Can Two Cars Have the Same Number Plate?

Share this article:

Lamborghini Number plate

Image Credit: Hugh Venables (Source: Geograph).


In the UK, a car that gets driven on public roads must display a number plate at the front and rear of the vehicle. It must conform to the DVLA’s rules regarding fonts, character spacing and size, and vehicle age (i.e., you cannot make a car appear newer than it is).

If you own two or more cars, you might be wondering what the rules are on number plates for them. For example, can two vehicles have the same number plate? Here’s what you need to know on the subject.


Using the Same Number Plate on Two Cars

Let’s assume you own two cars: one that you drive daily, and the other is perhaps a classic car that you drive on weekends or special occasions. You want to get personalised registration plates for your daily driver, but you also want to use them on your classic car.

Is it possible to do so? In short, the answer is no. In the UK, vehicle registration marks (VRMs), as they are known, must be unique and can only get associated with one vehicle. It’s not possible to use the same number plate on two cars.

The reason for that is because a unique number plate makes it quick and easy to identify a vehicle. From a law enforcement perspective, number plates also make it easy to find out who the registered keeper of a car is and other information like the vehicle’s VIN.


How to Swap Number Plates Between Your Cars

If you simply remove your number plate from one car and put it on another without doing anything else, you are committing an offence. Should you get pulled over by the police, your vehicle will most likely get seized, and you could even get arrested and face stiff penalties.

As you can imagine, that’s not a scenario you want to experience. With that in mind, how can you legally use number plates from one of your cars and fit them to another? The way to do that is by asking the DVLA to assign your personalised VRM to your other vehicle.

The original vehicle from which you’ve removed your personalised number plates will revert to its original number plates. You can request number plate transfers from the DVLA online or via post; the former option is considerably quicker than the latter.

Once your request gets received by the DVLA, they will issue new logbooks (V5C documents) for both vehicles.


Number Plate Transfer Costs

Unfortunately, swapping a private registration number from one of your cars to another isn’t free. The DVLA charges £80 to remove and keep a registration reserved for you, although there is no charge to apply that registration to another vehicle.


Transfer Rules and Restrictions

If your private number plates are newer than the car you want to transfer them to, it won’t be possible to transfer them across. That’s because it’s illegal to make any vehicle appear newer than it is by placing a newer VRM on it.



It’s illegal to have two cars with the same number plates on them. However, nothing is stopping you from transferring a registration from one vehicle to another, provided it doesn’t breach the DVLA’s rules and restrictions on number plates.