Registering your vehicle

Before you can use a vehicle on the road, it must be registered.

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. This usually only happens once for most vehicles, when they’ve arrived in New Zealand and are first going to be used on the road.

Sometimes registration is confused with vehicle licensing (rego), which isn't the same thing.

Why vehicles must be registered

It's about keeping people safe.

Vehicles have safety and identification inspections when they’re registered. This helps us make sure that only vehicles meeting New Zealand safety standards are being used on our roads. Having a record of vehicles and their details helps us and the police with enforcement responsibilities.

What registration involves

As part of the registration process, the vehicle will be:

  • inspected for safety
  • certified
  • added to the Motor Vehicle Register
  • licensed (if applicable).

Where to get your vehicle registered

Find a registration agent near you

What you'll need to bring

If the vehicle meets the standards during certification, the certifier will print a registration application form (MR2A) for the vehicle. Take the MR2A and your identification to the registration agent.

See a list of acceptable ID

If it isn’t the first time the vehicle is being registered, you’ll need to provide proof that the vehicle has been registered in New Zealand before.

Registration fees

You'll need to pay registration fees to the agent when you're registering your vehicle. 

Registration fees

Tyre stewardship fee

You may need to pay a tyre stewardship fee when you register a vehicle for the first time. This fee will cover the cost of recycling the tyres when they reach the end of their life.

If you import a vehicle manufactured outside of New Zealand, and it’s imported partially disassembled (including the tyres) and then re-assembled in New Zealand, you’ll need to pay a tyre stewardship fee when you register the vehicle. In this case, the Country of origin on the registration form must be the country where it was manufactured (not New Zealand).

If your vehicle was principally manufactured in New Zealand, you won’t need to pay a tyre stewardship fee when you register it. This is because the fee is collected when the tyres are bought. In this case, the Country of origin on the registration form should be New Zealand.

Tyre stewardship fees

Tyrewise – Turning waste into opportunity(external link)

Tyrewise – Frequently asked questions(external link)

Certificate of registration

Once the vehicle is registered, we’ll send a Certificate of registration to the registered person. It lists the vehicle’s details and the registered person’s details and responsibilities.

If your details change

If any details on your certificate are incorrect or they change (eg you paint your car a different colour) you need to let us know.

If you need a new certificate

You can call us on 0800 108 809 to request a replacement Certificate of registration. You'll need a Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card for paying the fee of $14.92.

The registered person and their responsibilities

The registered person is the person recorded on the Motor Vehicle Register as the person responsible for the vehicle.

This isn't the same as legal ownership (and the Motor Vehicle Register doesn't record legal ownership).

Find out what it means to be a registered person

A vehicle's registration can be cancelled

You can cancel your vehicle's registration at any time, but you must take the vehicle off the road and hand in the number plates. We may cancel your vehicle's registration too, in some situations.

Find out more about cancelling your registration

Registering again when the previous registration has been cancelled

If your vehicle's registration has been cancelled but you want to use it on the road again, you need to register it again.

Find out how to reregister your vehicle

Vehicles exempt from registration and licensing

Vehicles used on a private road don't have to be registered and licensed. There are other reasons why your vehicle may not have to be registered and licensed.

Find out which vehicles are exempt

Exceptions to the entry certification requirement

The following vehicles are not required to undergo entry certification before being registered:

  • trailers/caravans under 3500kg
  • tractors
  • self-propelled agricultural machines
  • trailers not designed for highway use
  • mobile machines not designed for highway use
  • all terrain vehicles (ATVs)
  • agricultural motor vehicles including agricultural tractors and trailers.  Agricultural vehicles are motor vehicles that are designed, constructed or adapted for agricultural purposes.  They do not include vehicles that are designed or constructed for general road use.  Agricultural purposes does not include forestry.

These are known as ‘non-VIN’ vehicles – they don’t require a vehicle identification number (VIN). You can apply to register these by completing a ‘non-VIN’ vehicle form (form MR2B) and presenting it to a registration agent.