4. Take a private number off a vehicle

You can take a private (personalised) number off a car if you either:

  • don’t want to use it right now
  • want to assign it (‘put it on’) to another vehicle


You must be the registered keeper and have the vehicle’s log book (V5C).

The vehicle must be:

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

You can’t keep a number starting with ‘Q’ or ‘NIQ’.

How to take off a number

You can take off a private number online or by post. It costs £80. If you don’t assign the number within 6 years, you can apply for a refund.

You can’t use the online service if the vehicle isn’t in your name, you have to apply by post.

If the vehicle isn’t taxed

You can take off the number as long as:

  • its vehicle tax has run out within the last 12 months
  • there’s no break between the date the tax runs out and when you registered your vehicle as off the road (SORN)

What happens to the vehicle

The vehicle will get a new number assigned to it straight away if you do it online, it takes longer by post.

You’ll need to get new number plates made.

What happens to the number

You’ll get a V778 document that proves you still have the right to use the number for the next 10 years. You must renew your right to use a private number before it expires.

If you’ve taken the number off a vehicle online, you can assign it to another vehicle straight away - use the reference number you get at the end.