Finding The Right Personalised Number Plate For You
There are many types of car registration plate on offer if you are looking to purchase a private plate for your car. Most registration numbers include a location and year identifier for when and where the mark was first registered (but note that you must not purchase a number plate that dupes people into thinking your car is newer than it is).
Current style number plates (also referred to as new style registrations) were first brought in September 2001. They contain a year identifier as a number, for example: 01 means the car was registered in March 2001, and 51 means the car was registered in September 2001.
Prefix style number plates were introduced in 1983 and stopped in 2001, being replaced by the current/new style reg numbers. This style of plate contains a letter to indicate the year the car was registered, which is the first letter found on the registration. For example, A = August 1983 and B = August 1984.
Suffix style number plates were introduced in 1963, before being replaced by prefix style plates. Suffix registrations include a letter to indicate the year was registered, and this could be found at the end of the registration. For example, A = August 1963 and B = August 1964.
Dateless number plates do exactly what's said on the tin: they are ageless. This means they do not have a year identifier and they can be applied to any vehicle, regardless of it's registration date. Due to this, this type of number plate is the most sought-after, but they are also the most rare type of registration to buy - this often means they can be expensive.
See our: Find a Private Number Plate Guide
How long does the transfer process take?
Transferring a number plate can take anywhere between 2 to 5 weeks to complete from when your documents are submitted to the DVLA - either by post or online. Before sending off your paperwork, ensure you triple check your details, otherwise the waiting time may be even longer.
When completed online, the process can be significantly faster and the transfer (in some cases) can be almost immediate once the funds have been cleared and the correct documents have been viewed by the DVLA.
Are there any restrictions when buying personalised number plates?
There are many number plate laws to abide by, such as having the correct sizes and following the correct format. However, one of the most important things to remember is you cannot misrepresent the age of your car by making it appear younger than it is. For example, you are not authorised to put a ‘19' age identifier on a car registered in 2004.
For the full rules in a simple, digestible format, read our guide.
Can my new plate be transferred to a motorbike or moped?
Yes! If you have a private number plate on your motorcycle or moped, all you need to do is apply to the DVLA to remove the registration number from the bike. Once this is done, you can transfer it straight to another vehicle, which may be another motorbike or any other vehicle.
What happens to my private plate if/when I sell my vehicle?
When you sell your car and you want to retain your private number plate, you should speak to the DVLA about putting your plate on retention. They will send you a retention document in the post, and this will prove that you own the private plate - this lasts for 10 years. This means you can now assign the private number plate to your new car.
What happens to my current registration?
Once you have notified DVLA and they have officially assigned your new number plate to your car, the DVLA says you keep the original registration number because the old number plate will most likely be reassigned to that same vehicle if you decide to take your personalised number plate off or decide to sell your vehicle and want to keep your new plate when you do so.
Read our guide here for more information.
What about the tax and MOT on my vehicle?
If you are assigning a new number plate to a vehicle, you will need to send your log book (V5C) and the certificate to the DVLA who will be able to assign the number plate to your vehicle. The DVLA will send you a replacement V5C back in the post, showing your new number plate's registration. This means that the transfer is complete and you can contact your insurance to let them know your number plate has changed and change your plates over. The tax and MOT from your previous number plate will be automatically updated for your new number plate by the DVLA.
If you need to tax and/or MOT your vehicle while your number plate transfer is being processed, you can do so if the transfer hasn't yet been completed. However, if the DVLA has processed your new plate before you have sorted your road tax or completed your MOT, the transfer will fail. At Click4reg, we always advise our customers to ensure they tax their vehicle or book in for an MOT before their number plate is due to be processed.
Should I tell my insurance provider about the change to my reg?
When you get a new number plate for your vehicle, you must assign your number plate to your car and inform your insurer and the DVLA immediately. This is because if you fail to tell your insurer and an incident occurs, there could be issues proving that you are insured.
Can private plates be applied to leased or mobility vehicles?
The most simple answer to this is yes, you can. But first it is advisable to speak to the lease or motability company prior to purchasing a private registration plate to confirm that there are no restrictions in assigning a personalised plate to your vehicle. There shouldn't be any issues, but it's always best to check beforehand.
If the lease company allows you to apply a private plate in most cases you will be required to send the retention certificate for them to apply the registration as they will be the ones holding the V5C Logbook. For more information about putting a private plate on a motability car, read our guide.
Can your number plates be purchased as a gift for someone else?
Yes, you can. All you need to do is purchase the number plate - you won't need any vehicle documents at the time of purchase as these will only be needed for the transfer of the registration, which can be done by the gift recipient later on.
For more information about giving a private plate as a gift, read this guide.
How can I make sure I follow the law when buying a private plate?
Understanding the laws, rules and regulations surrounding the purchase of a private number plate is hugely important for both suppliers and customers.
Some time ago, it was possible to buy a number plate from any private registration maker without needing to supply them with evidence of your entitlement to that registration.
However, as your vehicle's registration is so important when it comes to things like identifying the owner of a vehicle and preventing vehicle related crimes (e.g. number plate cloning, speeding, theft etc.), strict laws regarding the purchase and use of personal number plates have now been introduced.
For example, now you will need to provide your number plate supplier with a V948 number plate authorisation certificate (which can only be issued and supplied by the DVLA after your entitlement to that registration has been verified) before your new number plate can be made.
The way that your number plate is displayed must also comply with the regulations which means that it must not use decorative fonts, letters and numbers must be the right size, and the spacing and overall style must comply with the British Standards.
If you are caught breaking the law with your personalised number plate, your entitlement to that registration could be revoked and you could also be issued a fine of up to £1000.
Private plates that don't comply with the British Standards will also mean that your vehicle fails its next MOT test.