How to put a number plate on retention: Step by Step guide
How do you remove a personalised registration number from your car? You can now do this online, as well as by sending to the DVLA in the post. Choose whichever option suits you.
Online is quick, taking just a few minutes. See below for full details.
Why put a personalised number plate on retention?
You want to do this if you are selling or scrapping your vehicle, but don't yet have another car to transfer it to. The number plate can be held on Certificate for as long as you need to, subject to renewal.
Putting a number plate on retention - online service
An online facility is now available to retain your registration number. It's quick and straightforward, taking just a few minutes.
At the moment this online retention is limited to keeping the personalised number in the name of the Registered Keeper of the vehicle. The name and address cannot be changed.
Have your documents and payment card ready
You will need your V5C Registration Document. This is also sometimes called your logbook.
You may have a blue V5C if it is a few years old. However, the replacement will look like the one in the picture.
Go to the government website for number plate retention (opens new window).
Follow online instructions. Fees apply.
You will receive confirmation whether the retention has been successful. And the vehicle will be allocated a replacement registration number straightaway. You can then get number plates made up, and change them on the car. Don't forget to tell your insurance company of the change.
If your application online is not successful, you will be given more information at the time. You may be asked to send your request in by post (see separate instructions below).
If you're in doubt, contact the DVLA for help. Contact details can be found on the gov.uk website.
If your online retention request was successful, you will receive a replacement V5C Registration Document from the DVLA (in the post).
V778 Retention Document
If your online retention request was successful, you will receive a green V778 Retention Document from the DVLA (in the post).
Put you personalised number plate on retention by post
You may send your documents to the DVLA by post. Usually this happens if
- You choose to do so
- You may be asked to do so if your online request is declined
- You need to retain an existing private number plate at the same time
- You don't have a V5C Registration Document in your name
Number plate retention application form
You will need the a DVLA V317 form to apply for your personalised number plate retention. You can download V317 the form here.
Complete sections 1, 2, and 4 using the information on your V5C Registration Document.
You can either apply to have the retained number plate in the same name as the Registered Keeper of the vehicle, or in someone else's.
Your vehicle V5C Registration Document
Also called your log book.
You should be the owner of the vehicle, to apply for number plate retention.
If you don't have this document, take a look at more detailed instructions provided with the V317 form. More DVLA forms are available if you need them.
If you're still in doubt, contact the DVLA for help.
Payment for number plate retention
Enclose a cheque for the DVLA fee. Details are on the V317 form.
Send to DVLA
Send your completed V317 form, along with your vehicle documents and the fee, to DVLA Swansea. The full address is on the V317 form.
Make sure you've included everything requested, or your application will be declined.
We recommend you make copies of all documents and forms before sending them.
How long does number plate retention take?
Number plate retention application can take up to 4 weeks to be processed.
If the DVLA requests to inspect the vehicle, this will add some delay. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the retention to be completed before disposing of the vehicle or applying for a tax refund.
Number plate retention confirmation
You will receive a letter from the DVLA confirming that your private number plate has been put on retention.
Your vehicle will be given a replacement (standard age-related) registration number. It's likely that it will be the original one on the vehicle, though this is not guaranteed.
You can then get number plates made up, and change them on the car.
Don't forget to tell your insurance company of the change.
Number plate Retention Document V778
The DVLA will send you a green V778 Retention Document, showing the registration number you've put on retention. You can use the V778 to transfer your private number plate from retention to another car at some point in the future.
The Certificate will have an expiry date - make sure it doesn't go out of date.
More useful info on number plate retention
How do I put my private number plate back on a car from a V778 Retention Document? - We;re working on this page for you