Transferring number plates in Northern Ireland

No number plate retention in Northern Ireland

Today we received this query from Patrick in Northern Ireland:

Apparently you can't put an NI registration on certificate.  Is there any service available to do this in an alternative way or do I need to transfer it to another vehicle.  I have a personalised reg and I want to sell the car privately so I want to transfer the reg off in advance of selling.  thnx

Unfortunately, Patrick is right.

On mainland UK, if you are selling your car but you have a personalised registration number that you wish to keep, you can apply to the DVLA to remove the registration number. If you're not ready to transfer it straight to another vehicle you can apply to place it onto a V778 Retention Document.

The DVA in Northern Ireland performs a similar service to the DVLA. But the DVA does not offer the option to put a private number plate on retention, in the way that can be done on mainland UK. So this is something you need to be aware of if you own a personalised registration and live in NI.

However, the DVA do allow you to transfer the registration number direct to another vehicle. If you don't have another vehicle to transfer the registration number to, you have two options:

  1. Transfer the registration number to a vehicle belonging to friend / family for the interim, or
  2. Transfer it to a vehicle registered on mainland UK, then apply to put the registration number onto a  Retention Document.

Option 1 is the simplest, and attracts the least fees. But it must be someone you trust... as the registration number will belong to the owner of the vehicle.

Option 2 effectively involves two transfers, therefore two fees. And the process will have to be reversed (i.e. two transfers) when returning the registration number onto a vehicle registered in Northern Ireland at a later date. So 4 transfers in total.

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