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Selling Your Car and Keeping Your Private Number Plate

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Selling Your Car and Keeping Your Private Number Plate

Matthew Kirkman
May 20, 2013


When it comes to selling your car, there are lots of different things to think about. How much do you want it to go for? Where will you list it? How much time do you have before it needs to be sold? And what about your number plates? If you have a private number plate, you'll more than likely want to keep it - either to put onto a new car straightaway or just to hold onto while you decide what to do with it.

Basically, when you purchase a personalised number, what you're actually buying is the right to assign that number to a vehicle - and display that number on the number plates of the car. As many people see buying personalised number plates as an investment, you won't want to lose your private plates when you let go of your car. How do you actually go about this? What is the process you need to go through to sell your car but keep the private plates?

So what do you do if you're transferring the registration to another car? First thing's first: both the vehicle with the registration and the vehicle you're transferring the number to (whether another car in your name, one you're about to buy, or someone else's vehicle) have to be registered with the DVLA, currently taxed (or recently taxed for the vehicle which currently has the plates), and available for inspection. You will then need to complete a V317 ('application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number') form, as well as including a transfer fee of 80 pounds, an MOT test certificate for each vehicle, and the registration certificate for each vehicle - with a completed V62 ('application for a vehicle registration certificate') form. You will also need to enclose an 'application for a tax disc' (V10 form), certificate of insurance, and tax fee, if either of the vehicles need to be taxed. Applications should be approved within a fortnight (unless the DVLA need to inspect either vehicle), and you should then receive registration certificates for both vehicles.

If you wish to retain DVLA cherished numbers, the process is much the same, and you'll be using the same form (V317). The same general rules apply. As long as you're the registered keeper of the car, you can hold the registration number on a V778 retention document. This can last for 1, 2 or 3 years, costing 105 pounds, 130 pounds, or 155 pounds respectively. Just make sure you keep the retention document safe; you'll need it when assigning the registration number to another vehicle in the future.

It's worth noting that there are some conditions when it comes to transferring or retaining a registration: you can't transfer it if the number will make the vehicle look younger than it is, and you can't transfer a registration if it starts with a 'Q'' (or 'NIQ' in Northern Ireland).

Whatever you decide to do with your number plates, an online specialist number plate dealer can help you buy, sell, or transfer registrations, and if you get stuck on any part of the process, they'll be able to offer expert advice and support. Just remember that it is up to you to inform your insurance provider of any changes to your car or registration.


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 numbers, you can find plenty more information on the internet.



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