The current format of UK number plates was introduced in September 2001 with the ’51’ identifier shown in the example F51YRE above. This is to make UK vehicles easier to identify and allow more frequent changes than before. In addition, this new registration method takes the pressure off of car dealers and dilutes the rush by registering vehicles on different days. So we have to master some secrets, and this will likely use the numbers they haven’t released yet.
These number plates, along with any that have a year identifier, can only be used on vehicles of the same age or newer. So, for example, you cannot use a ’51’ plate on a 2000 vehicle if it makes it look younger than it makes sense for it to be. However, you can use ’51’ plates on anything from 2001 onwards. This means you can use a ’51’ plate or an ’02’ plate, but you cannot use a newer plate.
The UK has many offshore territories that follow a standard UK number plates format. Some notable territories include the Falklands, Gibraltar and Bermuda. All these have the letter G or F followed by the letters identifying their origin (such as GB for Great Britain). Many now also carry an EU logo, with Bermuda being one of them.
The process could be challenging to navigate if you want to transfer a personalised number plate. However, our guide will make it easy for you. All you need to do is read through the following points and then go through the short process outlined below.
- Transferring registration from one vehicle to another
- Moving a registration away from one vehicle but retaining it for future use
- Transferring a registration that you have previously included (i.e. that is not currently on a vehicle) onto a vehicle
Vehicle to Vehicle Registration Transfer Rules
All vehicles subject to MOTs or GVT tests can be registered on the system, so it doesn’t matter if your vehicle is a tractor.
The only exception is for vehicles with a Q registration. Technically, Q registrations are issued when the DVLA can’t establish absolutely if the car has been either stolen or if it is older than it claims to be. Q registrations can’t be transferred, most commonly going to kit cars and rebuilt cars.
The old and new vehicle (as well as their registrations) should be registered with the Vehicle Excise and Registration office. However, this is rarely necessary since you will likely apply for a ‘transfer of ownership.
The other main general rule is that you cannot make the car you’re transferring the registration on appear younger than it is. You cannot transfer a vehicle with a lower number to one with a higher number. For example, the BD51 SMR indicates who first registered the car between September 2001 and February 2002. You could not transfer a registration number such as BD05 SMR – that registration number is for vehicles registered before September 2001.
The DVLA has certain restrictions you must obey while transferring vehicle registrations. For instance, they won’t move the number to a car that is not taxed. Usually, when transferring the vehicle’s registration number to a new owner, the receiving party will have to tax the vehicle. An explanation of how this can be done is included in your transfer documentation, so you know exactly what you are in for.
Your vehicle could have a SORN instead of road tax, but it must be at least 12 months old. (For example, you can’t transfer a registration number from a vehicle that has had two or more SORNs in a row), and the car must not have any breaks in its road tax record, meaning it wasn’t taxed at all for some time.
If your current SORN doesn’t fulfil these conditions, you’ll have to pay Road Tax before transferring a new registration.
Vehicle to Vehicle Registration Transfer Process
You can complete your registration transfer online or by post, but online is the easiest option. The process has two stages. Firstly you’ll need to remove the licence plate number from your current vehicle and assign it to another one. In addition to the document, you need to transfer ownership of the vehicle and a copy of insurance for both cars involved, i.e. the car that currently has the registration number and the vehicle where you’re transferring ownership.
How Does the Process Work?
The DVLA will process your application and assign a new vehicle registration number. This unique number is usually based on the age of your car.
They will cancel the existing registration number of the car you’re transferring your registration number too. Your new registration number applies to this vehicle, meaning you’ll now receive a V948 authorisation notice.
Retaining a Registration Number
To transfer your registration number, you need a 10-year retention certificate. It costs £80 and is pretty easy to apply online. In addition, you will need to provide the registration certificate for the vehicle from which you are transferring the registration number. This form should help complete it in a step-by-step process.
Once you’re done, we’ll send you an email confirmation. This also comes with the new registration number for the vehicle. Shortly after, you should receive a new vehicle registration certificate. To find your certificate of registration, it’s simple:
Transferring from a Retention Certificate to a Vehicle
The best way to register a vehicle that your registration number currently covers is to go through the online process – as this will be the quickest.
You can also transfer your registration by post. You will need to provide the documents listed on this page.
We will mail your new vehicle registration document by postal and online methods.
The current transfer cost for vehicle registration is £80 and takes 5-10 working days to complete.