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Personalised and private number plates - a UK buyer's guide

Number One Reg UK
- Approximately 20 million personal, private and cherished number plates online. There is a function to help you find the perfect private plate and registration numbers are generally transferred in 4 days.

Cherished, personalised and private number plates - a UK buyer's guide

Private number plates are no longer the reserve of the rich and famous. I myself am the proud owner of the number plate M4 NVY, ie . (It's supposed to look like "Mandy" - or perhaps I should change my name to "Manvy".) Sadly (for me) M4 NDY is sitting proudly on another car with a richer owner. Funnily enough, it's owned by somebody near to where I live, as I often see it driving around.

In this guide, I will talk about some of the terminology and details surrounding private number plates, and hopefully help you to decide whether you would like to buy one.


















  • Dateless registrations are number plates that do not identify a year, for example BBC 1.
  • Prefix registrations have the year identifier at the beginning of the registration number, eg M4 NVY
  • Suffix registrations have the year identifier at the end of the registration, eg TOM 50N.
  • Current style registrations have two letters at the start, followed by a two number age / year identifier and three letters at the end, eg BO55 MAN.

Transferring a number plate

To transfer a registration number from one car to another, you will need to fill in form V317 that you can get from a local DVLA office. You will also need to pay the transfer fee of £80.

If you want instead to retain the registration number in certificate form, you will need to fill in form V778/1 and pay an additional £25.

Note that registration numbers cannot be transferred to a car if it would make the car appear younger than it is.

The Law

It is illegal to alter the spacings of letters on a number plate or add screws, bolts etc to alter the appearance of letters or numbers. For example, my plate M4 NVY should not be displayed as M4N VY. It would also be illegal for me to put a screw above the V to make it look more like a D.

Note that it is also a requirement that your number plate font meets certain requirements. Check the DVLA web site for further details. The DVLA website also sell registrations direct, and the site will inform you about their upcoming auctions and any changes regarding transfer fees, forms and other regulations. See personalised registrations for details.