From pun-filled cab number plates to unique designs that have a personal meaning to the owner, private number plates are incredibly popular within the UK. In fact, the industry is predicted to be worth an astonishing £1.3 billion by the end of 2022! Since the launch of the private plate back in 1989, the DVLA have sold more than 5.9 million designs, but what are the private plate rules that you need to know about?
In this blog, we will explore everything to do this sleek form of vehicle modification so that you can take the guesswork away from installing your new plate.
How can I buy a private number plate in the UK?
You are only able to buy legal private number plates from either DVLA auctions or from their licensed sellers. Private plates are all pre-approved and created by the DVLA. As such, they maintain a library of legally registered private plates that can be sold to dealers or customers, all supported by legal documentation.
You must always research where you are buying your private number plate from, as illegal plate sales are on the rise. Your dealer or auction house should always be able to provide you with a view of their documentation which approves them as a legitimate seller when you ask to see it. You can also gain peace of mind if you book to attend an auction which has been listed on the DVLA’s official list of upcoming events as they all will be adhering to the private plate rules.
Once you buy your number plate, you will always be provided with the legal documentation, which is the V750. Another way to ensure that your seller is genuine is to ask to see a copy of this beforehand. As with our own collection of private registrations, most resellers will only stock a selection of designs, so alarm bells should always ring if someone gives you a large selection.
What are private plates rules and regulations?
As with any number plate in the UK, a strict set of rules must be adhered to, which make it legal for use on the roads. These private plate rules have been created following safety regulations to ensure that road users and pedestrians benefit from enhanced protection.
The regulations that ensure you adhere to the private plate rules are the following:
All private number plates must be supported by legal documentation
Private plates must have either a V750 certificate or a V778 retention document to prove you have legal ownership and the right to use the bespoke design.
The V750 is the document that assigns the actual registration mark to the new owner. This document will be needed for assigning a plate and for selling in the future. The V778 is the retention document needed to keep ownership of a private plate and to be able to use it legally on the roads. Valid for ten years, it only needs to be renewed if the plate is not currently assigned to a vehicle.
If you have lost these documents, you can apply for replacements, but you will need to be able to prove another way that you are the legal owner of the plate to eliminate fraud issues. To do this, you will need to prove your identity which the DVLA can use to match you with the owner they have on record.
All number plates, including private ones, need to adhere to the legal manufacturing standards as outlined by the DVLA
You must ensure that your number plate meets the strict criteria of private plate rules otherwise you are eligible for a £1000 fine and failed MOT status.
- be made from a reflective material – for the purpose of 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
- be marked to show who supplied the number plate – to assist with thefts and sourcing queries
- be marked with a British Standard number – this is ‘BS AU 145e’ for plates fitted after 1 September 2021
- The characters must not be removable or reflective. If your number plates were fitted after 1 September 2021, they must also be a single shade of black
It should also be noted that private number plates cannot be used to make your vehicle seem younger than it is. For example, if your car is registered in 2012 and has a 12 plate, you could not replace this to have a 22 plate to give the allusion that it was manufactured this year.
This is the case no matter what the legal registration is, and DVLA-approved manufacturers can only make such plates.
If you don’t intend on using your private for legal road use, though, the possibilities are much vaster as show plates don’t need to adhere to these private plate rules. This is something we specialise in as we appreciate the art that goes into creating sleek number plates. If you have a PR event coming up or are looking for a unique gift, a custom private plate makes a great choice! Check out some of our designs here.
Private plates must always be legally assigned to your vehicle before they are used
If you are changing cars or have recently come into ownership of your private plate, you must legally process the change. Once you have successfully been approved to use the plate on a new vehicle, you must ensure you have the physical copy of the V778 retention document and V5C logbook before you can use the plate.
You can also only assign private plates to vehicles that meet the below criteria:
- 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.
- The vehicle has been taxed or had a SORN in place continuously for the past 5 years
If you want to apply to change a vehicle’s registration, this will cost you £80. You must also update your insurance at the same time otherwise your coverage is not legally relevant.
Can I turn my private plate into a custom plate?
You certainly can! Just when you thought that private plates couldn’t get any cooler, the world of 3D number plates and 4D plate designs is available to open your eyes to a whole new set of legal vehicle modifications.
Our designs let you adorn any vehicle with a slick design that works to improve the durability and visibility of the number plate. If you want something that is subtly unique, then a 3D custom private plate design is perfect for you. Gel letters are encased with a high-shine acrylic which gives a raised profile. If you are looking for something bit more statement, then a 4D number plate is perfect. These boast an even more defined raised profile as they are made from thick-cut acrylic letters which are coated with industrial-strength resin for a boxy finish.
However you choose to design your own number plate, both offer even more focus on the characters which means your private plate will stand out even more than it would have on a standard plate design.
The process is also simple, which is why people love to elevate their private plates in this way. If you are a legal owner, all you will need to do is provide us with the following:
- Proof that you are the owner using either the V5C or V5CNI logbook, V5C/2 or V5C/2NI new keeper slip, or the V778 certificate.
- A form of ID which proves your name and identity, such as your driving license, passport, or a utility bill
As your legal ownership of the private plate relates to the registration, not the physical plate, you do not have to obtain further permission to modify your plate. The only time you will need to get extra permission is if your private plate is on a lease car. Whilst this is allowed by most companies, you may just need to get approval for a custom-designed plate to be created and installed.
Do you have more insight into private plate rules and regulations?
In our view, private plates are the form of vehicle modification that offers you the best value for money. We hope that this blog article has enabled you to acquire valuable information regarding private plate rules and regulations.
Along with asking about private plate rules, many people also ask ‘are private plates worth it?’. To that, we say “Yes!”. As you can see from the private plate rules that we have outlined, maintaining a legally compliant vehicle is simple and low-cost as long you follow the right steps for assigning your plate.
If you want to find out more about the private plates we have for sale, you can either view them here or get in touch with a member of our team today to discuss in more detail the private plate rules to help you get exactly what you want.