Most vehicles must have a vehicle licence before you can use them on public roads. You pay a fee for the licence and you get a vehicle licence label to display on the vehicle.
Your vehicle licence is often referred to as your rego, but it's not the same thing as registration.
When you let us know you've bought a vehicle, we record you as the registered person on the Motor Vehicle Register. That's the person responsible for the vehicle, but isn't the same as legal ownership.
As the registered person, you're responsible for making sure your vehicle is licensed at all times while using the road, or has an exemption from licensing.
If your vehicle has an exemption, you must not use it on the road.
This page only covers your vehicle licensing responsibilities. However, there are other important responsibilities that you also need to be aware of.
Most vehicles must be licensed continuously. That means there can’t be any days when your vehicle isn’t licensed, unless you officially take it off the road.
Vehicles that aren't required to be licensed continuously include light trailers (up to 3500kg), tractors and forklifts.
Vehicle licences expire, so as the registered person, you need to make sure you renew yours regularly.
You can check the expiry date on your current licence label at any time.
Licensing fees are different for different kinds of vehicles.
Your vehicle must have a current warrant of fitness (WoF) or certificate of fitness (CoF) before you can get a licence or use the vehicle on the road, unless your vehicle is exempt from continuous vehicle licensing or doesn't require a WoF or CoF for road use (mopeds etc).
We'll send you a reminder in the post or by email six weeks before your vehicle licence is due to expire. It lets you know the licensing fees and your options.
Add your email address and we'll send your next reminder by email instead of post. You may also receive some of our other reminders by email.
It's easy and it saves you time and money.
It should arrive in the post within seven working days.
If you’ve renewed online and your licence label hasn’t arrived within ten working days, please call us on 0800 108 809.
If you’ve run out of time and can’t wait ten working days for your label, renew at an agent instead of going online. The agent will give you your label straight away.
Use the reminder you received from us, or fill out an Application to license motor vehicle (MR1B) form at the agent.
When you pay the licensing fee, you’ll get a label that shows the date your licence expires. You must display the label on the left-hand side of your vehicle’s windscreen, or near your number plate (for trailers or motorcycles).
You need to get a replacement label. You can get a new label:
If your licence is due to expire and you don’t renew it in time, you'll be breaking the law under the Land Transport Act 1998.
If your vehicle stays unlicensed for 12 months, we'll cancel the vehicle's registration, which means you won't be able to legally drive it on the road anymore.
You'll still be responsible for any outstanding licensing fees.
We'll send you a warning notice before we cancel the registration.
Even if you don't receive a reminder, you're still responsible for keeping your vehicle licensed, and paying the licensing fees.
Remember, you can check your expiry date on your current licence label or online anytime.
As the registered person, you need to let us know as soon as your details change. This helps us make sure we're sending the reminders to the right person at the right address.
If your licence has expired and you haven’t received a reminder, don’t wait! Renew online (you don't need to enter a reminder number if you don't have one) or fill in an Application to license motor vehicle (MR1B) form at one of our agents.
If you won’t be using the vehicle on the road for at least three months in a row, you can (and should) apply for an exemption from licensing. You can also have someone else apply on your behalf.
When your vehicle goes on exemption, it means it doesn’t have to be licensed for the period of time that the exemption lasts.
Some people call this putting your rego on hold.
You can choose a different licence expiry date by filling in an Application to change licence expiry date (MR27) form at one of our agents. The agent will let you know your options and the fee.
You’ll only need to pay from the date you bought the vehicle, not the date the licence was due. The seller is responsible for the unpaid fees before you bought the vehicle.
You’re responsible for any licensing fees owing up to the date you sold or disposed of the vehicle. We use a debt collection agency to recover outstanding licence fees.
You need to report the vehicle as stolen to the police first, then you can call us about your licensing fees.
If its licence has expired, you won’t need to pay from the date it was stolen, as long as you contact us.
If your vehicle is found, you’ll only need to pay licensing fees from the date it was returned to you.
If your vehicle has been stolen and is licensed, please call us on 0800 108 809 for advice.
You’ll need to cancel its registration by filling in an Application to cancel registration (MR15) form at one of our plate agents. You should hand in the number plates at the same time as the MR15 form.
If you don’t have plates to hand in, you need to provide a reason why (and you may need to provide supporting evidence).