If the vehicle is in your name, you can organise the removal of a number plate online via the DVLA's website. You'll need the vehicle’s log book (V5C) to hand and the application will cost the standard fee of £80. As you are applying online, you can remove the number plate with immediate effect.
If the vehicle is in someone else's name, you'll need to apply by post and it usually takes two weeks for the removal to be completed.
You will be sent a V778 retention document, which you'll need to keep safe. This document gives you exclusive ownership of the private number plate for the next 10 years.
Removing a number plate to reassign to a new vehicle
You may be removing your personalised number plate because you want to transfer it to a new vehicle you already own or are in the process of buying. To do this online, follow the simple step-by-step guide on the DVLA website.
You will go through the same steps listed above, and you’ll be given an online reference number. Use this to make the transfer, making sure you've also got your log book (V5C) and relevant MOT certificate handy, as you'll need them to complete the reassignment.
Once the process is complete, you can then remove the new car's number plate and replace with your personalised plate. Don't forget to let your insurance company know.
Keep the original registration number and plates in a safe place as they’ll be reassigned to the vehicle if you decide to take off your personalised plates.
Removing a number plate to sell
If you want to sell the plate, you'll need to follow the same steps as listed above to start with. If you are selling your number plate to a private dealer, they will usually organise the transfer for you.
If the sale is a private one, you'll need to assign the personalised number plate to the purchaser's vehicle. This can be done online and is an easy process usually activated straight away. You'll need the log book (V5C) for the car taking the number plate and your V778 or V750 to hand.
What if I no longer want to use my personalised number plate?
If you don't want to use your number plate again, perhaps because it's no longer relevant after a change of name or profession, you can give up your rights to that specific personalised plate by letting the DVLA know that is your intention. Again, consult the DVLA website for all the details.
If you are left the personalised number plate in a will
Personalised number plates are just that, personal, and can sometimes become prized family possessions, handed down as part of someone's estate once they die.
If you find yourself the beneficiary of such a gift, you have the right to keep the personalised number plate number for future use, reassign it to another vehicle or transfer it into someone else's name.
To do this, you’ll need to send the DVLA documents that prove you have the right to use the number. This will usually be a certified copy of the death certificate, and either a certified copy of probate, a copy of the will or a solicitor's letter.
As long as you follow the official guidance available online, removing a personalised number plate is a straightforward task.