How To Put A Private Plate On A Car

Treating yourself to a private number plate is a great way to personalise your car and assigning the registration is very straightforward to do. Within this article, we walk you through the entire process required in order for you to put your private plate on your car.

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How To Put A Private Plate On A Car
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Private number plates are very popular in the UK and the process of putting one on your car has been made quick and simple to do thanks to the DVLA. They offer both an online and postal service and below we discuss everything you need to know along with a step-by-step guide to putting a private plate on your car.

What You’ll Need

In order to put a private plate on a car, you’ll need your car’s V5C logbook and either of the following documents:

What Are The Requirements?

Private plates are available in a wide variety of configurations/numbers but if you want to put a private plate on a car, it must meet the requirements set out by the DVLA. For example, you can’t put a private plate on a car that makes it look newer than it is (i.e. an 08 registration number on an 02 registered vehicle). You also can’t assign a number starting with “Q” or “NIQ” or put a private number plate on a car that’s a “Q” registered vehicle.

Other requirements that your car must meet include:

  • Be registered with the DVLA and be a type that needs an MOT (or HGV) test certificate
  • Be available for inspection and move under its own power
  • Has been taxed or had a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) in place continuously for the last 5 years
  • Be taxed or SORN’d (if the SORN has been in place for 5 years, it must be taxed and have an MOT)

With regards to historic vehicles that are over 40 years old and exempt from MOT’s, you’ll need to have a current MOT certificate in order to assign a private number plate.

Is There Any Fees?

As the transfer fee is paid upfront when buying a private plate, there are no further costs involved when putting a private plate on a car. Therefore, it’s free to assign a plate to your car online or by post.

How To Put A Private Plate On A Car

When you are ready to put your private plate onto your car, you can do so online or by post. The recommended method is to put your private plate on your car using the DVLA’s online service. This is primarily because it’s instant, which means that you can put the private plate on your car straightaway instead of waiting around for your car’s new logbook to arrive.

Regardless to whether you assign a private plate online or by post, below are step-by-step guides of each method.

Assign Private Plate Online (Available from 7AM to 7PM)

  1. Visit the DVLA’s online portal and enter the required details (private registration, current registration, latest V5C document reference number and postcode).
  2. Input the certificate of entitlement, retention certificate or online retention document number. It’s a 14 to 20 digit number that’s split up to form a unique code (as shown in the image).
  3. Confirm the keeper’s information and the registration that’s going on the car.
  4. Was the application successful? If so, you can now fit the new number plates.
  5. Update your insurance company regarding the change of registration.
how to put private plate on car

Assign Private Plate By Post

  1. Complete either the V750 or V778 document.
  2. Place the car’s V5C logbook (or the green “new keeper” slip) and the completed document into an envelope.
  3. Post the letter to the DVLA (DVLA Personalised Registrations, Swansea, SA99 1D).

Transferring A Number Plate From One Vehicle To Another

Removing a private plate and putting it on another car is relatively straightforward but it must be completed by post. The reason for this is because you’ll need to complete a V317 form and send both V5C log books to the DVLA. You’ll also need to pay £80 (by cheque) to the DVLA for them to complete the transfer.

However, it’s crucial that you do this a few weeks in advance if you intend to sell your car after the registration has been removed. The reason for this is that the V5C will show your private registration and if you sell your car using the V5C, they’ll then become the owner of your private number plate. Therefore, we would recommend that you sell your car once the new V5C arrives back from the DVLA after the transfer is complete.

How Long Does It Take To Assign A Private Number Plate?

Depending upon the method used to assign the private plate will determine how long it takes. For example, if you assigned a private number plate online, the registration will be assigned immediately (as long as it doesn’t need an inspection). However, if you assigned a private number plate by post, it can take between 4 to 6 weeks.

What Happens After Assigning A Private Plate?

After you’ve assigned your private plate, your car’s MOT and tax records will automatically update to reflect the newly assigned private registration. You’ll also be sent out a new V5C logbook within 4 to 6 weeks.

It’s important to note that after you’ve fitted the new number plate to your car, you’ll also want to inform your insurance company immediately.

how to assign a private plate

Dealing With A Gifted Private Plate

If you’ve bought a private plate as a gift for someone else to put on their car, it’s much easier to do than you would expect. You can even have the plate delivered straight to the receiver’s address if required.

The only way it differs from buying a private plate for yourself is that you need to put the receiver’s name as the “nominee”. The “purchaser” name should remain as your name because you were the one that purchased it.

Once the retention certificate has been received (by yourself or the receiver), as the receiver is the “nominee”, they can proceed to put the private plate on their car at their convenience.


Treating yourself to a number plate is a great way to make your car standout from the crowd. Luckily, the process of putting a private plate on a car is just as simple as buying it in the first place and it can be completed within a matter of minutes. However, if you feel that you need further information regarding the assignment of your private registration, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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