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Buying a Number Plate FAQs

The most popular questions asked when buying a number plate

It is very likely that any queries you have will be answered here, so please take some time to have a read through.
Should you still have any queries please contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Transfer times can vary from four days to six weeks depending on the type of transfer and factors beyond our control such as the processing and response times of third bodies, for example, the DVLA and the postal service. In addition, the promptness of buyers and/or sellers to supply the necessary documents should also be taken into account. The typical transfer times are indicated below:

Self-Transfer - V750 certificate supplied: Usually four days from the point of payment clearance. This is where we supply a certificate entitling the purchaser the right to a registration mark. The purchaser has twelve months (can be extended) to assign the registration mark to a vehicle.

Full transfer - V750/V778 certificate to vehicle: Between ten days to five weeks from the point of payment clearance. We complete the transfer/assignment of the registration mark to a vehicle for you. We will require the V5 registration document. Keep in mind that the transfer process cannot commence until we have received this document.

Vehicle to vehicle transfer: This can take between six to twelve weeks (worst case) from the point of payment clearance. We handle the entire transfer procedure and depend on the swiftness of the buyer and seller to send us the relevant documents and the processing latency of the DVLA and the postal service.

Vehicle to V778 certificate transfer: Approximately three to five weeks from the point of payment clearance. Again, we handle the transfer process following the supply of the seller's documents.

Please note that we do aim to complete the transfer process as swiftly as possible but as mentioned, we depend on other parties. To enable us to focus our resources on the work involved we would appreciate any progress requests by email instead of via telephone. Contact us here and please remember to quote the registration mark.

Usually you can, provided the vehicle meets the requirements of the government's transfer and retention scheme and that the vehicle's current registration mark is not a 'Q' reg. However, it may be worth having the DVLA verify the vehicle's eligibility to receive a cherished registration mark.

Note that under the DVLA's Transfer and Retention Scheme, a non-transferrable registration number cannot be transferred or retained before or during the transfer of a new registration number to the vehicle.

During the transfer of a new personalised registration number, the DVLA usually invalidate the vehicle's original registration mark at some point. In other words it will no longer be available to anyone. You may wish to consult the DVLA for an authoritative answer. If you subsequently re-transfer the new registration mark, the DVLA will assign an age related mark although it is most likely the original mark will be re-assigned to the vehicle.

If you wish to secure the original mark, then provided the rules of the transfer scheme are satisfied, you can pay a standard fee to the DVLA to have the mark retained on a certificate. If the current registration mark is itself a personalised registration, then you will probably want to do this otherwise you may lose the rights to it.

When you receive the vehicle's replacement V5 (logbook) you should remove the old plates and attach the new ones. Since the original marks may be re-assigned to the vehicle following a re-transfer of your new registration plate in the future, it would be a good idea to hold onto the original plastic number plates regardless of whether you want to retain the original mark.

Credit or debit card: You can pay online using most major credit and debit cards.

PayPal: Pay securely online with Paypal. You don't have to have a PayPal account to use this payment method, but can choose to use one if you do.

Pay directly from your Bank or Building Society account: Transferring credit directly to our bank account can be just as quick as paying by credit or debit card. You can make automated bank transfers via internet banking, telephone banking or from within your own local branch.

Deposit cash at any accepting bank: Deposit cash directly into our bank account via any accepting bank using the following payment details:

Bank: Yorkshire Bank
Account name: National Numbers
Account number: 13065428
Sort code: 05-06-36

Quote the personalised plate you are purchasing as the reference.

Cheques, Postal Orders and Bankers Drafts: Make any of these payable to National Numbers and write the registration number plate on the reverse. Following the delay in your payment being received and clearing the bank system (approximately five working days), we will begin processing your order.

This is not a problem. We'll take care of this for you.

Road tax: Send us the vehicle's insurance certificate or cover note together with the appropriate fee (cheques payable to DVLA). If you have a tax application form, send this to us too. You must make certain that any new tax is issued under the present registration and not the personalised registration we are supplying you.

MOT: Likewise, you must ensure that the MOT station issues the MOT under the present registration mark and not the new personalised registration we are supplying you.

We will liase with the DVLA and have your records amended for you. We won't charge you for this. Don't forget to include a note stating your new personalised registration plate.

The DVLA will accept an application to have your vehicle's original registration mark reassigned to it following a re-transfer of the cherished registration, provided your windows are etched with the mark. Although there is no guarantee, the likelihood is that your vehicle will be reallocated with the original mark. Your vehicle may also be called in for inspection at such a time to verify your claim.

Yes, this is not usually a problem, provided the conditions of the government's Transfer and Retention Scheme are met. You will need to supply us with two sets of V5s (one for each vehicle). You should supply these as soon as possible.

We will not charge you anything for this service. However, there will be an additional standard government fee of £80 since there are in effect two transfers. If you wish to retain the third party vehicle's registration mark on a retention certificate there will be a further standard fee. Cheques should be made payable to 'DVLA'.

Yes, this is possible. There are a few options here.

Plate Master administers the transfer: We will require the following documents; the form V55 from your dealer, your insurance certificate and a cheque for the road tax (payable to 'DVLA').

Dealer administers the transfer: You can request that we send all relevant documents to your dealer for them to complete the transfer.

We liase with your dealer: Plate Master will work in partnership with your vehicle dealer to complete the transfer process. Some vehicle franchises may prefer this option since they can be reluctant to release the V55 form. Best to check with your dealer well in advance.

Post transfer: Since the transfer time is uncertain it may be more practical to have a standard year related registration mark assigned by the dealer while you are waiting for your transfer to complete. This way, you're guaranteed to have full use of the vehicle until the transfer process is complete.

Note: The dealer will usually supply the new plastic number plates.

Note: In all cases, if the new personalised registration mark is currently assigned to another vehicle or resides on a retention certificate (V778), you will need to pay the additional £80 assignment fee (cheques payable to 'DVLA').

Yes, you must advise your insurance company of your new personal registration number. It is also a good idea to inform them in writing that in the event of a vehicle 'write off' or a claim for stolen and not recovered, the rights to the registration mark will remain with you. Request that they acknowledge this in writing. Most insurance companies won't charge you for issuing a modified insurance certificate.

You may also want to see: If my vehicle is stolen and not recovered, what happens to my personal registration? and If my vehicle is 'written off', what happens to my personalised registration?

Whether you do it yourself or request us to handle the transfer for you, you will need to have available the following documents of the recipient vehicle:

  • V5 registration document (also known as the 'logbook').
  • The expiry date of the vehicle's tax.
  • The V750 or V778 certificate holding the registration mark.

In the case of a vehicle-to-vehicle transfer, the additional vehicle's documents would also be required.

A registration mark can be supplied on a certificate entitling the stated 'nominee' the rights to the registration. As soon as your payment has cleared, we will arrange to have the certificate modified with your name as the nominee. To avoid any potential problems, the nominee name you supply us should be stated exactly as it appears on the V5 registration document of the recipient vehicle. Please check this.

Usually, we dispatch certificates within five working days of payment clearance to the address of the purchaser. Certificates are valid for 10 years and can be renewed (for a fee), but you have this window in which to assign the registration to a vehicle. A certificate is ideal if you don't have a vehicle yet or if the cherished registration is a gift, since the vehicle's documents are not needed until the time of assignment. There is no limit to the amount of time that you can retain a registration mark on a certificate.

The certificate has full instructions on the reverse side, but essentially, when you are ready to assign, you can post your vehicle's V5 registration document along with the certificate to DVLA, Swansea. The DVLA will issue a replacement V5. As soon as you have this in your possession you should attach the new number plates to your vehicle. Alternatively you can use their online transfer system - you will require information from both the certificate and your logbook to complete the assignment.

If you need to tax your vehicle, you should be able to do this at the same time.

There is no additional cost for assigning the registration to a vehicle since the transfer fee will have already been paid.

The law is straightforward with number plate assignments/transfers. You may not assign a registration mark associated with a year that comes after the year of registration of your vehicle. In other words, you cannot make your vehicle appear younger that its true age.

The age of your vehicle is the 'first registered' date as stated on the vehicle's V5 registration document and is not necessarily indicated by its number plate. Keep in mind that the vehicle may already be displaying a personalised number plate since the time it was purchased.

With the exception of the dateless range, this rule applies to all styles of registration marks. For example, you cannot assign R12 ABC (1997) to an N registered (1995) vehicle. However, you could assign N12 ABC to an R registered vehicle.

Similarly, you cannot assign B4 ABC (1984) to vehicle that was originally registered with ABC 4X (1981) but you can assign X12 ABC (September 2000) to AB04 CDE (March 2004). Dateless number plates, for example 12 AB and 2 CD can be assigned to a vehicle of any age, since they have no year identifier.

Yes. At the time of purchase the registration can be supplied on a certificate, with the name of the person the gift is for stated on it. It's not even necessary to own a vehicle to purchase one and so no vehicle documents are necessary until the transfer.

A mark can be held on a certificate indefinitely. The DVLA charge a standard fee to renew the certificate, but it will initially come with an expiry date ten years in the future. When the time comes to assign the registration to a vehicle, there will be no additional cost, as the assignment fee will have already been paid for.

This makes number plates ideal gifts for the future, for example, your daughter's 18th or your wife's 50th. Fathers' day and Valentine's Day are also great occasions to surprise loved ones with personalised number plates. You could give someone the certificate and a pair of plastic plates all nicely wrapped up for the occasion.

If you wish to make your purchase a safe secret, you may request that the certificate to be delivered to an address other than your own, for example, a neighbour's, a work address or a relative's. Just let us know at the time of your purchase. Either way, we use plain envelopes so no one should suspect anything.

No. If you purchase a personalised registration number on a certificate (either a V750 or a V778) you have until the expiry date shown to assign it to a vehicle. These certificates may also be extended for a standard DVLA fee.

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