All vehicles required to pay road user charges (RUC) must have a distance licence.

Distance licences

Distance licences are bought in units of 1000km (621 miles). How much a unit costs depends on your RUC vehicle type and RUC weight.

When you buy RUC you pre-pay for the distance you're going to travel. You must buy a new licence before you’ve driven all the distance covered by your current licence. 

RUC vehicle types

RUC weights

Example of a RUC licence label

Where to display your RUC licence

Light vehicle RUC licence labels must be displayed on the inside of the windscreen on the passenger side of the vehicle. The side of the licence showing the plate number must be visible from outside the vehicle.

RUC licence labels for heavy vehicles and trailers must either be displayed the same as for light vehicles or carried. If carried, the labels must be shown to an enforcement officer when asked.

If you have an additional licence it must also be displayed or carried.

The details on the licence must match the vehicle's:

  • RUC vehicle type
  • plate number
  • distance recorder serial number
  • distance recorder readings.

Buying RUC

The quickest and easiest way to buy RUC is online. You can buy up to six RUC licences at a time.

Buy RUC online 

You can also buy RUC at a Waka Kotahi agent.

Waka Kotahi RUC agents 

Temporary licences

If you buy a RUC licence for a vehicle in another location, you can use an identical copy of the RUC licence as a temporary licence for up to 7 days.

You can show the identical copy in:

  • printed format, such as a photocopy of the original licence

  • digital format, such as a scan or photo of the original licence on a phone, tablet or laptop. The whole licence must be one image.

The copy must be clear enough for the smallest print on the licence to be clearly visible. You can enlarge the image to show this.

Licensing errors and replacement licences

Always check your licences are correct when you buy them. It's up to you to make sure the details are correct on the licence application.

If you notice on the same day that you bought an incorrect RUC licence at a RUC agent, you can go back to the same agent to get it fixed. 

If you've bought RUC incorrectly online, or it's not the same day you bought it at an agent, please call 0800 655 644 or email Each situation is looked at on a case-by-case basis.