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How To Register A Personalised Number Plate In NI

Personalised number plates in Northern Ireland (NI) can be as unique as number plates anywhere else in the UK.

Are personalised number plates in NI distinctive from plates in other parts of the UK?

Yes, there is a notable difference, which makes NI plates attractive to many. If it’s simply a personalised number plate following the same format as ordinary Northern Irish plates, your plate will always contain either the letter I or the letter Z.

This makes it easier to create nicknames or slogans from the letters on Northern Irish number plates, which means personalised NI number plates are often in demand. The number plates themselves are dateless, and can be transferred onto other vehicles from England, Scotland or Wales. Just like any other UK number plate though, plates from Northern Ireland have to be registered with the DVLA in Swansea.

How to register a personalised number plate in NI

Prior to July 2014, all number plates in NI were registered by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Coleraine, but for the past five years, the registration process has been handled by the DVLA in Swansea, much like number plates from the rest of the UK. The Driver and Vehicle Agency is still responsible for dealing with the issuing of driving licenses to residents of NI, and for approving vehicle MOTs.

Swapping a personalised number plate from one vehicle to another in NI

If you reside in NI and you want to transfer a personalised or cherished number plate from one vehicle to another, you will have to apply to remove the number plate from its currently assigned vehicle. This can be done by filling in a V317 form and posting it to the DVLA in addition to an £80 fee either by postal order, banker’s draft or cheque. Alternatively, this form can be found on the DVLA’s website and can be filled in electronically online. The DVLA will also require you to send your current V5C registration certificate (log book).

The V317 form has two sections – one for transferring the number plate straight onto another vehicle, and another for keeping the number plate on retention. To register it straight onto a new car, make sure you fill in section A of the form.

Assigning a brand new personalised number plate to your vehicle in NI

If you are in NI and you have purchased a new personalised number plate from the DVLA that has not previously been assigned to any vehicle, you will be sent a V750 certificate of entitlement by the DVLA confirming that you have purchased a new registration number. This certificate is valid for a period of 10 years. At any point during this time, you are eligible to assign the registration number to your vehicle.

If your vehicle is being bought new from a car dealership, you can give your dealer the V750 document and ask them to deal with registering the number plate for you to your brand new car.

If you already own the vehicle, you can apply to the DVLA to assign your personalised number plate to your vehicle either online via the government website or by post. As soon as your personalised number plate has been approved to be assigned to your vehicle, it is your responsibility to get the physical plates changed. A variety of auto accessory retailers and garages can do this for you. 

Other related FAQs

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

To find out the registered keeper of a vehicle number plate here in the UK, apply in writing to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). However, it will only provide these details if you have a reasonable cause.

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.

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.

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.