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What Happens to Your Old Number Plate When You Change it?

So, you’ve either bought, or are planning to buy a new number plate and are wondering what happens to your old number plate when you change it. The information on this topic is often not mentioned on websites where you can buy and sell your private number plates. However, this is a common question that is asked by individuals who are interested in buying a new number plate and want to follow the necessary rules and regulations when purchasing a new registration plate.

This post explores what you should do with your old number plate when you fit your new personalised one, as well as other frequently asked questions regarding how to put a number plate on retention (old or new).


1. What will happen to my old number plate when I get a private one?

The answer to this question is simpler than you may think. Once you have notified DVLA and they have officially assigned your new number plate to your car, you must fit your new number plate immediately and before driving your vehicle. You should also inform your insurance company of this modification that has been made to your car, otherwise you may not be insured, and you risk receiving a fine.

So, you’ve completed all the steps above, but what happens to the old plate? According to DVLA, all you need to do is “keep the original registration number” this is 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.


2. What if I decide I don’t want to use my personalised plate yet?

That’s not a problem, you don’t have to use your new registration plate straight away, but you must let DVLA know. This is also known as putting a number plate on retention.

To put a number plate on retention – you must fill out a V317 document following Option B. Note that you will have to pay £80 to retain your personalised number plate and you can only keep the plate on this document for a maximum of 10 years. If you wish to hold the plate in retention for longer than this, you must renew and send off another V317 document to DVLA as soon as the 10 years have passed.

(Copyright: Andrey_Popov/


3. How do I assign a number plate to another vehicle?

If you have bought a new vehicle or simply want to assign a number plate to another car, similarly to what is mentioned above, you must fill out the V317 document and follow Option A stating from which car you want to remove the plate from and to which car you would like to transfer it to. This process also costs £80. Furthermore - this where the answer to question 1 is useful – DVLA will most likely reassign the original number plate to the car you’ve removed the personalised number plate from, so it is recommended that you keep the original plate safe to avoid any extra hassle.

These are the main questions that are asked regarding what happens to your old number plate when you change it as well as how to keep your private number plate and the removal of your registration plate. If you have any questions which have not been answered within this post, be sure to contact us.


(Feature Image Copyright: Andrey_Popov/

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