The Complete Numberplate Glossary

All of those weird and wonderful words and acronyms associated with the world of cherished number plates can be found here. Want to know your grantee from your nominee? Your DVLA from your DVLC? Read on!

Acronym/initialism Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) and DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) are good examples.
Autonumerology The study of unusual and distinctive number plates.
Age identifier The two digit number in current style number plates, the prefix letter or the suffix letter in older plates are the distinctive mark that helps put an age to a number plate.
Assignment fee The fee that the DVLA charge to put the number plate on the vehicle. Currently £80.00.
CNDA The RMI Cherished Numbers Dealers Association.
Current style plates The style of plate that we are currently using – AB12 CDE for example. Different from prefix, suffix and dateless plates.
Dateless style plates All UK registration plates that are pre-1963 – they did not have an age identifier. Generally worth more than other styles of plate.
DfT Department for Transport
Donor vehicle If a plate is being transferred from a vehicle rather than from retention then the vehicle passing on the number plate is called the donor vehicle.
DVLA Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, and executive agency of the Department for Transport.
DVLA Registrations The DVLA’s department for selling unissued number plates.
DVLC The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre, the former name of the DVLA.
DVLNI Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland, the DVLA’s equivalent over the Irish Sea.
Grantee This person is declared on the V778 retention document and is the only individual entitled to decide whose vehicle is to receive the registration number. The grantee can assign the registration, extend the entitlement period and add/modify a nominee. Same role as the Purchaser.
HGV Heavy Goods Vehicle usually pertaining to a test certificate. See also MOT certificate.
Irish number plates Plates issued in Northern Ireland, typically of the style XYZ 1234.
Local identifier Usually the suffix letter on a suffix style plate, the prefix letter on a prefix style plate or the two digit number in a current style plate.
Log book The legacy name for the V5 document, the vehicle registration certificate/document.
MOT Ministry of Transport test. The Ministry of Transport is now defunct and certificates are issued by VOSA.
Nominee The nominee is the individual who owns the vehicle that a registration number has been assigned to by the grantee. The nominee has no entitlement to this number.
PurchaserSee Grantee for equivalent definition.
Prefix style plates Plates issued with the format A123 BCD. Prefix style plates were issued between 1983 and 2001.
PNDA The Personal Numbers Dealers Association – what the CNDA was previously known as.
Recipient vehicle The target vehicle which the number plate will be assigned or transferred.
Registered keeper The name of the person on the V5 registration document. This person is not necessarily the owner.
Retention The process and state of holding a registration number away from a vehicle. You can hold a registration number on retention for a period of between 12 and 36 months at a time.
Retention certificate/document The DVLA V778 form permitting you to retain the registration number without having to assign it to a vehicle.
RMI The Retail Motor Industry Federation is the principal automotive trade body in the UK.
RNC The Registration Numbers Club, founded in 1977. See for details
Suffix style plates Plates issued with the format ABC 123D. Suffix style plates were issued between 1963 and 1983.
V10 DVLA form: Application for a tax disc.
V317 DVLA form: Application to transfer or retain a vehicle registration number.
V5 Old style vehicle registration document/certificate – the “log book”. See V5C.
V5C The V5C was introduced in 2004 to replace the V5 and comply with European legislation.
V62 DVLA form for applying for a new form V5C if the original has been lost, stolen, defaced, destroyed or not in your possession.
V750 The DVLA certificate of entitlement.
V778 The DVLA retention certificate.
V778/1 The old DVLA retention application form. This has been replaced by the V317.
V948 The DVLA number plate authorisation certificate. Produce this with personal identification when buying a set of plates from a plate manufacturer.
Vanity plate What our American cousins call a cherished number plate.
VIN Vehicle Identity Number, the number (up to 17 digits long) stamped (usually on a plate) somewhere on the chassis of a vehicle. Both the VIN and registration number will identify a vehicle.
VOSA Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, an agency within the DoT.

Please note: At the end of 2013 all 39 local DVLA offices closed and the DVLA transferred all dealings to its national centre at Swansea. If your vehicle was registered before the end of 2013 then the street view map shown on the car registration page will point to the original office despite the fact that the office has closed.