How to keep your number plate when you sell your car

If you've got a personalised number plate, you might want to keep it when you sell your car. Here's how to do it.

Number plates piled on top of each other

If you're attached to your number plate, or if it's been personalised you probably won't want to part with when you sell your vehicle. 

But how do you keep it when your vehicle is sold? Let's find out.

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You can either keep hold of the plate or you can put it onto another car straight away. 

Read more: How to sell your car

How do I keep my number plate?

You can apply to keep your number plate online or by post. To apply online, go to GOV's personalised vehicle registration service

The car needs to:

  • Be registered in the UK with the DVLA

  • Be the type of car that needs an MOT

  • Have had a SORN in place or have valid tax for the last five years

  • Have valid tax or a valid SORN

  • Be available for inspection.

You can also apply by post. If you do, you'll need a V317 form (transfer or keep a vehicle registration number) and the car's log book (V5C).

The DVLA will decide if they need to inspect your car.

Once they've approved the application, they'll send you a new log book. This'll have the new registration. You'll get a V778 'retention document' if the private plate is in your name.

Read more: Can I sell my car without the V5C log book?

someone changing a number plate

What does the retention document do?

This document proves that you own that plate and can use it in the next 10 years.

This means you can now add it to another car or transfer it to someone else.

How much does it cost to keep a number plate?

It'll cost you £80 to take the number plate off a car. 

How to transfer a private plate to someone else

If you decide to sell or give your private reg to someone else, you have to assign it to their car.

You can do this online using the Personalised Vehicle Registration Service.

If you prefer to do things by post, you need to send the DVLA:

  • The log book of the car that will have the private plate

  • The V778 or V750 form. Make sure you sign it and fill in sections 1 and 2.

Read more: How to part exchange your car

Car driving towards the motorway

Can I put personalised plates on a leased car?

Yes, you can add a personalised plate on a car you lease, though there are a few more steps.

First, make sure you get permission from the leasing company. You shouldn't have any problems with this, but it's best to check beforehand.

You'll need to update your V778 form with the leasing company in the 'nominee' section. Since the leasing company is the owner of the car (and noted as such in the log book), they'll need to be on the V778 too.

Send that off to the DVLA. Once you get it back, send the updated document to the leasing company. Then you can either ask them to put the new plate on for you, or you can do it yourself once you have the car.

When you're at the end of your lease, remove the plate as you would any other car, following the steps above.

Give yourself enough time so that you can be sure your private plates are off the car by the end of the lease. Around six weeks should be enough.

Read more: How to cancel your car tax and get a refund

Do I need to tell my insurer when I change my number plate?

Yes. When you take your number plate off a car, you should update your insurance policy with the new details.

The same goes for if you assign a private plate to a new car - you'll need to let the insurer know.

Depending on who your car insurance is with, there may be an admin fee to do this.