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How Long To Transfer A Number Plate?

If you’re moving a personalised number plate from an old car to a new one, there are some steps you should follow:

  • Have the right documents ready before you log on to the DVLA website
  • Transfer the number plate from the old car first, using the online form; you'll need your log book (V5C)
  • You'll be asked to pay the £80 transfer fee
  • You'll be given an online reference number
  • You'll then need your V778 online reference number, your log book (V5C) and a valid MOT certificate if your car is over three years old so that you can assign the number plate to your new car
  • Simply follow the clearly explained steps and you should be able to complete the transfer in a matter of minutes
  • Don't forget to let your insurance provider know that you've transferred the number plate

I'm buying a new car through a dealership and want to transfer my personalised number plate

Most car dealerships, particularly those selling brand new vehicles, will usually be happy to organise the transfer for you. As long as you can provide your proof of entitlement to the personalised plate, your V778 document or your V750 certificate, you should be able to leave it to your car dealer to get this sorted for you, so the number plate can be put on the new vehicle when you're ready to collect it.

I've had the personalised plate for a while but haven't been using it

Unused personalised number plates are either on a V750 or V778, which keeps the plate in your name while not used. To register the number plate to a vehicle, you just need to log on to the DVLA website and follow their simple step-by-step instructions. If you complete the process by post, you'll need to be prepared for a wait of between two and five weeks.

I've just bought a personalised number plate for my current vehicle

Again, you should be able to get this sorted out very quickly. To assign a personalised number plate to a vehicle, you'll need a V778 retention document, a V750 certificate of entitlement or an online reference number. Make sure you get at least one of these when you purchase the new number plate. As long as you are the registered owner of the car the number plate is going to be transferred to, you can then complete the process online, with immediate effect.

I've inherited a personalised number plate

The process might take a little longer if you've been left a personalised number plate in a will. In addition to the usual documents, the DVLA will ask for documents that provide evidence that you have the right to use the number. A copy of the death certificate and a certified copy of probate, a copy of the will, or a solicitor's letter are usually required.

Are there rules about how my number plate should look?

You may be aware that standard UK number plates are made up of two letters showing the area where your vehicle was manufactured, then two numbers indicating the date of issue, followed by three letters that are randomly selected. Personalised number plates can deviate from this.

However, your number plate must be made from reflective material, with black letters and numbers on a white background at the front of your vehicle and a yellow background at the rear. You can't have any colours or patterns on the number plate as this might render the plate too hard to read.

If you are at all unsure about whether your number plate conforms to the law, there’s a helpful guide on the DVLA website, leaflet INF104, which is available to download.

Other related FAQs

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

You must inform the DVLA if you wish to remove your personalised number plate and replace it with the car’s original plate. It costs £80 to remove personalised plates and this can be done online or by post.

UK number plates change every March and September, on the first of the month. This is when the year identifier changes, for example from 19 to 69 in 2019/20. The former applies from March, and the latter from September.

A number plate’s value varies according to how desirable and unusual it is. A number plate featuring a name, word or initials that a lot of people want is likely to fetch a higher price.

Usually, but there are a few exceptions. A private number plate can’t be transferred to a Q-registered vehicle, put on a car to make it look newer, or used on a vehicle that doesn’t require an HGV or MOT certificate.

Creating your own personalised number plate is relatively simple, and many websites are designed to make this process easier. However, there are some rules about what you can and can’t choose for your registration number.

Having an illuminated number plate is a legal requirement, so it's important that you replace your number plate bulb if it fails. This a simple process which anyone can complete, and replacement bulbs are readily available in shops and online.

Personalised number plates can be a good investment as they nearly always retain their value and often increase in price. Investing in these plates is not risk free though, so it shouldn’t be undertaken without careful research.

The process of removing a personalised number plate from a vehicle will differ depending on whether you want to save the number plate for future use, sell it on, or immediately reassign it to another vehicle.

Guernsey number plates are issued sequentially and differ to those in mainland UK. They consist solely of numerals, featuring an oval showing the characters “GBG”. Along with standard white and yellow plates, they can display silver characters on black.

It’s widely believed that you cannot add a personalised number plate to a leased car, but as long as you liaise with the lease company and take a few simple steps, you are able to change the number plates.