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How Long Does It Take To Transfer A Number Plate?

If you've bought a new car and are selling the old one currently displaying the number plate, the easiest and quickest way to transfer the new plate is online. The DVLA website offers a very clear and easy to follow process, which only takes a few minutes as long as you have all the right documentation to hand.

This may be a two-step process in that you apply to remove the number from one vehicle and then immediately apply to transfer it to another vehicle:

  • Have the right documents ready before you log on to the DVLA website
  • Transfer the number plate from the old car first, using the online form; you'll need your log book (V5C)
  • You'll be asked to pay the £80 transfer fee
  • You'll be given an online reference number
  • You'll then need your V778 online reference number, your log book (V5C) and a valid MOT certificate if your car is over three years old so that you can assign the number plate to your new car
  • Simply follow the clearly explained steps and you should be able to complete the transfer in a matter of minutes
  • Don't forget to let your insurance provider know that you've transferred the number plate

It is usual practice to restore the original number plate to the car you are selling and the assumption is that you'll have kept these plates. If you choose to complete the process by post, you'll probably have to wait for between two and five weeks for the transfer to go through. However you do it, remember to let your insurance company know about the transfer.

What if I already own the personalised number plate but haven't been using it?

If you own the personalised number plate but aren't currently using it, you'll already have a V778 retention document. The process of assigning the plate to a new vehicle is simple; you just need to follow the steps listed above, starting at step 5.

Again, you can choose the quick route of doing this online, or be prepared for more of a wait if you choose the postal route.

The good news is that if you are buying the car through a dealer, you'll usually find that they will sort this out for you as part of the purchase. As long as you can provide the V778 retention document, you should be able to leave all this to the dealer, and they will let you know once the process is complete and you are able to collect your new vehicle from them.

Checklist for transfer

You can transfer your personalised number plate on to your chosen vehicle once the following steps are complete:

  • You've got the log book to prove you are the registered keeper
  • You've got a V750 or V778 certificate proving you hold the right to the number plate
  • Your new car is taxed, insured and has an MOT certificate if it's more than three years old

Once you're ready to put your personalised number plate on your car, do remember to store the old plates safely and be mindful that they may be needed when you sell on the vehicle.

Other related FAQs

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Whether it’s an interested buyer or a family member, you can transfer your number plate to another person. Up until the point the number plate is assigned to car, no vehicle documentation is necessary.

To transfer a private number plate to a new car, you will need to complete a V317 form. This applies whether you’re transferring the plate to another car in your name, a vehicle you’re purchasing or to someone else’s car.

You can remove the number plate from one car and assign it to another via online, but you must have the vehicle log book and be the registered keeper. A fee of £80 is payable.

Yes, you can. The same DVLA rules apply whether you're transferring a number plate from car to car, motorbike to motorbike, or from a motorbike to a car. The process is the same for all transfers.