The register is not intended to establish legal ownership. To improve the accuracy of records, continuous registration or SORN (Statutory off road notification) has been introduced.

The Secretary of State for Transport is responsible for allocating DVLA Number Plates which provide a unique identifying mark. Legally, the number plate remains under the control of the Secretary of State and can be withdrawn if DVLA regulations are contravened. The relevant regulations are enshrined in the 1994 Vehicle Excise and Registrations Act (VERA).

A number plate was originally intended to remain with a particular vehicle until it is scrapped or permanently exported. However, because of public interest in private number plates, DVLA has put special regulations in place to facilitate the transfer of a registration mark from one vehicle to another. This procedure is referred to as the DVLA Cherished Transfer Scheme. There is also a retention scheme, which allows a mark to be taken off a vehicle and stored on a certificate.
An amendment to the Act, Section 27 of VERA gave DVLA the right to sell unallocated number plates. A new department, Sale of Marks (SOM), was changed to DVLA. The Agency now became able to sell off assets (namely unissued registration marks), contributing revenue directly to the Treasury.

Since the introduction of the A prefix in August 1983, DVLA had withheld the issue of numbers 1-20 since there was no fair way to allocate such attractive registrations. This practice continued up to the issue of the H registrations in August 1990.

This scheme refers to the release of registration marks held on the DVLA computer, which have never been allocated. The number plate purchased is issued in the form of a certificate. The V750 is renewable each year for a fee of £25 and a nominee can be added or changed for a similar fee, the purchaser is legally in control, not the nominee and the £80 assignment fee, payable at the time of purchase, is shown on the certificate.

To assign the number plate, the customer must submit (to a local DVLA office) the signed V750 together with the V5/c and MOT (if required) and photocopy of the licence disc or a tax application. The local office will issue a tax disc for the new number plate showing all the tax paid and re stamp the MOT or, in the case of a VOSA MOT, issue a replacement showing the new number plate. The replacement V5/c comes directly for the DVLA Swansea.

It important to remember, that in all cases regulations state that a number plate can not be used to make a vehicle look newer, and it must be legally spaced.
Copies of all the relevant legislation can be found at


You must remember that DVLA rules are in place to guard against fraud.

There are 6 basic rules

  1. The vehicle must exist and hold a DVLA computerized V5/c.
  2. The vehicle must be registered at DVLA. Or the DVLAI for Ireland.
  3. The vehicle must be available for inspection. An inspection assists in verifying entitlement to the number plate. Both donor and recipient (rarely) can be called for inspection.
  4. The vehicle must be taxed or in the process of being taxed. However, in 2005 an amendment allowed a donor vehicle where the licence disc had been expired (not refunded) less than 12 months to take part in the scheme, providing, that SORN is declared upon expiry.
  5. The vehicle must be subject to MOT/HGV testing. Ie, non-testable vehicles such as milk floats, tractors etc are outside the scheme. This has led to some vehicles, such as hearses, choosing to undergo MOT,S when actually exempt so they could register with private number plates under the scheme.
  6. Only the registered keeper can apply to either transfer or retain the mark. However, a recent Act of Parliament will soon allow a 3rd party to apply at the point of retention with the keeper’s permission, of course.