How to Legally Acquire a Replacement Number Plate 

There are many reasons why you may need to acquire a replacement or a new number plate.  The law states that your registration plates must be clearly legible. A one which is broken, chipped, faded or with a crack runs the risk of contravening the law.  If you have any marks which conceal a number or a letter then that is also potentially an offence.

Everyone knows that it is possible to acquire false number plates, a classic ruse for the criminal fraternity in order to try and disguise being identified by their vehicle.  So how can you make sure that the organisation you use for your new number plate is legal? (see

A genuine, bona fide car registration plate company should be registered with the DVLA.  Not only does this mean they are above board and legal but that they will also produce new plates which comply with the current law.  There are very specific requirements about the format of the plate concerning the font type, height, width and depth of the letters and numbers and the spacing between them.

How to acquire a new plate?

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You can’t just walk in off the street and order any number plate you fancy, you must be able to demonstrate a legitimate connection to the vehicle.  You need to be able to provide proof of your identity – usually, a driving licence is perfect as it has your name and address – and proof that you have entitlement to that particular registration plate.  

This is for most people usually connected to the vehicle on which the plate sits so the car’s logbook but not always.  You may have bought a private plate because it features a keyword that is special to you or a representation of your name.  That plate may not actually be on a vehicle at the time or you may want to use it on more than one vehicle. In this case, you need the purchasing paperwork which shows that you are the legal owner of that number plate.

Documents have to be verified in person so even if you order them online from a motor supply chain, you may need to go into the store to prove your purchase. The DVLA has a ‘proof of entitlement’ list which details the documents which a platemaker can accept:

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  • A Vehicle Registration Certificate or VSC, these replace the old blue V5 Certificates which are no longer acceptable
  • The detachable portion or V5C/2 from the V5C
  • The V750 which is a Certificate of Entitlement to a mark
  • A Cherished Transfer Retention Certificate – V778
  • The V11 – Vehicle Licence Renewal
  • A Temporary Registration Certificate or V379
  • An official letter of authorisation from a Fleet Operator or lease/hire company
  • The V948 which is a DVLA Authorisation Certificate

Hard copy documents are required so if you have been sent your document electronically then you will need to download it and print it off.  Registration plate makers cannot accept an image on a mobile phone in order to comply with the law.

Other occasions when you made need an additional number plate

If you are towing a caravan or trailer then you will need an additional plate on the rear of the vehicle as your towing vehicle’s rear one will be obscured.  The same applies if you have a rear-mount cycle carrier.