A Comprehensive Guide to Registration Documents

If you would like to get a private number plate made, you can’t simply walk off the street and purchase one. Instead you must ensure are getting a number plate made up from a registered number plate supplier, such as a registered garage or online private number plate company, and have the correct DVLA documentation and identification to hand to prove who you are. But the million-pound question is, “what documents do I need to get a number plate?”

There are several different DVLA documents, but which forms do you need when purchasing, assigning or retaining a private number plate to your vehicle? We give you the lowdown in this handy guide to the documents needed to purchase a private registration plate.


What is a V5C Registration Certificate?

V5C certificate of entitlement.

The V5C – more commonly referred to as the log book – contains the registered keeper’s name and address, as well as vehicle details. As of July 2005, all old-style V5s are no longer valid; instead you may have been issued with a new V5C UK registration certificate. The V5C document is easily identifiable as it is bright red and show the words “Registration Certificate” on the front.

When filling this out, you should make sure your personal details are correct and all characters and numbers are easy to read, such as your vehicle’s make, model, colour, VIN/chassis and engine numbers. It is fairly self-explanatory, but you must ensure that you tell the DVLA if any your details change to ensure the document is accurate at all times.

What is a V750 Certificate of Entitlement?

V750 Certificate of Entitlement

The V750 refers to a registration plate that has never been assigned to a car by the DVLA and confirms the purchaser’s entitlement to the registration plate. This pink-coloured document is valid for a period of 10 years and must be assigned to a vehicle before the expiry date marked on the V750. If by this point you have not assigned the plate to a vehicle, you can renew it for free, but you must do this before the expiry date, otherwise you may have to pay for it again.

Furthermore, there may also be a name in the nominee section – this occurs if the registration plate has not been bought by the vehicle owner, such as if it has been given as a gift.

RELATED: How To Assign a Private Number Plate To a Vehicle

What is a V778 Retention Document?

The V778 retention document - also known as the “application to keep a vehicle registration number” – is a green coloured government document for holding the rights to a private registration plate that has previously been assigned to a vehicle, but not currently assigned to anything. Essentially, this document confirms a grantee’s entitlement to the registration number specified on the certificate.

The vehicle will have been assigned to a vehicle at some point and has been “transferred” off that vehicle to be stored for a period of 10 years on a certificate. To do this, you must pay £80 – when you reach the end of the 10-year period, you can renew this for free. You must assign the number plate to a suitable vehicle before the expiry date shown on the document.

A retention allows you to buy a private plate but put it on hold, meaning if you spot the perfect private number plate but do not yet own an appropriately aged vehicle*, you can buy and hold the private plate via retention until you have a suitable car to assign it to.

*For example, if you find a 19/69 plate but don’t have a newly registered car, you are unable to assign it to your car. Read more about the number plate rules here.

Furthermore, just like the V750, the V778 may also be a name in the nominee section, such as if the plate is being given as a gift.

RELATED: What is a non-transferrable registration mark?

The V750 and V778 DVLA registration documents provide the most popular method of giving a personalised number plate as a gift, as this ensures that it is still kept a secret if it is a surprise. This is becoming increasingly popular among parents, as many are choosing to gift their child a personalised plate once they pass their test, or once they have reached a milestone birthday, such as 18 or 21. On the other hand, parents are also deciding to purchase a custom plate that could increase in value, so once their child is old enough, they can earn some money back by selling it on.

What documents are required to get a number plate made?

You’ll need the following documentation before you get a personalised reg from a registration plate website, garage or number plate auction:

To confirm your name and address:

  • Your driving licence
  • A bill – such as: a utility bill; a landline telephone bill; a council tax or rates bill (dating from the last 6 months)
  • A bank or building society statement (dating from the last 6 months)
A hand and pen completing a form.

Photo credit: rigsbyphoto / Shutterstock

The following documents only confirm your name:

  • Your passport (doesn’t have to be issued from the UK)
  • A bank or building society debit or credit card
  • A police warrant card
  • An armed forces identity card

When it comes to putting the new registration plate on your vehicle, you must prove you can use the registration number. The following documents are suitable to supply your dealer:

  • Vehicle registration certificate (V5C or V5CNI) – the preferred document.
  • New keeper supplement (V5C/2 or V5C/2NI) - commonly referred to as the "green slip"
  • Certificate of Entitlement to a registration mark (V750 or V750NI)
  • Retention document (V778) – not applicable in Northern Ireland
  • Renewal reminder for vehicle tax or SORN (V11 or V11NI)
  • Temporary registration certificate (V379 or V379NI) – not applicable in Northern Ireland
  • A number plate authorisation certificate (V948) with an official stamp from the DVLA£or DVSA
  • An electronic number plate authorisation certificate (eV948)
  • Letter of authorisation from a fleet operator (including lease or hire company) quoting the document reference number from the registration certificate (V5C)

It’s worth noting that if you have a fleet of 50 or more vehicles that you are using to brand your business, you can use the V5C on demand scheme (also called ‘V5C suppression’) so save you from incurring any unnecessary storage and distribution costs. In this instance, a View Vehicle Record (VVR) enables you to print a PDF of the vehicle’s details from the service, which should come in 3 to 5 working days.

After you have provided the correct documents and made the purchase, you will receive a V750 Certificate of Entitlement. This proves that you have the right to put the new private plate onto your vehicle. Remember to keep this in safe hands, alongside your other car documentation to avoid losing it, as you may need it if there are any problems or if you wish to sell it. A re-print is free of charge from the DVLA, but it can take£up to four weeks to arrive via post.

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