If you have a private number plate and you wish to take it off a vehicle, this is known as retaining a number plate. There are several reasons that would lead you to consider retaining a number plate, the first being that you are selling your vehicle but you don’t want to sell the plate. If you have a new vehicle to place the plate on then it can be transferred directly, however if you are awaiting a new vehicle or you are still looking for something, you can opt to retain the number plate instead. Another reason you may wish to retain a number plate is because it holds sentimental value. Often people are bought number plates as a gift for their first vehicle, a birthday present or passing their driving test. If the number plate is personal or holds a lot of value to you, you might want to keep it. Or perhaps the number plate is popular and worth some value. If this is the case it could be worth retaining the number plate until a time that the market is doing well and you believe you will get a good price for it.
Can I retain a number plate?
If you decide that you want to retain your number plate then there are certain rules that you must abide to. The following rules apply:
-The registration number must be transferable, if on the plates documents it states anywhere that it is ‘non-transferrable’ then you cannot retain it.
-You must be the registered keeper of the vehicle that the number plate is being removed from.
-The vehicle must be taxed and have a valid MOT. The DVLA could request to inspect your vehicle, if so it must be in a road-worthy state to be driven to their main office in Swansea.
What documentation will I need?
Applying to retain a number plate is a relatively easy and can either be done online or via post. Proceeding with an application online may be a quicker alternative as it can be processed immediately, you will need your logbook to hand to be able to fill out any information about the vehicle and will apply using an online V317 form.
If you apply via post, then you will need to complete a V317 form and post it to the DVLA along with your logbook (V5C). Whether you apply online or by post, there is an £80 fee you must pay to retain the number plate.
How long will it take to retain my number plate?
Once the application has been sent, it usually takes around 2 weeks before the number plate has been approved and can be retained. You will receive a Retention Certificate (or V778) form in the post that certifies that you are the legal owner of the retained number plate.
On top of this, you will also receive a replacement number plate that reflects the age of the vehicle the plate has been removed from. This could be the plate the vehicle originally had or a new one. When you have received the Retention Certificate, you are free to scrap the vehicle if necessary, or sell it. You can retain the number plate for 10 years, if you wish to retain it for any longer then you can reapply to do so completely free of charge. When the number plate has been retained, you are free to sell the number plate on, transfer it to another vehicle, or simply keep it as memorabilia.