Private Registrations Explained

Our previous articles explaining car registration years and where a vehicle was first registered have proven to be quite successful.

They’ve done so well, we decided to round off this category with information on personalised plates.

We get a lot of questions from our readers and customers such as “can you put a new plate onto an older vehicle?” and we would love to cover off as much as we can.

The process of registering a plate might seem daunting so we’ve tried to simplify the process as much as possible.

All you need to do is:

  1. Check your eligibility
  2. Buy the private plate
  3. Print the private plates
  4. Register the private reg
  5. Put the new plates onto the vehicle
  6. Inform your insurance provider

How To Become Eligible For A Private Plate

Before buying a private registration for your vehicle, you need to consider the eligibility of the vehicle first.

There are a few guidelines that need to be adhered to so make sure you follow them to the letter.

First, we will start with what is needed to be eligible.

Your Vehicle Must:

  • Be available to be inspected (if required)
  • Be registered in the UK with DVLA
  • Be a vehicle that requires an MOT or HGV test certificate
  • Be taxed or had a SORN for 5 years straight
  • If it’s had a SORN for more than 5 years, it must be taxed

The next few guidelines are things that you cannot do (or even try).

You Cannot:

  • You cannot put a new plate on an old car
    For example, you cannot put a personalised 21 plate onto a vehicle that was registered in 2012.
  • Put a private plate onto a Q registered vehicle
  • You cannot have a private plate starting with “Q” or “NIQ”

If you own the vehicle, it;s registered to you and you have the V5C then you can apply online.

You will need to wait for a V5C that’s in your name if you don’t have one.

Documents Needed To Register A Private Plate

To assign a private plate, you’ll need one of the following:

  • V750 Certificate Of Entitlement
  • V778 Retention Document

You will get one of these documents when you buy a private plate or take a private reg off a vehicle.

Once you have those documents, you need to apply to assign a private reg.

If your application is successful, it will go through instantly. If not, then you will be informed something has gone wrong.

You will then be sent a new V5C (vehicle log book) which usually takes between 4 – 6 weeks.

As soon as you have registered the new registration, you must put the new plates on the vehicle – so get those made up sooner rather than later.

You must also inform your insurance company of your new registration number to avoid any invalid insurance claims.

Keep in mind that it’s best practice to keep your old plates in case you want to revert back to them.

That’s pretty much all you need to know to buy, apply and register private plates.

Let us know your experiences or questions in the comments below.

Related Information

  1. Overview
  2. Where A Vehicle Is Registered
  3. When Was A Vehicle Registered
  4. Private Registrations


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Michelle Broadhurst
1 year ago

Hi just wondering if had 2010 car could I have this number plate CE52LLE many regards michelle

8 months ago

I have my own number VA11ATT .
This plate which year car I can use?

1 year ago

I have a 2002 vehicle and wish to put Reg S31 RNN is this allowed ?

Ramón Neale
1 year ago

It’s quite simple

E.g. If a car was registered in 2021 you can put an transfer a older registration (say from the year 2000)

However you cant transfer a 2021 registration on a vehicle if it was registered before 2021

Naturally one needs to be careful what month the vehicle when was registered BECAUSE of the TWO REGISTRATIONS THEAT ARE ISSED TWICE A YEAR

1 year ago
Reply to  Ramón Neale


I’m not sure why people find it so hard to figure out.

A 20 plate cannot go onto a 15 plate because it makes the car look newer than it actually is.

A 15 plate CAN go onto a 20 plate, making the car seem older.

It’s that simple.

Robert Douglas Tait
4 months ago

Can anyone give me any history regarding my plate 442RDT

Colin Cook
6 months ago

I’ve just purchased a 2015 car and it has a 2004 dated number plate on it (FC04), is there any way of finding out why? The FC04 plate is nothing special and can’t imagine it was a personal plate. Just want to get it back on a 2015 dated plate really.

Colin Cook
6 months ago
Reply to  Colin Cook

I’ve just had a report done that says the number was changed from PJ65 in January 2021 listed as a “data move” transfer type. What would be required to go back to the original plate?

Shaun Stockham
11 months ago

Can I put LE02OFF which is a 2002 corsa on to a Y119lcn which is a 2001 corsa thanks in advance

1 year ago

Would it be possible for my MJB 1 private registration plate to be made on the old black & white plates? unsure of which year the plate was issued.

1 year ago

Consonants have “A” preceding. Vowels have “AN” preceding.

1 year ago

You state ‘You cannot put a new plate on an old car’ but does that also include ‘newer’ plates. I have a car first registered on 14.09.2009. Can I put a Current type plate on this car that is for example; AA12 BBB ? I have found two suitable plates selling that have the numbers 12 and 10 but these are of course newer years than the 59 on my current number plate.

Jacqueline Cole
2 years ago
  • Be taxed or had a SORN for 5 years straight
  • If it’s had a SORN for more than 5 years, it must be taxed

I really do not understand this part…. why is there a mention of 5 years if the vehicle is required to be taxed… 2, 3 or 4 years would be the same. I want to get my plate off a vehicle I’ve had sorned for over 5 years, it last MOT expired April 13. Is there any way of doing this without MOTing the vehicle?

Andy Hull
2 years ago

Can you tell exactly when a registration was first used?

I own 374HUL


Rob A
2 years ago

Your article does not mention anything about how number plates have to comply with the law regarding size, lettering etc.