How to Retain a Car Registration Number

May 23


Ross O'Donnell

Ross O'Donnell

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Retaining a private number plate is a straightforward process that allows you to keep your cherished car registration number even when you change vehicles. This guide will walk you through the steps to retain and assign a private number plate, ensuring you can hold onto your personalized registration for future use.

Why Retain a Car Registration Number?

Upgrading your vehicle but want to keep your private number plate? Or perhaps you've purchased a new registration number but still want to keep the old one? Retaining your car registration number allows you to take the registration off your vehicle and keep it on a V778 retention certificate until you're ready to assign it to another vehicle.

What is a Retention Certificate?

A retention certificate,How to Retain a Car Registration Number Articles issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), allows you to hold a registration number off a vehicle indefinitely. This certificate, known as the V778, can be renewed annually for a fee. The current fee for retaining a number plate is £105, which includes an £80 assignment fee and a £25 retention fee.

Eligibility Criteria

To retain a number plate, the vehicle must meet the following criteria:

  • The vehicle must be taxed and have a valid MOT if applicable.
  • If the tax disc has expired within the last 12 months, the vehicle must have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) with no gap between the tax disc expiring and the SORN commencing.

Steps to Retain a Car Registration Number

Step 1: Complete the V778/1 Form

The V778/1 form provides information about the retention process. You can obtain this form from the DVLA or any Post Office.

Step 2: Submit Your Application

Send your completed V778/1 form to the DVLA, either by post or in person, along with:

  • The V5/V5C log book
  • An MOT certificate (if applicable)
  • The £105 fee for retaining the number plate

Step 3: Receive Confirmation

Once the DVLA confirms your vehicle details, a new age-related number plate will be issued and assigned to your vehicle free of charge. You will receive a replacement tax disc displaying the new registration number and a V948 certificate, which allows you to produce the new acrylic number plates.

Step 4: Receive Updated Documents

An updated V5 log book will be sent to you a few weeks later from DVLA Swansea, along with your retention certificate.

Special Considerations for Older Vehicles

For vehicles registered before 1963, the replacement registration number will have no age identifier and will be non-transferable. This prevents the continual sale of replacement marks for profit. However, the vehicle can still have another private registration assigned if desired.

Assigning a Retained Registration Number

Assigning a car registration number held on a retention certificate is also straightforward. Follow the instructions on the reverse of your certificate and submit your application to the DVLA, either in person or by post. Your application must include:

  • The completed retention document
  • The V5 log book for the vehicle you wish to assign the registration to
  • A valid MOT certificate if applicable
  • The £80 assignment fee (if not already paid)

Receive Confirmation

Once processed, a new tax disc displaying your personal registration number will be issued, and an updated V5 will be sent out by the DVLA. Remember to inform your insurance company of the change in details.

Interesting Stats

  • As of 2021, there were over 45 million vehicles registered in the UK, with a significant number of these featuring personalized number plates (source).
  • The most expensive number plate ever sold in the UK was "25 O," which fetched £518,000 at auction in 2014 (source).


Retaining and assigning a private number plate is a simple process that allows you to keep your cherished registration number for future use. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your personalized number plate remains with you, regardless of vehicle changes.

For more detailed information, you can visit the official DVLA website or consult the DVLA's guide on number plate retention.