I have seen this being asked quite often, and there is certainly a fair bit of confusion since it quite recently, well a year ago at time of writing, it all changed.
The million dollar question, I see asked is How Long Can You Keep A Personalised Registration on Retention (V778) or Certificate of Entitlement (V750) without actually assigning it to a vehicle ?
The Short Answer is, You can keep a private number plate on Retention or Entitlement for as long as you like, assuming renewals and such are kept up to date.
Much like Domain Names, its quite common nowadays for parents, relatives and siblings to buy a domain name or reg plate for their relevant family member for future use. Its then gifted once the person passes their driving test and obtains a car of their own.
Until March 2015, the DVLA used to charge you £25 for every year you wanted to keep it on entitlement or retention documents. This all changed going forward from March 2015, when the DVLA issued Retention Document (V778) and Certificate of Entitlement (V750) documents became valid for 10 years. Beyond 10 years there are currently no fee’s to extend or renew.
There are a few common questions asked around this question too, so threads often get “hi-jacked” from the OP (Original Posters) questions, so a few of them are below.
My Retention or Entitlement Documents Expired
Its always best to renew your documents as soon as possible and not let them expire, but life happens. Mistakes happen, reminds get lost in the post, or we simply forget. Officially and again much like Domain Names, you lose the name or registration.
However while domains have a fixed grace period number plates current do not.
Quite often its reported that an apologetic grovelling letter to the DVLA is often enough for them to update the records. Unlike domain names where there is often a new owner, registration plates don’t move so quickly.
You will have to pay any back fee’s owed, which is £25 per year, since the certificate expired up until March 2015, when the fee’s were removed.
Renewing Your V750 0r V778
For the V750, you’ll get a reminder letter or email when the certificate of entitlement is about to expire. As soon as you get this document, I suggest doing it as soon as possible.
Create an Online Management Account over the DVA. You can add all your number plates to this one account, and handle renewals, details and nominee information.
You can also complete the V750 and post it with the appropriate fee, if any.
For the V778, you nee to complete the V778 Certificate, signed by the grantee to the address listed on the document.
It can only be done via post currently.
Lost Retention or Entitlement Documents
This isn’t really a big issue any more, you do however have to write to the DVLA, emails and phone calls aren’t accepted. Simply write to them with a cover letter explaining what happened and what you need to:
DVA Personalised Registrations
It will take upto 4 weeks for the new V750 or V778 to arrive.
Mistakes On Retention or Entitlement Documents
This MUST be done via Post, you can’t correct the name or address on either the V750 or V778 any other way. You need to return the incorrect V750 / V778 with a cover letter explaining what is wrong, and include relevant documents to support any change requested.
Most commonly this is misspellings or married names, it takes around 4 weeks for new documents to arrive.
That’s All Folks
I think that covers everything you need to know about retention and entitlement docs.