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Private Number Plates And Imported Cars

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Private Number Plates And Imported Cars

Matthew Kirkman
May 17, 2013


If you're planning on importing a car into the UK, the first thing you'll have to do is to check the latest regulations (even if you do this frequently - they might have changed since you last imported a car), as it is imperative that the vehicle meets these requirements.

The vehicle will have to be registered for use in the UK - and for this to happen the DVLA will need to ensure that the car is suitable for use on UK roads. If the vehicle was first registered within the EU, this means making declarations that the vehicle is suitable for use in Great Britain and agreeing to make any alterations that may be needed (such as having the correct amount of seat belts). This is all part of the Mutual Recognition Scheme, and you can find out if your car qualifies under the scheme by contacting the VCA (Vehicle Certification Agency). If your application is accepted, the VCA will present you with a certificate that will support your registration application with the DVLA. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency website will give you more info on how to go about registering your car for UK roads.

But what about changing the number plates? If you're purchasing a new personalised plate or if you already have a private registration and wish to transfer the number plate onto an imported vehicle, you'll need to make sure you follow the correct procedures (all terms and conditions can be found on the DVLA website).

Private Number Plates can be purchased from a wide range of places - online, at a DVLA auction, in a private sale or from a dealer. You can get any number plate you want, as long as it's available, but you can't make a car look newer than it actually is. When buying DVLA cherished plates for your imported vehicle, you'll need a few things to hand: a V750 (the Certificate of Entitlement), a valid MOT certificate for the vehicle since it has come to the UK, and the log book (entitled the V5 Registration Document).

If you are transferring a private number plate that you already own, the rules are slightly different, and you'll need to complete form V317. If the number plate is being transferred from someone else's vehicle, then both registered keepers will need to fill in this form before sending it to a local DVLA office. A transfer fee of £80 is also required for this transaction, as well as form V62 ('Application for a Vehicle Registration Certificate'). Again, all details can be found on the DVLA website, but please note that any supporting documents must be the originals; photocopies will not be accepted.

As a bit of a side note, when importing a car, it is worth considering the practicalities of servicing it in the UK: will there be problems when it comes to maintaining it and getting spare parts? It's also worth keeping in mind the narrowness of some UK roads if you're thinking about getting a huge car from somewhere like the US; the number plate may fit, but will the vehicle fit along our quiet country lanes? Doing a bit of research online before choosing your car - and your registration - will help you to make your decision.


A private number plate can be a great way to conceal the age of your car, give your car a more exclusive look, or even just invest your money. If you're looking for DVLA cherished plates, you can find plenty more information on the internet.



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