New registrations

Your vehicle may not have been registered before with DVLA if it’s:

  • brand new
  • a kit car
  • imported
  • been rebuilt or radically altered
  • an old or classic vehicle

If you buy a brand new vehicle, the dealer will usually arrange for it to be registered. Otherwise, you need to register it yourself.

If you’re reimporting a vehicle that’s been registered in the UK before - and then exported - you’ll need to register it again.

If your vehicle is damaged

If your vehicle is classed as ‘seriously damaged’ you cannot register it with DVLA. You will not be refunded for any VAT and duty or vehicle approval fee you paid before trying to register the vehicle.

Serious damage means the vehicle cannot be repaired. For UK vehicles this means it’s a category A or B insurance write-off.

For imported vehicles, it might say something like ‘statutory write-off’, ‘scrapped’ or ‘non-repairable’ on the registration certificate.

Check with the registration authority for the country the vehicle is from to find out if the vehicle is ‘seriously damaged’.

If it is not ‘seriously damaged’, ask them to provide evidence of this.

Making an application

You must fill in a form to apply to register the vehicle.

Use form V55/4 for new vehicles

Fill in the V55/4 form to register a new vehicle, including new imported vehicles and newly-built (kit) cars.

Use form V55/5 for used vehicles

Fill in the V55/5 form to register a used vehicle, including:

  • rebuilt vehicles
  • used imported vehicles
  • older vehicles that have never been registered
  • vehicles that have been brought back to the UK after being exported

Provide copies of identity documents

Send in a photocopy of your photocard driving licence with your application form to prove your identity.

If you cannot do this, you must send in photocopies of one document that proves your name and another document that proves your address.

Documents you can use to confirm your name include your:

  • passport
  • marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • divorce or end of civil partnership document (decree nisi, decree absolute, conditional order or final order)
  • birth or adoption certificate
  • Gender Recognition Certificate
  • current UK paper driving licence (not a paper counterpart)

Documents you can use to confirm your address include a:

  • recent utility bill (within the last 3 months) - for example gas, electricity, water, landline
  • recent bank or building society statement (within the last 3 months)
  • medical card
  • council tax bill for current year

You can fill in form V959 - ‘Notification of name and address check’ instead of these documents to prove your identity if you’re a current DVLA trade plate holder.

Supporting documents needed for all vehicles

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
  • evidence of a current MOT if the vehicle is over 3 years old (over 4 years in Northern Ireland) - for example, a copy of your vehicle’s MOT history
  • a certificate of newness (or declaration of newness for imported vehicles) if the vehicle is new
  • proof of vehicle approval if the vehicle is under 10 years old (unless it’s exempt from vehicle approval)
  • any documents you have relating to the vehicle, for example build plans if it’s a kit car
  • an insurance certificate or cover note if you’re registering the vehicle to an address in Northern Ireland

Supporting documents needed for some vehicles

You may have to send extra forms and documents if:

After you’ve applied

DVLA might need to inspect your vehicle. If your application is approved, DVLA will send you a vehicle log book (V5C).

Your V5C shows:

  • the vehicle’s registration number
  • the vehicle keeper’s name and address
  • other information about the vehicle (the make, vehicle identification number (VIN) and number of previous keepers)

DVLA will also return your identity documents.

You’ll need to provide a prepaid self-addressed, special delivery envelope if you want the documents returned by special delivery.

DVLA cannot guarantee the return of the documents by a specific date.

  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 isn't 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 don't 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