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Maintaining Your Private Number Plate When Selling Your Vehicle

When it comes to selling your vehicle, ensuring you retain entitlement to your personalised registration number is crucial. In the United Kingdom, the rights to a registration number automatically transfer to the registered keeper. Therefore, it’s imperative to take the necessary steps to transfer or retain your private number plate if you wish to keep it for your new vehicle or for future use. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process to help you navigate it smoothly and efficiently.

Step 1: Apply to the DVLA

To transfer or retain a personalised registration number, owners must apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This step is essential to initiate the process and ensure compliance with regulations. The DVLA oversees vehicle registration and ensures that private number plates are properly transferred or retained according to established procedures.

Step 2: Understand the Fees

There is a fee associated with transferring or retaining a personalised registration number. The Department for Transport charges £80 for this service. It’s important to factor in this cost when planning your vehicle sale and registration transfer. This fee covers administrative expenses and ensures that the process is carried out efficiently.

Step 3: Gather Required Documentation

When applying to transfer or retain your private number plate, you will need to provide certain documentation. The most important document is the V5 registration document, also known as the logbook. This document serves as proof of ownership and is required for the transfer or retention process. Ensure you have this document readily available to expedite the process.

Step 4: Online Application Process

Only the registered keeper of the vehicle or a business acting on their behalf can apply to transfer or retain a registration number online. The online application process simplifies the procedure and allows for quicker processing times. Be sure to have all necessary information and documentation prepared before starting the online application to avoid delays.

Step 5: Transfer Restrictions

It’s important to note that there are certain restrictions when transferring a registration number. You cannot transfer or assign a registration number to make it appear newer than it actually is. There is also an eligability crtiteria further information regarding this can be found here. Be mindful of these restrictions when applying for a transfer to avoid complications.

Step 6: Timely Action

While there is no specific time limit for transferring or retaining a personalised registration number after selling the vehicle, it’s advisable to take prompt action to avoid any unforeseen issues. Promptly applying for the transfer or retention of your private number plate ensures a smooth transition and minimises the risk of complications.


Selling your vehicle doesn’t have to mean losing your personalised registration number. By following the steps outlined in this guide and applying to the DVLA for transfer or retention, you can maintain entitlement to your private number plate and seamlessly transfer it to your new vehicle or hold onto it for future use. Remember to factor in the associated fees, gather the required documentation, and adhere to any restrictions to ensure a successful outcome.