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.