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Can I Buy A Number Plate Without A Car?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to pick up a number plate while you’re not in possession of a car. For example, if you’re saving up for a new car but see the ideal personalised plate you’d like to put on it, you might want to buy it fast before someone else does.

If you see a number plate up for sale with interesting alphanumeric characters, you might want to purchase it as an investment to sell on at a later date when you find a buyer willing to pay your price.

A registration plate when personalised can make a great gift for a friend or family member. What better way to congratulate a new driver who’s just passed their test than with a private plate to display on their first car?

Whatever the reason, if you’re currently wondering ‘can I buy a number plate without a car?’, the answer is yes.

Number plates on certificate

If you don’t possess a car to put it on, wish to gift it to someone else, or are interested in keeping it as an investment, a number plate can, in most cases, be purchased on certificate. The certificate will prove that you’re the registered owner of the number plate and you can retain it until you’ve decided what to do with it.

How long can I keep a number plate on certificate?

A number plate purchased on a certificate can be kept without using for a term of up to 10 years before the certificate must be renewed. In effect, if you keep renewing, you can retain a number plate on certificate indefinitely without ever assigning it to a car.

Buying a number plate and selling it on

If you’ve purchased a personalised number plate and sell it on, you’ll need to do some paperwork if you handle the transaction yourself. In contrast, if you use an online broker or dealer to sell your plate number, they’ll handle all the necessary paperwork. 

If your buyer is purchasing the number plate and assigning it to a vehicle, you’ll need to provide the DVLA with details from your certificate or V5C along with your buyer’s V5C registration document. If they’re planning on keeping the number plate to use later, you should still provide the DVLA with your V5C.

DVLA number plate laws

Before buying a number plate you plan on using, always make sure that it adheres to the strict rules laid out by the DVLA in terms of material, colour and font size, or you could incur fines if you’re caught on the road by the authorities.

Remember too that it’s illegal to attempt to make an older car look younger with a new plate carrying a later date than the year it was registered.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

You can buy your personalised registration from the DVLA or specialist vendors and then get them made up by auto retail outlets such as Halfords, but you’ll need to provide your vehicle log book and proof of ID.

Most private number plates are bought and sold online, via one of the many websites - including the DVLA - that sell these plates. People may also buy number plates privately, or via a traditional auction house

If you’re searching for a personalised number plate, there are three main options to consider: you can buy directly from the DVLA at fixed or auction price, through a registration plate dealer in person or online, or purchase privately.

Always a popular addition to vehicles, there are many websites that allow you to purchase number plates online, including the DVLA. It is safe to buy personalised number plates online as long as you take a few simple precautions.

You can buy a personalised number plate from an individual or an organisation as long as they can show that they are the legal owner of the plate. You can then assign the number to your car if you wish.

The price of a personalised car number plate in the secondary market is determined by supply and demand. Number plates featuring popular names, words or initials that are attractive to many people tend to come with a higher price tag.

You’ll find a variety of finance products available for purchasing a private number plate. These agreements allow you to pay in monthly installments, helping you to spread the cost of your new plate.

The vast majority of private number plates are sold online, via either the DVLA or one of the other websites that specialises in selling registration numbers. Otherwise, you might be able to obtain one privately or at an auction.