All you need to know about personalised numberplates in the UK

April 14, 2023 by Zoe Hicks – 4 mins read

Let’s face it, who doesn’t want their very own personalised number plate registration? If you’re lucky enough to be in the position of searching for your perfect registration, your first question might be where to find personalised registrations at the lowest price. At the end of the day, no one likes paying over the top! But where do you go for a private personalised number plate registration?

Where to Buy?

So, you’re on the hunt for your very own personalised registration but don’t know where to look. All UK car registrations, including personalised registrations, are the responsibility of the DVLA or Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. It is responsible for issuing new registrations twice a year, and they maintain the central database that holds details of all vehicles licensed to drive on UK roads.

Therefore, the DVLA is an excellent place to start looking online, and they also hold auctions that happen across the country around five times a year. You can also conduct a car registration check on motorscan to see if your desired numberplate exists or has been taken. Many third-party brokers licensed by the DVLA sell personalised number plate registrations, and you can undoubtedly pick up a bargain if you’re not too picky about what you want your registration to be.

Licensed third party brokers include Click4Reg, Regtransfers, and newreg. Together with many other similarly licensed brokers, you’ll be able to find pre-owned registrations for sale listed on behalf of private owners, where bargains can be had with personal registrations starting for as little as £30. However, the more niche the registration number is, the pricier it gets, so it’s relatively common to pay at least a few hundred pounds upwards for the registration of your dreams. Indeed, you can expect the plate number to be more expensive the fewer digits it has.

Why Do People Buy Personalised Number Plates?

Predominantly there are two reasons for owning a personalised private registration, with perhaps the first reason being reasonably obvious. Many indulge in private personalised registrations to make a statement of individuality where you’ll pay additional funds to have a choice of numbers and letters displayed on your number plates. These registrations are typically created to show a slogan or phrase or are created out of a company or person’s initials. Secondly, many number plate registrations are worth a few thousand pounds plus, so many may venture into buying one as an investment.

Curious On What the Most Expensive Number Plate Registration is?

The world’s most expensive registration is the single-digit ‘1’ that was snapped up in 2008 for a mere £7.25 million. This is followed closely by the single-digit ‘5’ that sold back in 2007 for £3.5 million. The UK hasn’t yet seen these dizzy figures, with the most expensive registration ever bought set in 2014 at just over £518,000 for ‘25 0’, followed by ‘X1’ in 2012 for £502,500.

Typical Fees Buying a Private Personalised Registration

There aren’t any hidden costs when purchasing a private personalised registration, so you’ll be aware of your total outlay from the moment you start searching for your ideal registration.

  • Base Price of your chosen registration number
  • VAT (if applicable)
  • DVLA fees
  • Cost of new acrylic number plates

The base price will be the price advertised by the DVLA or third party broker and may or may not include VAT, so you’ll need to check to make sure you’ve accounted for this cost in your calculations.

The DVLA fees depend on what you buy and what you plan to do. If you buy a new registration from the DVLA, this automatically provides you with a certificate of entitlement (V750) confirming your ownership. When you apply to have the registration transferred to your vehicle, the DVLA charge a fee of £80.

If you purchase a previously owned registration where it has been taken off a vehicle, these are what are known as ‘cherished’ registrations. You can apply to have the registration held on retention where you’ll receive a retention certificate (V778) confirming your ownership, or you can apply to have the cherished registration transferred straight onto your car. The fee to do either of these is also £80. Once the registration transfers to your vehicle, your old registration is held. If in the future you decide to sell the car but want to retain or transfer your new personalised registration, your old registration will automatically be reassigned back to the vehicle you’re selling.

One final cost to bear in mind will be obtaining new acrylic number plates for your personalised registration. Once your new registration transfers to the vehicle, you must display the new number plates. The cost of replacement number plates varies depending on where you go and whether you add in extras such as borders and badges but typically, for a front and rear set, you’re looking at £20 to £30.

Are there Documents you need to provide to purchase a Personalised Number Plate?

Once you’ve secured your personalised registration, you’ll need to have replacement number plates made up displaying your newly acquired registration number. Under the current law, you will need to provide certain documentation to prove you are entitled to the registration:-

To confirm your Identity (one document):

  • Driving licence
  • A bill such as telephone; council tax, or utilities bill (dated within the last six months)
  • Bank or building society statement (dated within the last six months)
  • A passport
  • A national identity card
  • A debit or credit card issued by a bank or building society
  • A police warrant card
  • Armed forces identity card

To confirm Entitlement (one document):

  • Vehicle registration certificate (V5C or V5CNI)
  • New keeper supplement (V5C/2 or V5C/2NI)
  • Certificate of entitlement (V750 or V750NI) to the number
  • Retention document (V778) – not applicable in Northern Ireland
  • A renewal reminder for vehicle tax or SORN (V11 or V11NI)
  • Temporary registration certificate (V379 or V379NI)
  • A number plate authorisation certificate (V948) with an official stamp from the DVLA or DVSA
  • An electronic number plate authorisation certificate (eV948)
  • A letter of authorisation from a fleet operator (including lease or hire company) quoting the document reference number from the registration certificate


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