What is a Registration Transfer?

Number Plate 35 JHT

Here at RegPlates.com, we’re dedicated to providing our customers with expert advice regarding anything related to vehicle registration plates. When it comes to transferring a registration, there’s a specific process that you need to follow in order for it to be legal, compliant and properly documented. Read on to discover how you can transfer a registration from one vehicle to another.

Why transfer a registration?

The most common reason for transferring a registration is when the vehicle has a personalised number plate. Needless to say, you don’t want the car’s new owner to gain ownership over your snazzy plate, which is why a registration transfer is a straightforward and effective solution.

You need to be the registered keeper

First things first, you can only transfer a registration if you’re the vehicle’s registered keeper. Providing this is the case, you can make an application to either transfer the registration to another vehicle or hold it on a retention document (also called a V778) for ten years. Retention can be either in your name or someone else’s.

Other criteria for a registration transfer

There are multiple other factors that apply when transferring a registration from one vehicle to another:

  • The vehicle must exist and be registered with either DVLA or the DVLNI.
  • The vehicle must be available for inspection if required by the Department of Transportation.
  • You must have ownership rights to the registration mark.
  • The registration must be transferable as indicated in the V5C vehicle registration document.
  • The vehicle must be of a type that is subject to MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) testing.
  • The vehicle must currently be taxed.
  • You must not dispose of the vehicle until you have received a replacement V5 registration document.

What if I don’t own the car?

If you’re carrying out a registration transfer on behalf of someone else, this will be possible providing you can prove that you have full consent from the registered keeper.

Check the V5C logbook

The vehicle’s V5C documentation will say whether the vehicle’s registration is able to be transferred. If it says that the registration is non-transferable, there’s no way of getting around it and a transfer cannot go ahead.

Registration plates starting with Q or NIQ

Another limitation is if the registration starts with Q (or NIQ in Northern Ireland). If this is the case, a transfer unfortunately can’t be carried out.

MOT or HGV testing

In the bullet-pointed criteria above we said that the vehicle must be subject to MOT or HGV testing. It’s easy to think that this applies to all vehicles by default, yet agricultural vehicles, steamrollers and milk floats are all exempt. This means that they don’t qualify for a registration transfer.

What happens when a vehicle is scrapped?

When a car or other type of road vehicle is disposed of, the registration number associated with it is cancelled and cannot be retrieved. This applies even if you still have the registration document, which is why a registration transfer must be made before you scrap the vehicle.

How do I apply for a vehicle registration transfer?

You can apply to transfer your personalised number plate to another vehicle by filling in a V317 form through the GOV.uk website.

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