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You're legally required to let us know immediately when you buy a vehicle. For peace of mind, do it online at the time of sale.

If you've bought a vehicle

You must let us know straight away by:

  • putting the vehicle into your name online, or
  • going to an agent and completing the Change of registered person - buyer (MR13B) form.

You’ll need your identification (ID) and a way to pay the $9 fee.

You’ll receive a Certificate of registration in the post within 10 days, or by email if we have your email address.

If you’re a company, you can’t do it online. You’ll need to go to an agent and complete the MR13B.

Let's us know you've bought a vehicle(external link)

Advice for buyers

Before you buy, do your homework

There are checks you could do to protect yourself before you buy a vehicle. This isn’t a complete list, but it gives you an idea of what to think about when you’re buying.

Make sure you know your registered person responsibilities

When you let us know you’ve bought a vehicle, we'll record you as the registered person in the Motor Vehicle Register. That’s the person responsible for the vehicle, but isn’t the same thing as the legal owner. We don't deal with legal ownership.

If you're an unincorporated business, your business can't be recorded as the registered person. It needs to be you, the individual.

Registered person responsibilities

Identification and personal details required

If you’re an individual buying a vehicle, you must provide your:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • New Zealand physical address
  • New Zealand mailing address (if different to physical)
  • identification that confirms your full name, date of birth and signature (eg your New Zealand driver licence).

If you’re an organisation buying a vehicle, you must provide:

  • the organisation’s full name
  • the organisation’s New Zealand physical address
  • the organisation’s New Zealand mailing address (if different to physical)
  • corporate identification (eg your New Zealand business number, company number or a Certificate of incorporation).

Where to find an agent

Agents are selected branches of the Automobile Association (AA), Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ), Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ), PostShops, and independent agents.

Find an agent near you

If the vehicle is unlicensed

Vehicle licensing (rego) is paying a regular fee so that your vehicle is allowed to use the road. When you pay the fee, you get a licence label showing the licence expiry date.

Vehicle licensing (more information)

Buying an unlicensed vehicle

If you buy a vehicle with an expired licence, you’re required to pay the licensing fees from the date you bought the vehicle.

Buy your vehicle licence (rego)(external link)

If you’re not going to use the vehicle on the road for at least three months, apply for an exemption instead (put it on hold). Do this after you’ve let us know you’ve bought the vehicle.

Put your vehicle licence on hold (exempt)(external link)

If the vehicle is unregistered

Vehicle registration is paying a one-off fee to add a vehicle’s details to the Motor Vehicle Register. When it’s added to the register, we issue number plates for it.

The registered person can cancel the vehicle’s registration at any time (but must take the vehicle off the road). They should only do this if they're sure they're not going to use the vehicle on the road anymore. They shouldn't cancel the registration if they're selling the vehicle to someone else who’s going to use it on the road.

We’ll cancel a vehicle’s registration if it has been unlicensed for 12 months (for most vehicles) or 24 months (for tractors, trailers and a few other vehicle types).

Vehicle registration (more information)

Buying an unregistered vehicle

If you buy a vehicle with a cancelled registration and you want to use it on the road, you’ll need to take several steps first.

This includes:

  • inspection
  • certification
  • registration
  • licensing
  • getting plates
  • getting labels.

Vehicle registration (more information)

If the vehicle's RUC is overdue

If the vehicle’s RUC is overdue at the time of sale, the seller is committing an offence under the Road User Charges Act 2012. As the buyer, you may become responsible for the outstanding fees.

We recommend you consider unpaid RUC when negotiating the sale price. This is between you and the seller - Waka Kotahi doesn’t become involved.

Road user charges (more information)

If the vehicle's WoF or CoF is more than one month old

You can insist on a WoF or CoF being less than one month old. This helps protect you against faults that have developed since the last inspection.

If you don’t insist, you should confirm in writing to the seller that you accept the WoF or CoF is more than one month old. This protects the seller.

If the vehicle's WoF or CoF has expired

If the WoF or CoF has expired, the seller must:

  • make sure you know the WoF or CoF isn't current
  • ask you to confirm in writing that you accept the WoF or CoF isn't current, and you won't use the vehicle on the road except to take it somewhere for repair or inspection.

If you're willing to buy the vehicle, you should confirm these things in writing.

Buying a vehicle 'as is, where is'

If the vehicle is for sale 'as is, where is' that doesn't remove the seller's legal requirements under consumer law and transport law.

Consumer rights and reponsibilities (Consumer Protection)(external link)

Buying personalised plates

If you’re buying a vehicle and its personalised plates, you'll need to negotiate this separately with the seller and complete a transfer agreement for the plates.

Personalised plates (more information)

Buying from a motor vehicle trader

If you buy a vehicle from a motor vehicle trader, they may complete some or all of the buyer's transaction on your behalf. However, you should always confirm that the trader has completed this process.

Buying an electric vehicle

Check the battery - they can wear out over time, like a mobile phone.

Electric vehicles (Gen Less)(external link)

Transport service licence

If your vehicle weighs 6000kg or more, you'll need to have a transport service licence. Some other vehicles under 6000kg also require a transport service licence. 

Transport service licence (more information)

More advice

Tips on buying a used car

Choosing a safe vehicle

Buying or selling a vehicle (Factsheet 41)