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How to transfer a private number plate

You can transfer a private number plate between vehicles, as well as transferring it to and from a retention document.

We'll walk you through the different options for transferring your private plate, and show you the easiest way to move it around.

How does transferring a private plate work?

Rolls Royce number plate

Private number plates can either be registered to your vehicle, or can be retained on a document for later use.

If you want to move the plate from one car to another – if you've just bought it, for example – or take a private plate off a vehicle you're selling to hold for later use, you'll need to officially transfer it.

All private-plate transfers – whether they're car-to-car, or to and from a document – go through the DVLA.

Different types of private plate transfer

There are three different ways you can transfer a private plate:

  • Transfer plate between vehicles – removing a private plate that's registered to one vehicle and moving it directly to a different vehicle
  • Transfer plate from vehicle to document – removing a private plate that's registered to a vehicle and holding it on a V778 retention document for later use
  • Transfer plate from document to vehicle – taking a private plate from a V778 retention document and registering it to a vehicle

How to transfer a private plate between vehicles

Renault Twingo in red
  1. To begin, you'll need to be the registered keeper of a vehicle with a private plate that you want to remove, and have another vehicle you want to transfer it to
  2. Visit the 'Take a private number off a vehicle' section of the DVLA's website
  3. Complete the online form – you'll need the vehicle's V5C logbook
  4. Pay an £80 fee for the service
  5. You'll then be given a reference number, which you must hold on to
  6. Visit the 'Assign a private number to a vehicle' section of the DVLA's website
  7. Complete this form – you'll need the new vehicle's V5C and the reference number from step 5
  8. The transfer is complete – you can physically put the private number plates on the new car
  9. The old car goes back to its originally assigned number plate – you might need to get new plates made if you no longer have the originals

How to transfer a private plate from a vehicle to a document

Working on a laptop
  1. You'll need to be the registered keeper of a vehicle with a private plate you want to hold for later use
  2. Visit the 'Take a private number off a vehicle' section of the DVLA's website
  3. Complete the online form – you'll need the vehicle's V5C logbook
  4. Pay an £80 fee for the service
  5. You'll get online confirmation that the plate is no longer registered to the car
  6. A V778 retention document will be sent to you – this proves you own the number plate and lets you add it to another car later on
  7. The V778 remains valid for 10 years – you can renew before the expiry date if you want to hold the plate for longer than this
  8. The car goes back to having its originally assigned number plate – you might need to get new plates made if you no longer have the originals

How to transfer a private plate from a document to a vehicle

Porsche 911 GT3 RS in red with private plate
  1. You'll need to have a valid V778 retention document with a private plate you own, and a car that you're the registered keeper of
  2. Visit the 'Assign a private number to a vehicle' section of the DVLA's website
  3. Complete the online form – you'll need the vehicle's V5C logbook and your V778 document
  4. This service is free to use
  5. You'll get online confirmation that private plate is now registered to that car
  6. If you already have physical plates, you can put them on the vehicle – otherwise get new plates made and fitted to your car

What are the rules for transferring private plates?

Man changing number plate

Most of the rules for transferring private plates are pretty common sense.

  • If you're taking a private plate off a car, you need to be that car's registered keeper, which means your name is on the V5C logbook
  • You'll need to be the registered keeper of any car you want to transfer a private plate to
    • Alternatively, to gift a private plate you own to another person, you'll need their permission as you'll have to use their V5C logbook to transfer it to their car
  • Once the plate transfer is complete, you'll need to make sure you physically apply the plates to the car
    • The plates must be exactly the same as the number registered with the DVLA
    • There are online services that will make and send new plates out to you, or you can visit your local car parts store
  • If your private plate uses the same letter and number format as standard number plates, which include the registration year, you won't be able to fit it to a car that's older than that year
    • For example, if you owned 'MP19 MPT' as a private plate, you couldn't fit it to a car from 2018 or earlier, because it could be seen as a fraudulent attempt to make the car look newer than it is
  • You can't transfer specialised number plates with 'Q' or 'NIQ' prefixes

How much does transferring a private plate cost?

Anytime you want to transfer a private plate from a vehicle – whether that's to go to another vehicle, or to be held on a V778 retention document – you'll need to pay the DVLA an £80 fee for that service.

It doesn't cost anything to transfer a private plate held on a V778 retention document to another vehicle.

You might also need to budget for a physical set of number plates for your car once the transfer is complete. These are usually less than £30 for a pair.

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Private plate transfer FAQs