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How to retain a number plate?

If you are looking to take a number plate off a car, you can click here to go to the DVLA website where you can transfer a registration number from one car to another, or retain your number plate until you want to use it. Note that the registration number will be removed from the vehicle straight away. The vehicle will either get the original registration number (if available) re-assigned to it as a replacement, or a new 'age related' registration (of the same age as the vehicle).

Alternatively, you can retain a number plate by completing a V317 form (Application to keep a vehicle registration number) and send it to DVLA, Personalised Registrations, Swansea SA99 1DS.

How much is it to retain a number plate on a certificate?

It currently costs £80 to retain a number plate by taking it off a vehicle. Payment of this fee will be shown on the V778 (Retention document) when the number plate retention application process is complete. There is then no further charge when you wish to put the number plate onto a suitable vehicle.

You can pay by debit or credit card to retain a number plate online; or a cheque, bankers draft or postal order made payable to 'DVLA Swansea' if you are applying to retain a number plate using a V317 form.

What are the regulations for number plate retention?

  • You must be the registered keeper of the vehicle which currently has the registration - it must exist and be registered with the DVLA
  • The vehicle must be taxed or be declared SORN (the SORN must be in place for the last 5 years without any gaps)
  • The vehicle also needs to be available for inspection by the DVLA (in some instances they request to do this before issuing new documents)
  • The vehicle must be of a testable type (requiring an MOT) and be able to move under its own power
  • The registration must not start with a Q or QNI (as these are non-transferable) and your V5C (log book) should not have any note marking the plate as "non-transferable"

What documents do I need to retain a private number plate?

You will need the V5C (log book) for the car. If you are applying online you will need the 11 digit Document Reference Number (you should find this half way down on the right hand side of the first page).

How do I pass the rights of a registration number to someone else?

You can pass the rights of the registration number to someone else (called a grantee) if, for example:

  • You are selling the registration number
  • You wish to retain it for someone else who will not have any rights to the registration number until you put it on a vehicle registered in their name (called a nominee) completing a V317 form (Application to keep a vehicle registration number) and sending it to the DVLA, Personalised Registrations, Swansea SA99 1DS.


What do I need to do if I am applying online to retain a registration?

If you are applying online, click here to go to the DVLA website and follow the instructions on the screen. The service is available from 7am to 7pm. Remember that the registration will be removed straight away.

What do I need to do to make a DVLA number plate retention request with a V317 form?

You will need to download and print off a V317 form (Application to keep a vehicle registration number).

The registered keeper fills in sections 2, 3 and 9.1 of the V317 form. If you want to put a grantee's details on the retention document, complete 9.1, or if you want to add a nominee complete 9.2.

You should be aware that, although the retained registration can be assigned to a vehicle registered in either the name of the grantee or the nominee, only the grantee has the right to the registration.

Send the completed V317 plus your V5C log book (the original - not a photocopy) to DVLA Personalised Registrations, Swansea, SA99 1DS.

What happens after the DVLA have retained my number plate?

Once your application is approved, you will be sent a new V5C log book for your vehicle showing the appropriate replacement registration, and a Retention document (V778) for the number plate you are retaining. This usually arrives within two weeks. But if the DVLA have requested to inspect the vehicle (in some cases they do request to do this) then it could be up to four weeks. If you have requested to retain the registration in someone else's name (you put another name and address different to your own in section 9a as the grantee), the V778 will be sent to them at their address.

Last updated: Monday 6th April 2020

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