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If you are looking to take a number plate off a car or HGV, you can click here to go to the DVLA gov.uk 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 the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The address to send it to is DVLA, Personalised Registrations, Swansea SA99 1DS.
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, also known as a retention certificate 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.
You can retain a private number plate from a vehicle to certificate both online and via the post. Let's explore the steps for each option.
Five steps to retain a number plate online
That's it! Your V778 retention document may take up to 6 weeks to arrive, but once you've completed the five steps, you'll be issued a replacement V5C that includes your new registration number that replaces the old one on your vehicle. Speaking of which, to drive your vehicle, you'll need to display your new, replacement private number plate.
Five steps to retain a number plate via post
If your application is successful, you or your dealer will receive a new V5C in around two weeks, generally speaking.
To retain a private number plate, you'll 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).
If your retention certificate expires, you'll lose the right to use the registration. If you make your renewal application after the expiration date on your document, the DVLA won't accept it.
To renew your retention document (V778):
You can renew your retention document up to 28 days before the expiration date. Applying earlier than this may lead to your application being refused by the DVLA.
You can pass the rights of the registration number to someone else (called a grantee) if, for example:
...by completing a V317 form (Application to keep a vehicle registration number) and sending it to the DVLA, Personalised Registrations, Swansea SA99 1DS.
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.
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 certificate, 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.
Once your application is approved, you will be sent a new V5C log book for your vehicle showing the appropriate replacement registration, and a V778 retention document 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 retention document will be sent to them at their address.
Last updated: Monday 3rd July 2023