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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Retaining a registration mark and how to apply

As the registered keeper of a vehicle, you can apply to remove a registration number from the vehicle and hold it on a retention document (V778) for one, two or three years. You can retain the registration number in your name or choose to retain it in someone else’s name.

Conditions for retaining a registration number

You can’t retain a registration number starting with ‘Q’ or ‘NIQ’ for Northern Ireland registered vehicles.

To retain the registration number, the vehicle must be:

  • registered at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • available for inspection
  • of a type that needs an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate
  • currently taxed

However, if the vehicle is not taxed, you can still apply to retain provided:

  • there is no break between the date the tax disc runs out and the start of the SORN
  • and the tax disc run out no more than 12 months before the date you apply

How to apply

Send the following to your nearest DVLA local office:

  • a completed V317 ‘application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number’
  • the registration certificate for the vehicle or the new keeper supplement with a completed V62 ‘application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C'
  • a test certificate for the vehicle - needed for cars and motorcycles over three years old, and heavy goods vehicles over one year old
  • the fee to retain - £105 for one year, £130 for two years or £155 for three years

If the new keepers supplement has been stamped by a DVLA local office you’ll need to complete a V62 ‘application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C' before you can apply.

If the vehicle needs taxing, enclose:

  • a completed V10 ‘application for a tax disc’ or the V11 reminder
  • a certificate of insurance or valid cover for the vehicle
  • the payment of vehicle tax

What happens next

The DVLA local office may need to inspect your vehicle and will contact you to arrange an appointment. If they don’t need to inspect, they’ll approve your application within two weeks.

On approving your application, the DVLA local office will send you:

  • a confirmation letter to advise the replacement registration number
  • a new tax disc showing the replacement registration number
  • an authorisation letter (V948) to get your number plates made up 
  • a replacement MOT test certificate for cars and motorcycles over three years old, and heavy goods vehicles over one year old


Please note the MOT test certificate will no longer be printed in green, this will be replaced by a black text on a white background.

Allow at least two weeks, after sending your application, before contacting DVLA customer enquiries if you don’t receive these documents.

DVLA, Swansea will send you:

  • a retention document showing you as the grantee
  • a registration certificate showing the replacement registration number

These should arrive within four weeks of getting the confirmation letter. It can take up to six weeks if you use a V62 application to support your application.

If you retain the registration number in someone else’s name, the retention document will be sent to them, as they are recorded as the grantee.

The registered keeper is responsible for informing their insurance provider of the new registration number.

Assigning the registration number to a vehicle

When you’re ready, you’ll need the retention document to assign the registration number to your vehicle. Notes on the retention document tell you what you need to do.

Renewing, replacing or updating your retention document

You must renew the retention document before it expires, or update it if there are changes to the details shown, like new address details or adding or changing nominee details. You’ll need to replace the document if it’s lost or stolen. If the document expires, you could lose your entitlement to the registration number.

Northern Ireland registered vehicles

If you’re registering a Northern Ireland vehicle in Great Britain (GB) and retaining the registration number, your application will be subject to identity checking.

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