Take a private number off a vehicle

You can apply to take a private (personalised) number off a vehicle if you want to either:

  • keep the number to use later
  • assign it to another vehicle

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

The vehicle’s original registration number is usually reassigned to it automatically when you take off a private number.

If your application is successful you’ll be sent a V778 retention document and a new log book (V5C).

You must have your V778 and new log book before you scrap or sell your vehicle - otherwise you’ll lose the right to use the private number.


The vehicle must:

  • be registered with DVLA in the UK
  • be able to move under its own power
  • be of a type that needs an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate
  • be available for inspection - DVLA will contact you if they need to inspect your vehicle
  • have been taxed or had a SORN in place continuously for the past 5 years
  • be taxed currently or have a SORN in place - if it’s had a SORN in place for more than 5 years, it must be taxed and have an MOT certificate

If you have a historic (classic) vehicle you’ll also need a current MOT certificate, even if your vehicle is usually exempt from MOTs.

Apply to take off a number

You can apply online or by post. It costs £80. You must have the vehicle’s log book (V5C).

If the vehicle’s not in your name, you have to apply by post.

Apply online

The number will be removed immediately if your vehicle does not need an inspection.

You can assign the number to another vehicle as soon as you’ve applied to take it off - use the reference number you get after you apply.

Take off a number online

This service is open from 7am to 7pm. It’s also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Apply by post

Send all of the following to DVLA:

To tax your vehicle at the same time, send all of the following:

After you apply

Your original number plate will usually be reassigned to your vehicle automatically, if your application is successful. This will happen straight away.

You’ll be sent:

  • a new log book (V5C) showing the vehicle’s replacement registration number - it can take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive
  • your original MOT back (if you sent it to tax the vehicle)
  • a V778 retention document if the private number is in your name

If the private number is in someone else’s name, the V778 document will be sent to them.

Before you can drive your vehicle, you must:

  • put the original or new number plates on the vehicle before you drive it
  • tell your insurance company your new registration number

Who to tell about your new registration number

You must tell your insurance company.

Update your registration number for any automatic payment accounts you have, for example to pay:

  • the Congestion Charge
  • the Low Emission Zone Charge
  • the Ultra Low Emission Zone Charge
  • the Dart Charge
  • charges for driving in Clean Air Zones

You may get a penalty charge if you do not update your registration details and enter one of these zones.

If your vehicle has Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation scheme certification, you also need to tell them your new registration number.

What happens to the private number

Your V778 retention document proves that you still have the right to assign the private number for the next 10 years.

You must renew your right to use a private number before the V778 expires.

You can give up your right to use the private number if you decide not to assign it.

  1. Step 1 Buy a private number

  2. Step 2 Assign your private number to a vehicle

  3. or Keep your private number

    You do not have to assign your number to a vehicle.

    You must renew your right to use the number every 10 years.

    1. Check how to renew your number
  4. Step 3 Get a new number plate made

    If you assign your private number to a vehicle you must get a number plate made up from a registered supplier.

    1. Check the rules for number plates
    2. Check what documents you need to get a number plate made
    3. Find your nearest number plate supplier