6. Retaining a registration number

You can apply to remove a registration number from a vehicle and hold it on a retention document (V778) for 1, 2 or 3 years if you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle.

You can retain the registration number in your name or someone else’s name. This costs:

  • £105 for 1 year
  • £130 for 2 years
  • £155 for 3 years

You’ll need the retention document when you want to assign the number to a vehicle again.

Conditions for retaining a registration number

You can’t retain a registration number starting with ‘Q’ or ‘NIQ’ for Northern Ireland registered vehicles.

To retain the registration number, the vehicle must be:

  • registered with DVLA
  • available for inspection
  • of a type that needs an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate

Pre-1960 vehicles need a valid MOT to retain a registration number.

The vehicle should also be taxed, unless:

  • there’s no break between the date the vehicle runs out and the start of the SORN
  • the vehicle tax has run out in the last 12 months

Applying to retain your registration

Send the following to DVLA Swansea, SA99 1DS:

Taxing the vehicle at the same time


What happens next

DVLA will contact you to arrange an appointment if your vehicle needs to be inspected. Otherwise, your application should be approved within 2 weeks.

Once your application is approved you’ll receive:

  • a confirmation letter with the replacement registration number
  • a confirmation letter showing that vehicle tax is paid and the replacement registration number
  • a V948 authorisation letter which you’ll need to get your number plates made up
  • a replacement MOT test certificate (for cars and motorcycles over 3 years old, and heavy goods vehicles over 1 year old)

Allow at least 2 weeks after sending your application before contacting DVLA.

You’ll also be sent:

  • a V778 retention document showing you as the ‘grantee’
  • a registration certificate showing the replacement registration number

These should arrive within 4 weeks of getting the confirmation letter, but it can take up to 6 weeks if you use a V62 application to support your application.

If you retain the registration number in someone else’s name, the retention document will be sent to them, as they are recorded as the grantee.

More information

Get more information about retaining a registration number from the leaflet ‘Registration numbers and you’.