Private Registration Plates: What you need to know, where to get one and how to transfer

Date Posted 17th February 2020
Read Time 4 min read

Private registration plates are a great way to personalise your vehicle. They give you the chance to turn something you own on paper into a piece of design that truly represents you. 

Names, sports teams and lucky numbers; they’re all common features on a private registration. And contrary to some people’s beliefs, they don’t have cost a fortune. 

But there are some things you need to know before choosing yours; the first being where you can actually get one. 

Where to get a private registration plate 

There are a few places you can find and choose your private reg. Just a quick search online brings up many options. 

However, for ultimate peace of mind, you’re probably better off going with the DVLA themselves. 

When you land on the website, you’re given a search tool which lets you input numbers and letters and browse what’s available right now; as well as what’s going to be hitting the auctions soon. 

It’ll give you a price, and you can even buy it there and then; depending on availability. But you can’t just put any reg plate on your car; there is one rule, in particular, you need to be aware of. 

Registration date

It’s important to note that you can’t make a car look younger than it is. On a standard, modern reg plate, you can tell a car’s registration age by the two numbers after the first two letters. 

NH05OPC - Registration Plate

For example, in the image above, you can tell by the two numbers highlighted that the vehicle was registered between March and August 2005. 

In the one below, ‘55’ also signifies the same sort of time period; however, means that the vehicle was registered between September 2005 and February 2006. 

NH55OPC - Registration Plate

So, if your car was registered in March 2015, for example, where the numbers would read ‘15’, you couldn’t put a 65, 16, 66 etc. registration plate on it, as that would make it look younger. 

You can, however, make it seem older than it is. For example, you could put an ‘05’ reg on it. 

A few more rules

A few more details you should be aware of is the colour scheme. On UK roads, you must have a white registration plate at the front, and yellow at the back. 

The plate must also be made of reflective material and not feature any font that isn’t approved by the DVLA.

You are allowed a flag on the side of the plate, to add that final touch. But there are rules surrounding it. In the UK, it’s the Union Jack or, at time of writing, the EU flag – and that’s it. 

So, you can’t put your sports team’s crest on your plate, for example. 

How to transfer a private registration plate

You’ve got your plate, now to put it on your vehicle. You can’t just pop it on and that be that; you have to make the DVLA aware through what’s called a cherish transfer. 

To assign a private number plate to a vehicle, you need one of the following:

  • a V778 retention document
  • a V750 certificate of entitlement
  • an online reference number

You get one of these when you either buy a number or take a number from another vehicle you own.

Then, you can apply to change it online using this link

Once you’ve done that, and providing your new plate meets all regulations or there’s no inspection necessary, you can put your new plates on. 

You’ll get a new V5 (registration document) through the post with your new reg on it, and that’ll be that. 

How to take a private number plate off

If you want to take a number off it’s a similar process. Again, apply for the transfer online here and the DVLA take care of the rest. 

Can I add a private plate before picking my new car up from Hippo?

Yes. Follow the online process and make the transfer as laid out above. 

Then, when all that’s done, get in touch with us and we’ll print the plates and put them on your new Hippo vehicle for you. 


If you’ve bought a car with us, or are looking and want help and advice on transferring your plates, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

Give us a call on 01254 956666, drop us an email or speak to us online over live chat and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. 

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