How to Find a Personalized or Private License Plate

    If you are looking for a bit of added flair for your car, a personalized license plate might be the answer you are looking for. Normally, when you buy a car, it comes with a regular number plate that does not hold any personal meaning. However, you could buy a personalized plate and ensure that your car really shows off your personality and what is important to you. Understanding private number plates can be tricky, though, so we have put together a quick guide to how the process works and how to find one. Read on below to find out everything you need to know before you buy, or simply click here to be taken to our search page!

    What is a Personalized License Plate?

    Most license plates are a string of letters and numbers assigned according to a number of criteria, such as the registration date of the vehicle, the location of registration, and the make and model of the vehicle. However, some registration plates feature combinations of letters and numbers that resemble words or names, and those can be in high demand. 

    You can’t just stick any license plate you like onto your vehicle. It has to be properly registered with the DVLA. Your license plate is a form of identification for your car, so you can’t have one that is already in use by someone else, and you can’t apply for a new plate without going through certain registration stages in order to ensure that everything is done properly. 

    Personalized registration plates, otherwise known as vanity plates, can be bought and sold via licensed resellers such as SwiftReg. When you buy a private license plate, you will be granted ownership of this license plate for the next 10 years, with a certificate to prove that you are the legal owner of the license. You can then extend that 10 year ownership period by paying a fee to the DVLA. You then have to request that the DVLA assign your new code to your chosen vehicle before you are legally allowed to display the code.

    How Do Personalized Number Plates Work?

    Personalized number plates can be bought or sold just like anything else, albeit with a couple of extra steps involved in the process. The DVLA keeps a stock of available registrations, and private sellers and collectors also sell individual licenses. Websites like SwiftReg aggregate these listings, giving a large pool of available licenses that customers can buy and transfer to their vehicles. 

    Once you apply for a registration transfer from the DVLA, you will have to wait for your new V5C paperwork to arrive. This can take a while – sometimes it is under a week, but more often, it takes 2 to 3 weeks for the DVLA to process everything properly. It is an easy process, though, so you do not need to worry too much as long as you have the right documentation available. You will need to ensure you have access to the details of your current road tax status, your most recent MOT test, and your most recent V5C document.

    This paperwork is only necessary at the point where you want to assign a personalized number plate to a vehicle, however. There is nothing stopping you from buying a license plate and registering it but then storing it unused until you are ready. This is how many resellers work, buying ownership and then selling it on without actually assigning the license plates to any vehicle at all in the process.

    Searching for a Personalized or Private License Plate

    Searching for a private license plate or personalized number plate is a very easy process! All you need to do is use a handy search tool (click here to access one!) and enter some information. Enter your name, your initials, or whatever else you want to base your personalized plate around, and the search tool will crawl through a vast database of available registrations in order to find any that look a bit like the words you have entered into the search box. From there, you can choose whichever one looks best to you and purchase it immediately so you can assign it to your car as soon as the paperwork is all processed!


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