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.