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Licensing your vehicle

Updated: 9 December 2014

Vehicle licensing is the regular process through which you pay a fee to use your vehicle on public roads. It is commonly referred to as 'Rego'. The fee helps to pay for roading projects and road safety programmes. Licensing is not the same as registration – which is where you're issued with your number plates. You have to license your vehicle regularly – at least annually – and you must display a current licence label on your windscreen.

Changes to vehicle licensing fees in 2015

On 1 July 2015 the ACC levy portion of your vehicle licensing fee (rego) is going down by an average of 41% depending on your type of vehicle. To make sure you don't pay more than necessary you may want to consider opting for a shorter licensing renewal period, for example three or six months. That way you'll be ready to take full advantage of the new lower price when your vehicle licence comes up for renewal after July 2015. For more information refer to our frequently asked questions or call ACC on 0800 222 776.

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Licensing – your ongoing responsibility

Most motor vehicles must be licensed continuously. If you license your vehicle after the current licence has expired, you'll have to pay any backdated licence fees as well as the new licence fee. The backdated fees apply from the date the licence expires to the date you relicense. Some vehicles are exempt from the requirement to be continuously licensed.

The vehicle licensing process

We'll send you a renewal notice in the mail two to four weeks before your licensing fee is due. It will set out the fees and your options. The notice is sent to the address last recorded on the Motor Vehicle Register. If you forget to notify us of your new address and you don't receive a reminder from us, the licence label clearly shows the expiry date. If you forget to notify your address or re-license your vehicle for any reason, you're still legally required to pay the backdated fees as well as paying for a new licence.

You can quickly and easily relicense your vehicle online here. We'll send the label to you in the post.

Otherwise you can pay for your motor vehicle licence at any of our licensing agents, and at other independent agents. Look for the NZ Transport Agency logo. Either use the renewal notice you got in the mail, or fill out the appropriate licensing form at the agent.

There are some cases where you may not have to license your vehicle or where you may be exempt from having to keep your vehicle licensed continuously. Find out more on licence exemptions.

Before you relicense your vehicle

Make sure your vehicle has a current warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness. You are allowed to drive your vehicle on a road without a current licence if, and only if, you are taking it to get a current warrant of fitness or certificate of fitness.

Didn't receive a relicensing notice?

You still need to relicense your vehicle. If your licence has expired, your fastest option to obtain a licence is to go in person to one of our licensing agents. They can process your licence on the spot.

See more detailed information on vehicle licensing requirements.

The licensing label

When you pay the vehicle licensing fee you'll receive a licence label that shows when your licence next expires.

Vehicle licence label.

Vehicle licence label.

You must display this label as close as possible to the bottom of your vehicle's windscreen on the left-hand side (inside the windscreen), or for trailers and motorcycles, on or near your number plate.

If your licence label has become damaged or unreadable you'll need to get a replacement from one of our agents.

You've not relicensed your vehicle?

We'll send you an overdue notice six weeks after your licence expires.

We'll then send you a warning notice six months later if you've not taken steps to relicense your vehicle.

If your vehicle is still unlicensed after 11 months we'll send you a final warning before cancelling your registration four weeks later.

You didn't receive an overdue notice?

Again, as the registered person you're legally responsible for ensuring your vehicle is licensed at all times, we will still require you to pay backdated fees even after cancelling your registration.