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Number plate jargon explained

We have created a useful list of important terms and definitions that you may come across when looking to buy, sell or transfer a number plate.


Acrylic number plate
A vehicle registration number plate that is made from acrylic, a flexible and durable plastic material.
Age identifier
An alphabetical or numerical code on a number plate that identifies the year the registration number was issued or the vehicle was registered.
Area code
One, two or three letters that are used to represent the location where a registration number was initially registered. It is sometimes referred to as a district code in dateless, prefix or suffix number plates and a local memory tag in current style registration numbers.
To officially transfer a private registration onto a vehicle so it can be legally displayed.


Banned number plate
A number plate that resembles a contentious word and which has been withdrawn by the DVLA.


Cherished number plate
An interchangeable term that is often used to describe a private number plate.
Current style number plates
The style of number plates that was introduced in September 2001 and is designed to provide enough combinations to last at least 50 years. The current style features a numerical age code, unlike earlier formats that used prefix or suffix letters.


Dateless number plates
A registration number that does not contain an age/year identifier and can be transferred to any road-legal vehicle.
DfT, Department for Transport
The government department responsible for DVLA and other matters relating to the UK transport networks.
In the context of personal number plate transfers, the donor is an individual who holds entitlement to a number plate. They are the only person(s) who can authorise the transfer (by sale or other means) to another individual. In short, the donor is usually the seller of a number plate.
DoT, DOT, Department of Transport
Department of Transport was the name, from 1981 until 1997, of the government department now called the Department for Transport (see above).
DVLA, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
The government agency responsible for maintaining records of drivers, vehicles and their licence status. DVLA issues new vehicle registration numbers and is responsible for the administration and regulation of number plates.


Entitlement period
The period of time that you have to assign a registration held on a certificate of entitlement (V750) or retention document (V778) to a vehicle. This is usually 10 years from the date of issue.


First registration (V55/4)
The V55/4 is a form to apply for the tax and registration of a brand-new vehicle.
First registration (V55/5)
A V55/5 is a DVLA form used to apply for the registration of a used vehicle for the first time.


In the context of personal number plate transfers, a company or individual with the rights to the registration number and is the only party authorised to sign a V750 or V778 document.
Green number plates
A type of acrylic number plate that displays a green flash to signify a vehicle’s zero-emissions credentials.


Historic vehicles
A vehicle that is 40 years old or more and is eligible for vehicle tax exemption.


Irish number plates
A registration that contains the characters of I and Z reserved for those issued in Northern Island. They do not contain an age identifier.


MOT Ministry of Transport Certificate
A test created by the Ministry of Transport to check the roadworthiness of a vehicle.


New Release
A periodic issue of new registration numbers by DVLA. New releases currently occur twice a year.
A named person who is able to assign the registration to their vehicle in addition to the grantee/original purchaser.
Number plate format
The composition of the number plate and the system in which private registrations are released..


Prefix number plate
A car registration in which the year of issue is indicated by a prefix letter code, as in the format: Y123 XXX, where "Y" is the year identifier.


The transfer of a registration number from a vehicle to a retention certificate (V778). It allows the grantee to retain the rights to the number plate for up to 10 years..
Receiver, Rec
The receiver is the person to whom entitlement to display a personal registration is transferred.
Road Fund Licence
An archaic term for VED. Still in occasional colloquial use.
Road Tax
A common, unofficial, colloquial term for Vehicle Excise Duty (see above).


Suffix number plate
A car registration in which the year of issue is indicated by a suffix letter code, as in the format: XXX 123Y, where "Y" is the year identifier.


A transfer is a movement of a registration number from a vehicle to another vehicle or from vehicle to certificate and vice versa.


A valuation is a free, no-obligation estimate of how much you should receive from a sale of your number plate.
V750 (Entitlement Certificate)
A pink certificate of entitlement issued by the DVLA for a number plate that has not yet been assigned to a vehicle. The registration number may be 'stored' in certificate form until it is required for use on a vehicle.
V778 (Retention Document)
A green retention certificate issued by the DVLA for a registration number that has been removed from a vehicle. The registration number may be "stored" in this form until it is required for use on a vehicle.
This is also known as the vehicle logbook. It shows the essential details of the vehicle, registered keeper and legal owner of the vehicle.
A form used to transfer a number plate between vehicles or retain it to a certificate.
A form to apply for a vehicle log book (V5C). This document is required If you have bought a vehicle but have not received the V5C in your name due to the original V5C being lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed.

The role of DVLA

Car registrations and number plates, including personalised number plates, in the UK, are the responsibility of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, usually known as the DVLA. It issues new registrations twice a year and also maintains the central database that records details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads, along with their keeper and registration information.

Regtransfers works closely with DVLA to complete registration transfers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Regtransfers is a DVLA-registered supplier of personal car registrations and number plates and is listed on the DVLA Registrations website. All number plates supplied by Regtransfers comply with DVLA's prescribed standards and regulations.

DVLA administers all UK registration transfers and issues updated registration documents when the registration number of a car is changed, or when a registration is removed from a vehicle and placed on a retention document in accordance with the DVLA Retention Scheme.

DVLA is a registered trade mark of the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency. Regtransfers is not affiliated with the DVLA or DVLA Personalised Registrations. Regtransfers is a recognised reseller of unissued Government stock.

Number plate regulations

When a car is on the road, it is an offence to display number plates bearing any number other than the vehicle's officially recorded registration number. If you purchase a private registration, learn how to transfer private plates before displaying the new number.

All registration number plates displayed on UK vehicles must comply with the official number plate regulations. DVLA oversees enforcement of number plates display regulations and maintains a register of approved manufacturers and retailers of vehicle number plates.

Regtransfers is not part of, and is not formally affiliated with DVLA.

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