Selling my car but want to keep private number plate?

If you are wanting to sell your vehicle but want to keep the private plate that is on it, here is what you will need to do BEFORE selling your car and retain the plate that is currently on it for potential transfer to another vehicle.


Can I keep my private number plate when I sell my car?

Yes, it's usually possible to sell your car and retain your private number plate. You can apply online to the DVLA to remove the plate from your vehicle first. Upon completion you will receive a new V778 retention document, granting you the right to assign your private number plate to another vehicle within the next 10 years and you will also receive a new V5C logbook confirming your car's updated registration. Typically, when a private plate is removed from a vehicle, the original registration number is reassigned to it. This then enables you to sell your car.


Can I sell my car with the private number plate?

Yes, if you no longer want to keep your private plate you can sell your vehicle with it on. But be warned once you sell the car, your private plate belongs to the new buyer and you no longer own it and it cannot be claimed back at a later date.


What are the requirements for retaining a number plate?

To meet the criteria for number plate retention, all vehicles involved must:

- Be registered with the DVLA.

- Be capable of starting and moving under their own power.

- Be a vehicle type that requires an MOT or HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) certificate.

- Be available for inspection by the DVLA upon request.

- Have been continuously taxed or declared SORN for the last five years. If the car has been declared SORN for over five years, you will need to tax it, and the DVLA may request an inspection before approving your retention request.


What if my car is written off?

If your car has been written off by your insurer, you must inform them that you want your plate to be put on retention before they declare it written off, as after the insurer has paid you out, the vehicle and the registration number becomes their property.

Typically, after paying out for a ‘write off’, the insurer will scrap your car. Once your car has been scrapped, you will not be able to retrieve the right to use your personalised number plate if you haven’t put the original plates back on it through the DVLA.


How do I retain my number plate (step-by-step)

If you have a private registration on your car that you would like to keep on a retention certificate, these are the steps you need to follow:


You will need the cars V5C (logbook) in your name and then go to  ‘Take a private number off a vehicle’ page on the DVLA website.

Click the green ‘Take off a number online’ button on the page.

Type in the registration number you wish to remove from your vehicle.

Complete the relevant fields with your 11-digit V5C document reference number – and the registered keeper’s postcode (as shown in the logbook).

Click ‘Yes I am’ to confirm that you are the registered keeper.

Pay the £80 number plate retention fee to the DVLA.

Please note: If you need to change the nominee’s name, you will need to apply by post.

DVLA will then issue you a new log book with the original number plate on it and a V778 Retention certificate with the private plate on it.

By post

Firstly, download and print a copy of Form V317 from the DVLA website.

Put an ‘X’ in the box for Option B.

Turn to page 2 and complete section 1 with your vehicle’s details. You can find all the information required in your V5C logbook.

In section 2, put an ‘X’ in all relevant boxes.

Complete section 3 with your name, address, postcode, and daytime phone number.

If ownership of the registration number will change, complete section 4.1. If a dealer is acting on your behalf and you would like correspondence and documentation to be sent to them, complete section 4.2.

Enclose a cheque, banker’s draft, or postal order for £80 (made payable to ‘DVLA, Swansea’), your V5C logbook – and completed Form V317 in a stamped envelope and post to the following address: DVLA Personalised Registrations, Swansea, SA99 1DS.


What happens after you’ve applied?

Upon DVLA’s approval of your application, you'll be issued a replacement V5C logbook, typically arriving within two weeks. Should the DVLA require a vehicle inspection, they will contact you directly.  The 'Vehicle details' section in the new V5C logbook will display your car's latest registration number. Once a private plate is removed, the original registration number is usually reinstated.  Additionally, you'll receive a V778 certificate affirming your vehicle's prior registration placement on retention, a document that may take 4-6 weeks to arrive. You can then use this new V778 to transfer your private number plate to another vehicle you own or to a new or used car when you're ready.


Can an application for a V778 retention certificate be denied?

Yes, the DVLA reserves the right to reject applications for various reasons:

- Incorrect information submitted.

- If applying by post, failure to include the V5C logbook.

- Non-payment of the required £80 fee to the DVLA.

- Attempting to retain a private number plate not renewed or assigned to a vehicle before its expiry date.

- Failure to claim the number plate from your insurer if the car has been written off and scrapped.


What happens if your number plate retention certificate expires?

If you fail to renew your V778 retention certificate before its expiry date you will permanently lose the right to use the private plate, with subsequent applications being refused by the DVLA.


What documents do I need to retain my number plate?

To retain your number plate, you will need a copy of your vehicle’s V5C logbook:

If you have misplaced your V5C logbook, you cannot apply for number plate retention. However, you can request a replacement copy through the DVLA website. There is a £25 charge for this service.

If you need to any change information in the logbook, you will need to print out and complete a V62 form, then send it to the DVLA by post. You can find a full explanation of the process to follow in our guide.

If you apply online, you will need the 11-digit document reference number, which can be found on the first page of the V5C logbook.

If you need to apply by post, you will need to send the logbook itself with your application.

Whether you apply online or by post, you must pay a fee of £25 to the DVLA to receive your replacement logbook.


Can I sell my car while waiting for a number plate transfer?

Selling your car while waiting for a number plate transfer isn't possible if you intend to keep the private plate. Doing so will transfer the ownership of both the vehicle and the private plate to the buyer. However, selling your car after you have removed the private plate poses no issues, with the original registration number usually reinstated.


Can I sell my car after removing my private plate?

Yes, you can sell your car once you have received the V62 form from the DVLA that confirms the cars original number plate has been reassigned to it.


What else do I need to do?

Your V5C logbook can be used to transfer ownership to the new buyer.

To ensure the sale goes as smoothly as possible, you should also reattach the number plates with the original registration number if you have them, or, if not, order replacements.

Otherwise, the new owner will not be able to drive the vehicle until they have added plates that bears the correct registration.


Can I pass my registration plate to somebody else?

If you decide to gift or sell your personalised registration plate to somebody else, you will need to name this person on your V317 application form.

After the application has been processed, the new owner of the plate should receive a V778 retention document from the DVLA confirming their ownership.


Looking to buy a number plate?

Take a look on our website at the thousands and thousands of number plates to suit all budgets with prices starting at just £275, it is a perfect & unique gift for everybody.

Click the link or click home page to begin your number plate journey!

If you would like to speak to someone you can call our team Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm on 01995 213112 or click here to contact us


Looking to sell a number plate?

Alternatively, if you have a number plate and are looking to sell click here or give the team a call on 01995 213112.


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