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DVLA Number Plates

 DVLA Number Plates are number plates issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. DVLA is the UK's governing body responsible for assigning, transferring and retaining personalised number plates.

DVLA - also known as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency - holds over 48 million driver records and over 40 million vehicle records, collecting around £6 billion a year in vehicle excise duty.

What is the DVLA responsible for? 

- recording driver endorsements, disqualifications and medical conditions
- issuing photocard driving licences
- issuing vehicle registration certificates to vehicle keepers
- taking enforcement action against vehicle tax evaders
- registering and issuing tachograph cards
- selling DVLA personalised registrations
- helping the police and intelligence authorities deal with crime
- providing anonymised data to those who have the right to use the service

The DVLA was previously known as the DVLC (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre), and is an agency of the Department of Transport based at headquarters in Swansea. 

Dateless Number Plates

Dateless plates do not have the same restrictions as other plate types - they can be assigned to any vehicle. They are made up of a group of up to 3 letters and up to 4 numbers, either way around - i.e 381 KWP or KWP 381.

You will get the best results to view if you search for either letters OR numbers - i.e. searching for any BAZ plate or any plate with a 911 number. Registrations with fewer letters or fewer numbers are rarer than 3 letters with 4 numbers

RPP 916
BS AU 145d

Current Style Numberplates

This is the style currently available when you buy a vehicle now. Current style number plates were introduced in September 2001 and they have a 2 digit year identifier, and 5 available letters, for example XX10 VEU (Kiss Kiss Love You).

BS AU 145d

Prefix Number Plates

Prefix number plates were issued up until March 2001 and have the year letter at the beginning of the registration, for example B21 VAN. 

BS AU 145d

History of DVLA Number Plates

DVLA Number plates are registrations issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The DVLA began selling their registrations at number plate auctions in the late 80s. DVLA Auctions are still popular today and have seen some record prices reached - 25 O was sold for £400,000 at an auction in November 2014!

The first DVLA Number plates available for sale were the 'H' prefix registrations in October 1990, ranging from 1-20. After this successful launch, the DVLA then issued the 'A' prefix in August 1991 - again only 20 combinations were issued. Number plate dealers and savvy investors bought up thousands of these number plates as there were a limited number available at the time - and some of these registrations now sell for ten times their original value.

These prefix registrations continued to be issued, adding more combinations to the range up until March 2000, when the current DVLA registration system came into use.

 Where can DVLA Number Plates be Used?

DVLA Number Plates can be used on DVLA registered vehicles. Some types of DVLA number plate, such as those registered before 1963 or in Northern Ireland, allow you to hide the age of a vehicle. DVLA Registrations can also be used as personalised number plates, to represent your name, job or hobby, for example.

DVLA Number Plate FAQS

We have put together this set of frequently asked questions relating to the transfer of DVLA-based personalised registration numbers. 


Why are DVLA Number plates subject to VAT?
All DVLA registrations are subject to full VAT. Examples of DVLA registration are E5 HAW, DE51 ELT, DO57 COW.
How much is the Transfer Fee ?
The Transfer Fee is applicable to all transfers. The Transfer Fee is £80 whether it is stored on a Retention Certificate or on a vehicle.
How can I pay for my new DVLA Number Plate?
We accept the following methods for payment:


What happens to my payment if I change my mind before the number plate transfer has been completed?
We require full payment at time of purchase for prefix and current style registrations. Registration marks supplied from our Prefix Style and Current Style searches are supplied specifically to the buyers requirements and are regarded as a "personalised item" which cannot be cancelled, exchanged or refunded following the sale. The service that we provide in selling these registrations is actioned immediately and so, on completion of the online sales process, the buyer is agreeing to give us their informed consent to waive their cooling off period associated with the distance selling regulations amendment of the Sale of Goods Act
Do Speedyreg provide the physical number plates for my vehicle?
Yes we can supply a set of physical number plates for your vehicle at a cost of £20 plus VAT,  per pair
What will happen to my current DVLA car registration number?
The DVLA will reclaim your registration back once you transfer your new DVLA Number plate onto your vehicle. However you can keep your current registration, it will cost you £80 to retain on a Retention Certificate
What does it mean if my current V5C Registration Certificate states that the registration is non-transferable?
There is no problem transferring a DVLA Number Plate onto your vehicle. However you will not be able to transfer or retain the current registration number
How long will I have to wait before my new DVLA Number Plate will be on my vehicle?
Transfers are currently taking 3 to 5 working days for completion
How can I find out about the progress of my DVLA number plate transfer?
You can telephone us on 02866 387124 for an instant progress report on your new registration
What do DVLA, DfT and DVA stand for?
DVLA; Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency
DfT: Department for Transport
DVA: Driver Vehicle Agency
Will there be any age restrictions for transferring DVLA Number Plates on my vehicle?
Yes DVLA registrations are dated registrations and therefore can only be transferred onto an age related vehicle. You can make your vehicle look older but you cannot make it appear younger. For example an DO57 COW (2007) would not be able to be transferred onto a 1997 vehicle

However if your vehicle was first registered in April 2008, then there would be no problem in transferring DO57 COW onto your vehicle. As it will make your vehicle look older which is allowed.

What happens if I need to re-tax my vehicle during the transfer of my DVLA Number Plate?
We can re-tax your vehicle during the transfer of your DVLA registration plate, to do this we will require the following documents to:
  • Cheque for Road Tax
  • Insurance Certificate valid for at least 6 weeks.
  • V10 – Tax Application Form
If I have a “Q” registration on my vehicle will I be able to transfer a DVLA plate onto my vehicle?
Unfortunately you will not be able to transfer a DVLA number plate onto your vehicle.
Can I transfer a registration onto my vehicle and at the same transfer my current number to another vehicle?
Yes we can transfer a DVLA Number Plate onto your vehicle and at the same time transfer your current registration off the vehicle, this is called a double transfer.  In order for us to complete the double transfer we will require the following documents:


  • V5C—Vehicle Registration Certificate for both vehicles
  • Photocopy of MOT certificate – if applicable for both vehicles
  • V317 Transfer Form
  • An extra £80 cheque payable to DfT.

However if you do not have a vehicle to transfer this registration onto, it can be transferred onto a Retention Certificate, to do this we will require the following:

  • V317 Transfer and Retention application form
  • V5C—Vehicle Registration Certificate
  • Photocopy of MOT certificate – if applicable
  • A Cheque for £80 made payable to DVLA Swansea
Can I transfer a DVLA number plate onto my motorcycle?
Yes there is no restriction in transferring a DVLA Number Plate onto your motorcycle provided it is currently MOT'd and Taxed

If you have a question that we haven't answered, or you'd like help purchasing a DVLA number plate, please get in touch via our contact form, or call us on 02866 387124 during office hours