DVLA personalised number plate rules you didn’t know existed - is your car restricted?

DVLA private registration plates are popular items and chiefs sold £111million worth in 2017 alone. Private reg plates may be the best way for drivers to get a personalised message on their cars but motorists must make sure they follow all of the strict guidelines to avoid being caught out.

DVLA private number plates can be purchased by motorists for as little as £250 and can carry personalised messages. Some plates are so unique they can sell for hundreds and thousands of pounds as desperate drivers bid excessive amounts in auctions. The most expensive number plate sold at auction was ’25 O’ which hit the hammer for an eye-watering £400,000 in 2014. Drivers can purchase a less sought after plate for a couple of hundred pounds, which can be fitted to a car almost immediately. 

However, drivers must follow a strict set of rules and guidelines when purchasing a personalised DVLA number plate. 

Restrictions for Older Cars 

DVLA number plates have gone through several changes over the years and this may mean older vehicles cannot use certain plates. 

If your cars number plate has an age identifier you are only allowed to put a number onto the vehicle that is an equal age or older. 

The DVLA website says if you purchase a 62 style number plate, this would only be allowed onto a car which was registered as new on or before 1st September 2012. 

Drivers cannot stick a set of numbers that may hold a personal value unless they line-up with the actual age of a vehicle. 

personalised number plate

These are the DVLA number plate rules you need to know (Image: Getty)

personalised number plate

DVLA: Number plates cannot have anything on them and must follow the correct guidelines (Image: Getty)

Your car needs to be registered in the UK 

To put a personalised reg plate onto a car, drivers must be able to show their car is registered in their name or the name of a particular nominee. 

Nominees are also used for number plates that may be purchased as a gift by family or friends. 

When a driver purchases a number plate the DVLA will take down their details. They can also take a nominee’s name if the car they wish to put the plate onto is not registered with themselves. 

The DVLA confirms number plates sold by them can only be assigned to vehicles registered in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 

They warn motorists that cars registered in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man are not eligible. 

personalised number plate

DVLA: Number plate characters must be displayed on a white background at the rear of the car (Image: Getty)

Your car must be taxed 

To have a personalised number plate assigned to a car the driver must make sure the vehicle has sufficient car tax. 

If a car is not being used the vehicle must have a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) in force at the time of the application to be accepted. 

Number plate rules 

Personalised registrations must still adhere to all the current rules for standard number plates. 

Government advice is that number plates must be made from reflective material and not have a background pattern. 

The characters should be displayed on a white background at the front of the vehicle and a yellow background at the rear of the car. 

3D characters can be used on a number plate as long as they are written in the correct font.