We know that some drivers have their own cherished number plate that they like to put on a vehicle. To help you understand the process for doing this, specifically with a company car, we’ve put together the below guide.

What Is a Private Number Plate?

A private number plate, also known as a cherished plate, private registration or personalised number plate, is a number plate that is uniquely designed and does not follow the usual age plate format.

The age plate format is the standard one used for new vehicles registered in the UK and it will follow the current formatting of the numbers indicating the six month period that a vehicle is registered in.

For cars registered between March and August the numbers will show the last two digits of the year, so for 2021 the registrations will be AB21CDE.

For those registered between September and February it will be that number plus fifty. So for vehicles registered from September 2021 to February 2022 their number plates will follow the format of AB71CDE.

Private plates do not need to follow this format or even have a specific number of letters or numbers but there are a few rules that you need to be aware of.

This includes you cannot have one that begins with Q or NIQ, or use numbers to make a car look newer than it is. For example, you will not be able to put a number plate that looks like it is an age-related plate like AB18CDE on a vehicle that was first registered in 2002.

There is a wide range of cherished plate registrations for you to choose from and you can see the available plates on the DVLA’s website.

How Can I Get a Private Number Plate?

As mentioned above you can get a private registration number from one of several number plate auctions that are held during the year and by purchasing it directly from the current owner.

Once the business, or the driver if they are purchasing the plate themselves, is the owner of the registration you will then need to arrange for the registration to be assigned to the vehicle it is intended to be applied to.

Please be aware that the DVLA might ask for the vehicle to be available for inspection if it is required at their request when you apply to have the registration applied to a vehicle.

The next step is to have the personalised plates made up.

Getting New Number Plates Made

One of the main reasons that you might need to have number plates made is if you are putting a personalised registration on the vehicle, but you might also need a plate made up if you are going to be towing a caravan or trailer, adding a bike rack to the vehicle or if the original number plate is damaged.

This next section is applicable to any of these situations.

It will be your responsibility to have any new number plates you need made up but if your fleet is managed by Wessex Fleet then we will be able to assist with parts of the process for you.

Please note that you might also need to get approval from an internal fleet manager in order to have a private plate added to your vehicle.

In the UK you can only get a new number plate from a registered plate supplier. To see a full list of DVLA approved suppliers and to find the closest one to you just click here


When you have a new number plate made you will need to take original documents that prove your name and address, for example a driving licence and a utility bill or bank statement dated within the last six months.

You will also need to take documentation to show that you are allowed to use the registration so either the retention document, V778, or the certificate of entitlement, V750 or V750NI. If this is registered to the business name then you may also need to take proof of employment at that company.

The third document you will need is proof of ownership or that you are entitled to drive the vehicle.

Please note that you will need to pay for the new plates to be made.

Can You Put a Private Number Plate on a Leased Car?

Yes, you can add a personalised number plate to most vehicles.

With a leased vehicle you will not be able to have the private registration assigned to your vehicle until it is delivered. This is a process we have in place to avoid causing delays to delivery or any issues further down the line when it comes to returning the lease vehicle.

Once the vehicle is delivered it can take a couple of days for it to be set live on the funder’s system, and we can then request information on their cherished plate process, as each funder is a little different and might require slightly different information from you.

Most will be able to provide you with a copy of the V5 and a letter of authorisation that you can provide to the plate makers in order to confirm that you are able to have the new plates made.

Some funders do have an admin fee for the process of putting your personalised plate onto a lease vehicle, and we will advise you if this is the case for your vehicle.

The funder may request to speak to someone from your business directly, but we will help you as much as we can in order to manage this for you.

Do I Need to Ask Permission From the Lease Company?

As mentioned above you will need to speak to the lease funder in order to add the private plate onto the vehicle, this is as they are the owner of the vehicle and so will need to update their records and the DVLA. 

They will not usually prevent you from adding a private registration onto the vehicle but may ask you to complete documentation with them and there may be a charge for adding the plate to the vehicle. 


Please note that as the vehicle will be delivered with the original registration and then the cherished registration number applied you will need to let your insurance provider know about the change of registration. 

This may have an impact on your policy or you may need to pay an administration fee for changing the vehicle details. 

Removing a Private Plate From a Leased Car

When you approach the end of a lease agreement we will need to arrange for the private plate to be removed.

Depending on the funder of your lease it can take up to six weeks for the private registration to be removed from the vehicle and then put on retention with the DVLA for you to use again. We recommend getting in touch with us around eight weeks before you would like the vehicle to be collected so that we can arrange for the registration to be put on retention in plenty of time for your business or driver to use again.

Please note that the DVLA charges £80 for the number plate to be removed from a particular vehicle and put on retention and there may be an admin fee from your funder for the process as well. We will advise on any fees as we go through the process with you. Again you may need to confirm that you can proceed with this and how the charge will be covered.

What Happens to a Private Reg at the End of the Lease?

If you do not arrange for the private registration to be removed then the vehicle will have to be returned to the funder with the private registration assigned to it and you will lose ownership of the registration. 

The vehicle will then be sold on with that registration and you will not be able to use it on your next vehicle, unless you purchase the registration again from the new owner. 

If you want to find out more about the end of lease process then take a look at this guide

Putting a Private Registration on an Owned Vehicle

 If the business has purchased the vehicle outright then the process will be a little different as you will be the owner of the vehicle so already have a copy of the V5 and not need to request a letter of authorisation from the funder.

You will still need to follow the steps mentioned above in order to purchase the registration number and have the plates made but rather than getting in touch with your leasing company to have the number plate assigned to the new vehicle you will need to speak to the DVLA directly.


Contact Wessex Fleet