Get Your New Reg Plates Sooner With DVLA Online Changes
Anyone who has dealt with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency over the last 15 years knows it has been an exercise in patience. While the rest of the world has gone all-in with the efficiencies offered by the internet, the DVLA has taken a more leisurely approach to modernisation. These days you can bank online, file your tax return, or book a flight completely electronically, while the DVLA still relies on the trusty but impossibly slow paper, pen and rubber stamp method of getting things done.
Things are changing, though, with more and more services from the DVLA moving online every year. One of the latest is the changes they have made to the proof of entitlement certificate. The DVLA is heralding this change as making its service “quicker than ever”. Despite the fact that it couldn’t really have been much slower in the past, progress should always be welcomed.
Hold On: What’s A Proof Of Entitlement Certificate?
When you buy a personalised number plate you have to get the plate actually made before you can fit it to your car. This means going to a registered number plate supplier. These suppliers require two pieces of information from you:
- Proof of your name and address from something like a driving licence, utility bill or bank statement
- Official documentation from the DVLA showing you are allowed to use the registration number
The list of approved official documentation is quite long, and includes things like your log book (known as a V5C in DVLA jargon). The problem is these things can take time to get as they have to be processed manually and sent to you in the post. This led to frustration among many owners of private number plates, i.e. you have just splashed out on a personalised registration and want to show it off, but have to wait until the wheels of government slowly grind before your car can start rolling.
So What Has Changed?
The DVLA has created a new electronic proof of entitlement certificate. They call it the eV948 (see what they have done with the small caps “e” – this tech business is growing on them).
The beauty of the eV948 is that it is available immediately – you can do it all online.
This works because you can now put your personalised registration number on retention online. Previously this had to be done by post, and you would then receive an entitlement certificate by post. When you go through the process online you will receive a confirmation instantly that the application has been successful and you will be given the replacement registration number for the vehicle.
You are also able to download the eV948 so you can go straight to your closest registered number plate supplier to get it made up.
What You Need To Know
There are several things that you should be aware of to make sure the process of using the online service, and getting your certificate of entitlement immediately by the internet, goes smoothly.
- Valid for three days – proof of entitlement certificates that you download from the online service are date and time stamped electronically. You have three days to use the certificate at a registered number plate supplier from this date. After this it expires and will not be accepted.
- You can use it only once – you can only use your proof of entitlement certificate once. In fact, registered number plate suppliers are instructed to retain and then destroy the certificate once they have supplied you with your plates.
- If it expires, you’ll have to wait for your log book – registered number plate suppliers have been told not to accept expired electronic proof of entitlement certificates. This means any that are older than three days. If you don’t use yours within the three-day period you will have to wait for your log book to arrive in the post.
- You still need to prove your identity – even with an electronic proof of entitlement certificate you still need to bring your proof of identity documents. Crucially, you need to prove your name and address. A bank statement, building society statement, council tax bill, rates bill, or utility bill are all acceptable, so long as they are dated within the last six months. You can also use a driving licence or national identity card. Other forms of ID can be used to prove your name, but if you use one of these you will have to bring something else as well to prove your address. Examples of ID that prove your name only include a passport, credit card, debit card, police warrant card, or armed forces identity card.
- Don’t forget to update your car insurance – you will need to inform your car insurance provider about the change of number plate on your car. They may charge you an admin fee to process this request.
- Not all applications can be processed online – while some applications online are successful, meaning you can get your electronic certificate of entitlement, not all of them are. If there is a problem you will receive a message saying the registration number cannot be assigned or that the application has to be investigated further. If this happens you will either need to phone the DVLA (usually a number to phone is displayed on screen along with the error message) or complete the application by post.
What This Means For You
Quite simply, the new system means you can start using your new reg plates quicker than you were able to before. It might sound like a simple change given everything else you can do on your smart phone or laptop, but it is a welcome improvement on a system that is tightly controlled (and rightly so) but sometimes cumbersome.