Selling Your Car and Keeping the Number Plate

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Can I sell my car and keep the number plate?


The short answer is yes! If you have a number plate that you wish to keep when you sell or scrap your car, you must make an application to keep the registration plate by assigning it to a Retention Document. This document proves that you own the plate and you can use it in the next 10 years. You can then add it to another vehicle or transfer it to someone else. It costs £80 to take the registration plate off a car.

Once the car is scrapped, written off, or changes ownership, the number plate is lost.

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How do I sell my car and keep the registration plate?


To assign your number plate to a Retention Document, visit the DVLA’s website and fill out the Assign A Number online form. You can also send your form to the DVLA in the post with sections 1 and 2 filled in, and include the V5 document of the car.

The car needs to:

  • Be registered in the UK with the DVLA
  • Have had a SORN or have valid tax for the last 5 years, and have current valid SORN and tax
  • Be the type of vehicle that needs an MOT
  • Be available for inspection

The DVLA will decide if they need to inspect your vehicle. Once your application has been approved, they will send you a new log book (V5). This will have the new registration and you will get your Retention Document if the private plate is in your name. 

You should inform your insurer as soon as possible with the new details when you change your number plate. You should also do this if you assign a private plate to a new vehicle. There may be an admin fee for this, dependent on the car insurance company. 

If your car is on finance, we can help with selling it. We also have guides on selling a damaged car and what documents you need when you are selling a car. If you have any questions, GoodBye Car will be happy to help!