What happens to my current registration when I change to a private number plate?
When a private number plate is transferred to your car, the existing registration number is made void by the DVLA. It is effectively “lost”.
What happens to my private number plate when I change my car later?
When you change cars, you will need to apply to move your private number plate across to your new car. The DVLA will then allocate a standard registration number to your car. In most cases, this is the same registration number that was originally on the car. But this is not guaranteed.
For more information, see what happens to my private registration number when I change my car?
Can I keep my existing registration number?
Yes you can.
This is especially important if you already have a private number plate on the car. You may want to keep it to use on another car, or sell it.
You must do this at the same time as applying to transfer your private number plate onto the car. You can't do it later - it will be too late! Keeping a registration number is called number plate retention.
The DVLA will send you a green Retention Document when they have processed your application.
Bear in mind that the DVLA will charge you a fee to retain your number plate.
Unless your registration number is a personalised one, it’s probably not worthwhile.
Do I have to keep my existing registration number?
No you don't.
The DVLA will allocate a replacement registration number to the car when you move your personalised number to your next vehicle. If your existing registration number is just a standard one, then you may be wasting your money paying to retain it.
If the existing registration number is a private one, then you must retain it. If you don't the DVLA will void it and it will be permanently lost. You won't be able to get it back later.