All vehicles in the United Kingdom have a unique vehicle registration mark which are displayed using a number plate. These number plates are used by the DVLA (Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency) to track the identify ownership of vehicles, vehicle tax and MOT testing requirements. Every year the DVLA issues new vehicle registration marks for vehicle manufacturers to assign to brand new vehicles off the production line, however you can also buy, sell and trade existing registration marks too. There are various styles of number plate styles, and these are broken down into the following categories; Current Style Current style registrations are made up of a total of 7 characters, comprising 5 letters and 2 numbers. The numbers in this registration style dictate the year that the vehicle was manufactured (or when the registration was first issued), so it provides an indication to the vehicle's age. However, like all number plates, you can assign a current style registration plate onto a vehicle which is older than the registration dictates. For example, you can assign a registration number which shows the manufactured age as 2012, onto a vehicle manufactured in 2005. Prefix Style Prefix style number plates have been used since 1983. This is a very sought after style of number plate by private purchasers as the combination of letters and a single number make it easier to pick desirable names. Prefix style registrations consist of 1 number and 4 letters, and the first letter indicates the year the registration was issued. Suffix Style Suffix style registration numbers were first introduced in the 1950's, and the age identifier in the registration is instead used at the end. This style consists of 4 letters and 3 numbers, allowing for a great combination of names to be displayed on a vehicle. Dateless The final style of private number plates are dateless registrations, which are seen as the holy grail of private registrations. These have no age indication and can consist of as few as 2 characters. Dateless number plates are also commonly referred to as cherished registrations, as they are highly sought. How To Purchase A Registration Registrations can be purchased through websites such as Swiftreg, where you can search for various names or phrases and the search engine will display the most relevant results of available marks. The website breaks down into categories the style of number plates which match your chosen search, making it easy to find the ideal registration. Transferring A Registration To A Vehicle This is a fairly simple process and can sometimes be completed the same day of a registration purchase. When you become the owner of a new registration, the DVLA issue a Certificate of Entitlement (or a Certificate of Retention if purchased from a private seller), and these will detail the registration mark you own, document reference number and other details. Once you have this document, you can apply to transfer the registration onto your vehicle of choice. This process did used to take several weeks, however in 2015 the DVLA set live a new online transfer system meaning it can be done within minutes, without the need to send off any documents. Once you have completed the transfer, you can then display the registration on your vehicle.
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