention. At the time of writing, this is set at £80, but this can of course change. You may also need to pay for new number plates to be made up.