Learn about personalised number plates

It is mandatory for vehicle owners in the United Kingdom to display a valid registration mark on their vehicle. These registration marks, or number plate, are randomly provided by DVLA with every registration made. However, since 1991, DVLA also provides an option for registrants to use customised registration marks, or as they are better known, private number plates or personalised plates.



What is a private plate?


A private number plate is a registration mark which ties a vehicle to a registered owner. Like conventional plates, they also consist of alphanumeric permutations. The difference lies in the readability or symbolic nature of the permutations. The permutations can refer to names, locations, dates or other unique references. Unlike conventional plates, some personalised plates are not tied to specific vehicles using the V778 retention form.


What is the cost of private number plates?


The price varies depending on where you get them. DVLA has a database of over 45 million plates which can be purchased for as low as £250 from its online auction site. However, prices become significantly higher when purchased from the private market. A good permutation can easily go up to lower five digits, while great permutations are frequently sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Please be wary of brokerage fees if you are buying it using third-party websites or middlemen.


Are there any hidden costs?


Yes, but they are not exactly hidden. There is a standard DVLA fee of £80 to assign the private reg to vehicles or keep them in retention (on hold).


Can ownership of personalised plates be transferred?


Most private plates are transferrable. However, some cherished plates are not transferrable. In such instances, there will be a ‘Non Transferable Registration Mark’ notation in the vehicle’s log book.



Nicole Murphy

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