Keep Your Digits: How to Retain a Number Plate for Your Car

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Do you have a personalised number plate?

There is no doubt that personalised number plates are valuable. In fact, some number plates are worth more than the car they are attached to. For example, Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri paid £7 million for the coveted number '1' plate.

If you owned a plate like that, you would not want to sell it with the car. Instead, you would want to retain a number plate that was either very costly or had unique value to you. 

The unique value of a number plate is often associated with the fact that you have been able to creatively replicate your name using a combination of numbers and letters. Now that you have fought hard for your unique plate, you do not want to give it up.

This article will give you everything you need to know in order to keep your personalised plate and use it on another vehicle. 


Can I Retain a Number Plate?

Yes and no.

As a general rule, yes you can. However, some number plates cannot be retained. For example, any number plates with the prefix Q cannot be retained. 

The Q prefix has been used since 1983 and is for vehicles in which it is difficult to determine the age of the vehicle. For example, kit cars and cars that have been significantly modified. Also, some cars which have been stolen and then recovered. 

If you check your V5C document it will show on the special notes section if your registration is non-transferrable.  


Do You Qualify?

Ok, so now you know you it is possible to retain a number plate. However, please be aware that there are qualifications or eligibility criteria.

The vehicle must be a UK registered vehicle. It must be functioning to the extent that it can be driven and moved on its own. In other words, if you have to tow the vehicle it would not be eligible.

That said, if your vehicle is not road worthy and you have been keeping it garaged you will need a SORN. If your vehicle has been garaged for more than 5 years you will need to have maintained the SORN status for the full duration and after that make sure it is taxed. Of course, if your vehicle is roadworthy, it also needs to be taxed correctly. 


Retain a Number Plate - Options

You can do 2 things.

First, you can apply to retain a number plate which basically means you are applying to take the number plate off the vehicle and keep it. You can then keep the number plate until you are ready to use it again.

This would apply when you first purchase personalised plates. The original plates need to be retained and then, later on, reassigned to the vehicle.

That brings us to the second thing you can do. Which is to assign a number plate to a vehicle. Depending on the circumstances and your intent, you will most likely assign your personalised plate to your new vehicle.


Retain a Number Plate - Documents

The DVLA is responsible for managing and documenting the registration of number plates. You can find some basic information about how number plates work here.

In order to successfully retain a number plate and then reassign a number plate, you will need the following documents:

1. V317 form from the DVLA

2. V5C vehicle log book

3. V62 application for a vehicle registration certificate

4. V10 vehicle tax application (if you need to tax the vehicle)

5. MOT certificate

It is possible to make the application online. If the vehicle is not registered in your name then you will have to make the application using the postal system.


Retain a Number Plate - How Much Will it Cost?

It is not expensive. The fee is £80. The only other costs you need to consider are the correct tax amount for your vehicle if it needs taxing at the same time.


V778 Retention Document

This document is basically your goal when applying to retain a number plate. IF the vehicle is registered in your name it will be sent to your address and other important documents you submitted will be returned to you.

This document will give you the right to use the number plate for up to 10 years. Be aware that when the form expires so does your right to use the number plate. So if you have not used the number plate within the 10 years, you will need to renew the form to maintain the privilege.

When you are ready to reassign the number plate to your next vehicle you will need to use this form. If you are buying a new vehicle then you can give the V778 to the dealer and they will make sure your number plate is assigned to your new vehicle. 

Be aware, that if you retain a number plate and do not use it, you are still vulnerable to number plate cloning. Check out this helpful article that shows you what you need to do if that happens to you.


Retain a number plate - Need help?

Thanks to this article you now know how to apply to take to retain a number plate and then to reassign that plate to another vehicle. You can do this through the post or online. We have also reviewed the key forms and documents you will need.

That said, if you have questions or need any help please get in touch here.