• Home
  • Latests
  • How Do You Assign a Private Number Plate to a Vehicle?

How Do You Assign a Private Number Plate to a Vehicle?

When it comes to private plates, it may seem simple enough to buy one. But did you know there are a legally obligated processes you have to take in order to assign, apply, and even remove a private plate to a vehicle?

In this blog, we will answer the question ‘How do you assign a private number plate to a vehicle?’

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration platemaker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D Plates, Show Plates, and regular / Electric Vehicle Plates and more. We are the one-stop shop for all things registration plates!

Whether it’s a Private Plate, Gel Plate, Standard Registration Plate or plating accessories, we have you covered.

As a certified and experienced team of plate fitters and makers, our plates are installed to the specification of UK law, provided alongside the appropriate paperwork you require. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

How is a Private plate different to a normal number plate?

A private number plate is different to a normal number plate in ways that can be obvious, or hard to tell unless you have a closer inspection. A normal number plate is assigned to a vehicle once it has been made, whilst private plates are made upon application.

Both options are legal, provided your plate has gone through the correct channels to be made.

Normal number plates follow a specific structure, which is as follows…

  • The first two letters of a number plate tell the reader where the vehicle was first registered. In the UK, one region can have many regional identifiers. For example, a vehicle registered in London can have the following regional identifiers ‘LU, LV, LW, LX, LY.
  • The following two numbers identify the year in which the vehicle was assigned its plate. For example, a car that has a plate assigned from London in 2020, could have the following first four characters ‘LW20’.
  • The final three letters of a UK number plate are picked completely at random. This saves cars that are registered in the same place, and get their plate in the same year, from being completely the same.

On the other hand, private plates don’t exactly follow this structure. Pending approval, a private plate can spell almost anything. Though, this is subject to availability and whether it is appropriate or not.

How do you assign a private number plate to a vehicle?

What is a private plate?

If you are in considering changing your number plate to a private plate, it isn’t as simple as buying a plate with the characters you want and putting it on the same day. It must be legally approved before you can drive with it. Private plates are available to buy in DVLA auctions and through approved sellers.

On occasion, you can buy private plates independently, but you require the relevant documents in order for it to be a legally recognised purchase. Documentation also ensures the legitimacy of the plate itself.

If you buy your private number plate, you will be given a V750 certificate of entitlement. If you take a number from another vehicle you own, you will receive a V778 retention document, or online reference number.

Assigning a private number plate is relatively simple, and can be done online, or via the post. The following factors that will be mentioned are directly from the UK government portal’s guidance on assigning a private number plate to a vehicle.

  • If your vehicle is registered to you, you can apply to assign the private number plate via post or online.
  • If you have bought a used vehicle, wait for the DVLA to send a V5C in your name before applying online or post to assign the private plate.
  • If it is a brand-new vehicle, give the dealer your V750 or V778 document, and ask them to apply.
  • If the vehicle is registered to someone else, and you want the private number to be transferred to them, this too can be done via online or post.

Which vehicles can have private plates?

Private plates are available to almost any vehicle, as long as they abide by the following rules set out by the UK driving authority.

  • The vehicle must be legally registered with DVLA in the UK and have a valid MOT certificate.
  • Only operational cars can be assigned private plates, so they must be able to move under their own power.
  • The DVLA reserves the right that you be available for them to carry out inspections on cars which have a private plate. This can be at any time, so it must always be available for inspection. Failing this inspection can lead to a host of consequences, which can include removal of the private plate.
  • The vehicle has been taxed or had a SORN in place continuously for the past 5 years.

Do I have to apply to remove my private plate?

Yes. You must apply to remove your private plate. As your private plate is your legally recognised identification for the vehicle it is attached to, using another plate, even your old plate, without any notice could result in legal consequences.

Who else should know if I change to a private plate?

Can I make my own private number plate UK?

Any relevant service that requires your number plate, whether this be your insurance, parking app services etc, must know if you have changed your number plate. Insurance is the most important, considering the fact that you ‘technically’ don’t own your private plate, it belongs to the vehicle it is assigned to.

This means, in the event that the vehicle is written off, your private plate could be scrapped or discarded along with the vehicle. Informing your insurer of this beforehand allows them to know that they need to retrieve the private plate, should anything happen.

Can a leased car have a private plate?

It is extremely unlikely that a lease company would allow you to use a private number plate, as it is their vehicle. The registration they have provided is specific to the fleet of vehicles they have for leasing. This allows them to keep track of their vehicles should they be involved in any accidents or other relevant instances.

Can I customise my private plate?

Yes! Established plate modifiers such as Bespoke Plates have the ability to create a bespoke 3D or 4D version of your private plate (amongst many other options). All you need it is the relevant documents that prove you are the registered owner of the private plate you would like to upgrade.

Custom number plates, aside from show plates, are entirely legal. There is no stipulation on having customisations on your private plate, as long as your customisation follows the established rules.

The legal terms that a registration plate must adhere to are:

  • be made from a reflective material – for road safety
  • black display characters on a white background (front plate)
  • black display characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
  • not have a background pattern – so as not to distort the readability of your plate

You can find the full list of legal requirements here.

Enhance your private plate today

Is number plate customisation legal?

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options, and the information you require in order to obtain our stylish customisation options for your vehicle. We aim to have answered the question ‘How do you assign a private number plate to a vehicle?’

We hope that we have provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs.

Bespoke Plates has all the options you can ask for, as an approved registration vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates, you can talk to one of the members of our team by:

Email info@bespoke-plates.co.uk

Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,


M8 8NN

discount popup bespoke-plates

Great! Use coupon code below at checkout for 5% discount