You can put your number plate on retention in order to sell it, place it onto a new vehicle or just keep hold of it for personal use. This guide will give you all of the information you need on how to put your number plate on retention and give you hints and tips on the process.

Things to consider

First of all, you need to make sure that your vehicle and number plate are in the right conditions in order for the application to run as smooth as possible. The vehicle that you are removing the private number plate from must be registered with the DVLA, have a valid MOT and be taxed, or declared SORN for 5 consecutive years. The same rules apply if you are putting the plate on a different vehicle, both must abide by these rules.

In regard to the number plate, you can only retain and sell it if it is a legal license plate. This means that is cannot have any emblems or badges, must be in a readable font and not have been tampered with in any way, such as having had bolts put in certain places to change the characters. Likewise, if your number plate is Irish you will not be able to go through the same process.

Once you have applied to the DVLA, they may request to inspect your vehicle, and the vehicle the plate is being put onto if you’re transferring it. This means you need to make sure that your vehicle is in a fit state to travel to the site where it will be inspected.

The process of retaining your number plate

Now you know what rules apply when you want to retain your private number plate you’ll be ready to apply. You can send your V137 application via post, however the process will be quicker if you apply online via the DVLA website. There are different sections you are required to fill out depending on whether you are just retaining your vehicle or putting it onto another vehicle. If you are selling the plate onto someone else you will be required to fill out their details too.

The application can take anything between 2-5 weeks and once it has been approved you, or the person who you have sold the plate to will receive the Retention Document to confirm that the plate has been retained.

Can I sell my number plate?

Once you have received the Retention Document you can then sell your number plate. The private number plate market has been increasing over the years with the most expensive plate being sold for over £500,000 in 2014. Therefore, there is a profit to be made when it comes to selling your plate.

The easiest way to sell your plate is via online private companies such as They help people to buy and sell used private number plates. The good thing about going through a site like this is that you will be show casing your plate to a specific set of people that are looking to buy a number plate. Using other selling sites and social media will not narrow down your search to specific buyers.

Can I put my private number plate on another vehicle?

If you’ve bought a new vehicle then you can put the plate on it once you have the Retention Document. Be careful when removing and placing the plates onto another vehicle if you are opting to do it on your own. The acrylic that plates are made from can easily crack or become damaged if not handled properly.