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What Are Private Number Plates?


Private number plates, also referred to as cherished number plates and personalized number plates, are number plates that feature appealing combinations of numbers and letters. Private number plates afford drivers a sleek, stylish means of separating their vehicles from others, and of attracting glances, complements, and curious inquiries from all manner of passersby.


The private number plate gives drivers a chance to express themselves in a very special way, replacing that generic combination of letters and numbers with one that is personally meaningful, one that has something special to say.


How do private number plates work?


Current style number plates consist of seven characters. In order: a two-letter memory tag, which is assigned based on a vehicle’s registration location; a two-number age identifier, which is assigned based on a vehicle’s purchase/registration year; and three randomly selected letters, which serve to vastly expand the pool of unique number plates.


It should be mentioned that a number plate’s age identifier derives not just from the year in which the vehicle is registered, but also from the month in which the vehicle is registered.


Registering a vehicle between the start of March and the end of August will produce a number plate with an age identifier that reflects the year, while registering a vehicle between the start of September and the end of February will produce a number plate with an age identifier that reflects the year plus 50. Thus, a vehicle bought/registered in May of 2015 will have an age identifier of “15,” whereas a vehicle bought/registered in the other six-month stretch of 2015 will have an age identifier of “65.”


And so, private number plates are special, highly desirable number plates that, typically owing to their age, deviate from the current style. Private plates have fewer than seven characters, consist of intriguing words, phrases, or messages, and/or allow drivers to tell stories about themselves and their vehicles.


Is it Legal to Purchase and Use Private Number Plates?


Yes. The private number plate resale industry is 100% legal and fully endorsed by the DVLA.


Customers need only fill out a collection of brief forms (SwiftReg professionals can also complete this paperwork, for a small fee) to lawfully utilize a new private number plate. Moreover, purchased plates do not require immediate assignment/installation; registration retention certificates last 10 years and indicate ownership of number plates that aren’t presently assigned to vehicles. (These certificates can be renewed for free at the time of expiration.)


One main rule governs the buying, selling, and registering of private number plates: These and other number plates cannot be used to make an older vehicle appear newer. In previous years, below-board sellers would sometimes swap a vehicle’s original number plate for one that was more recently assigned, thereby tricking customers into believing that they were purchasing a newer car.


Nearly all of today’s private number plates are bought to make modern vehicles appear older, technically speaking, and consequently, most buyers needn’t pay the legal aspect of the process a second thought.

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