How To Change A Number Plate On A Car

Private number plates can indeed add the final touch of joy to the newly bought car and make it look more personal.

However, to get a new and legal private number plate, there is a certain procedure to follow.

Changing the number plates to a new one or getting the older one back is not much of a tedious task, as it seems.

Private Number Plate


Here is a step-to-step guide to help you change the number plates on your car successfully.

As per the new government law, missing any step can lead you to pay a heavy fine of up to £1,000 fine and losing the MOT test of your vehicle. Save the trouble and without any further ado, let’s dive in.

Steps on How to Change the Number Plate on a Car

Buy a Private Number Plate

First things first, consider all the options available when you decide to change the number plate.

In the UK, private number plates can be bought from both DVLA and private dealers.

  1. DVLA Auction – In the UK, purchasing directly from DVLA is a popular choice. One can get the number plate via DVLA both directly or through an auction, which happens five times a year. The UK government has shared a list of upcoming auctions on its site. Bidding at auctions is possible by call, in person, or email, or post.
  2. Private Dealers – There is a large variety to choose from here. The stock available depends on the dealer and additionally has DVLA registration numbers too. If you are keen on finding something specific to suit your interest, a private dealer can be your choice.

Choose Your Vehicle’s Private Number

Changing the number plate is a piece of cake if you have all your documents ready.

However, it can be a bit of a hassle if you haven’t gotten your new car registered and do not have a V5C logbook.

If you do not have a V5C logbook, register yourself online via the V62 form and wait for 4 weeks to get it.

Follow the steps below on how to assign a private number plate.

  1. Visit and open the online registration form to buy a private number.
  2. Make an application
    1. Apply online and complete the form.
    2. Apply by post by sending the completed V750 or V778, the vehicle’s log book (V5C) or green ‘new keeper’ slip with a completed V62.
  3. Soon after the registration, you will get a new log book V5C and your original MOT.
  4. After getting your new registration number, it is important to inform your car insurance company and other autopay accounts for charges such as Congestion Charge, Low Emission Zone Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone Charge, Dart Charge, and Clean Air Zones Charge.

Requirements to Change to Private Number Plate



The process is pretty simple and only requires you to have any of the two documents to change your number plate.

  • a V750 certificate of entitlement (if the private number was bought)
  • a V778 retention document or online reference number

You are eligible to change your number plate if the vehicle follows the following:

  • Is DVLA-registered
  • Has MOT or HGV test Certificate
  • Ability to move or operate
  • Is Inspection ready
  • Paid tax or have SORN certificate for 5 years

Moreover, the private number that you want to assign should not start with NIQ or Q.

You are also not allowed to assign a private number if the vehicle is Q-registered.

Remove the Private Number

Removing the private number from your vehicle registration is usually done when you want to use it at a different time or assign the private number for a different vehicle instead.

Before proceeding with the process, make sure you have registered the V5C logbook. Otherwise, you won’t be eligible to remove the number plate.

  1. Make an application
    1. To apply online, visit and open the application to take off the private number. Enter the registration number you want to take off, the latest V5C registration certificate document reference number, the postcode of the registered keeper as written on the V5C. Then, answer the question – Are you the registered keep by selecting Yes or No. Select Next. Lastly, follow the remaining instructions in the form.
    2. For vehicles not registered to your name, you must apply by post. Send to DVLA the V317 ‘transfer or retain a vehicle registration number form, the vehicle’s log book (V5C) or green ‘new keeper’ slip with a completed V62 ‘application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C and the £80 transfer fee.
  2. After applying, you’ll be given a new log book (V5C) with the vehicle’s replacement registration number, original MOT, and a V7778 retention document.
  3. After getting your new registration number, it is important to inform your car insurance company and other autopay accounts for charges such as Congestion Charge, Low Emission Zone Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone Charge, Dart Charge, and Clean Air Zones Charge.

Requirements to Take Off the Private Number Plate

You are eligible to take a private number plate off the vehicle if the vehicle is:

  • Is DVLA-registered
  • Has MOT or HGV test Certificate
  • Ability to move or operate
  • Is Inspection ready
  • Paid tax or have SORN certificate for 5 years

Things to Remember Before Changing a Number Plate



If you are among those people who have recently been hit by an impulse and thought of changing the number plates, you first need to know a few things before setting your car on the road to drive.

Registered Number Plate

Make sure you register your number plate to DVLA and follow the right process. Any negligence can cost you paying up a fine of £1,000.

Legal Requirements

You can definitely get a private number plate but there are certain restrictions you need to remember.

It should follow the standard pattern set by the UK government: the first two characters show the initial registration of the country, and the next two numbers show the year and the last three random characters.

Whatever customization you have in mind, you must remember to:

  • Use reflective material
  • Front number plate with black characters on white background
  • Rear number plate with white characters on yellow background
  • Do not use any pattern in the background

Keep It Away from Thieves

Private number plates usually attract thieves and are one of the most common vehicle items to be stolen.

To protect your number plate, try to avoid parking your vehicle in areas where it is dark and people are scarce.

You can add an extra layer of protection by covering your private number plate in insurance or through the inscription of the registration number on windows.

There is a high chance that it will scare the thieves off.

How Long Does the Authority Take to Respond to an Application?

Normally, you get a response within 2 weeks of sending your request. As soon as you hear from them, you are officially allowed to change the number plate and use the vehicle.

If you have sent the application to get your original number plate, you will receive a new V5C registration certificate within the time frame of 4 to 6 weeks.

How to Replace the Number Plate on a Car

Once you have got your new number plate, the whole process is much easier. There are a number of ways to fix your new plate to your car including screws, holders, suction cups, and sticky pads.

If you are not confident about it, it is always best to consult a professional and not compromise on it.

Refer to the guide provided by Go Green Autos Ltd on How to replace your number plates. The method is the same for both front and rear number plates.

If your old number plate is fixed with screws, use a screwdriver to take it out.

For the ones who are attached to sticky pads, sliding motion of dental floss or any thread will do the work.

This will help loosen the bond and take the number plate off easily. If you intend on using a wallpaper scraper for the plates to stick with adhesive, be gentle; it might cause damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add a private number plate to a leased car?

Unlike popular belief, you can actually add a private number plate to a leased car with just a few mutual decisions with your company and steps.

You can change the number plate for leased cars but the procedure for a leased car is a bit different.

Before you begin with the procedure, you need the permission of the funder to add a private number plate.

Should I inform my Insurer about changing to a private number plate?

Yes, it is important to inform your insurer as soon as you get a new number plate so that you can get a letter of proof that they do not have any interest in your personal number plate. It does not mean that it will raise your insurance anyhow.

What is the time to fill out the application form?

Unfortunately, the form is available for 12 hours only a day, which is from 7 am to 7 pm. You cannot fill out the form outside this period.

What is the difference between V570 and V778?

The V570 is the certificate of entitlement issued for new number plates and the ones that have never been used before, whereas V778 is the retention document that is issued for the number plates that have been used before.

Are there any charges for changing the number plate?

There are no such charges for assigning private numbers to a vehicle. However, you need to pay £25 for V5C registration and send the V62 form to DVLA.

If you have applied to take off the number, you are liable to pay a transfer £80 fee.

When Can I Apply to Change My Number Plate?

You can apply to change the number plate twice a year in the UK. As per the 2001 number plate system, every year there are new number plates issued to help identify the vehicles.

You can either apply in spring (March) or Autumn (September). Remember to apply on the first of the month.

Why does the Government Prefer Changing the Number Plates after Every 6 Months?

Government changes the set of number plates every 6 months to keep track of the vehicle’s age.

Unlike any other country’s legislation rules about number plates, the UK considers it essential to include the year and that too in a unique style.

This system assures the UK to excel in the ever-expanding car market and gives buyers and dealers a clear idea about the age of the car.

This is the very reason people who stay up to date are letting their cars go only after a few years of having them; giving others a chance to buy them at an economical price.

The new number plates also help to keep control over illegal activities, speeding as the authorities with now just a glance can tell the age of the vehicle, and when was it registered.

It is impossible for the authorities to be at every corner of the country, thus surveillance systems and these new number plates can make it easier to keep a watch over everything.

For instance, if the car is seen speeding, and has 22 written on it, it will be easily caught and tracked by knowing it was bought in 2022 between March and September.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking to change the number plate on your car for aesthetic reasons or to give your car a more personal touch, the information provided will help you understand the legal process behind it.

Regardless of the reason, always remember to keep your original plate handy and secure as it may be needed for subsequent transfers.

You may need to keep both new and old documentation available particularly when you decide to part ways with your vehicle for good but do not want to give away the number.

For more information on number plates, you can do further reading with the article How Much Is My Number Plate Worth?

You can also catch up on some reading with related articles about lost driving licence UK, car insurance, and UK Driving Licence.

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