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Transfering a Private Plate: A Step-By-Step Guide

February, 3 2014


Buying? Selling? Transferring? Regardless of what you are doing, you probably need to know how to take the private plate off of your car. If you are new to the process do not worry because it is not nearly as complicated as you may think, you just need a little patience. To make it as simple as possible though, below is the handy National Numbers Guide

How to get a private plate off a car?

Things to consider

Before you even think about touching the private plate you need to understand a few things.

First of all, remember that a private plate is not a special item owned by you are a buyer or seller. All number plates in circulation in the UK are controlled, ultimately, by the DVLA. What owners have is actually a DVLA mandated right to display the private plate … you are renting it essentially. If the private plate is on a vehicle it belong to that vehicle. In other words, if the vehicle changes owners or gets scrapped so does the private plate.

Keeping that in mind, the vehicle itself needs to meet certain standards for the private plate to be moved. Specifically it needs a valid tax and MOT with ideally plenty of time left on them to allow for any transfer to go through. If the vehicle doesn’t meet these standards the private plate is stuck there. The only exception to this rule is if the vehicle is within the first 12 months of SORN.

(NOTE: There was a change in the law which meant an MOT was not required on some vehicles of a certain age, but this DOES NOT apply to the number plate. Even if the car does not require an MOT to be driveable you would still need to opt in for one to take part in a number plate transfer.)

What you need

You’ve decided that you are going to buy/sell/transfer your private plate and you now need to know is exactly what you need.

Good news, you should have most of this readily available.

To transfer any private plate to or from a car the DVLA need the documents for all vehicles involved. These documents include the V5/C logbook, the MOT certificate (if applicable, new vehicles don’t require an MOT), and a copy of the tax disc. Remember these need to be the most recent and apart from the tax disc needs to be the originals, not copies, and any and all documents need to go to the DVLA together.

The DVLA may require some additional paperwork, usually a V317. This form, “Application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number”, see below.

To transfer or retain a private plate

The aforementioned V317 for is required for every private plate transfer. This form asks for details about the vehicles involved in the transfer request you are submitting. Each “transfer” covers one change and you do need to submit a V317 for every transfer – e.g. a vehicle to a vehicle is one transfer, a vehicle to retention is one transfer, a vehicle to vehicle to retention is two transfers.

If retaining, remember to have a NOMINEE at hand. This is the name that applies directly to your logbook. The name that appears as the “Registered Keeper” of the logbook needs to be EXACTLY THE SAME as the NOMINEE you put on the retention certificate for the private plate. If this is not the case the DVLA might, and usually do, refuse to do the transfer. This can be changed later on though for a fee of £25, so it is fixable.

The V317 forms are completed and sent to the DVLA together with all documents as well as the correct fees. If you do forget to include any small detail, get a fee wrong, or accidently send an old version of a document the DVLA will fail the transfer and send it back to you.

How long should it take?

There is a reason we say that the best thing to be when you transfer a private plate is patience. The timescale varies depending on the type of transfer you have applied for and of course on what the DVLA’s current workload is.

General times for a vehicle to retention transfer would usually be 7-10 days, while a vehicle to vehicle transfer will likely take a little longer at around 2-3 weeks.

Assuming all the documents and fees you have sent to the DVLA are correct you should have nothing to worry about. Sit back, relax and wait for your finished private plate transfer to come through.

By . Sam is National Numbers's resident busy-body and writer. She is new to the game but she is learning fast. Keep a look out for her other content, as well as her writing with you can find across the internet.

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