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Cancelling your registration

Cancelling your vehicle’s registration removes the vehicle from the Motor Vehicle Register, which means you can't lawfully use the vehicle on the road.

Only the NZ Transport Agency can cancel a vehicle's registration if requested by the registered person or an insurance company. We may also cancel the registration without a request in some situations.

You may not need to cancel

There are other options if you’re not going to use your vehicle for at least three months, but plan on using it again later. 

Not going to use my vehicle for at least three months

Reasons for cancelling your registration

You must apply to cancel the registration if your vehicle is:

  • destroyed (or becomes permanently useless)
  • permanently taken off the road
  • permanently removed from New Zealand
  • written off by an insurer
  • significantly modified.

You can't cancel the registration if:

  • the vehicle has been stolen and not recovered
  • you're not the registered person
  • the plates were lost or stolen
  • you only want to replace the plates
  • you've found the plates and are only handing them in
  • you're temporarily taking the vehicle off the road
  • you've sold the vehicle and the buyer hasn’t let us know.

If any of the above apply to you and you need to know what to do, please contact us.

How to cancel your registration

  1. Complete an Application to cancel registration (MR15) form* and pay the administration fee at a registration agent.
  2. Present ID.
  3. Give the number plates to the agent (if you don’t hand in the plates you may not get a refund of any unused licence fees).

You may also need to pay outstanding licence fees – see below.

*MR15 forms are only available at a registration agent.

If you have outstanding licensing fees

If the vehicle's licence has already expired, you'll need to pay the licensing fees from the date the licence expired up to the date of cancellation.

You can choose to pay at the time you apply to cancel the registration, or later.

If you choose to pay at the time, you'll pay the licensing fees owing plus an administration fee of $9.10.

If you choose to pay later:

  • you'll still need to pay the administration fee of $9.10 at the time of cancellation
  • we'll send you a payment notice in the mail for the licence fees owing.

You'll need to pay the payment notice within 14 days from the date on the notice, and you'll need to pay an additional administration fee of $10.20 when you pay.

If you have road user charges

If road user charges (RUC) apply to your vehicle, you must make sure all RUC is up to date before you cancel the registration. 

Find out which vehicles require road user charges

If there's any outstanding RUC, you may be invoiced for the outstanding amount.

If you cancel the registration for a heavy vehicle, you'll need to provide the current hubodometer and odometer reading on your MR15 form. For a light RUC vehicle, you'll only need to provide the odometer reading.

What happens next

The agent will send your application to the Transport Agency. Once we've processed your application, we'll update the Motor Vehicle Register and cancel the registration.

Refunds

 We may refund you any unexpired licence fees paid (the licence transaction fee is non-refundable). Any refund is liable for audit and is at the Registrar's discretion. 

You're required to return the number plates to get a refund. 

If your vehicle has been in a fire or accident and the plates can't be recovered, you'll need to get a letter from the police or fire service confirming this. If your vehicle was taken to a wrecker and has been destroyed or dismantled, you'll need to get a letter from the wrecker confirming this. 

If you haven't returned the plates and you want to get a refund, you'll need to send a refund request to:

  •  refunds@nzta.govt.nz or
  • Crown Revenue, NZ Transport Agency, Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442.

Your request must include: 

  • plate number, make and model of the vehicle that was cancelled 
  • an explanation of why you can't return the plates 
  • a letter from the police, fire service or wrecker (if applicable) 
  • your bank account details for the refund to be paid into (include a bank statement, deposit slip or screenshot to confirm the bank account number). 

If you've returned the plates, but you're leaving New Zealand and need any refund to be paid into a bank account, call us on 0800108 809 as soon as you've made your cancellation application at an agent so we can arrange this. It can only be paid into a New Zealand bank account. 

If you're not the registered person

You must be the registered person if you want to apply to cancel the registration.

If you've bought (or been gifted) a vehicle but haven't let us know yet, you'll need to let us know you've got the vehicle first. Then you can cancel the registration.

Let us know you've bought a vehicle

If you can't get to an agent

If you're the registered person but you can't get to an agent to cancel the registration, you can:

  • write your New Zealand driver licence number on the MR15 form as ID
  • complete and sign the form
  • give your original ID, number plates and form to someone you trust who can take them to an agent for you.

Registration cancelled by the Transport Agency

If your vehicle needs to be licensed continuously and you don’t license it for more than one year, we’ll automatically cancel the registration.

If your vehicle doesn’t need to be licensed continuously and you don’t license it for more than two years, we’ll automatically cancel the registration.

If you want to use your vehicle on the road again, you’ll need to register it again.

Check if your vehicle needs to be licensed continuously

Putting the vehicle back on the road

If your registration has been cancelled but you want to use the vehicle on the road again, there are several steps you need to follow first:

  • inspection
  • certification
  • registration
  • licensing
  • getting registration plates and labels issued to you.

How to register your vehicle when the registration has been cancelled

Factsheet 74 – Vehicle registration cancellation

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