How to transfer a number plate

Although transferring a number plate involves a fair amount of paperwork and documentation, the process is quite simple once you get started.

To help you out, our guide includes everything you need to know to either transfer your registration plate or retain it so that you can use it again in the future.

Can I transfer my number plate?

Before you begin, you should check whether you can transfer your number plate.

Registration transfers are managed by the DVLA. To be eligible for a registration transfer, your car (or another vehicle) must:

  • be registered with the DVLA.
  • have an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate.
  • be taxed (or have been registered as SORN) continuously for the past 5 years.
  • be available for inspection (if the DVLA chooses to do so).

While transferring a cherished number plate is straightforward, you can’t move a newer plate to an older car or transfer a Q plate to another vehicle.

What are the different types of transfers?

There are three different types of registration transfer, all of which are covered by the V317 ‘transfer or retain a vehicle registration number’ form:

  • car-to-car transfers
  • transferring a registration you already hold to a new vehicle
  • retaining a cherished plate

Let’s examine what they are in more detail.


A car-to-car registration transfer involves changing your registration (and number plates) from one vehicle to another. Typically, this happens when you want to take your cherished plate from an existing car to a new one.

To transfer a registration plate, you’ll need the V5 registration forms for both vehicles, valid MOT certificates for both cars (if required) and pay a fee.

Retention/certificate to the vehicle 

This happens if you want to replace the existing registration plate on a vehicle with another that you hold on a Certificate of Entitlement (V750) or a Retention Document (V778).

To swap the old plate for the new one you’ll need to complete a form and pay a fee.

Vehicle to retention

If you have a cherished plate that you want to keep, but don’t have a vehicle you want to assign it to yet, then you’ll need to complete a form and pay a fee to retain your number plate. This allows you to keep hold of the number plate to use when you want to.

How to complete each transfer

To help you complete the process, we’ve compiled a how-to guide for each type of number plate transfer.

Car-to-car transfer

To transfer a personalised or cherished registration plate from one vehicle to another, you’ll need the V5 registration forms for both cars and valid MOT certificates for both vehicles.

Once you have this, you’ll need to complete the V317 DVLA form and pay a fee. You can download and print the form or complete it online. Both vehicle owners will need to sign the transfer form to show they're happy for the transfer to take place.

Once the DVLA has the information they need, they'll begin the transfer process. On average, the process should take between 4-6 weeks, but it can take longer during periods of high demand.

Retention/certificate to a vehicle

To complete a registration transfer, you will need to complete the V317 DVLA form and provide details of the new registration plate. This is either the V750 Certificate of Entitlement for a registration that has not previously been used on a car or the V778 Retention Document if it has.

You’ll also need to provide a copy of the V5C registration document and pay a fee. Timescales for the transfer are the same as a car-to-car transfer. At the end of the process, you’ll receive an updated logbook (V5) with the new registration details.

Vehicle to retention

If you want to keep your cherished number plate when disposing of a car, then you’ll need to retain it. You can do this by completing the V317 ‘transfer or retain a vehicle registration number’ form and including either the vehicle’s logbook (V5C) or green ‘new keeper’ slip with a completed V62.

You’ll need to pay a fee and will receive a new logbook for the car with a new registration plate number and a V778 retention document for your cherished number plate.

Where can I get the V317 form?

The V317 form is needed for all three types of transfers.

You can download and print a copy of the V317 form on the DVLA website.

On the same website, you can also find online forms which enable you to take a private plate off a vehicle and renew or replace your private registration plate.

What happens when I see a car with a personalised number plate?

If you decide to sell a car with a personalised number plate you can choose to do the following:

  • Sell the number plate with the car.
  • Transfer the number plate to your new vehicle or another car you own.
  • Retain the registration for use on another vehicle.
  • Give up the right to a personalised number plate.

We've outlined the steps above which should help you transfer your number plate between vehicles.

If you choose to give up your personalised number plate, you’ll need to complete the relevant section in the V778 or V750 document and return it to the DVLA. You may be entitled to a refund if you surrender your registration plate to the DVLA.


How much does it cost to transfer a number plate?

It currently costs £80 to transfer a number plate with the DVLA. You can complete the V317 form online or download and print it.

How long does it take to transfer a registration plate?

The DVLA estimates it takes between 4 and 6 weeks to transfer a number plate. However, the total time it takes depends on how busy the DVLA is.

Can I keep my registration plate if I sell my car?

Yes, you can keep your number plate if you sell your car. You need to let the DVLA know you want to do this by completing the V317 form. You can either transfer the number plate to a new vehicle or retain the number plate to use on a car in the future.

The only exception is Q number plates, which must stay with the vehicle to which they were originally assigned.

How can I get a new set of number plates?

At Halfords, you can build a set of number plates, or an individual front or back replacement plate. You can order your new plates online for collection at your choice of Halfords stores. You’ll need to provide details of ownership (with your V5) and prove your identity before you can collect your plates.

If you’re in a rush (or don’t want to get your hands dirty), we can fit your new plates for you.

What happens if I display the wrong number plates?

Driving with the wrong plates displayed (or without any number plates at all) is a legal offence. You risk a fine of up to £1,000 and your vehicle will fail its MOT.

Was this helpful?

Related articles that may be of interest