How To Change Your Plates Or Put Them On Retention

02/13/201913th February, 2019
Filed under Car Topics

We get the low down on UK private plates and the best way to use them on your ride.


Can I change my number plate?

If you’ve bought your own private number plate, or been gifted one and you want to keep it for your new car then it is possible to do so.

Whether you want to put the plate straight onto another vehicle or keep hold of it for other reasons then it’s a simple and easy process with the DVLA.

This guide will provide you with all of the information you need to begin the process of retaining your number plate and/or putting it on another vehicle.

What are the rules?

When it comes to retaining and changing a number plate there are a few rules you must abide by in order to be accepted by the DVLA:

  • Both vehicles (if putting the plate onto another) must have a valid MOT
  • Both vehicles must have up to date tax or have been declared SORN (Statuary Off Road Notification) for 5 continuous years
  • The number plate is allowed to be swapped and retained (this will be highlighted in your log book)
  • The vehicles are registered with the DVLA

So long as your vehicle/both vehicles comply with all of these rules then the application will be smooth. Should the DVLA wish, they can request to inspect the vehicles involved so your vehicles have to be in a fit state to be able to travel to be inspected.

How do I change my number plate onto another vehicle?

If you’re looking for the quickest way to change or retain your number plate you can speed up the process by applying online.

If you want to transfer the plate straight to another vehicle then you will have to fill out a V137 application form on the DVLA website.

If you are transferring the plate to another person’s car then both parties will have to complete the process.

If retaining the plate, then you will be required to complete a V778 form also known as a Retention Document.

This will allow you to keep the number plate retained for up to 10 years, and if you want to continue to retain it after this date you can renew the Retention Document for another 10 years absolutely free.

There are many benefits to retaining your plate, such as being able to keep hold of it whilst you wait for a new car, or selling it on at a later date.

You can also apply via post, however, this will be a much slower process than applying online.

Once the application has been completed and approved by the DVLA (which can take a few weeks), you will be able to transfer your number plate and take it off the original vehicle.

The DVLA will send you the documents as well as a number plate for the vehicle, this is most likely to be the original plate that the car had. If not, they will match up the vehicle with a plate revealing the date the car was registered.

Can I put my plate on a financed vehicle?

Whether you want to put your private reg plate on an owned, leased or financed vehicle, this is possible for all three options. If the vehicle has been leased, it is much easier to wait until it has been delivered to go through with the transfer process.

The leasing company can be organised to be your nominee and have the plate transferred onto your new vehicle.

If you’ve opted for a vehicle on finance then you complete the transfer through the DVLA. However, whether leasing or financing the car, make sure you begin the application of having the plate removed a few months before giving the car back as it can be a slow process.

author avatar Written by Staff This post was written by a member of the Drifted team. Read more about team on our about us page.

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