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The act of moving a registration from a vehicle to a certificate (V778) is termed 'retention'.
You can move the registration onto a certificate, or onto another vehicle. The important thing is to do this in advance of selling the car. If you sell the vehicle with the registration still showing on the V5C log book, then the new owner will also become the owner of your plate!
Complete a V317 form and send this to the DVLA along with the V5C Registration Certificate and a cheque for £80 made payable to 'DVLA'.
You will receive back a V778 Certificate of Retention, and a new V5C showing a new registration for the vehicle (typically this will revert back to the registration that was on the car prior to the private plate). You can then inform your insurer of the change and attach new plates to the vehicle that match the registration now showing on the V5C.
The V778 is valid for a period of 10 years, but you can renew this indefinitely.
There are some criteria that must be met to retain a registration from a vehicle: