All about personalised number plates format

Every vehicle owner in the United Kingdom is required by law to display their vehicle registration marks on their vehicle. These registrations marks, more commonly referred to as number plates, are generated randomly by DVLA’s computer based on the location and date of registration of a particular vehicle. However, DVLA also offers consumers the option of purchasing customised number plates for their vehicles; these are called personalised number plates.


The DVLA started officially selling personalised number plates in 1991. Prior to that, private plates were sold privately alongside the car they were attached to.



What is the definition of private number plates?


Personalised number plates offer vehicle owners (or soon to be vehicle owners) the ability to choose their preferred alphanumeric registration mark within a set parameter. Vehicle owners are free to purchase alphanumeric permutations which reflect their lifestyle, favourite numbers or even names. Similar to conventional number plates, private numbers are tied to a vehicle – unless the mark is held in retention using the V778 certificate.


Display Requirements


The customisation of private number plates is limited to just the alphanumeric permutation; the display specification must still adhere to DVLA’s Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001. Some of the major specifications include:


• The plate must be made from retroreflecting materials such as acrylic

• Must conform to the standard background colour, which are plain yellow (rear plate) and plain white (front plate)

• Must have black colour characters of the stipulated typeface, size and dimension

• Must carry the manufacturer or supplier’s name and post code


Failure to comply with any of the stipulated specification could lead to fines of up to £1,000 per offence. Persistent offenders may even have their registration revoked.


How much does a personalised number plate cost?


It really depends on where and who the plates where purchased from. The cheapest private plates can be obtained from DVLA’s auction website for £250. Private sales will typically cost higher, and can go up to millions. Brokerage fees may also apply for private sales.



Are there any additional costs for personalised plates?


Apart from the initial purchase price, no. However, if you intend to disassociate the number plate from the vehicle for future use on a different vehicle or to be sold, you will need to apply for a retention certificate which costs £80. Annual renewal of the certificate is £20.


Are private number plates transferable?


Not all. Most of the older personalised plates are tied to the car. If you see ‘Non Transferable Registration Mark’ on the V5c certificate, that means the plate is not transferable. Otherwise, you are free to sell it or use it on another vehicle.


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Bailey Carpenter