How to change a number plate back to the original (step-by-step)

Last updated November 2nd, 2023

There are several reasons why you might want to revert your vehicle’s private number plate back to its original registration.

Perhaps you’ve learned that your private plate is worth more than you thought – and want to raise some cash by selling it on. You might be planning to sell your car but don’t want to sell the vehicle with a private number plate – or maybe you want to transfer your private number plate over to another vehicle.

Whatever the reason, there is a process to follow for reverting to your car’s original registration. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know.

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Step 1 - Put your private registration on retention

If you put your private plate on retention, it will be removed from your car, enabling you to sell the plate or attach it to another vehicle, should you wish to do so.

To take a private plate off your vehicle (and put the plate on retention), visit the DVLA’s ‘Take off a number online’ service. (You can use this service between 7am and 7pm every day.)

If you wish to retain a private registration, you will need to provide the reference number from your V5C logbook and pay a fee of £80.

If your application is successful, you will be notified instantly. Then, if you are the ‘registered keeper’, you will receive a V778 number plate retention document by post.

If someone else is the registered keeper, the V778 document will be sent to their address.

Step 2 - Assign the original registration back to your vehicle

Once your private number plate has been put on retention, the DVLA will automatically update their records to include your vehicle’s original registration number.

You should also receive a new V5C logbook containing the original registration details within two weeks of your successful application. (If you do not receive a new V5C logbook, you should submit a V62 form to the DVLA to obtain a replacement.)

Step 3 – Order replacement plates

If you do not have the original plates for your vehicle, you will need to order a replacement set. (You should contact a registered number plate supplier to ensure your replacement plates meet all legal requirements.)

Step 4 - Attach the new plates


  • Drill two holes in each number plate.
  • Remove the waste material from the newly-drilled holes and clean them up.
  • Finally, screw the new number plates into place.

You may find this task easier if you have assistance, although this is entirely optional.

If you followed the steps above, you’ve successfully changed your car’s number plate back to the original. Drive safely and enjoy.