You have to register a car or any other vehicle as soon as you’ve:

  • bought it
  • built it
  • rebuilt or altered it
  • imported it

You have to register a car when you import it, even if it has been registered in the UK before and then exported.

You do this by filling in forms and sending them to DVLA. The forms you have to send depend on your circumstances.

DVLA may need to inspect your vehicle to:

  • make sure the vehicle exists, has been assembled into a complete vehicle and the vehicle log book (V5C) is in your name
  • update their records because of changes you’ve made to the vehicle

They will send you a letter if they need to do this. You will not have to pay a fee.

Use the different registration schemes for the motor trade if you’re a vehicle manufacturer, importer or VAT-registered trader.

  1. Step 1 Check the vehicle before you buy it

    You'll need the vehicle's registration number, make, model and MOT test number. You also need to see the V5C vehicle registration certificate (log book).

    1. Check the details you've been given match DVLA's information
    2. Check the vehicle's MOT history
    3. Check if the vehicle has been recalled because of a safety issue
    4. Check the log book is not for a stolen vehicle
  2. Step 2 Buy and register the vehicle

    Once you've bought the vehicle, you have to register it. How you register it depends on whether it has a V5C registration certificate (log book).

    1. Find out how to register your vehicle
    2. Get a vehicle log book if you do not have it £25
  3. and Register for MOT reminders

    You must get an MOT for your vehicle every year once it's 3 years old.

    1. Get a reminder when your MOT is due
  4. Step 3 Insure the vehicle

    You must have insurance before you can use your vehicle on the road.

    1. Check if your vehicle is insured on the Motor Insurance Database
    2. Read about vehicle insurance
  5. Step 4 Tax the vehicle