Can I add a private registration plate to my lease vehicle?
Here at Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, we are often asked by customers if they can add a private registration plate onto their leased vehicle. Subject to obtaining the funder’s permission, there should be no reason why you cannot add a cherished plate to a contract hire/leased vehicle, however customers must follow the correct procedure before changing the registration plates on their vehicle.
To help explain the process involved in adding a private registration plate onto a leased vehicle, we have put together a short blog post to talk you through the documentation you will need, the fees charged by the finance provider and the time scales involved.
What is a Private Registration Plate?
A private registration plate, also known as a cherished plate or personalised plate, is a unique vehicle registration number chosen by the driver. When you buy a personalised number, you’re basically buying the right to assign the number to a vehicle.
Private plates have been on sale in the UK since 1989. Following customer demand to personalise their vehicle, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) started to hold back certain combinations of registration numbers to sell to private individuals. Since then, private registration plates have become incredibly popular with celebrities and private individuals alike, with sales of personalised number plates earning the DVLA a whopping £1.8bn since 1989.
What does a Private Registration Plate look like?
According to the DVLA there are four different types of vehicle registration numbers; Current, Prefix, Suffix and Dateless. Let’s check them out…
A ‘Current’ vehicle registration number is the type issued to new vehicles since September 2001. If you’ve recently bought or leased a new car, you’ll recongise this plate as it is currently issued to new vehicles in mainland Great Britain.
The ‘Current’ style plate consists of two letters, followed by two numbers, which help identify the age of the vehicle, and three letters at the end. For example:
A ‘Prefix’ vehicle registration number if the type issued to vehicles registered between August 1983 and August 2001. It consists of one letter, which helps to identify the age of the vehicle, followed by one, two or three numbers, and three letters at the end. For example:
A ‘Suffix’ vehicle registration number is the type issued to vehicles registered between February 1963 and July 1983. It consists of three letters, followed by one, two or three numbers, and a single letter at the end that helps identify the age of the vehicle. For example:
Finally, the ‘Dateless’ vehicle registration number is the type issued to new vehicles prior to February 1963. These plates are called dateless because they do not contain a vehicle age identifier.
In mainland Great Britain, a ‘Dateless’ plate can consist of up to four numbers followed by up to three letters, or vice versa. The maximum number of characters is six. Examples include:
How do I buy a Private Registration Plate?
There are many different reasons why a driver might choose to purchase a private registration plate. Many choose to buy a plate for sentimental reasons, while others regard it as a statement of individuality or even as an investment.
To get a private registration plate, you need to:
- buy a personalised number
- assign the registration number to your vehicle
- get your personalised number plates made up
The DVLA has over 45 million registrations available to buy online, so the chances of you finding you ideal number plate online is pretty high. Check them out here: DVLA Personalised Registrations.
Registration number auctions
The DVLA also auctions some exclusive registration numbers. Auctions are generally held about 6 times a year and reserve prices start from £130. You can see a list of the numbers coming up for auction online and you can bid in person, by phone, in writing or online.
Buying from a private number dealer or private sale
You can also buy a personalised registration number from a dealer or from a motorist in a private sale.
Once you have purchased your private registration, you will be sent a Certificate of Entitlement (V750) through the post. This is your proof of entitlement and the application form you must use to assign the registration number to a vehicle.
It is worth noting that the Certificate of Entitlement (V750) has an expiry date so make sure you check the date. You have until the expiry date shown on your certificate to have the number assigned to a vehicle.
How do I get the new registration plates made?
Once you have purchased your private registration plate, you will need to arrange for the new plates to be made by a registered number plate supplier who will ensure the plates are made to the correct legal standard.
The supplier will need to see original documents that:
- prove your name and address (such as a driving licence, utility bill or bank/building society statement from the last 6 months)
- show you’re allowed to use the registration number (such as vehicle registration certificate (V5C or V5CNI), certificate of entitlement (V750 or V750NI) or a letter of authorisation from the lease or hire company quoting the document reference number from the registration certificate).
Standard number plate prices usually start from around £15.99 each but can vary in price depending on the style, bordering and lettering options. Please be aware that as the lease driver, it is your responsibility to pay for and to ensure the number plates are changed to reflect the change of registration.
I’ve already got a Private Registration Plate, how do I add it to my lease car?
There should be no problem with adding a private registration plate to your leased vehicle providing you obtain the funder’s permission. As the finance provider is the registered owner and keeper of the vehicle (this is the case for most lease contracts), you will need to arrange this direct with them.
If your current lease vehicle is with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, please be aware that we are unable to arrange for the private registration plate to be added to your vehicle before delivery as this can delay the delivery process. Therefore we advise that you arrange this direct with the finance company after you have taken delivery of the vehicle.
If you have already taken delivery of your vehicle, you will need to start by arranging for the finance provider to be named as a Nominee on the Certificate of Entitlement (V750). You can add or change a Nominee to the Certificate online or by post. Further details on how to do this is stated on section C on the reverse of the Certificate of Entitlement (V750).
Once you’re ready to proceed, you will need to send the following documents in the post, along with a short covering letter, direct to the finance provider:
- Certificate of Entitlement (V750) (with the finance company named as the nominee or Grantee)
- The administration fee (this varies from funder to funder but is usually around £35 plus VAT)
Once your documentation has been received by the finance provider, a letter of acknowledgement will be sent to you confirming receipt. The finance company will also contact you at this stage to arrange for payment of the administration fee. The documents will then be sent onto the DVLA to process the transfer.
Once the DVLA has assigned the registration number to the vehicle and the appropriate documentation has been sent back, the documents will be forwarded to you by Special Delivery to enable for the vehicle number plates to be updated. You must not display the private registration number on a vehicle until you have received confirmation from the funder and DVLA.
My lease contract is due to end, how do I remove my Private Registration Plate from my lease vehicle?
At least six weeks prior to the end of your lease contract, you must arrange for the private registration plate to be removed from the vehicle. Once again, you must arrange this direct with the finance provider as Nationwide Vehicle Contracts is unable to do this on your behalf.
To do this, you will need to send the following documents in the post, along with a covering letter, direct to the finance provider:
- A cheque for £105 made payable to the DVLA
- A covering letter confirming the nominee details (normally keeper of new vehicle on order - if unknown then detail owner of the plate)
- The administration fee (this varies from funder to funder but is usually around £35 plus VAT)
Once the documents have been received, a letter of acknowledgement will be sent to you confirming receipt. If any documents are missing, a letter will be sent requesting the further documentation along with a pre-paid envelope and confirmation of timescales of completion. The finance company will also contact you at this stage to arrange for payment of the administration fee.
Once the DVLA has assigned the registration number to the vehicle and the appropriate documentation has been sent back, the documents will be forwarded to you by Special Delivery to enable for the vehicle number plates to be updated. If the vehicle is at end of contract, the plate must be transferred before collection can be arranged.
Please note that the DVLA normally send the retention certificate out approximately two weeks after the transfer has been completed and this will be sent separately to you.
How long does it take to transfer a number plate?
The DVLA advise that it can take around six weeks to complete a private number plate transfer once all the documents have been received by them so please allow a suitable amount of time for this to be completed, especially if you are returning your vehicle to the finance provider.
Please also be aware that it is your responsibility to pay for and to ensure the number plates are changed to reflect the change of registration.
Still have a question regarding adding a private registration plate to your vehicle? Leave a comment below or call Nationwide Vehicle Contracts on 0345 811 9595 and we’ll be happy to help.