Why do some number plate transfers take longer than others?
Some transfers can be really straightforward. These are usually done pretty quickly.
A few number plate transfers can be more complicated, especially if there are two (or more) cars involved or an existing registration number is to be kept on retention.
What are the different kinds of number plate transfers?
Generally speaking there are two main types of number plate transfers.
Vehicle to vehicle
This is when a private number plate is on a car (or other vehicle) and it is to be transferred direct to another vehicle. So there are basically two vehicles involved. That means the records for 2 vehicles have to be changed, and new documents have to be issued for each of them. The vehicle that the private number plate is coming from has to also be given a replacement registration number. In some cases, the DVLA may also decide to inspect the donating vehicle before approving the transfer application. This will of course add a delay.
These transfers are more complex, so they take longer.
If the private number plate to be transferred is not on a vehicle, then it will either be on a pink V750 Certificate of Entitlement or a green V778 Retention Document. If there is no need to keep the existing registration number on the car, then these transfers are really simple and straightforward. There is only one car involved.
These are usually completed within a couple of weeks, provided all the correct documentation (and any appropriate fee) has been submitted.
If you plan to keep the existing registration number, this adds a bit more complexity so the number transfer takes a little longer.
Number plate retention
Alternatively, you may not be transfering the private number plate.
If your registration number is on a vehicle, you may wish to remove your registration number and hold it on a Certificate, to use later. This is often the case if you are selling your car or scrapping it. When you do this, the DVLA will allocate a replacement registration number to the car.
Currently, retaining a personalised number plate takes around 3-4 weeks.