Leasing Hub

If you're new to leasing & want to learn about the process, Leasing Options' comprehensive guide has everything you need to know about first-time car leasing

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What is a private registration plate?

A private plate looks mostly the same as a regular number plate on any car, but you can personalise the letters and numbers in various ways.

With many options available, you can choose to spell out your name, use initials and numbers or go for something funny. But, of course, there are a few exceptions. For example, profanity, political statements and other derogatory meanings aren't allowed.

There are four types of personalised plates available in the UK:

Current style reg plates (post 2001)

Most cars have this style plate. It features seven characters, with two letters, two numbers, then three letters. The numbers show the car's age (registration date).

Prefix style reg plates

Older vehicles registered between 1983 and 2001 start with a letter, which is followed by two or three numbers and three letters. The first letter shows how old the car is. For example, a J plate was registered in 1991.

Suffix style reg plates

Cars registered between 1963 and 1983 feature an age prefix at the end. So this format includes three letters, followed by one, two or three numbers and a letter.

Dateless reg plates

Some registration plates have no date indicator. These were issued before 1963 and can be as short as two characters.

Personalised plates are a popular option and come with varied price tags. However, due to this popularity, some can be very expensive, especially if you're looking for names.

Can I add a private plate on my lease car?

Yes, you can put a private reg plate on a lease car, but because you technically don't own the vehicle, you'll need permission from the finance company.

The finance provider are the registered owner of the vehicle, and if they agree, you can change the number plate to your chosen private reg.

To change the plate, you'll have to change the nominee for your private plate to the finance company. This means the company can use the registration plate. Once you've completed the documentation, they will send them off, but this may incur an admin fee.

Where is the private registration currently?

Adding a private registration plate differs slightly depending on whether you currently own it or are buying one.

This includes:

Recently purchased from the DVLA?

You'll receive a V750 document shortly.

On a vehicle you currently own?

You cannot transfer a registration number from a private car to a lease car directly - you need first to put it on retention using the V317 from the DVLA.

Held on a retention document V778?

The plate has been recently removed from a vehicle or on retention for some time.

Four steps to add a private plate to your lease car

The following steps are the simplest way to add a private registration plate to your new lease vehicle.

1. Ask permission from the finance company

As you do not own the lease car, applying for a private registration is purely at the discretion of the finance company. You'll need to contact them directly – their contact number can be found in your policy documents.

Most leasing companies cannot add a private plate to a lease car before vehicle delivery. So, you'll need to start the process with the finance company once you have received the vehicle.

2. Update the nominee details

You need to update the nominee details with your finance company when you call to ask permission to apply for private registration.

  • The finance company will inform you of the correct address to fill in on the V778 or V750 form
  • A V778 is a retention document and is an A4 green piece of paper
  • A V750 is a Certificate of Entitlement and is an A4 pink piece of paper

For full details on the process, please visit the DVLA website.

3. Post the documents to the finance provider

Once you have the completed paperwork, post the updated retention V778 or V750 document to your funder. They may charge an admin fee for processing the paperwork.

The finance company will then send the correct documents to the DVLA to complete the transfer.

4. Confirm the transfer is complete

Once the transfer is complete, the DVLA will send written confirmation to you. At this point, you can fit the private number plate into the car. Do not fit your registration beforehand, as you could be fined.

Remember, you'll also need to inform your insurance company of a registration number change before you drive the car.

Where can I get a private registration plate?

The DVLA has their own website with over 40 million plates for sale, plus numerous other number plate dealers who buy and sell private registrations.

To buy a personalised plate, you'll need to provide proof you own the vehicle and identification.

On receipt of your purchase and valid documentation, private plates take around three to five weeks to process.

Can I get a private plate made?

Number plates can be made at many well know motor factors or online.

To have a personalised number plate made, you must prove your identity (usually with a passport or driving licence) and the right to have the plate made. You will also need the V5, V778 or the confirmation of plate change from the DVLA.

What happens when my car lease contract ends?

You'll have to remove the private number plate from the vehicle.

Six weeks before the end of your lease contract, you should contact the finance company explaining you wish to remove and retain your personalised number plate. They'll complete a V317 and send it to the DVLA.

This process may be completed before your lease ends. But first, you'll need to swap back to the original number plate and inform your insurance company of the registration change.

How to remove my car registration plate?

The funder will usually charge an admin fee to complete this process. The DVLA will also charge a retention fee of £80.

The DVLA will process the change and send the funder a new V5 (known as the logbook) and a V778 retention certificate, which they need to forward to you.

Should I add a private number plate to my lease car?

There are pros and cons of adding a private registration plate to your lease car, such as:


Personal or business branding

A great way to stand out in the crowd is having branding, which can include personalising your vehicle. A private reg plate is an affordable way to advertise and ensure your cars are noticeable. Sometimes, you can find registration plates that match your name or business initials.

Enhances car security

Of course, a private registration plate isn’t going to completely deter a criminal from stealing your vehicle. But it can help reduce the odds a little. Private plates are more noticeable and more likely to be spotted if they end up in the wrong hands.


High-demand plates are expensive

Private plates vary in value, and the most sought-after after command higher prices. If you’re looking for unique and distinctive registration plates, these typically cost more. However, there are lower-value plates available, but they don’t provide a lot of customisation.


Although they provide a unique look to your vehicle, they can also attract the wrong type of attention. Being recognisable can sometimes be a disadvantage, especially for businesses.

May get attention from the police

Private plates may attract attention from the police, especially during vehicle checks. The police will need to confirm the plate change to ensure the plates are legal.

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