How to put a personalised registration number on my car

How do I put a private registration on my car?

If you don't already have one, then you will need to buy a personalised registration number to replace the standard one on the vehicle.

If you have one, your vehicle needs to be registered under the new number with the DVLA. What you need to do will depend on where the registration number is now. It may be on a Certificate or on another vehicle.

Here's our guide to what happens next.

personalised registration is on retention

Personalised registration is on a Certificate

If you have a personalised registration number held on retention, it will either be on a pink V750 Certificate of Entitlement or a green V778 Retention Document. It doesn't really make a lot of difference which if these you have. The process to put the registration number on your car is pretty much the same.


You have 2 options

1. Online transfer

In 2015, DVLA introduced their new online service to put a registration number on a car. It's quick and easy. And best of all, it's instant. Your personalised number can be transferred to your car within minutes.

Make sure you have your vehicle documents ready before you start

Be sure that your V5C Registration Document is up to date and in your name. Your MoT and tax will also need to be current. You can't put a personalised registration number on your car if either of these has run out.
Not all registration number transfers will be accepted online. Some may be declined, even if all your paperwork is up to date. The DVLA may decide to check everything first. This is not usually anything to worry about - there can be a few different reasons why this may be the case.
Follow our step-by-step instructions on how to assign a registration number.

2. Send your application in the post

If you're not comfortable doing things online, you can still send your documents by post to the DVLA. It takes a little longer. You will notified by the DVLA when it's done.
You may have to send your documents to the DVLA if your online application is declined. We've put together details on what you need to put your registration number on your car.

personalised registration number on car

Personalised registration is on another vehicle

The registration number you intend to transfer may be on another car. You can either put the registration number on retention, or transfer it direct to your car.

Before you start, check the following:

  1. You have the V5C Registration Document for the both vehicles
  2. MoT and tax are valid, or have SORN in place within the last 5 years.

Follow our full guide to transfer a private registration number from one car to another.

What happens to the existing registration number on my car?

If you have a standard registration number, the DVLA will void it when you put your new personalised registration on the car. It doesn't get reallocated.

Later on down the line, you'll probably decide to move your personalised registration to another car. When you apply to do that, the DVLA will restore an age-related registration number to the car. Most of the time, it's the same one you had before.

Important note:

The above only applies to standard registration numbers. If you have a private number plate on the car, you should apply to retain it at the same time as putting your new registration number on the car. If you don't, you will lose it. And you won't be able to get it back.

More information you may find useful:

How much is my number plate worth?

How do I put my private number plate on retention?

How do I renew my Certificate?

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