How Do You Get Personalized License Plates in the UK? 

12 October 2020

Personalised license plates have quite the polarizing effect – people either love them or hate them. Still, by adorning your car with a customised number, you are sure to get the attention of everyone in sight (both positive and negative).


On the other hand, a personalised plate is a fantastic gift for a dear friend or a family member. It shows care and a deep connection between the giver and receiver and it’s something the receiver can use on a daily basis. 


So, now that you’ve decided on buying one, how do you put your plan in action? Read below and learn the right steps to take!

Find the Right Combination

Before you can buy a personalised license plate, you first need to know what you want. Do you want the letters to spell out a name, an occupation, a location, or anything else? 


Once you decide on the niche, it’s time to start the search for available plates. Keep in mind that this can be a time-consuming and nerve racking process. After all, the best combinations are usually taken (for things like popular names and occupations) and it can be a full-time job to chase after yours. 


Now, if you decide to find the right plate on your own, you’ll have to take care of the search, documentation, and participating in auctions. On the other hand, there are professionals like that can facilitate the plate finding process for you; all you have to do is decide on the combination you’d like.


Quick warning: if you really want to take care of this endeavour, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the rules of plate designing. Otherwise, if the plates are not made to standard, you can end up with a fine and in violation of the law. 

Assign the Plate to a Vehicle

Once the plate is yours, it’s time to make it as visible as possible, right? 


Quick note: you can still own the plate and not assign it to a specific vehicle. As long as you have the documentation, you are the legal owner of the plate and no one can use it on a vehicle, even if yours is not yet assigned.


If you want to display your new acquisition on a vehicle, you first need to submit a form (the V778 or the V750) to the DVLA. The V788 is a retention document and it’s needed for plates that have previously been displayed on other vehicles. This document attests that an already existing personalized plate will be moved to your vehicle. 


If your plate is new (was never displayed on a vehicle before), you will need the V750 form. 


Once one of these forms is filled in, you need to submit it with your car’s logbook, to the DVLA and wait for their approval (which is not that long). 

How Much Does it Cost?

The price can go from a couple of hundred pounds to several thousand and more, depending on the length of the combination. As a rule of thumb, if the plate has few characters the price will skyrocket (the F1 license plate was sold for £440,625)! 


Also, if you’re buying from a broker or searching through classified ads, expect to reduce your bank account quite significantly. 

Wrap Up

Although some may call them vanity plates, personalised numbers are a popular trend in the UK. It’s also a great way to bring more money to the DVLA budget. So, if you feel a bit uneasy about getting a personalised plate, just look at it as an investment in the local community


This way, you get to enjoy the plates and the attention that comes along, and local authorities get some help in their efforts. 


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