Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a prefix registration?
Prefix registrations contain the year identifier at the beginning of a registration eg A123 ABC.
What is a suffix registration?
Suffix registrations contain the year identifier at the end of a registration eg ABC 123Y
What documents do I need to buy a registration number?
If you are buying a number to go onto a vehicle straight away then you will need to provide your V5 Registration Certificate (Log Book) , MOT Certificate if applicable and a copy of your tax disc.
What is a current style registration?
Current style registrations consist of two letters, a two digit age identifier and finally three letters eg AB51 ABC
What is a dateless registration?
Dateless registrations do not contain a year identifier and can consist of a number combination followed by a letter combination and vice versa eg ABC 123
I have seen my registration number on your website, but it is not for sale and I haven't given permission for it to be advertised. Why is it listed?
We advertise our own stock along with other reputable number plate dealers and for private individuals, our information come from many different sources and we may be given inaccurate information. Occasionally a typing error may occur when details are entered onto our systems resulting in the listing of a combination that is in fact not for sale. Also, there are occasions when a donor has failed to advise us of the sale and subsequent non-availability of a number. If you have seen your registration listed and would like to provide us with further information or simply want us to remove it from our website, please send an email to email@example.com. Please remember to specify the registration in question and your contact details for confirmation.
How do I get a specific number released if it has never been issued?
There are no guarantees of having any registration number issued that does not exist. Some marks are not issued because they are considered offensive or inappropriate, others just never made it to issue over the years.
How can I safeguard my entitlement to a number?
Entitlement to a number is the right of the registered keeper of a vehicle to apply to have the number transferred to another vehicle. The keeper is also entitled to apply to have the number put on retention. It is important to note that the keeper may apply, but the application will only be granted if all the conditions relating to the retention and transfer facilities are satisfied. You can help to safeguard your entitlement, therefore, by ensuring that your vehicle is able to meet these conditions.
If you no longer have the vehicle which properly displays the number (ie it is in someone else's keepership or has been scrapped, broken up, destroyed or exported) then your entitlement to the number ceases.
What if my vehicle is stolen and not recovered?
If your vehicle is stolen and has not been recovered after a year you can apply to have its registration number re-assigned to your replacement vehicle providing certain conditions are met. In order to qualify the theft must have been notified to the police and recorded at DVLA as stolen for not less than 12 months. In addition, at the time of the theft the vehicle must have had a current MOT and have had a current tax disc. The Agency will also require a letter from your insurers confirming that they have no objection to the number being re-issued. This must be provided because once insurers have settled your claim, they have a rightful claim to the vehicle should it be recovered.
What if my vehicle is "written off"?
A write-off happens when a damaged vehicle is judged by insurers to be beyond economic repair. In such a case, the insurance company agrees a sum to be paid to the insured, and legal ownership of the vehicle then passes to the insurance company. The company is then free to sell the vehicle as salvage and the purchaser may repair it and put it back on the road. Unless you transfer the registration to another vehicle or a retention document you risk losing your entitlement to that registration.
What if my vehicle has been scrapped?
Scrapping occurs when a vehicle, whether an insurance write-off or not, is broken up for spares or otherwise destroyed. Once a vehicle ceases to exist its registration number is cancelled. If your vehicle has been scrapped, you will not be able to transfer its registration number. The person who actually breaks up or destroys the vehicle must notify the governing bodies that the vehicle has been scrapped and return the V5 Registration Certificate.
Are there any special rules for motorcycles / mopeds?
No, motorcycles and mopeds can participate in the registration transfer scheme.
I have an old vehicle which is not registered at DVLA. Can I register the vehicle and transfer or retain its registration number?
It is possible for the vehicle to be registered by the governing bodies. But you will not be able to transfer or retain its number.
If you are able to supply documentary evidence (eg the old-style log book) to establish a link between the vehicle and the registration number, you should be able to register the vehicle under that number. If you do not have documentary evidence, or you do not know the vehicle's registration number, the vehicle may still be registered but in this case a number appropriate to its age will be assigned by the governing bodies. If the age or origin of the vehicle cannot be established, then the governing bodies may register the vehicle under a "Q" number. Whatever the circumstances the vehicle's registration number will be non-transferable. This arrangement helps to safeguard entitlement by removing the incentive there would otherwise be for spurious claims to attractive old registration numbers.
My vehicle has a "Q" prefix registration number. Can it participate in the transfer and retention schemes?
Unfortunately not, vehicles are assigned "Q" prefix registration numbers to draw attention to the fact that their origins or age are uncertain. "Q" numbers are non-transferable and must remain with the vehicle unless documentary evidence which confirms its origins / age comes to light. In this case, the evidence should be sent to your nearest VRO who may then assign a replacement age-related number to the vehicle.
My V5 registration document says my registration number is non-transferable. Can I transfer a cherished number onto my vehicle?
Yes, you cannot transfer or retain a non-transferable number, the vehicle can receive a registration number providing the non-transferable number is not a "Q" mark and providing the vehicle meets the normal conditions of the Sales, Transfer and retention schemes.
Can I transfer a Northern Irish number onto my vehicle?
Yes, providing the donor and recipient vehicles are registered at DVLA or on the DVLNI. You may also transfer a GB number to a vehicle registered in NI. In either case the vehicles must, of course, meet the requirements of the transfer scheme.
I have an old style log book / V5 registration document but the vehicle no longer exists. Can I claim the registration number?
Once a vehicle has been scrapped or no longer exists the entitlement to its number also ceases. Possession of a log book or registration document alone does not give entitlement to a registration number. If a vehicle has been scrapped, you are required by law to notify the Secretary of State and return the registration document to DVLA.
What is a registration number and who has entitlement to it?
Registration numbers are not items of property in their own right. They are assigned, and may be withdrawn, by the Secretary of State as part of the basic registration and licensing process which is required by law. The registration number is a unique means of identifying a vehicle, primarily for taxation and law enforcement purposes. It is assigned to the vehicle, rather than its keeper, and unless it is transferred or retained the registration number normally remains with the vehicle until it is broken up, destroyed or sent permanently out of the country.
An individual acquires entitlement to a registration number when he or she becomes the registered keeper of the vehicle which carries the number. When the vehicle changes hands, entitlement to its registration number will automatically pass with the vehicle to the new keeper unless the number is transferred or retained beforehand.
The Cherished Transfer and Retention Schemes
The Cherished Transfer Scheme enables an assigned registration number to be moved directly from one vehicle to another. Only the registered keeper of a vehicle is entitled to apply to transfer its number. Application form V317 must be completed and the fee for a transfer is £80 (at time of publication).
If the vehicle which is receiving the number in a cherished transfer is already registered, its existing number will become void unless an application to transfer or retain that number is made at the same time.
The Retention Scheme enables a number to be held apart from the vehicle it has been assigned to, for a 12 month period pending its re-assignment to another vehicle. Only the registered keeper of a vehicle is entitled to apply for a right of retention. Application form V317 must be completed and the application fee is £25 plus an assignment fee of £80, bringing the total payable to £105 (at time of publication). Successful applicants are issued with a V778 Retention Document, valid for 12 months, which records details of the registration number, the grantee (the applicant), and nominee details where supplied in the application. If, after you have received your document, you wish to add or change nominee details, you will need to apply to DVLA, returning your document together with a fee of £25.
Once you have assigned the retained number to your, or your nominee's, vehicle you have fully exercised your rights under the terms of the retention facility. After assignment, entitlement to the number comes through being the keeper of the vehicle which has received it. Only the keeper is entitled to apply for further retention or transfer of the number.
If the vehicle which is receiving the retained number is already registered, its existing number will become void unless an application to retain or transfer that number is made at the same time.
The V317 form contain notes for guidance and are available from DVLA and your nearest Vehicle Registration Office.
Before you apply, check your V5 registration Document to make sure that the number is transferable. If it is not, it will say so on the V5. If the registration document states that the registration number is non-transferable, then it cannot be retained either. However, the vehicle may still be eligible to receive a cherished mark (this does not usually apply if the vehicle has a "Q" registration).
You should also check to make sure that the conditions for the transfer and retention schemes can be compiled with. These conditions are as follows :-
- Vehicles must be available for inspection if requested by DVLA.
- The inspection helps to verify entitlement to the registration number being transferred/retained. Both the donor (the vehicle giving up the number) and the recipient (the vehicle receiving the number) may be called for inspection.
- Vehicles must be subject to MOT / HGV test.
You are not able to transfer/retain numbers from non-testable vehicles such as agricultural tractors and milk floats. Only testable vehicles can participate in transfers and retentions and valid test certificates must be sent with applications.
Vehicles must be currently taxed, or in the process of being taxed. The application will still be considered, however, where the last tax disc expired within six months of the date of application. If the license has been voluntarily surrendered for refund, the six-month concession does not normally apply.
A replacement tax disc will be issued, and the MOT certificate - where applicable - will be endorsed to show that the vehicle's number has changed.
Finally, registration documents showing the changed registration number will be sent out from DVLA to the keeper. In the case of a retention application, a V778 Retention Document, valid for 12 months, will also be sent to the grantee.
You should not dispose of the vehicle until the application has been fully completed and you have received the amended registration documents. If you dispose of the vehicle too soon, you may lose entitlement to the cherished mark.
Once your transfer has been successfully completed you must inform your insurers of the vehicle's new registration number
When I buy a personalised registration mark, do I have to put it straight onto a vehicle?
No. If it has been supplied on a retention certificate you have until the expiry date shown on your V750 or V778 to put the mark onto a vehicle.