Whether it’s lost, stolen or not arrived from the DVLA, here’s everything you need to know about the V5C registration certificate

Time 1 year ago

The V5C is a critical part of the sales process, as a new certificate means you’ve become the new registered keeper.

Car dealers won’t necessarily have a V5C, as they would have taken the car into the trade rather than becoming a new registered keeper.

If a private customer is selling you their car, you’ll need the V5C reference number – even if you do it online. If you’re buying a car and the owner doesn’t have the V5C, this could mean the vehicle is stolen and should be a red flag.


What is a V5C?
A V5C is the code given by the DVLA for your paper registration certificate. It includes all of the specific details for the model of car, who owns it now and how many previous owners it’s had.

How do I put a V5C into my name?
There are two ways to get the V5C document in your name if you’re buying a vehicle.

The existing copy will have a green slip on the third page. The previous owner should give you this then complete the change of ownership details in the remaining part of the certificate and post it to the DVLA. The green slip should allow you to tax a vehicle without it being in your name yet.

The previous owner can also do this online now by going to the DVLA’s website and completing the same details.

If you need to change your address or name, you need to complete the section within the V5C and post it to the DVLA. This would typically take around six weeks but can be longer at the moment due to coronavirus.

What should I do if I lose my V5C?
If you lose your V5C you’ll need to order a new one from the DVLA. This works the same way for if it’s stolen, damaged or completely destroyed and it’ll cost you £25 to replace. You can do this by phone if you’re the registered keeper and the V5C is in your name.

If it’s not registered in your name already you’ll need to change these details by completing a V62 form and posting it to the DVLA. If you are the new keeper and the new V5C hasn’t arrived with you, you will also need to do this process but also send the green slip with the V62.

Can I find my V5C number online?
If you’re trying to find your V5C reference number online you won’t have much luck. You’ll have to try one of the options above. If you want to tax your vehicle and you’re the registered keeper, you’ll get a V11 reminder that will allow you to tax it again.

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How do I find my V5C number without a logbook?
Unless you happened to have written it down, the only way to get this number is on the logbook. Therefore you’ll need to apply for a new one with a V62 form, which will cost £25 and take at least six weeks.

Does the V5C document reference number change?
Every time a new V5C document is issued for the car, which happens every time the owner changes, it’s given a new reference number. If you use an old V5C reference it won’t allow you to tax the car or register it in a new name.

Can I tax a vehicle without the V5C?
You can tax a vehicle with the V11 reminder or, if you’re a new keeper, using a V62 registration certificate and a green slip from the old V5C.

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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