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.
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.
As part of the registration process, the vehicle will be:
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.
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.
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 any details on your certificate are incorrect or they change (eg you paint your car a different colour) you need to let us know.
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).
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.
If your vehicle's registration has been cancelled but you want to use it on the road again, you need to register it again.
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.
The following vehicles are not required to undergo entry certification before being registered:
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.