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Number Plates In Focus: Getting A Private Number Plate

Personalised number plates are a great way to add your own unique stamp to the vehicle and, even better, it means that when you do change vehicles, you don’t have to remember a new number! The process is fairly simple; in this series, we talk about how you buy and assign a private number plate, and how you can give up a number plate.

Buying a number plate

There are three ways that you can buy a private number plate: you can buy a new private number plate direct from the DVLA, you can buy one in an auction, or you can buy through a dealer. If you buy through a dealer, they will probably assign it to your vehicle for you. When you buy a private number plate, you will receive a V750 form; this states that you have the right to use the plate.

What you need

Once you have your private number you need to assign it before you can legally use it.

In order to assign the number plate:

If you already owned the number and you are assigning it to a new vehicle, you will need a V778, which is the retention document. If this is the first time that you will be assigning the private number, you will need your V750, the certificate of entitlement. If you don’t have either of these, you can use an online reference number, if you have one.


There are some conditions to private numbers:

  • You can’t put a private number plate on a Q registered vehicle.
  • You can’t assign a private number that begins with Q or NIQ
  • You can’t assign a new number that makes a vehicle look newer than it is, e.g. you can’t apply a 63 plate to a vehicle made before 2013.

Your vehicle must:

  • Be registered in the UK with the DVLA.
  • Be in good working order.
  • Be a variety of vehicle that needs an MOT or HGV test.
  • Have at least 5 years’ continuous tax or SORN history.
  • Be taxed.
  • Be available for inspection if requested.

Apply to assign

The application method depends on your circumstances:

  1. If the vehicle is already registered in your name you can apply by post or online.
  2. If it is a used vehicle that you have just bought, you will need to wait for the DVLA to send the V5C in your name, then apply online or by post.
  3. If you are buying the vehicle new from a dealer, give the V750 or V778 to your dealer and ask them to apply.
  4. If the vehicle is registered to someone else and you want to assign the plate in their name, apply by post or online.

Once you have applied to assign your private number, you can attach the new plates. Keep the original plates, as you may be able to put them back on the vehicle if you ever transfer the private number to a different car.

Want to know how to remove a private number from a vehicle? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for next week’s instalment!

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