Why Are Number Plates Yellow or White?
White number plates on the front and yellow on the back were chosen in order to produce maximum contrast with black. Black is obviously the colour for the letters and digits on a licence plate.
This use of contrasting elements on number plates helps police and ANPR cameras quickly identify your vehicle.
Information from the DVLA
Transferring a registration number
You can transfer your vehicle registration:
- from your vehicle to another one in your name
- to a vehicle, you’re buying
- to someone else’s vehicle
Conditions for transferring a registration number
You can’t transfer a registration number:
- starting with ‘Q’ or ‘NIQ’ for Northern Ireland registered vehicles
- if it will make the vehicle it’s being transferred to look younger
Both vehicles must be:
- registered with DVLA
- available for inspection
- of a type that needs an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate
Both vehicles should be currently taxed. However, if the vehicle that currently has the registration number is not taxed, you can still apply as long as:
- the tax disc has run out in the last 12 months
- there’s no break between the date the tax disc runs out and the start of the SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification)
How to transfer a registration number
You’ll need to complete a V317 ‘application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number’ - if the number is being transferred to someone else’s vehicle, then both registered keepers must complete the application.
You should also include:
- the £80 transfer fee (cheque or postal order, payable to DVLA)
- the registration certificate or the new keeper supplement with a completed V62 ‘application for a vehicle registration certificate V5C’ for each vehicle
- an MOT test certificate (for cars and motorcycles over 3 years old, and heavy goods vehicles over 1-year-old) for each vehicle
Send your application to your nearest DVLA local office.
If either vehicle needs taxing
You’ll also need to enclose:
- a completed V10 ‘application for a tax disc’
- a certificate of insurance or valid cover for the vehicle
- the correct vehicle tax fee
If you’re registering a vehicle or brand new vehicles at the same time
If you’re registering a vehicle yourself, you’ll need to provide documentation to confirm your identity with your application. If buying a brand new vehicle, you’ll need to provide identity documentation to the dealer.
The documents you need
You must provide, along with your application, either your photocard driving licence or 1 original document from each of the lists below.
Documents confirming your name:
- current paper driving licence
- marriage certificate
- decree nisi or absolute
- birth certificate
Documents confirming your address:
- a utility bill from the last 3 months, or council tax bill for the current year
- a bank or building society statement from the last 3 months
- a medical card
Returning your identity documents
Your documents will normally be returned with your vehicle tax disc. If you want your documents returned by special delivery, include a prepaid name and address, self-addressed, special-delivery envelope.
DVLA can’t guarantee to return your documents by a specific date.
If you don’t get your identity documents back, contact DVLA within 3 months of the date you sent your application. DVLA won’t be liable for any claim after this.
What happens next
The DVLA local office may need to inspect both vehicles and will contact you to arrange an appointment. If they don’t need to inspect them, they’ll approve your application within 2 weeks.
If your application is approved, you’ll receive:
- a confirmation letter to advise the replacement registration number
- new tax discs for both vehicles showing the new and replacement registration numbers
- an authorisation letter (V948) which you’ll need to get your number plates made up
- a replacement MOT test certificate for cars and motorcycles over 3 years old, and heavy goods vehicles over 1-year-old
Allow at least 2 weeks after sending your application before contacting DVLA.
You’ll also be sent registration certificates for both vehicles showing the new and replacement registration numbers.
These should arrive within 4 weeks of the confirmation letter. It can take up to 6 weeks if a V62 application was used to support the application.
Retaining a registration number
If you’re 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 1, 2 or 3 years.
You can retain the registration number in your name or someone else’s name. This costs:
- £105 for 1 year
- £130 for 2 years
- £155 for 3 years
You’ll need the retention document when you want to assign the number to a vehicle again.