How to Retain a Number Plate - Form V778
Why you would need DVLA’s Plate Retention Service / The V778 Retention Document
The V778 retention document grants you the right to keep a number plate for future use or If you need to take off a valued personalised number plate off one vehicle and transfer it to another vehicle once you are ready to do so. This is typically done if you are selling the registration number or transferring it to someone who will use the registration number on a vehicle registered in their name or simply changing your motor vehicle.
What’s the Difference between the V750 and V778 DVLA forms?
The V750 is for new issued registrations (and have never been used on a vehicle ever before), and the V778 Retention Document is when the registration has previously been assigned to and used on a vehicle.
Who can apply for the DVLA Plate Retention Form V778
Only the registered owner/registered keeper of the vehicle can be awarded the V778 Retention Document when making an online application. However, the V317 form (postal application) allows the number to be retained in someone else’s name (allocating them as new Grantee) on the issued V778 retention document so the seller can transfer the plate to whomever is receiving the private number plate. Usually the Cherished Number Agent handling the sale will arrange all this for the seller making it hassle free.
How to apply for the DVLA Plate Retention Document V778
Applying for the DVLA V778 Retention Document is a relatively simple process that can be done online or by post. (Online you will need a Debit or Credit card to pay the £80 fee) You can assign the number to another vehicle as soon as you’ve applied to take it off. You may use the reference number provided to you get after you complete your online application (the reference usually begins with a single letter or number, followed by a further 11 digits and ends with the vehicle registration number).
Notes and Qualifications for the V778 Retention Document
- The V778 retention document is awarded to the registered keeper of the vehicle with the given number plate
- The vehicle must be registered in the UK and on the DVLA database.
- The vehicle must be operable (requiring an MOT).
- A “Statutory Off Road Notification” (SORN) must have been issued without a break from tax expiry and within the last 5 years.
- The vehicle should be available for inspection if required. The DVLA will check your application and contact you if your vehicle needs an inspection. (Usually only applies to vehicles more than 15 years old or historic vehicles).
- The V5C Registration document (log book) should not have notes indicating the vehicle registration number as “Non-transferable”.
- A V778 retention document cannot be issued for plates starting with “Q” or “NIQ”.
- A vehicle registered as a ‘Q’ vehicle cannot have a private number plate
- You may not use a private number that indicates a vehicle is newer than it’s actual age. For example you cannot use a ‘**21***’ registration number on a ‘2020’ “20” registration vehicle.
- If the vehicle’s not in your name, you have to apply by post.
Documents and Forms Needed to Transfer and Retain Number Plates
V317 - the Precursor to the V778 retention document
If the vehicle meets the abovementioned DVLA plate retention qualifications, then you may complete a V317 form — “Application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number” — and submit it to the DVLA by post. You can download and print the V317 form by clicking this link. The registered keeper completes section B of the V317 form. To add a nominee you can complete section 4.2.
You will also need the following for a DVLA plate retention:
- MOT or HGV test (if applicable).
- The DVLA Fee of £80.00 payable by cheque when applying by post.
- If the donor vehicle needs taxing, the associated forms, documents and fees must also be sent.
- The vehicle’s Full V5C log book.
- If you are applying online to retain a number plate, you will need the 11 digit Document Reference Number located on the front of the document. (The V5C must be the most recent one issued by DVLA Swansea).
To provide tax:
- Complete a V10 ‘application for vehicle tax’ form.
- Submit /send in the amount of the vehicle tax.
- Vehicle must have a valid MOT test.
Applying online to retain a number plate
Most scenarios allow for a V778 DVLA Plate Retention online application through the gov.uk website. If you are applying online, click here to go to the DVLA website and follow the instructions on the screen. The DVLA plate retention service is available from 7am to 7pm.
If you cannot retain a number plate online you can complete option B on a V317 Form and apply via the post to DVLA Swansea. The fee to retain a number plate or ‘take a registration off a vehicle’ is £80.00.
By Post, send the completed V317 plus your V5C log book (the original - NOT a photocopy) to DVLA Personalised Registrations, Swansea, SA99 1DS.
CarReg can help with DVLA Plate Retention
If you would like assistance with DVLA plate retention, we can guide you through the process over the telephone or even complete it on your behalf (administration fee will apply). Please call us on 01902 791 997 or contact us for more details.
What happens to the vehicle originally holding the private number plate?
Once the V778 retention document has been issued, the registration number will in effect “be removed” from the original vehicle. Then, usually, the vehicle is allocated the original registration number or a different age-appropriate number will be given as a replacement at no cost (all covered by the £80 retention fee).
What Happens After the V778 Retention Document is Granted?
Once the application is submitted and approved you will the receive:
- The V778 retention document, or if the private number is in someone else’s name, the V778 document will be sent to them.
- A new V5C log book showing the vehicle’s replacement registration number.
- The digital MOT record will also be updated if applicable.
- The Assignment Fee has been paid in order to place the registration onto another vehicle.
- The V778 Retention Document will not expire for 10 years from the date it was retained.
Please allow 14 working days to receive the V778.
In the unlikely event DVLA have requested to inspect the vehicle then it could delay the process for four to six weeks depending on how soon the inspection can be arranged.
Special post-approval considerations:
- Be sure to put the original or new number plates on the vehicle.
- Notify your Insurance provider of the replacement/new registration number.
- Remember to renew the V778 retention document before it expires (valid for 10 years).
- You can give up your right to use the private number if you decide not to assign it and receive a refund of the pre-paid £80.00 assignment fee.
- If you wish to keep the registration number that’s on a car you are selling, be sure to retain it before relinquishing the V5C Document to any new purchaser. Once you are issued with the replacement V5C with the standard/original registration number and Retention document you may release that V5C to the new owner.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more details.