Selling number plates - some common questions

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Questions we're asked regularly about selling number plates

Whenever we speak to customers about selling registration numbers, some questions come up time and again. So if you want to sell a personal number plate, here are some frequently asked questions..... with answers of course!
I want to sell my private number plate. Can do I do that?
UsuallyÖ. yes.
The DVLA allows you to sell the rights to use a registration number, and transfer it to a new owner. There are a few rules though, which you need to keep in mind.
Here's more on selling number plates:
Iím selling my car. Can I keep my private number plate?
The simple answer isÖ.. yes.
If you are selling your vehicle, you can hold on to the registration number even if you donít have another vehicle to assign it to straightaway. You can then eitherÖ
  • Assign it to another vehicle later or
  • Sell the registration number.

The DVLA allows you to retain the registration number on a retention certificate. This is known as the DVLA Retention Scheme.

Iím selling my car. Can I sell the number plate separately?
If you are planning to sell your car, but donít want to sell the registration number with it, you can put the registration number onto a Retention Certificate. You should retain the registration mark before selling the car, under the DVLA Retention Scheme. Then you can sell the number plate independently of the car.
The DVLA charges a fee for retaining a number plate.
Iím planning to scrap my car, but I want to keep the private number plate on it. Can I do that?
You will need to apply to retain the registration number. You should do this before you scrap the car, and a Certificate of Destruction is issued.
My car MOT and / or tax has run out. Can I keep the registration number?
It depends on how long ago the MOT or tax expired. See Can I sell my number plate?
Iím changing cars, but I want to keep my personal number plate. Can I transfer it?
If you have bought another vehicle, and you still own your current vehicle, you can transfer your private registration directly from one vehicle to another.
The DVLA allows you to transfer a private registration number from one vehicle to another. This is the DVLA Cherished Transfer Scheme.
If youíre selling your existing vehicle before youíve obtained a replacement vehicle, we advise you to retain the private registration before you complete the sale.
Beware! The registration number belongs to the vehicle. So if you sell the vehicle before retaining the registration number, ownership of the registration number transfers to the new registered keeper of the vehicle!
I want to sell my registration number. But I plan to keep the car. Can I do that?
If you own the vehicle, you can sell the rights to the registration number.

You have 2 choices. You can either:

  • Leave the registration on the vehicle until itís sold.
    This is the least expensive option as there are no DVLA fees at this stage.
  • Place the registration number onto a Retention Certificate.
    The sale of registration numbers already on a Retention Certificate can be quicker. This should be balanced with the upfront DVLA fee for retaining a registration number.

I want to sell my private number plate. Should I put it on retention first?
When you decide to sell your number plate, you can choose to place your private registration number on retention before selling it. Or, alternatively, you can leave it on the vehicle while you advertise the registration number for sale.
What happens when I sell the number plate on my car? Do I have to buy another one?
If you sell the personal number plate on your car, the DVLA will issue another registration number which reflects the age of your vehicle. You will, of course, need to buy new acrylic number plates to attach to the car, for the new registration number issued by the DVLA.
How long does it take to sell a number plate?
Number plates take, on average, between 9 and 12 months to sell!
Some can take a lot longer. If your registration number is in a high price bracket, it could take longer to find a buyer. Or if there are many similar registration numbers available, buyers have a lot of choice!
So be realistic - selling a personal number plates can take some months!
I've sold my private number plate. What do I do now?
If you've accepted an offer on your private registration number, you will need to either transfer it into your buyer's name, or arrange for it to be transferred to their vehicle. What you need to do depends on whether the registration number is still on your vehicle or is held on a Retention Certificate (also known as a Retention Document).
This information is for your guidance only. It is not intended as a definitive guide or a formal contract. You should refer tot he DVLA for full rules and regulations.