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How To Change A Number Plate Back To The Original

The first step if you want to change your vehicle’s personalised number plate back to the original is to make an application. This can be done via the government’s website ( using the online application form. You will need to provide the latest V5C registration certificate (log book) reference number, and you must be the registered keeper of the V5C. The form is only available to fill in online between 7am and 7pm though, so don’t attempt to use it outside of these hours.

If you do not have the latest V5C reference number to hand, you will not be able to use the online form. In order to obtain an updated registration certificate for your car if you have lost your copy, you will need to send a V62 form to the DVLA in Swansea so they can process a new one. This will cost £25. Once you have your updated V5C form, you can make another attempt via the government’s website to apply for a plate removal.

If you do not have access to a computer, or you prefer to make applications via traditional mail, you can fill in and send a V317 form to the DVLA in addition to the latest V5C logbook and the applicable £80 fee which can be in the form of a cheque, banker’s draft or postal order.

The V317 form has two different sections to fill in depending on whether you are planning to put your personalised number plate onto a new vehicle or would prefer to keep it on retention.

How long will it take to process an application to change a number plate back to the original?

The usual timeframe for an application to be processed is two weeks. From this time, your private number plate is officially recognised as being removed from your vehicle. You will receive an updated V5C registration certificate for your vehicle within four-to-six weeks showing the original number plate. If you applied for your personalised number plate to be placed on retention in your name, you will also be sent a V778 document showing this retention. However, if the personalised plate has been sold or transferred to a new keeper, then they will be the one who receives the V778 document. Number plate retentions last for 10 years and can be renewed free of charge at the end of this period.

What do you do with the physical number plates if you are changing back to the original?

If you still have the original number plates, you can simply remove the personalised plates and replace them with the originals. If the number plates are affixed with screws, just use a screwdriver to take out the screws and pull off the number plates. If the number plates are affixed with sticky pads, sliding dental floss or string across the back of the plate will help to loosen it and you should be able to pull the plate off the car. Of course, a garage will do it for you if you don’t feel confident.

There are a number of ways to put your original plate back onto your vehicle. Screws, sticky pads, suction cups, or number plate holders are all viable options. Again, you may wish to ask a professional garage to change the number plates for you, making sure they are properly fitted.

Other related FAQs

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

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.

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.

Acquiring a private plate won’t mean your car insurance goes up, but you’ll need to inform your insurer of the plate change and should ask for a letter confirming they have no interest in your private plate.

Much like a personalised or cherished number plate in any other part of the UK, all personalised number plates in Northern Ireland must be registered with the DVLA in Swansea. This system has been in place since 2014.

A simple transfer from one vehicle to another can be completed online with the DVLA and you can make the switch as soon as you've finished the process. Organising it by post takes longer – expect two to five weeks.

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.

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.

It is fairly simple to fit a replacement number plate to your car in just a few steps. You can either use screws to fix it in place, or opt for double-sided pads to secure it.

If you want to get a personalised number plate made, you must ensure you go to a registered number plate supplier. This supplier will need to see proof of your identity and proof that you’re entitled to that registration number.

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.