How to assign a private number plate online

Adding a private number plate to your car is a simple process using the DVLA’s online form. Here's what you need to know.

How to assign a private number plate online

Adding a private number plate to your car is a popular way of helping it stand out from the crowd. 

The DVLA’s online tool for assigning a private plate is simple and quick to use, once you understand the jargon. 

Our guide explains just how easily you can add this finishing touch to your car.

Which documents do I need to assign a number plate?

Before using the DVLA online tool via the GOV.UK website, you will need the following:

  • A V778 Retention Document – issued if a private number plate has previously been used on another car OR
  • A V750 Certificate of Entitlement – issued for a brand new unused private number plate

One of these documents should be given to you when you buy a private plate, or place an existing number plate onto retention.

You will also need:

  • The current registration of the car you want to add the private number plate to
  • The 11-digit document reference number from the V5C (logbook) of the car you want to add the number plate to
  • The postcode of the registered keeper of the car, as shown on the V5C

This should allow you to complete all the relevant sections of the online form.

How much does it cost to assign a number plate online?

How to assign a private number plate online

Assigning a private number plate online is a free process. 

However, taking a private number plate off a vehicle (putting it onto retention) does incur a charge of £80. 

In order to assign a private number plate to a new car, it needs to be placed on retention first. Retention rights last for up to 10 years.

How easy is it to assign a number plate online?

The process of assigning a private plate is very straightforward, providing you have the correct documents to hand. 

Be sure to check the eligibility requirements before starting the process.  

Using the GOV.UK website, you will be prompted to enter the relevant reference numbers and details. 

The online tool is only available from 7am to 7pm, plus there is also a Welsh language version.

How quick is the DVLA online form?

How to assign a private number plate online

Unless there are any additional checks flagged up, the private number plate will be assigned to your car instantly. This will include updating relevant records for VED (road tax), too.

It means that as soon as you submit your request online, the number plate for your car will be changed. 

Should you provide the DVLA with your email address, an Electronic Number Plate Authorisation Certificate (eV948 or eV948/2) will be sent to you immediately. 

The registered keeper of the car will also receive a new V5C logbook. Changes to the DVLA’s online systems should see this delivered within a few days.

How do I get new number plates made?

Such an instant change means you need to be prepared to replace the physical number plates on your car before you drive it. 

If you have had the private plate assigned to another car before, you may still have physical plates. If so, you can simply replace the old plates from your car with these ones. 

Should you need new number plates made from scratch, you can use the eV948 or eV948/2 sent to you by email. This is typically only valid for a few days, so be ready to go and get new plates made soon. 

You should use a registered number plate provider to ensure your new plates meet the correct legal standards. 

Registered providers will need to see proof of your identity, along with proof of your entitlement to the number plate. Check with your chosen provider which documents they accept in advance.

Can I still use paper forms to assign a number plate?

How to assign a private number plate online

The DVLA will still accept submissions to assign a number plate by post, using the V750 or V778 form. You will also need to send the vehicle’s V5C (logbook) or green ‘new keeper’ slip with a completed V62 form. 

Submitting documents by post is likely to take longer than assigning a number plate online.

Can I assign a number plate to a financed or leased car?

Finance providers for cars bought via Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) or Personal Contract Hire (PCH) may have rules around adding a private plate. However, most should allow it. 

Your finance documents will specify any particular rules. You will need to contact your finance provider once a plate has been assigned. 

Cars supplied on a lease deal will require permission from the lease provider before a number plate can be assigned. As the lease company is the registered keeper, you will need to liaise with them to have the plate added. 

Finance providers may charge an administration fee for this process. 

You will need to put your private plate onto retention before your lease deal ends. This should be done around eight weeks before returning your car.

Who should I tell when I assign a number plate online?

How to assign a private number plate online

Assigning a private number plate to your car also requires you to inform others of the change. 

Your car insurance provider should be the first contact you make, ensuring your policy is updated. Many insurance companies will allow you to notify them of the change online, or you may need to telephone them. 

Some insurance companies will charge an administration fee to cover the change.

Make sure you also update car park passes or parking season tickets with your new number plate.


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John Redfern
U.S. Editor with a love of all things Americana. Woodgrain-clad station wagons and ridiculous muscle cars a speciality.


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