Frequently asked questions

For your convenience, useful responses to common queries.

If I buy a personalised number plate do I have to put it straight onto a vehicle?
No. Most personalised number plates can be supplied on a certificate. Once you have the certificate, you will have until the certificate's expiry date (usually 10 years from when you buy it) to transfer the personalised number plate to a vehicle of your choice.
What documents do I need to buy a registration number?

If you are buying a number plate and you want it transferred onto your vehicle straight away then you will need to provide the following documents:

  • The original of the vehicle's most recent V5C Registration Certificate, sometimes known as the logbook
  • Details of current MOT test certification (if applicable). We do not need your actual MOT certificate.
  • Details of your current road TAX

If you are buying a number plate and would like to put it on a vehicle at some later date:

  • No documents are required initially. You will need the documents mentioned above when you do come to transfer your number plate onto your intended vehicle.
Is there any vehicle that I cannot transfer my personalised number plate to?
  • You cannot transfer your number plate onto a 'Q' registered vehicle. This is where the number plate on the vehicle starts with a 'Q'. DVLA issues ‘Q’ registration numbers to vehicles whose age or identity is in doubt.
  • You cannot transfer a number plate to a vehicle of a type that does NOT need an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate. An example of a vehicle you cannot transfer a number plate is a tractor.
  • You cannot make a vehicle look newer than it actually is.
What restrictions apply to the transfer of a number plate with a year letter?
You may not attempt to make a vehicle look newer than it actually is.
How much does it cost to transfer a number plate?
It costs £80 to transfer a number plate onto a certificate or vehicle.
Why are some, but not all, number plates subject to VAT?

VAT is payable on number plate sales where:

  • The number plate is owned by Regtransfers
  • The number plate is a government issue number plate
  • The number plate is being sold on behalf of third party vendors who is VAT registered.

VAT is NOT payable on number plate sales where:

  • The number plate is sold on behalf of a third party vendor who is not VAT registered.
What happens to the number plate that is currently on my vehicle?

You have 2 options:

  1. You may choose to pay the Department for Transport retention fee (currently £80) and retain the number. This means that the number will be transferred onto a certificate that you can later use to put that number plate onto another vehicle.
  2. You can choose not to keep the old number. If you do not retain the number on a certificate as described above, or transfer it to another vehicle, then it will be lost when you receive your amended V5C showing your new registration. When you receive your new V5C showing the new registration, you must remove the old number plates and display the new number.
How long does it take to transfer a personalised number plate?
Transfers done by post usually take 10-15 working days where payment clears successfully and all documentation is provided and completed correctly. In some cases we are able to conduct the transfer online. Where this is possible the process is much faster and the transfer can be achieved almost immediately on receipt of cleared funds and correct documents.
How can I check the status of my number plate purchase?
Once you have ordered your personalised number plate you will be given the option to create an online account that will give you access to our online tracking facility. Customers who have purchased from us before and who have already created their account will be able to use their existing sign in details.
What happens if I need to TAX or MOT my vehicle while the transfer is being processed?
You can TAX your vehicle online and get an MOT done if the transfer has not been completed however if the DVLA process your number plate transfer before you have bought your road TAX or completed your MOT then the transfer will fail. We advise customers to do this before they send us their documents if they have less than 4 weeks remaining.
If my vehicle already has a personalised number plate on it can I transfer that number plate to another vehicle or to certificate at the same time?
Yes, we can do that for you. You will need to immediately supply us with the documents of the vehicle to which you wish to transfers the registration, and you will also need to send us an extra £80 cheque payable to the 'Department for Transport' to cover the fee for this additional transfer. If you want to keep the old number, but have no second vehicle available, then we can put that registration onto a retention certificate for you.
If I am buying a new unregistered vehicle can I transfer a personalised number plate onto it?

If you are buying a new, unregistered car you have two options:

  1. Wait until your new vehicle is registered and then ask us to transfer your new personalised number plate onto it, or;
  2. If we are able to supply your new personalised number plate on a certificate you can, in most cases give the certificate to the dealership you are buying your car from and ask them to do the transfer when the car is registered.
Can I buy a personalised number plate for my motorcycle or moped?
Yes, motorcycles and mopeds can participate freely in the registration transfer scheme.
I have received a valuation from Regtransfers for my personalised number plate but I believe it is worth more. Can you advertise my number plate at the price I want?
Yes. However, please bear in mind that our valuation is based upon the experience of hundreds of thousands of personalised number plate transfers and represents the price that we believe your registration mark can realistically achieve. If you insist on a price that is much higher than what we believe to be the true market value, then we may decline to advertise the registration mark on your behalf, as there would be little chance of success.
Do I have to pay for a new number plate for my vehicle once mine has been sold?
No. Your vehicle will be automatically issued with an appropriate, age related replacement number plate. There is no charge to you for the standard replacement number plate although you will have to get a set of acrylic plates made up to put on your vehicle.
Once Regtransfers have sold my personalised number plate, when do I get paid?
It depends on how we are supplying the number plate to the person buying it. If the person buying your number plate is having it transferred onto their vehicle then you will be paid when DVLA says that the number plate transfer has been completed. If the person buying your number plate is having it transferred onto a certificate then you will be paid when we receive the new certificate from DVLA correctly showing the purchaser as the nominee. We are able to pay you via bank transfer (BACS) or cheque, whichever you prefer. If you choose to get paid via BACS it will take 3 working days for the payment to reach your account.
Can I stop Regtransfers from advertising my personalised number plate?
Yes. You can stop Regtransfers from advertising your number plate at anytime by logging into your online account and clicking the 'Stop Advertising' button or by calling us on 01582 967777.
My Vehicle is not taxed and has no current MOT. May I transfer the registration from it to another vehicle or to retention?
If the licence for the donor vehicle has expired or been refunded no more than 12 months prior to the date of application and a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made, it may still be possible to transfer the mark. In order for a vehicle to qualify for this concession, there must be no break between the expiry/refund date of the licence disc and the commencement of SORN.
Can I scrap my vehicle before the sale of the number plate has completed?
No. It is important that you don't dispose of the vehicle until the transfer has been fully completed and you have received all relevant amended documents. If you scrap or otherwise dispose of your vehicle too soon, it is likely that you may lose your entitlement to the registration.
My V5C (log book) states the number plate on my vehicle is non-transferable. Can I still sell it?
No. If the registration document states that the registration number is non-transferable, then it cannot be transferred or retained on certificate.
My vehicle no longer exists but I still have the old V5C (log book). Can I still transfer the number number?
No. Once a vehicle has ceased to exist, entitlement to its number also expires regardless of possession of a V5C (log book). If a vehicle has been scrapped, you are required by law to notify the Secretary of State and return the registration document to DVLA.
How will I know if you find a purchaser for my registration?
We will make every effort to contact you with all offers, even if they are less than the agreed price. Upon finding a buyer Regtransfers will contact you to request the documents necessary for completion of the transfer.
If my vehicle is old enough to be exempt from the requirement to have an MOT test, does that mean I can transfer or sell its personalised number plate without the usual need for a current MOT certificate?
No. Even if your vehicle is normally exempt, you will need to obtain a valid MOT certificate for the purpose of the number plate transfer.
Can you transfer a number plate from a vehicle registered in the Isle of Man?
As the Isle of Man isn't part of the UK, it has a separate vehicle registration system. This means that Isle of Man registrations cannot be transferred to vehicles in the UK.
Can I part exchange or swap my personalised number plate?
We do not offer a part exchange or swap option, but we can advertised your number plate for you free of charge. If you would like us to advertise your number plate for you, you will need to get a valuation from us.
How much commission do I have to pay you for selling my personalised number plate?
You tell us the price you require for the sale of your number plate. When advertising your number plate for sale we will add a margin for our service. The price paid by the purchaser will cover both your required price and our profit margin. You receive the full amount agreed and do not have to pay us any additional commission.
My vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1973 but not registered until later. What type of number plate should I display?
Vehicles manufactured before 1973 are permitted to display the old style number plate with white or silver characters on a black background, as would have been common on vehicles registered before 1 January 1973. Alternatively, current regulation and standards compliant number plates may be displayed.
Can other symbols (e.g. national flag, football team crest) be used on number plates?
Approved national flags and symbols may be displayed on vehicle number plates. These include the Union flag, Scottish Saltire, Cross of St George and Welsh Red Dragon. Football team crests and other emblems are not allowed.
Do I have to change my number plate if it is cracked or broken?
If the number plate is damaged in such a way that it makes the registration mark difficult to read, it must be replaced.
Are 3D characters allowed to be used on my number plates?
Yes. 3D characters are permitted providing they meet all the other requirements.
Is a honeycombed or other background pattern permitted on my number plates?
No. Overprinting including honeycomb or other background designs are not allowed.
Are stick-on number plates legal?
No. Number plates must meet the British Standard requirements. We are not aware of any self-adhesive number plates that are able to meet these requirements.
Why are you advertising my personalised number plate for sale without my permission?
Regtransfers advertises number plates on behalf of most of the other UK number plate dealers as well as for private sellers. If we are advertising your number plate without your permission it is usually for one of the following reasons:
  1. Another number plate dealer has sent us the number plate to advertise. If you have made an agreement with another company to sell your number plate they will usually ask us to advertise it for them because they know we have the best chance of finding a buyer, or;
  2. If you have recently purchased your number plate, we may have been advertising the number plate for the person or company from whom you bought it, and they may not have informed us of the sale.
If you see your number plate advertised on our website without your permission, please call us on 01582 967777 and we will remove it for you. If the number plate IS being sent to us from another number plate dealer we can let you know who they are so that you can contact them and ask them to remove it from their system also.
What if my vehicle is stolen and not recovered, can I get my personalised number plate back?
If your vehicle is stolen and has not been recovered after a year you can apply to have its registration number reassigned to your replacement vehicle providing the following conditions are met:
  1. The theft must have been notified to the police and recorded at DVLA as stolen for not less than 12 months.
  2. At the time of the theft the vehicle must have had a current MOT and it must have had TAX.
  3. A letter from your insurers confirming that they have no objection to the number being re-issued. This must be provided because once insurers have settled your claim, they have a rightful claim to the vehicle should it be recovered.
What if my vehicle is written off?
In such a case, the insurance company agrees a pay-out with the you, and legal ownership of the vehicle then passes to the insurance company. If you wish to keep the personalised number plate you must make sure that you transfer it to another vehicle or onto a retention certificate before the insurance company takes legal ownership.
What if my vehicle has been scrapped, can I get my personalised number plate back?
Once a vehicle has been scrapped it ceases to exist its number plate is cancelled. You will not be able to get that number plate back.
I have an old vehicle which is not registered at DVLA. Can I register the vehicle and transfer or retain its personalised number plate?
It is usually possible for the vehicle to be registered by the governing bodies but you will not be able to transfer or retain its number plate. If you are able to supply documentary evidence (eg the old-style log book) to establish a link between the vehicle and the number plate, you may be able to register the vehicle under that number plate, otherwise the vehicle may still be registered but in this case a new number plate appropriate to the age of the vehicle will be assigned. If the age or origin of the vehicle cannot be established, then a Q number plate may be assigned. Whatever the circumstances, however, the vehicle's number plate will be non-transferable (you will not be able to sell it).
My vehicle has a 'Q' prefix number plate. Can I sell the 'Q' number plate? Can I buy a new number plate to replace the 'Q' number plate?
No. Vehicles are assigned "Q" prefix number plate to draw attention to the fact that their origins or age are uncertain. Q number plates are therefore non-transferable and must remain with the vehicle unless documentary evidence which confirms its origins/age comes to light. In this case, contact the DVLA who may then assign a replacement age-related number plate to the vehicle.
My V5C (log book) says my registration number is non-transferable. Can I transfer a personalised number plate onto my vehicle?
Yes. Although you cannot transfer or retain a non-transferable number, the vehicle can receive a new number plate providing the non-transferable number plate is not a 'Q' number plate and providing the vehicle meets the normal conditions of the Sales, Transfer and retention schemes.
I have seen Northern Ireland number plates advertised. Can I transfer one onto my vehicle?
Can I transfer a registration from an agricultural vehicle?
In most cases, no, because it is not permitted to transfer a registration mark if it is on a vehicle that does not require an MOT: for example, a tractor, steam roller, milk float etc.

Can't find your query?

Give us a call on 01582 967777 and we'll be happy to help. You can also send us an email.


If you need help with any of the terms used in the number plates transfer business, visit our glossary page.

  • Autocar
  • Autotrader
  • Car Magazine
  • CLassic And Sports Car Magazine
  • Country Life magazine
  • Daily Mail
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Easyjet
  • Google
  • Sunday Times
  • Top Gear Magazine

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Transfer House, 139 High Street South, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU6 3SS. Tel: 01582 967777 | Email us.