How to Register Your Car in the UK (2023)

So, you’ve just moved to the UK? Or maybe you’re planning to move sometime soon. Depending on where you live, community via public transport may not be the best option. If so, you may need to get a car or bring the car you already own to the UK.

Having your own car in the UK is definitely a great option if you can afford it. You will be able to move about as you please, explore the country and commute to work in the comfort of your own vehicle.

As cars don't come cheap in the UK, you may want to ship your old car and avoid buying a new one. Now that could turn out to be a tedious process, especially if you do not know where to start.

In this blog, we’ll highlight how you can register your car in the UK and everything you need to know if you already have a car and you’ve just moved to the UK, including:

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  • The basics
  • How to register a car in the UK
  • How to re-register a car in the UK on a permanent basis
  • Temporary registrations
  • Other documents you may need

The basics

Whether you wish to buy a brand-new car, a pre-owned car or wish to import one, you need to do the necessary paperwork and register your car in the UK.

In Great Britain, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is responsible for maintaining this database. Likewise, in Northern Ireland, the same set of duties and responsibilities is conferred upon the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA). The DVLA and the DVA are regulated by the Department of Transport. These are the agencies that issue driving licenses, personalised registrations, update the records, and keep track of the vital information to do with your vehicle.

How much does it cost to register a car in the UK? According to GOV.The UK, you’ll have to pay £55 if your register and taxing a vehicle for the first time with the DVLA

To provide more clarity on registering or re-registering a car in the UK, we’ll now take a look at the various documentation and procedures involved.

How to register a car in the UK

If you work or study in the UK and wish to buy a brand-new car then you don’t have to worry too much about its registration.

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Usually, the car company and its representatives would handle this registration process for you and you will be all set when you purchase the car. As far as the documentation is concerned, you are going to need the V55/4 form, toapply for the first vehicle tax and new registration. This also applies to brand-new cars imported into the UK. You can find all this information on the official GOV.UK website.

If you have just moved to the UK or you are planning on moving soon then the process will be a little different.

How to re-register a car in the UK on a permanent basis

If you are from the EU, you may want to ship your own car to the UK. If that’s the case then you may need to re-register the car for use in the UK.

So, if you are importing the car for ‘permanent use’, then it’s mandatory to register it. Here, the term ‘permanent use’ refers to cars that you intend to use for six months or more in any given year. This could be in one stretch or on various visits, within the span of one year. In that case, you need to contact the Revenue and Customs Department (HMRC) within two weeks of its arrival. Further details about importing vehicles can be found on the official GOV.UK website.

To register a used vehicle with the DVLA or DVA, you need to use the V55/5 form. This also applies to those who import their used vehicles to the UK, and wish to use it on a permanent basis.

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If required, the concerned authorities may want to inspect the car and in that case, you shall receive a letter which informs you how and when this will take place. This typically happens within a month from the date when you apply for registration, at no additional cost.

All of this applies for cars intended for ‘permanent use’. If you wish to use the car on a temporary basis, then this procedure isn’t required. So, if you plan to use it for less than 6 months in a year and if it is registered in your country of origin, then you can skip registering it in the UK.

Temporary registrations

Wherever you are moving from, if you are importing your used car to the UK on a temporary basis, then you may claim customs relief from the HMRC.

It is important to make sure to renew your customs relief periodically and carry the documentation with you, just in case the police need to verify them. Also, it would be a good idea to have some proof to clarify when and how the car was shipped into the UK. For example, you could make it a point to have your ferry ticket with you in the car.

This is extremely useful and will save you from a lot of trouble, even during the initial period of 14 days. This refers to the period granted to complete the necessary formalities such as contacting HMRC, DVLA or the DVA and more.

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Then before you hit the roads in the UK, you need to make sure that the vehicle is insured. There are a number of useful websites to look at for international drivers looking to insure their car in the UK and compare insurance prices including MoneySuperMarketand ComparetheMarket.

Additional documents you may require

To register a car in the UK you will need documents that confirm your name and address. Besides that, you need to have the necessary documentation for the vehicle tax which you are expected to have already paid, build plan for a kit car or an insurance certificate.

For cars older than 3 years, you must produce the MOT certificate and for new cars you will often be required to produce a ‘certificate of newness’. In Northern Ireland, you need the MOT certificate only for cars older than 4 years and a cover note should suffice instead of an insurance cover.

You will typically also be asked to provide a photocopy of your driving licence along with other documents. If you have recently moved to the UK and are wondering whether you can drive here, then in most cases the answer is “Yes”. Usually, people from the EU can drive in the UK with a licence from their country of origin, until the age of 70 years. Those belonging to other countries can do so for a year since their arrival in the UK.

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How do I register my car for the first time UK? ›

To register a vehicle for the first time you should send your V55 application and supporting documents to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BE. They might want to inspect the vehicle and will contact you if necessary. They'll then assign the vehicle registration mark and send your V5C registration document.

How do you register a car from abroad in the UK? ›

Registering an imported vehicle
  1. tell HM Revenue and Customs ( HMRC ) you imported the vehicle and get confirmation that your NOVA application is processed.
  2. pay VAT and duty if HMRC tells you to.
  3. get proof of vehicle approval.

How do you prove you own a car UK? ›

To prove that you own the car, you'll need some sort of receipt or invoice from when you bought it. Even if you buy the car privately, make sure the seller gives you some sort of written agreement detailing the date of sale, the amount you paid and the method of payment.

How do car registrations work UK? ›

The format is two letters, two numbers, a space and three further letters. The first two letters are the DVLA memory tag, the two numbers (the age identifier) indicate the age of the vehicle, and the last three letters are random.

How do I register my car in 2022? ›

Steps for LTO New Car Registration 2022
  1. Step 1: Prepare the required documents. ...
  2. Step 2: Go to an LTO office that processes new vehicle registration. ...
  3. Step 3: Have your car inspected by an LTO officer. ...
  4. Step 4: Pay for the Car Registration Fees. ...
  5. Step 5: Don't forget to get your Certificate of Registration and other documents.

How long does it take to register a car in the UK? ›

DVLA will update the vehicle record immediately and they will aim to send out a new V5C to you within 3 to 5 days.

What happens if you don't register your car UK? ›

Driving without a registration and road tax

There's an automatic fine of £80 for any vehicles that aren't taxed or registered SORN, and failing to notify the DVLA of a change of owners could lead to a maximum penalty of £1,000.

Can I register my car online UK? ›

If it's a used car, how you register it will depend on whether it already has a log book. If it has a log book, the seller can register this to you – either online via the DVLA website or by post. They will also need to complete the green 'new keeper' slip, give this to you and destroy their copy of the log book.

How long can you drive a foreign registered car in the UK? ›

you only use the vehicle for up to 6 months in total - this can be a single visit, or several shorter visits over 12 months.

How much does it cost to register a car in England? ›

You'll have to pay a fee of £55 if you're registering and taxing a vehicle for the first time with DVLA . You can pay by cheque or postal order. You cannot send cash. Damaged or altered cheques will not be accepted.

Can I register a car in the UK if I live abroad? ›

As you are not resident in the UK with fixed address for insurance/registration purposes etc. you would not be able to legally own and drive a UK registered vehicle.

What counts as car proof of ownership? ›

If you buy a vehicle privately always make sure you get some form of written receipt/agreement from the seller including information like the date, amount paid, method pf payment, sold by (person or company) sold to (your full name), the vehicle make, model and importantly; the vehicle registration number.

How do I register a car without papers? ›

Go to your nearest registering authority and bring along your identity document and complete the DRC (Application for Duplicate Registration/Deregistration Certificate in respect of Motor Vehicle) and form DCT (Declaration in respect of Lost Documents). Bear in mind that only a title holder can request a duplicate.

What is legal proof of ownership? ›

Absolute sale deed and title deed - The sale deed or title deed is the most important document that records the actual transfer of ownership of the property.

What does the first 2 letters of a number plate mean? ›

What do the number plate letters stand for? The first two letters are known as the 'local memory tag' and they show where the vehicle was registered.

What are new rules for UK number plates? ›

The characters must not be removable or reflective. If your number plates were fitted after 1 September 2021, they must also be a single shade of black.
Your number plates can also:
  • have 3D (raised) characters.
  • display certain flags, symbols and identifiers.
  • display a green flash, if you have a zero-emission vehicle.

Do you need both plates in UK? ›

It is against the law in the UK for cars to display no front number plate. All cars on the road are required to display registrations at both the front and rear of the vehicle. The number plate at the front of the car must be white with the index marks clearly visible in black.

What will the Reg be in March 2022? ›

The '22 plate will launch on the 1st of March 2022. They are released at this time every year and are named after the year they are produced. For six months – before the '72 plates enter the market in September – they will represent the newest cars on the market.

What is the new car registration plate for March 2022? ›

From today, March 1, 2022, new cars will be registered with a new number plate featuring the “22” registration tag. The new licence plates will also incorporate previous changes announced in 2021, which outlined the requirements needed for the plate to be road legal.

How do I register a car without a permanent address UK? ›

A permanent address is required by law

Under the current legislation, it isn't possible to register or insure your car without providing an address. In order to register your car, you need to prove your current address in the UK.

Can I register my car online? ›

The vehicle registration service allows business users, registered as an authorised trader for Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT), to register new vehicles and pre-inspected vehicles online.

How long is a UK registration plate? ›

Vehicle registration plates of the United Kingdom
Country codeUK
Current series
Size520 mm × 111 mm 20.5 in × 4.4 in
Serial formatAA11 AAA
Colour (front)Black on white
10 more rows

How long can a car have no registration? ›

Registration has lapsed

Passenger vehicles can only remain unlicensed for 12 months, or 24 months if currently owned by a vehicle trader. Non-passenger vehicles (trailers, ATVs, etc) can remain unlicensed for 24 months.

Can you drive around without registration? ›

In every state, traffic laws make it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle when: The vehicle has never been registered with the state department of motor vehicles (or motor vehicles bureau) in the state where it is primarily used, or.

Can I leave the UK without police registration? ›

Police registration is no longer required.

This change applies to those who have already registered with the Police and who have a condition to register with the Police listed as a requirement of their visa.

Can I choose my own car registration? ›

You can put almost anything on your personalised number plate. There are just a few basic rules you need to follow. Firstly, your number plate has to be unique. If someone else has taken the number you wanted you will either have to come up with an alternative or buy it from them.

How long does a new car take to register? ›

Registering your vehicle is simple and completely free. It takes up to 10 working days, so be sure to allow enough time before driving within the Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

How does online registration work? ›

When using online registration systems, the participants can simply register at their convenience and submit their information immediately. The participant can do corrections as needed without worrying about erasing or cutting. The information the participant sends will be immediately loaded into a database.

Can I bring my car to the UK? ›

You must complete certain steps as soon as you bring a vehicle into the UK permanently. You can pay an importer or shipping company to do them for you. Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 14 days that the vehicle has arrived in the UK. Pay VAT and duty if HMRC tells you to.

Can foreigners own car in UK? ›

Buying a car in the UK should pose no problems so long as you can provide a home address. Furthermore, there are no residency requirements for foreign nationals who wish to purchase a vehicle in the UK. You will, however, need a UK address to register, tax, and insure a car. And the legal driving age in the UK is 17.

Can a car be registered in 2 countries? ›

Yes, but it won't work, as your car could only show only one licence plate.

How much is road tax for a car UK? ›

For most car buyers that means road tax now ranges from £120 (for cars producing 76-90g/km) to £585 (151-170g/km). Low polluting cars, meanwhile – cars that produce 0-75g/km of CO2 – pay the same tax they did in 2021, ranging from zero to £25.

How much does a private reg cost UK? ›

Registration number auctions

Auctions are held about 6 times a year and reserve prices start from £130. You can bid online, in person, by phone or in writing.

How do I register a car in my name without a v5? ›

In cases where the seller of the vehicle doesn't have a V5C you will need to use a V62 (Application for a Vehicle Registration form) visit this link to download the form, complete it and send it to the DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1DD with the appropriate fee.

Can a non UK resident register a car in the UK? ›

Of course you can. You'll need all your home paperwork and it needs to be roadworthy by our standards (as far as the police can tell). But only for six months before it needs reregistering as a UK vehicle.

Can you drive in UK without insurance? ›

It's illegal to drive a vehicle on a road or in a public place without at least 3rd party insurance. Even if the vehicle itself is insured, if you're not correctly insured to drive it you could get penalised.

Can I get car insurance without a UK license? ›

Yes, it's possible to get car insurance with an international licence – but it may cost you more than those with a UK licence. Lack of familiarity with UK roads means there's a higher risk of international drivers being involved in an accident and having to make a claim.

What is an example of proof of ownership? ›

Proof of Ownership

Deed or title. Mortgage documentation. Homeowners insurance documentation. Property tax receipt or bill.

Can DVLA tell you who owns a car? ›

You can ask DVLA for information about your vehicle or another vehicle and its registered keeper if you have a 'reasonable cause'.

Can I give a car as a gift UK? ›

Unlike other possessions, if you give your car to another individual, the ownership of that car has to be legally registered by UK law. This official process of transferring car ownership is what this guide concentrates on.

Can I put car on my name without papers? ›

This will be an extremely tricky and lengthy process without registration papers, but is still possible. If you do buy a vehicle without clearance, you will liable for hefty fines as it is illegal to buy stolen goods. The onus is on you as the buyer to ensure that the seller is the lawful owner.

Where can I get car registration papers? ›

What you should do
  1. Go to your nearest registering authority. ...
  2. Complete the Application for duplicate registration/Deregistration certificate in respect of motor vehicle (DRC) form and the Declaration in respect of lost documents form (DCT).

How do I get a certificate of registration? ›

Register your business in the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
  1. Prepare the requirements. ...
  2. Fill up the BIR Form 1901. ...
  3. Go to your respective Revenue District Office (RDO). ...
  4. Pay the Registration Fee. ...
  5. Claim your Certificate of Registration (COR). ...
  6. Purchase and register your books of account. ...
  7. Secure an Authority to Print (ATP).
28 Jul 2020

How do you prove you are the owner? ›

There are a few ways to prove business ownership through the use of business documents and tax forms.
Proving Ownership in a Business Without Certificates
  1. IRS form K-1.
  2. Business emails.
  3. Business meeting minutes.
  4. Business resolutions.
  5. Other business records.

How do you prove ownership of property UK? ›

Your Title Deeds are important because they prove that you are the rightful owner of your property. The UK government decided in the 80s that all property should be registered with Land Registry, but if it's not been sold or had a mortgage on it in that time it may not be registered.

Who owns this house for free address UK? ›

How Can I Find Out Who Owns a Property for Free? Head to GOV.UK and conduct a title deeds search. HM Land Registry holds records on most property or land sold in England or Wales since 1993. These records include details of the title register, title plan, title summary and flood risk indicator.

What documents do I need to register a car in my name? ›

Go to your relevant motor vehicle registration authority and submit the following:
  1. your identity document (ID)
  2. proof of residential address e.g. utility account. ...
  3. if you stay at an informal settlement, you must bring a letter with an official date stamp from the ward councillor confirming your address.

How much does it cost to get a car registered in UK? ›

As well as documents to prove your identity, you must also send: payment for the vehicle tax. the new registration fee of £55, if you have to pay it.

What documents do you need for a new car? ›

There are two applications for a new car registration: the V55/4 (standard), or the V55/5 (rebuilt vehicles). Both forms are found on the GOV.UK website. V55/4 is also used for imported cars that haven't been driven in London or previously registered in the UK.

How long does it take to register a new car? ›

Registering your vehicle is simple and completely free. It takes up to 10 working days, so be sure to allow enough time before driving within the Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

What 3 documents should you always have with you in your car? ›

What documents do you need keep in your car?
  • Vehicle Registration.
  • Proof of Insurance.
  • Your Driver's License.
18 Nov 2022

What are 3 things you need to do to prepare to buy a car? ›

Here's six tips to consider — when buying a car from a dealer — that can really help you save:
  1. Learn about pricing online. ...
  2. Get your free credit report now. ...
  3. Apply for financing from multiple lenders. ...
  4. Understand financing variables and terms. ...
  5. Call your agent. ...
  6. Build a budget.

What are 5 things to consider when you are purchasing a new car? ›

5 Tips for Buying a New Car
  • Find Out the Cost of Insurance. Your insurance rates typically change when you acquire a new vehicle. ...
  • Look for Safety Technology. ...
  • Consider Vehicle Design and Size. ...
  • Get Pre-Approved for a Car Loan. ...
  • Negotiate the Best Price.


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