What Car? Q&A - Can I reserve a cherished numberplate?
A: Good news - you can buy the registration without registering it straight away.
Once you've bought the numberplate, you will receive a 'certificate of entitlement' (V750) from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You then have until the expiry date printed on this form to transfer the registration to a vehicle.
If the expiry date is before the birthday, you will need to apply for a certificate of retention (V778/1). This allows the plate to be held for a further 12 months before being transferred to another vehicle.
It will cost you, though. An initial 'assignment' fee of £80 is payable to the DVLA, as well as a £25 retention fee. If you later decide to retain the plate for longer than 12 months, it will cost you another £25 for each additional year.
When you decide to transfer the plate to your car, you'll need to complete the appropriate section of a V778 retention form.
After that, every time you change cars and need to transfer the plate, you'll need to complete a 'registration number transfer form' (V317). You'll have to pay again to do this - £80 at today's rate.