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Reregistering your vehicle

If your vehicle’s registration has been cancelled and you want to use the vehicle on the road again, it must be reregistered.

This page covers light vehicles that were previously registered in New Zealand. (Light vehicles have a gross vehicle mass of 3500 kilograms or less eg cars, vans and utility vehicles.)

If you need information on reregistering other types of vehicle (heavy vehicles, trailers, tractors or all-terrain vehicles etc), contact us.

The reregistration process

The reregistration process involves a safety inspection, certification, registration and licensing. A registration agent can carry out all of these steps. You need to provide proof that the vehicle has previously been registered in New Zealand.

Vehicles that have been structurally damaged or modified

If the vehicle being reregistered has been structurally damaged or modified, the agent may refer the vehicle to a specialist certifier:

  • a repair certifier, if a vehicle has structural damage or deterioration or previous structural repairs that could affect its safety
  • a low-volume vehicle (LVV) certifier, if a vehicle has been modified in a way that could affect its safety.

How to reregister

You can reregister your vehicle if it isn’t registered but:

  • has been registered in New Zealand before, and
  • hasn’t been structurally damaged or deteriorated, and
  • hasn’t been modified.

Step 1

Take the vehicle to a registration agent with proof that it has been previously registered in New Zealand and that you’re the person entitled to reregister the vehicle.

The proof of previous registration can be old registration papers or documentation that verifies the vehicle’s VIN or chassis number, for example number plates and a warrant of fitness checksheet, or number plates and insurance policy documents that show the VIN or chassis number.

The agent will need to be satisfied that these documents demonstrate that the vehicle, when originally registered, was designed and constructed according to the requirements applying at that time. 

Step 2

The agent will inspect the vehicle, attach a VIN to it if necessary, and issue a record of certification for compliance with registration requirements. The agent will charge a fee for the vehicle inspection and certification. Information about the vehicle will be added to the motor vehicle register.

Step 3

The vehicle qualifies for a warrant of fitness from the date it passes the agent’s inspection.

Step 4

The agent can reregister and license the vehicle for you so that you can legally drive it on the road. The reregistration and licensing fee includes the cost of the new number plates and the necessary licence labels. The vehicle can be reregistered immediately by the agent, or within the period for which the record of certification is valid.

Step 5

Your vehicle may be driven on the road when it has its new number plates, licence label, warrant of fitness label and (if applicable) RUC licence attached.

Note: Until the reregistration and relicensing process is complete, a vehicle can’t be driven on the road – it must be towed or transported.

The process may be more complicated and costly if the vehicle has been structurally damaged, deteriorated or modified in a way which could affect its safety performance, and the agent refers it to a specialist certifier.

What if my vehicle has structural damage or deterioration?

It’s advisable to go to a registration agent before the vehicle is repaired. The agent will assess if the repair needs to be certified under the supervision of a specialist repair certifier. The repair certifier is responsible for ensuring that the repair is carried out correctly.

If the vehicle has already had structural repair, the agent will assess whether the repair needs to be certified. If it does, the repair certification may involve taking parts of the vehicle apart, because the repair certifier has to be satisfied with the quality of the repair.

Once the repair certifier is satisfied, they issue a repair certificate, which will be sent with the vehicle back to the agent.

You'll need to pay the costs of repair and the costs of repair certification, in addition to the cost of certification for registration.

If a vehicle is so severely damaged or so poorly repaired that it’s unsuitable for repair certification, it won't be given a repair certificate. The vehicle will be released to you but you can’t, by law, register the vehicle or drive it on the road until it meets the appropriate standard.

What if I’ve modified or rebuilt my vehicle?

Modifications to a vehicle may affect its safety performance to the extent that it needs to be certified by a specialist low volume vehicle (LVV) certifier. The agent will assess whether this is necessary or not.

When the LVV certifier is satisfied with the safety performance of the vehicle, the vehicle returns to the agent. There will be a charge for LVV certification, in addition to the agent’s certification costs.

Visit the Low Volume Vehicle Technical Association website (external link)

What about costs?

Fees vary depending on the organisation and the specific service being offered.

The costs for registration and licensing are set by legislation and vary according to vehicle type, engine size and vehicle use. 

See our most common registration and licensing fees

When is a vehicle cancelled?

Common reasons for cancelling registration include a vehicle remaining unlicensed for more than a year, or a vehicle being ‘written off’ by an insurance company. 

More information about vehicle cancellation