Drivers with private registrations are being warned that they could lose the right to use them if they don’t ensure their paperwork is up to date by the end of this year.

Millions of motorists have private number plates on their cars but many hold the rights to use them without actually having them on a vehicle – known as keeping them on retention.

If you hold a plate on retention you must renew the certificate of entitlement every 10 years, which can be done for free.

Currently, if you fail to do this you buy back the right to use it from the DVLA as long as you obtained the relevant V750 or V778 certificate before 9th March 2015 and it expired on or after 1st May 2011. The reapplication process costs £25 for each year that the certificate has expired.

However, from 18th December 2019, the DVLA will no longer accept applications to renew expired retention certificates. This means if you don’t renew before then you’ll lose the right to use the registration.

The DVLA has said that if entitlement to a plate is allowed to lapse after 18th December that plate will not be reissued to the previous keeper or anyone else and will simply disappear from use.

A spokesman told HonestJohn: “DVLA only sells previously unissued registration marks and there are no plans to sell the rights to previously issued marks where the rights have been lost.”

Renewing a retention certificate is straightforward. You can do it by filling in the V750 or V778 certificate and sending it to the DVLA at the address on the form along with the fee.

Each portion of a year counts as a full year, so if it expired 13 months ago you’ll have to pay £50.

If you have lost the certificate you can still reapply to retain the right to the registration. You’ll need to write to DVLA explaining why you do not have your V750 or V778. You will also need to include the fee, your private number and proof of your name and address, for example, your driving licence or both your passport and a utility bill.


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