How & When The DVLA Releases New Private Plates

Finding your perfect plate can sometimes be down to timing and luck, but give yourself a head start by knowing when to expect the DVLA to release new private plates and how they do it.

When does the DVLA release new number plates?

Every year, the DVLA releases two new number plate series. The new registration series adheres to the new registration format, which consists of two characters, a year, and three more characters.

The current style (new style) of number plates replaces the previous Prefix and Suffix formats.

New registrations are released in March and September each year.

The first two characters represent regional identifiers, but the following three are completely random. The year itself is the first release of the year's two numbers - 2012 would be 12. But for the second release of the year, the year is added to 50. For example, it would be 12+50 = 62.

How does the DVLA release registration plates?

New registrations

New vehicle registrations are issued by the DVLA in the vast majority of situations when they are sold for the first time.

When you acquire a new vehicle, the registration number given to it is displayed on the number plates as part of the DVLA's usual, routine practice - it's issued from a set of numbers for that year and will have a code that indicates the place and year it was issued.

Members of the public and private registrations firms are entitled to select and acquire new registration numbers when a scheduled DVLA registration release occurs, which occurs twice a year in March and September.

Following the initial sale period, registration blocks are issued to car dealers to be assigned to new cars in the regular manner. After that, any remaining registrations are available for purchase on the DVLA website.

Auction by the DVLA

The DVLA will occasionally withhold registrations from the usual sequence and sell them at DVLA auctions instead of releasing them to new vehicles.

These are frequently numbers that resemble words or names, as these are the most wanted and so are the most likely to be sold for high prices. This scheme generates a large amount of income for the DVLA each year.

Private plate dealers

Private plate dealers that have agreed to comply with the DVLA's terms and conditions of trading practices are able to sell private registration plates. They can sell a variety, such as:

If you choose this method, here at Click4Reg all you need to do is purchase your perfect number plate and we'll take care of the rest.

Numbers that have been replaced

The transfer system also allows a vehicle owner to sell or transfer their DVLA registration number to another vehicle or onto a retention document in most situations.

The agency will give a replacement number to the vehicle whose original registration has been removed in these circumstances.

How to take off your private plate

You can ask to have a private (personal) number plate removed from your car if you're looking to do one of the following things:

  1. Assign it to another vehicle
  2. Keep to use at a later date

You can apply to do this either through post or online on the government website. It will cost you £80 and can even be done immediately if you have the right documents.

When you remove a private number, the vehicle's original registration number is normally reassigned to it automatically and a V778 retention document and a new logbook will be given to you (V5C).

How to apply online

Applying online is the quickest and easiest method in most cases. You will be asked to enter the following details:

  • The registration number you wish to release
  • V5C registration certificate (logbook) document reference number
  • Your postcode and other contact details
  • Whether you are the registered keeper

You will also need to enter your payment details for the £80 fee.

How long it takes: The service is open from 07:00 to 19:00 and the registration can be removed immediately after you have finished filling in the online forms.

How to apply through post

This process is usually longer but to apply to release your private plates through the post, you need to send the following to the DVLA:

  • £80 in transfer fees
  • The vehicle's logbook (V5C) or green 'new keeper' slip with a completed V62 'application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C'
  • A V317 'transfer or maintain a vehicle registration number' form with the address on

You can even tax your vehicle at the same time by also sending a V10 'vehicle tax application' calculating the correct amount of vehicle tax and obtaining an MOT certificate.

How long it takes: This all relies on how quickly your documents get to the DVLA but you should account for at least 4 weeks before the process is complete.

After you've completed the application to release your private plates, you'll be sent:

  • A new logbook (V5C) with the replacement registration number for the vehicle (it can take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive)
  • Your original MOT certificate (if you sent it to tax the vehicle)
  • A V778 retention document (if the private number is in someone else's name, the V778 document will be delivered to them)

Who to tell when you get a new private plate

Once you've changed your registration number, you need to follow a few steps such as assigning it to your vehicle and making sure you have received all of the correct documents. If you have bought a new registration plate then there are also a few people you need to tell, such as:

  • Your insurance provider
  • Any automatic payment accounts you have (the Congestion Charge, Low/Ultra Low Emission Zone Charge, Dart Charge)
  • The Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation scheme, if your vehicle is certified under it

Failing to inform these authorities may result in a hefty fine, which is not what you want once you've just purchased a new registration numbers. But knowing exactly how and when the DVLA releases new private plates, you can give yourself a headstart when it comes to organisation.