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 10 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 £80 for 10 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 5 years

Applying to retain your registration

You can use the online service to take a registration number off a vehicle.

If you can’t use the online service, send the following to DVLA Swansea, SA99 1DS:

Taxing the vehicle at the same time


  • a completed V10 application
  • the vehicle tax fee
  • an MOT test certificate for cars and motorcycles over 3 years old (1 year for heavy goods vehicles)

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.

You’ll 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’.