How Do I Change My Motorcycle Number Plate?

If you have purchased a private number plate for your motorcycle, there are certain rules that you need to abide by in order to legally display it on your bike.

The DVLA runs a scheme that transfers plates from one vehicle to another and allows for private plates to be assigned to a new vehicle or removed and the original plates placed back on display.  As you can imagine, if we all just went around buying number plates and sticking them on our bikes, the DVLA would be in turmoil.  Hence, they offer the scheme and all transfers must be registered with them, for a fee of course.

The three main rules you should know before you contemplate changing number plates are as follows:


You cannot make your bike appear to be newer than it actually is. For example, you can’t pop a B-Reg number plate on an A-Reg motorbike. If you are unsure of the exact age of your bike, you will be able to find the date of first registration on your V5 logbook.


Only bikes that are currently taxed and have a valid MOT certificate are allowed to use the transfer scheme.  If your Tax or Mot is about to expire, you would be wise to renew these before applying for a transfer to ensure that it is successful.


Q Plates are non-transferable and you cannot transfer other number plates to Q registered vehicles.  Not sure what a Q plate is? Well, if you don’t have one you probably don’t need to know.  But, just in case, a Q plate denotes a rebuilt bike that still has proven aspects of originality.

If you are OK with all of the above, you can go ahead and apply to transfer your new plate on to your bike.

If you visit the website you can apply to transfer a number plate online.  They will want further details about the bike and ask you to complete the form supplied when you purchased your new plate. These could be either:

  • A V778 retention document
  • A V750 certificate of entitlement or
  • An online reference number

To assign a new number plate to a bike that you already own, you can complete the assignment form on the website.  You can assign a private plate to any bike provided that the bike is:

  • registered with DVLA in the UK
  • available for inspection
  • able to move under its own power
  • is a type that needs an MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) test certificate
  • has been taxed (or have had a SORN in place) continuously for the last 5 years.

If the DVLA wants to inspect your vehicle, they will contact you directly to arrange this. You must also put your private number on your vehicle straight away if you apply online.

If you have purchased a bike with a private plate on, but would prefer to revert to the original registration number, you can also arrange for this to happen.

You can easily apply to take a private registration number off of a vehicle to either transfer it to another vehicle or hold on to the private plate until you want to use it again in the future.

The usual rules apply and your bike must be registered with the DVLA, can move under its own power and has either tax or a SORN in place for the last 5 years without any gaps.

The private number will be retained in the name of the registered keeper. The original registration number will usually be reassigned to the vehicle when you remove the private number, but you will probably need to have new plates made.

If you want to know more about how your number plate should look and where it can be displayed on your bike, check out our guide to Motorbike Number Plates Explained.