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DVLA Transfer Costs Explained

January 28, 2014
Posted in DVLA — Written by Nationla Numbers

DVLA transfer costs, to be fair, have not changed for many years. However, with the recent closure of all local DVLA offices, perhaps the fees could change. We speculate that DVLA transfer costs could even be reduced as a consequence of reduced government costs. We shall see – stranger things have happened. Lets not speculate though, lets look to the facts.

DVLA Transfer Costs

1. For Vehicle to Vehicle

To simply transfer a private registration from one vehicle to another a fee of lb80 is required. This transfer fee is usually sent to the DVLA along with the appropriate vehicle documents (usually the V5/C, tax disc and a MOT if applicable) as well as any DVLA paperwork that they ask for – usually the V317. Both vehicles involved must meet the correct standards to be involved in the process though – this includes being taxed and tested up to date, so this could add to the DVLA transfer costs as a whole.

The donor vehicle, this is the vehicle that is “giving” the number plate, is covered by the DVLA transfer costs in regards to receiving a brand new plate. No car can be without a number plate so all DVLA transfer costs are set to cover both sides, however this is only really for the purpose of keeping all vehicles registered. The donor vehicle will receive a standard age-related plate in return, often the first number it was registered under.

It is traditional that the buyer of the private number plate pays the DVLA transfer costs. Since the majority of transfers are organised through Cherished Number Dealers (regulated by the CNDA), who will collect, check and submit paperwork for customers, the aforementioned lb80 fee should be forwarded to them. Using a dealer as a third party allows the safeguard of only paying the seller after DVLA has passed the transfer.

2. For Vehicle to Retention, or purchasing a Certificate of Entitlement

Other DVLA transfer costs involve the transfer of a private mark onto a retention document (V778). This is a green A4 sized piece of paper, which “holds” the number plate until a suitable vehicle is available. To place a mark onto retention involves an initial cost of lb105, lb25 of which represents the retention fee and the remaining lb80 being “stored” on the document as an eventual assignment fee.

3. For Renewal Fees

Further DVLA transfer costs are incurred by the registration of the number plate. This requires any and all documents to be kept in date. In other words, look at the certificate’s “Expiry Date”, if that date has passed you cannot use it and have to pay additional DVLA transfer costs to make it usable again. Essentially, you’re renewing and extending the certificate. Currently this costs lb25 per annum, plus admin fees.

At first the DVLA tried to insist that expiry dates were strictly observed. In fact, if you look at either document you will see the definitive wording that the registration MUST be assigned before the expiry date. If you read between the lines the message is “use it or lose it”. In practice, as long as the extension fees are fully paid (i.e. a certificate four years out of date can be brought up to date on receipt of lb100 back fees) then a renewed certificate will be issued. DVLA will not assign a mark from an expired certificate.

In recent years, DVLA have offered the facility of renewing a V750 or V778 for one, two or three years with one application. Don’t get too excited though, DVLA don’t do BOGOF offers so you still have to pay the yearly DVLA transfer costs three times. It does save time though, which is great if you don’t plan on using it for a while, such as if it is for your child when he/she grows up. Beware though, if you pay for three years and get it no a vehicle before two you don’t get that extra year refunded!

What you can do though is send the certificate back to the DVLA to have the lb80 assignment fee returned. Since this is technically the fee you’ve paid the DVLA to assign to a vehicle and it is only “stored” on the certificate in the meantime you can cash it in and get that fee back. Only do this if you no longer want the number plate though, so doing so will mean you lose the number plate and you CANNOT buy it back.

DVLA transfer costs have been set in stone for as long as I can remember, but who knows if in the future these could change? The DVLA are making a lot of alterations to their processes, including taking a lot of transactions away from the post and putting them online. Perhaps in the future this will affect the fees you pay? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it though.


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with Nationla Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel’s other passion is the private number plate industry. In between writing about the constant changes, Dan can be found on the phone alongside the dedicated sales team trying to help customers find their perfect number plate.

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Selling your private number plate …

January 27, 2014

For the 30 odd years Nationla Numbers has been operating there is always a handful of questions that just never change. In this case it is a big one, and one with many answers:

How can I sell my private number plate?

If you own a private number plate it has probably crossed your mind that it is worth selling. Number plates do tend to increase in value over time, so chances are if you were to sell your private number plate now you will get more back than you originally paid for it. It depends on the market and the buyer of course, but still worth the try.

First thing’s first, can you actually sell it? To transfer a private number plate it either needs to be on a vehicle that is taxed and tested or on a valid retention certificate. Alternatively it can be on a SORN vehicle, but only if it has been that way for less than 12 months. If it is on a vehicle you also need to check that it is not listed as “none-transferable”, as you would not be able to do it in that case either.

A private number plate of a scrapped car cannot be sold

No car, no private number plate. Dems the rules.

Next, you need to think about the price. As easy as this question should be, in practise it can actually be quite hard to answer. If you are selling a private number plate you might fall into the trap of over-thinking things. It really is simple though: how much do you want for the number plate? A private number plate is only worth what someone thinks it is worth at the end of the day, and while I agree you don’t want to under or over value your private number plate it is by far the easiest way to go about it.

If you do need help though the next best thing is to get the private number plate valued. Most private number plate dealers, some of which ever offer the service free-of-charge, can do this. Alternatively you can get a written valuation from the CNDA (Cherished Number Dealers Association), but this does cost money. Getting a valuation for someone who knows the industry is preferable to simply asking for offers – which more often than not attracts low-ball offers – or comparing your private number plate to those already listed.

Remember that at this stage you are only naming an asking price for your private number plate. It is not always the case that number plates will sell at this price. Much like when you sell a house, for example, people will see listed price as more of a guide and make an offer based on that. Some of these offers could be low, but that is why you must consider what YOU want. Sentimental value is worth something.

Don’t expect this. This doesn’t happen.

Once you have decided on a price you can introduce your registration to the private number plate market. The most popular way of doing this is by contacting the aforementioned private number plate dealers and advertising it with them. For the vast majority this costs nothing as they earn a commission by selling your number plate. Dealers also have a client base to market do, so the majority of the work is passed directly to them.

There are alternative ways of advertising your private number plate as well. A lot of people use eBay, Gumtree and other private merchant sites, and while this does mean in theory you are cutting out a middle man it also means you are not protected and you have to do everything yourself. Certain newspapers, such as the Sunday Times, also have a section for number plates you can sell from, but if you open up a copy you can see this is populated by a lot of private number plate dealers anyway and your advert will be tiny in comparison. Considering you would have to pay for the privilege as well? It might not be worth it.

Once it is advertised the last step is waiting for the sale. This is both the easiest and the hardest step in many regards because it can be absolutely torture waiting for the sale on your private number plate. My best advice would be to be patient and roll with the punches. You will likely receive some offers, but don’t be pressured, simply be honest with yourself and decide whether or not the amount on the table is right for you.


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with Nationla Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel’s other passion is the private number plate industry. In between writing about the constant changes, Dan can be found on the phone alongside the dedicated sales team trying to help customers find their perfect number plate.

What is the cost of a private number plate?

January 21, 2014

To most people a private number plate might conjure up a few images. Some may think of it as a status symbol, others as a bit of showbiz jazz. To some it reminds them of the celebrity lifestyle while others think of it as a fashion statement. No matter what though, you can’t really mention a private number plate without talking about the money.

Some of the most powerful people in the country drive around with a private number plate on their vehicle, so it is natural that they come with this stigma of being really expensive. Truth is the cost of a private number plate can go anything from a hundred pounds upwards. Of course, ‘upwards’ is as high as several million, so the stigma is mostly justified!

How much does a private number plate cost?

A private number plate doesn’t have to cost you your first-born though, and it honestly depends on several factors. Where is the private number plate coming from? WHO is it coming from? How long has it been on the market? How much interest has it had? Is there another private number plate like it? You’ve got to consider all of these when you go looking for one. Essentially, it is the same principle of any “supply and demand” system.

Private number plate, F 1

Private number plate, F 1, is amongst the most valuable around

A private number plate of high demand and low supply is going to increase in value over time, where as if there is a lot of similar number plates around you would be able to pick one up for a lot less. The best example of this would be a private number plate from Northern Ireland. There is an absolute tonne of these around and the most common of them are very cheap. I’ve seen some for as little as lb99, for example.

Why so cheap, you ask? A lot of these common Northern Irish plates are “cover plates” – these are number plates that are issued by the Government and cost the owner literally nothing. When someone sells their current reg mark as a private number plate they receive a brand new yet similar one in return. Rinse and repeat. This is why there are hundreds on the private number plate market.

In stark contrast, a private number plate in short supply will cost more. A variety of number plates, known as “cherished”, are practically antiques due how old they are, and their prices reflect this. Others are so costly simply because to many it is a dream private number plate. An example of the latter would be something like BA12 RYS, which clearly reads BARRY’S and with very few like this available it is probably the best number for someone called ‘Barry’, which can be seen in the price.

But, how much does it cost to OWN a private number plate?

So far I’ve been focused on how much a private number plate costs to buy, but there is another question that not many people know the answer to: how much does it cost to actually own a private number plate? Surprisingly, the answer is: Not much.

A private number plate is not really its own thing – it is a facade. When it is registered to a vehicle it belongs to that vehicle, not the person who bought it, as some understand. This means there are no annual fees to pay as long as the private number plate is on the vehicle. Of course, if a tax or MOT is needed that has to be paid for, but the number plate itself has no fees.

Costs will be incurred by taking a number plate off a vehicle though. When not registered to a vehicle a private number plate is held on a retention certificate, which costs lb105 to do. Certificates though have a time limit though, and to extend this expiry you do need to pay an annual fee. This is usually lb25 per year, plus an admin fee if a third party supplied the private number plate to you.

As you can see, the cost of upkeep is quite reasonable and not much at all. In fact, the cost of keeping a private number plate is nothing if you use as intended: straight onto a vehicle. But even if not the costs are the same across the board and apply to everyone, so even if you pay out for a really good number plate the expense is not going to come back to bite you later on. At least, not as far as the private number plate is concerned – we cannot promise your partner won’t bite you!


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with Nationla Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel’s other passion is private number plates. In between writing about them and raising awareness of the issues surrounding the industry he can be found on the phone lines along with the dedicated Nationla Numbers sales team helping customers find their perfect number plate.

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