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.
You must let us know straight away by:
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)
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.
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
If you’re an individual buying a vehicle, you must provide your:
If you’re an organisation buying a vehicle, you must provide:
Agents are selected branches of the Automobile Association (AA), Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ), Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ), PostShops, and independent agents.
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)
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)
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)
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.
Vehicle registration (more information)
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)
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 WoF or CoF has expired, the seller must:
If you're willing to buy the vehicle, you should confirm these things in writing.
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)
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)
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.
Check the battery - they can wear out over time, like a mobile phone.
Electric vehicles (Gen Less)(external link)
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)
Buying or selling a vehicle (Factsheet 41)