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 (Gov.uk) 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.