HomeLifestyleHow to Check if a Number Plate is on Retention?

How to Check if a Number Plate is on Retention?

Are you curious about how to check if a number plate is on retention? Want to learn how to put it on retention or find out why it might be denied? Look no further! In this blog post, we will guide you through the process of checking if a number plate is on retention and provide all the information you need to navigate the world of DVLA regulations. So, buckle up and let’s dive in!

How to Check if a Number Plate is on Retention?

How to Check if a Number Plate is on Retention?

To check if a number plate is on retention in the United Kingdom, you can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official website of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) or use their online service. The website is www.gov.uk/dvla
  2. On the homepage, you will find a search bar or a “Get vehicle information from DVLA” option. Click on it
  3. Enter the registration number of the number plate you want to check and click on the “Continue” button
  4. You will be directed to a page displaying the details of the vehicle associated with the registration number
  5. Look for the “Retention documents” section on that page. If the number plate is on retention, it will be stated there

If the number plate is not on retention, it means it is currently assigned to a vehicle and in use. Remember that this process is specific to the UK’s DVLA system, and the steps may differ for other countries or regions.

Can I Retain My Number Plate?

Retaining a private number plate requires certain conditions to be met, including the possession of your car’s V5C logbook. If you happen to misplace it, you can request a replacement to be sent to you. Here are some important eligibility criteria to consider:

  1. The vehicle must be registered with the DVLA in the United Kingdom
  2. The vehicle should be in drivable condition and capable of operating under its own power
  3. Although not mandatory at the time of application, the vehicle must meet the eligibility requirements for an MoT certificate
  4. The DVLA may require an inspection of your vehicle, so it needs to be available for this purpose
  5. Continuous taxation or declaration of a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) is required for the past five years
  6. The vehicle should currently be taxed or have an active SORN. If it’s been SORN for more than five years, you’ll need to tax and arrange an MoT for the vehicle
  7. Even if your classic car is typically exempt from MoTs, a valid MoT certificate is still necessary to retain the number plate

It’s important to note that in the event of your car being written off, you must inform your insurance company of your intention to retain the private plate; otherwise, you may lose it. Once the insurance company has settled the claim for your car, the registration number becomes their property. Prompt action is crucial, as you won’t be able to retrieve the plate once the car is scrapped.

How to Put a Number Plate on Retention?

How to Put a Number Plate on Retention

There are two methods to put your number plate on retention: via post or online. While the online option provides a quicker and more convenient process, both methods require a fee of £80.


To retain your number plate online, you can easily apply using a form available on the official government website. All you need is the reference number from your V5C logbook. If your online application is successful and your vehicle doesn’t require an inspection, you can assign the number plate to a new car using the reference number provided.

By Post:

Applying by post involves some additional steps and will take longer, but it is still a straightforward process. You will need your V5C logbook, the green “new keeper” slip, and a completed V62 form if you have not purchased the car and do not have a V5C yet.

Additionally, you’ll need a V317 “transfer or retain a vehicle registration number” form. Once all the necessary paperwork is filled out, you need to send it to the DVLA. The address for submission is provided on the form.

What Happens Once I’ve Contacted the Dvla?

If your application is successful, your original number plate will be transferred to the car immediately. If your vehicle requires an inspection, the DVLA will contact you and make the necessary arrangements.

You will be mailed an updated V5C with your car’s original registration number, which may take four to six weeks to arrive. You’ll also receive a V778 retention document.

The V778 verifies that you have the authority to assign the private number plate for the following ten years. If you want to keep it on retention for an extended period of time, you must renew it before the expiration date. You can also waive your entitlement to the number if you do not intend to use it again.

Once you’ve changed your number plate, you must notify your insurance carrier. You will also need to change the plate on any automated payment accounts, such as the London Congestion fee or the ULEZ fee. If you want to drive the automobile, you must also show its original number plates.

Why My Number Plate Denied a Retention Certificate?

Why My Number Plate Denied a Retention Certificate?

There could be several reasons why your number plate might be denied a retention certificate. Here are some possible explanations:

  1. Incomplete or incorrect application: If there are any errors or missing information in your application for a retention certificate, it could lead to denial. It’s important to ensure that you have provided all the necessary details accurately.
  2. Outstanding financial obligations: If you have any outstanding fines, penalties, or taxes related to the vehicle, it could result in the denial of a retention certificate. Make sure all financial obligations are settled before applying.
  3. Vehicle eligibility: The vehicle itself may not meet the eligibility criteria for retaining a number plate. This could be due to factors such as the vehicle not being registered with the DVLA, not being in a drivable condition, or not having a valid MoT certificate (if required).
  4. Contraventions of DVLA regulations: Any breach of DVLA regulations, such as attempting to retain a stolen or illegally obtained number plate, could lead to denial of the retention certificate.
  5. Non-compliance with administrative requirements: Failure to provide the required documentation, such as the V5C logbook, or not following the correct procedures for applying for a retention certificate can result in denial.

If your number plate is denied a retention certificate, it is advisable to carefully review the reasons provided by the DVLA and take appropriate steps to rectify any issues. It may also be helpful to contact the DVLA directly for further clarification and guidance on how to proceed.

How Much Does It Cost to Renew a Retention Certificate?

The cost of renewing a retention certificate may vary depending on the specific circumstances and regulations of the respective country or region.

In the UK, retaining a number plate comes with an initial fee of £80. This fee covers the process of placing the number plate on retention for a period of 10 years. After this 10-year period, if you wish to renew the retention certificate, an additional fee of £80 is typically applicable.

It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, so it’s best to consult the official website of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) or contact them directly for accurate information pertaining to the cost of renewing a retention certificate.

Please keep in mind that regulations and costs may differ in other countries or regions. For accurate information about the cost of renewing a retention certificate in your specific location, it is recommended to consult the appropriate local authorities or licensing agencies.

What Happens if My Retention Certificate Expires?

What Happens if My Retention Certificate Expires?

If your retention certificate expires, there are a few possible scenarios and actions to consider:

  1. Loss of rights: Once your retention certificate expires, you will no longer have the exclusive rights to the number plate. This means that other individuals or entities may be able to apply for and use that particular number plate.
  2. Reapply for retention: If you still wish to retain the number plate after it expires, you will need to reapply for a new retention certificate. This typically involves going through the application process again and paying the required fees as per the regulations of your country or region.
  3. Availability of the number plate: After your retention certificate expires, there is a possibility that the number plate you previously held may become available for someone else to register or use on their vehicle. The availability of the number plate will depend on whether anyone else has applied for it during the period in which it was not retained.
  4. Consult local regulations: It’s important to consult the specific regulations and guidelines of your country or region regarding the expiration of retention certificates. Different jurisdictions may have different processes and rules in place.


Checking a number plate on retention can be a simple and straightforward process. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily determine if your desired number plate is available for purchase or already assigned to another vehicle.

With the increasing popularity of personalised number plates, it’s important to ensure that you are not unknowingly purchasing an illegal or already registered plate. Taking the time to properly check and verify the availability of a number plate will save you from potential legal issues in the future. So remember these tips when searching for your perfect personalised plate!


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