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Cancelling your registration

Cancelling your vehicle’s registration removes the vehicle from the Motor Vehicle Register, which means you can no longer lawfully use the vehicle on our  roads .

Only we can cancel a vehicle’s registration and this may be at the request of the vehicle’s registered person or an insurance company.

You may not need to cancel – there are other options if you’re planning not to use your vehicle for at least three months. 

Find out about applying for an exemption if you are not going to use your vehicle for three months or more

Reasons for cancelling your vehicle registration

You must apply to cancel your vehicle’s registration if your vehicle is:

  • destroyed or becomes permanently useless
  • permanently removed from New Zealand
  • written off by an insurer
  • significantly modified.

You are not entitled to cancel the registration if:

  • the vehicle has been stolen and not recovered
  • you are not the registered person
  • the plates were lost or stolen
  • you are only wanting to replace the plates
  • you have found the plates and are only handing them in
  • you are temporarily taking the vehicle off the road
  • you have sold the vehicle and the buyer hasn’t let us know.

If any of the above applies, and you require information on what to do, contact us.

How to cancel your registration

  1. Complete an Application to cancel registration form (MR15) and pay the administration fee at a registration agent.
  2. Present ID.
  3. Give the number plates to the agent (if you don’t hand in the plates you may not get a refund of any unused licence fees).

You may also need to pay outstanding licence fees – see below

Outstanding licensing fees

If the licence for the motor vehicle has already expired you will be required to pay licence fees from the date the licence expired up to the date of cancellation.

You can choose to pay at the time you apply to cancel your vehicle or later. If you choose to pay at the time, an administration fee of $9.10 and the amount owing is due. If you choose to pay later, you must still pay the administration fee of $9.10 at the time of cancellation, and then we will send you a payment demand which you must pay within 14 days. An additional administration fee of $10.20 will also be payable at this time.

Road user charges

If your vehicle is subject to road user charges (RUC),  you must ensure that all RUC is up to date before you cancel the vehicle. 

Find out which vehicles require road user charges

If there is any outstanding RUC, you may be invoiced for the outstanding amount.

When cancelling your vehicle’s registration for a heavy vehicle, you will need to provide the current hubodometer and odometer reading of your vehicle on your MR15 form. For a light RUC vehicle, you only need to provide the odometer reading.

What happens next?

The agent will send your application in to the Transport Agency. Once we have processed your application the Motor Vehicle Register will be updated and the registration cancelled.

Refunds

You may be refunded an amount equal to any unexpired licence fee paid. The transaction fee paid at the time the licence was purchased is non-refundable.

Any refund is liable for audit and is at the registrar’s discretion.

If you are leaving New Zealand and need any refund payable to be paid into a bank account, please send this application with details of the bank account into which any refund is to be paid to the address below.

You must have returned the number plates to get a refund. 

  • If your vehicle has been in a fire or accident and the number plates are unable to be recovered, you will need to get a letter from the police or fire brigade confirming this.
  • If the vehicle was taken to a wrecker and has been destroyed or dismantled, you will need to get a letter from the wrecker confirming this.

What happens if I don’t cancel the registration?

If the vehicle is required to be continuously licensed and the registration is not cancelled, the Transport Agency will cancel the registration 12 months after the last licence or licence exemption has expired. If this happens and the licence fees remain unpaid, the outstanding fees will be sent to debt collection.

Find out more about vehicle licensing

What if I am not entitled to lawful possession of the motor vehicle?

 You must be the registered person to request the registration be cancelled. If you have acquired the vehicle but have not yet let us know you will need to complete a notice of acquisition of motor vehicle (MR13B) transaction before you can cancel the registration.

What if I am the registered person but I am unable to get to an agent?

As the registered person you will need to complete and sign the MR15 form and write your New Zealand driver licence number on the form as ID. You can then have someone present the MR15 form and number plates to an agent with your original identification.

Putting the vehicle back on the road

If your motor vehicle’s registration has been cancelled but it will be used on a public road at a later date, there are several steps you need to follow first – inspection, certification, re-registration, licensing, and getting registration plates and labels issued to you.

Find out more about reregistration process

Download Factsheet 74 – Vehicle registration cancellation

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