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How To Take A Private Number Plate Off Retention

There are many reasons why you may have a private number plate on retention. For example, if your car is due to be scrapped, you might have decided to keep your private number plate by applying to the DVLA and paying your £80 fee. For this sum, you’ll receive a certificate of retention also known as a V778, which allows you to keep a number plate until you’re ready to assign it to a vehicle. Or perhaps you have received a private number plate on a certificate as a gift or bought it on a retention certificate at auction. Whatever the reason, there may come a time when you wish to assign it to a vehicle. At this point, you’ll need to know how to take a private number plate off retention.

Taking your private number plate off retention online

You can take your private number plate off retention and assign it to a car online at the website if you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle. You’ll need your vehicle’s V5C registration document, also known as a log book, and if the car is older than three years old, a valid MOT certificate. You’ll also need to make sure your retention certificate is in date. 

If you don’t have your log book, don’t worry as a new one can be applied for from the DVLA. The replacement V5C costs £25.

The process of assigning your number plate to your car online is very quick and can take around five minutes.

Once your application is accepted, you’ll receive an email with a eV948 number plate authorisation certificate. In two to four weeks, you’ll receive your brand new log book in the post.

As soon as your application gets the green light, you can order your new car number plates with your private registration. Even if you don’t have your new V5C log book yet, you can use your retention certificate to purchase your plates as proof of entitlement.

Taking your private number plate off retention offline

If you don’t have internet access, or you’re just not comfortable online, you can still assign your private number plate on retention by post. Send your application along with your supporting documents (V778 retention certificate, V5C registration document, valid MOT certificate if applicable) to DVLA Personalised Registrations, Swansea, SA99 1DS.

How much does it cost to take a private number plate off retention?

There is no charge to take a personalised registration off retention and assign it to a vehicle, however you must have all your documents in order.

How long can a personalised number plate be held on retention?

A private number plate can actually be held indefinitely on retention, although each certificate lasts 10 years. When your certificate is due to expire, simply renew it for free.

Private number plates and car insurance providers

As soon as you get a new number plate, you should inform your car insurance provider to avoid any unnecessary problems. You should also ask them if your private plate affects the cost of your insurance – this is very unlikely, but different insurers have different terms and conditions.

It’s also a wise idea to obtain a letter from your insurer stating they have no interest in your personalised plate. If your car is stolen, you’ll make a claim on your policy and be paid by the insurance provider. Effectively, they then own your car and, if it’s recovered, they’ll own your private plate as well. They’re not obligated to, but they may agree to sell your plate back to you, but it’s best to avoid this situation by obtaining a letter.

Other related FAQs

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

Number plate retention lasts for 10 years or until you use the plate on a vehicle, whichever comes first. After 10 years, you must renew your retention certificate if you still have no vehicle to assign your number plate to.

A retention certificate for a number plate is an official DVLA form confirming that you are the legal owner of that plate. It allows you to keep or purchase a number plate without assigning it to a vehicle.

If you want to keep or purchase a number plate without assigning it to a vehicle, you can put it on retention. By doing this, you’re essentially retaining the registration to use at a later date of your choosing.

Current DVLA guidelines state that a number plate can stay on retention for a maximum of 10 years before needing to be renewed. The retention fee is £80, but renewals are free and don’t take long to process.

Yes. The most likely reason for this is you've bought a new car and want to move your personal number plate over to your new vehicle. This is a relatively simple process and can be done through the DVLA website.

If you want to sell a private number plate or reserve it for future use, you can do so via the DVLA. As long as certain conditions are met, you can pay to obtain a V778 retention document.