What Car? Q&A - Can I reserve a cherished numberplate?

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Want a cherished numberplate? You can reserve them in advance...
Want a cherished numberplate? You can reserve them in advance...
Q: I have seen a cherished numberplate that I would like to buy for someone as a gift, but it's not his birthday until November. Can I buy it now so I don't miss out and use it later, then swap it to different cars as the years go by?
Tracey Carter


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.

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