How To Get Personalised Number Plates In The UK

Share this article:

Have you ever seen The Apprentice and wondered what it must feel like to be Lord Sugar? He is worth millions of pounds, is a big-name celebrity and has been elevated to the peerage for his business prowess.

But more importantly every time he (or indeed his chauffeur) speeds down the motorway or through the streets of London, people stop and stare, knowing exactly who just passed by. Why? Because Lord Sugar has a personalised number plate displaying his initials: AMS1. 

Imagine driving down the street and everyone knowing who you are without having to look twice? Here’s how to get personalised plates UK.


Buy A Number

First things first you have to buy a number. You often have to wait until the one you want is up for sale. There are a number of auctions held by the government-owned Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) throughout the year in the U.K. 

The next timed auction will be held between 11th and 20th March and the next live auction will be held between 15th- 17th May in Reading, Berkshire.  Those who can’t make it to the live auctions can still bid over the phone or the internet. The list of personalised plates is usually posted online before the auction is due to take place.

Alternatively, you can purchase number plates from a private dealer. Be careful you don’t get ripped off. Ask for the right paperwork and be aware of the legal requirements for having a personalised number plate, below. 

If you are looking for how to find a private number, here are some creative ideas for personalised number plates.


Assigning Your Personalised Plate

After you’ve bought a personalised plate you need to have it assigned to your new vehicle. To do this you need a V778 retention document or a V750 certificate of entitlement. 

The V778 retention document is a green A4 sized form and is for cars where the personalised plate has previously been displayed on another car and is being moved to your new vehicle.

The V750 is a pink A4 sized form and is for new personalised plates that have never been displayed on a car before. 

If you choose to purchase a personalised number plate but choose not to assign it straight away this paperwork proves you have the legal ownership of that number. This is particularly useful if you’ve bought a plate for a son or grandson. They can then assign it to their car when they’ve learned to drive. 

Once you have either one of these documents as well as your car’s logbook you can apply online to register the plate to the car of your choice. If you’ve bought the car from a dealer you can also get them to do it for you on your behalf. 


Know The Rules

Personalised plates do not offer drivers complete freedom as to what they display on the front and back of their car. There are some clear rules which must be followed.

  • You can’t have a personalised number plate starting with QNeither can you assign a personalised number plate to a vehicle that already has a number plate starting with Q.
  • Use your personalised plate to make your car look younger than it is. This means if you have a car with a 2006 registration plate you cannot purchase a private personalised plate that makes it appear as if it is a 2009 registered car. This is to prevent fraud and buyers being deceived into buying a car that is older than what the dealer makes out. 
  • You can only register a standard motor vehicle. This means it passes all the usual tests that a car would. It must be able to move on its own, require a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test, have been taxed properly for five years and be available for inspection if someone at the DVLA requires it. 

If in doubt here’s a quick guide to ensuring you don’t fall foul of the DVLA’s rules. 


After You’ve Registered

After you’ve registered your vehicle and licence plate with the DVLA and have made sure that all the requirements have been fulfilled there are a number of extra steps you need to take to make sure you're legal.

You’ll need a new logbook. After you assign your new number plate the DVLA will send you one within 2-4 weeks. 

It is also important that you put your new number plate on your vehicle before you drive and not your old plates. If you don’t do this there is a possibility that you could be flagged up for having false number plates by the police automatic number plate recognition camera.

This could lead to a time-consuming and awkward conversation with a traffic officer on the side of the road. This is best avoided. 

You also need to tell your insurance company about your new personalised number plate so that you are properly covered by your policy. 


The Joy Of Personalised Plates UK 

A personalised number plate is a unique gift either for yourself or for a child or grandchild. They ensure that everybody knows who you are when you ride down the street. They can give you a sense of style and status. Imagine turning up a party or at work: everybody would know that you had arrived. 

Personalised number plates are also no longer just the preserve of the rich and famous. With cheap prices and countless auctions throughout the year, they mean everyone can get a good deal on personalised plates UK. 

Be sure to check out our database of private number plates to see if there is a personalised plate that literally has your name on it!