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Number Plate FAQs

The most popular generally asked questions about number plates

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.

Buying a private car plate? Find answers to commonly asked questions here.

Buying Private Plates FAQs

Selling your private plate? Find answers to our most popular questions here.

Selling Private Plates FAQs

There are essentially five styles of registration numbers assigned to road vehicles in mainland Britain today. The number of available plates for each style varies quite considerably and so naturally the diversity across each range differs for each style.

Current style - First issued in September 2001, this style consists of two letters, a two number digit year identifier followed by three letters. This style of mark offers the largest number of permutations though generally, is not the most sought after. Some examples would be OK51 JPS and AR53 NAL.

Prefix style - Issued from 1983 to 2001 and made up of a year identifying letter, up to three number digits followed by three letters. Many combinations are still readily available, some of which are very appealing. Some examples include F200 SUE, B16 JON and A1 JPS.

Suffix style - Issued from 1963 to 1983 and comprised of three letters followed by up to three number digits and a year identifying fourth letter. With considerably fewer marks available than for later styles and with no less appeal, this range of registration marks tends to be more sought after and therefore more expensive. Consider these great examples CHR 1S and TOM 55S.

Dateless style - First issued in 1903, has no year identifier and constitutes up to three consecutive letters and up to four consecutive number digits. They can be made up of letters followed by numbers or visa versa. The rarity and overall appeal have a propensity to make dateless marks the most expensive range. Classic examples include JS 1, 7 ON and 123 TOM.

Irish style - Also first issued in 1903 and like the dateless style, contains no year identifier. The inclusion of an "I" or a "Z" distinguishes these marks from the dateless style. Generally, this style offers a cheap way to conceal the age of a vehicle. Here are a few examples, 1207 AIB and GAZ 22.

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.

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 disc.
  • 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.

As soon as you receive the replacement V5 (logbook), you should attach the new number plates to your vehicle.

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. However, these certificates can be extended (for a fee) indefinitely.

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 certificate is valid for an initial period of ten years, and the DVLA charge a standard fee to further renew the certificate. 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.

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 your 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, 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 a set of V5's (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'.

Registration plates can be transferred between vehicles provided the recipient vehicle satisfies the rules of the DVLA's Transfer and Retention Scheme. Generally, the recipient vehicle must not be older than the year associated with the personal registration mark. You cannot make a vehicle appear younger. In addition, the receiving vehicle must have current road tax and a valid MOT.

The standard DVLA transfer fee is £80. This includes an age related replacement registration mark for the donor vehicle. You must also purchase the plastic number plates for the donor vehicle if you don't already have a set.

Yes, this is possible. There are a few possible 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 transfer times can be 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').

Provided you follow the correct procedure you will not lose the rights to the personalised registration number. If your vehicle was stolen, the DVLA will accept an application to have the registration mark reassigned to your replacement vehicle on condition that the theft was reported to the police and that the DVLA have recorded the vehicle as not recovered for at least twelve months. Further, the vehicle must have been taxed (or be tax exempt) and have had a valid MOT at the time of the theft.

Additionally, you will also need to supply the DVLA with a letter from your insurers confirming that they do not object to the registration mark being reassigned for the simple reason that if the vehicle is recovered after the claim is settled, your insurers assume the legal rights to the vehicle and therefore its current registration mark.

TIP: It's probably a good idea draw the attention of your insurers to the fact that your vehicle has been assigned a cherished registration. You must ensure that they are conscious of your intension to retain your registration mark in the event that your vehicle is stolen (or for that matter 'written off' or scrapped). Just to clarify, once a claim has been settled, the insurers can sell on the vehicle for salvage so if your cherished registration had not been retained, you could loose all rights to it.

If your vehicle is written off, i.e., deemed to be beyond economic repair, then following the settlement of a claim, the rights to the vehicle and therefore the registration mark assigned to it will belong to the insurance company. In turn, the insurance company can sell the vehicle on to a salvage company. Therefore, you must arrange to have your personal registration number transferred to another vehicle or retained on a certificate in sufficient time before the claim is settled.

As long as the vehicle is available for inspection and that all the conditions of the government's Transfer and Retention Scheme are met, you can apply to have your personalised registration number transferred to another vehicle or held on a retention certificate.

TIP: Make your insurers aware of the fact that your vehicle has been assigned a cherished registration. To protect yourself from losing your registration mark, you must ensure that they are conscious of the fact that if your vehicle is ever written off, it must be made available for inspection by the department of transport.

In the event of a write off, it is important to let your insurers know when you have transferred or retained your personal registration number and to send them the updated V5 registration document (this will show the replacement registration mark). Should they wish to sell the vehicle on to a salvage company, it is a legal requirement that vehicle displays its current registration mark.

Similarly, if your vehicle is ever scrapped or stolen and not recovered, you will need to take measures to retain or transfer your registration mark.

If you or your insurance company have endorsed the disposal of your vehicle, then technically, the vehicle ceases to exist and consequently the registration mark that is assigned to it at the time is deleted from the DVLA's register and would not be recoverable.

The bottom line is this. If you or your insurance company are going to scrap your vehicle, you must arrange to have your personal registration number transferred or retained first. Note that the body responsible for scrapping the vehicle has an obligation to notify the DVLA and must return the V5 registration document.

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, 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.

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.

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 test 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.

It may be possible to get your certificate renewed. It's at the discretion of the DVLA. The less time that has elapsed since the expiry date the higher the chance of a renewal. A week or so should not cause a problem, though there is no guarantee.

If you are named as the purchaser on the certificate you can send it straight to the DVLA in Swansea. Otherwise you will have to send it back to the original purchasers, in this case us. Either way, you should include a cover note explaining why the certificate had not been renewed. It's best to avoid claiming that you forgot, as the DVLA will be looking for something more substantial. You must include the renewal fee. Cheques should be made payable to 'DVLA'.

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