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Vehicle Registration in Australia – Rego Guide

Vehicle Registration in Australia – Rego Guide

In Australia all vehicles are registered in a State or Territory. It is called ‘The Registration’ or ‘The Rego’. Regulations vary from state to state which can make the process of buying and selling vehicles a bit complicated. Checkout our complete guide with all the information you might need on the ‘Rego’ to help you purchasing and selling a vehicle in Australia.

The Rego – What is it?

The ‘Rego’ is a document that identifies your vehicle. It is mandatory to have a valid Rego to drive a vehicle in Australia. The Rego must also be in the name of the owner of the vehicle. Therefore it is necessary to transfer the ‘Rego’ to your name when you purchase a Vehicle.

Compulsory insurance (CTP) is included with the Rego, except in New South Wales (NSW) where it is necessary to buy it separately from an insurance company when you renew the Rego. It is called a ‘green slip’. This insurance covers all bodily injury inflicted on a third person in the event of an accident. The CTP does not cover material damage so you should buy additional insurance.

Also note that the CTP of the states of VIC, TAS, ACT and NT also cover drivers at fault. And for an accident in the NT all passengers and drivers of vehicles from any state are covered by the NT CTP.

In general it is best to buy a vehicle with a current Rego. However sometimes a vehicle is available without Rego or with a Rego about to expire and you will have to pay the Rego at time of purchase. The owner can choose the duration of the Rego (1, 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the state).

Finally, to transfer the rego to your name you must go, in person, to the state/territory of registration to present your papers (except for Western Australia (WA) which is the only state that accepts documents by mail). So the transfer will be easier if you choose to buy a vehicle registered in WA.

Car Registration – How does it work?

The rules concerning the Rego differ from one state to another. It is therefore important to learn about the legislation of the state where you want to buy the vehicle.

Some states require a mandatory technical checkup when renewing the Rego (NSW, NT) or when purchasing/selling (ACT, QLD, VIC). You must therefore be in the state at the time of the change of ownership to carry out the technical checkup. If ever you are not in the NT or NSW at the time of renewal, consult the steps to follow in the section “Buying a vehicle outside its state of registration” of this article or contact the transport center of your state for instructions.

For any purchase the seller of the vehicle must provide you with a receipt for the purchase with the following information with regard to the vehicle:

  • the make;
  • model;
  • color;
  • year;
  • the plate number;
  • the VIN number (Vehicle Identification Number);
  • Date and price of sale;
  • names, addresses and signatures of the seller and buyer.

To transfer the Rego, the buyer must present the above mentioned information IN PERSON at the transportation office of the state of registration. The only exception is Western Australia that accepts paperwork by mail.

Buy or sell a vehicle in its registered state

The process is simpler is you sell or buy a car within the state where it is already registered.

The parties complete the transfer form. The seller will have to send his part (‘sellers copy’ or ‘notice of disposal’) to the transportation department. The buyer must present his papers IN PERSON at an office of the transportation department in in the state of registration (except for WA).

Australian Capital Territory

1. If the car is older than 6 years a technical inspection is required, the ‘Certificate of Inspection’. This can be done by the seller before the sale or by the buyer (maximum 14 days after purchase);

2. The seller and buyer complete the transfer form and the ‘Notice of Disposal’ together. These forms can be found on the back of the Registration Certificate or on the Access Camberra-Website.

3. The seller provides a receipt that shows: the names, addresses and signatures of the buyer and seller, the make, model, colour and year of the car. The plate number and the VIN (vehicle identification number). The date and price of the sale.

4. The seller sends the ‘Notice of Disposal’ to: Access Canberra – Road Transport Authority, PO Box 582, Dickson ACT 2602.

5. The buyer must provide in person: the “Registration Certificate” signed by the seller or the receipt of the purchase, the “Certificate of Inspection”, three proofs of identity including his passport, as well as a notification of the address in the ACT where the car will be parked.

5. The buyer pays the tax and the transfer fee.

New South Wales 

1. The seller and the buyer together fill out the ‘Application of Transfer’ and ‘Notice of Disposal’ forms;

2. The seller delivers the Notice of Disposal to the NSW Service by postal mail or email at noticeofdisposal@service.nsw.gov.au;

3. The seller provides a receipt showing: name, address, buyer’s and seller’s signatures, date of sale, price, plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the Registration certificate or other proof that he is the owner;

4. The buyer delivers in-person to the NSW Service office: The transfer form, the receipt, two documents proving identity, an official proof of address in NSW. You can go to your bank to request a ‘Letter of Introduction’;

5. The buyer pays the tax and transfer fee.

Northern Territory 

  1. The seller and buyer complete the transfer form together;

2. The seller sends the ‘Notice of Disposal’ section to the MVR (Motor Vehicle Registry) by email or mail: mvr@nt.gov.au – Department of Transport GPO Box 530 Darwin NT 0801;

3. The seller must provide and sign the ‘Registration Certificate’ or a receipt for his original purchase. The seller must provide a receipt that shows: names and adresses of the seller and buyer, the make, model, colour, the year of the car and the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). The date of the sale and the price;

4. The buyer delivers in-person to an MVR office: The form, the receipt, three documents providing proof of identity as well as proof of an address in the NT. A copy of a bank statement that shows the address in the NT should be enough;

5. The buyer pays the tax and transfer fee.

Queensland

1. The seller must pass a technical inspection (Roadworthy) to obtain the Safety Certificate. This is valid for two months or 2000 kilometers. It is therefore necessary to be in QLD to perform this check;

2. The seller and buyer complete the “Vehicle Transfer Application Form” together;

3. The seller sends a part of the form (part B ‘Sellers Copy’) to the QLD Transport. This must include a receipt that shows the names, addresses and signatures of the buyer and seller, date of sale, price, plate number and VIN (Vehicle Identification Number); The Buyer keeps Part A of the form.

4. The buyer completes the form: “New Customer Application“. (The CRN – Customer Reference Number – will be issued when you submit the forms);

5. The buyer delivers the following to the QLD Transport office: The two forms, the safety certificate, the receipt for the purchase, three forms of proof of identity including a passport as well as proof of residence in QLD;

6. The buyer pays the tax and the transfer fee.

South Australia

1. The seller and buyer together complete the transfer form. This form is on the back of the registration certificate.
Note: If the seller has lost the registration certificate he could order another certificate online but first he must create an account here: https://www.sa.gov.au
The other option is to submit the MR 15 form “Application for Replacement Registration Certificate“, in person at a Service SA office.

2. The seller sends the SA Transport office the part of the form called ‘Notice of Disposal’. He must provide a receipt for the purchase, which shows: names, addresses, signatures of the buyer and seller, make, model, colour and year of the vehicle, date of sale, price, plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

3. The buyer goes to his bank to ask for an official letter (Letter of Introduction) or a copy of his statement which shows his address in SA.

4. The buyer delivers the following in-person to the SA Transport office: The transfer form, three proofs of identity including a passport with the number of your visa, proof of address in SA (in the form of an official letter of the bank which also server as proof of identity) and the receipt for the purchase;

5. The buyer pays the tax and transfer fee.

Note: A non-registered car that was previously registered in SA does not need a Vehicle Identity Inspection.

Tasmania

1. The seller and buyer together complete the transfer form. The form is on the back of the Registration Certificate and on the Transport Tasmania-Website;

2. The seller provides a receipt for purchase, which shows: names, addresses, signatures of buyer and seller, make, model, colour and year of vehicle, date of sale, price, plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

3. The seller sends the part ‘Notice of Disposal’ to: Tasmania Service by email tes@stategrowth.tas.gov.au, together with a copy of the transfer form or by post to Tasmania Service – The Registrar, Motor Vehicles, GPO BOX 1002 Hobart Tasmania 7001. The seller provides a receipt which shows: The name, address signatures of buyer and seller, date of sale, price, license plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN);

4. The buyer delivers the following in-person to the Tasmania Service Office: The transfer form, the receipt for the purchase, three proof of identity and proof of address in Tasmania (e.g. bank statement copy);

5. The buyer pays the tax and the transfer fee.

Victoria

1. The seller must pass a roadworthiness test to obtain the VIC Roadworthy Certificate (RWC). This certificate is valid for one month;

2. The seller and the buyer complete the form together; ‘Application for Transfer of Registration’.

3. The seller provides a receipt for purchase, which shows: names, addresses, signatures of buyer and seller, make, model, color and year of vehicle, date of sale, price, plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

4. The buyer presents in the following in person at the VicRoads office: the form, the RWC, the receipt for purchase and two proofs of identity including a passport and proof of residence in Victoria (for instance a bank statement);

5. For the seller it is not mandatory to inform VicRoads of the sale. It is, therefore, the sole responsibility of the buyer. So it may be a good idea to send a letter to Vic roads with all the details of the receipt in case the buyer does not perform the transfer well;

6. The buyer pays the tax and the transfer fee.

Western Australia 

You will find many backpacker vehicles registered in WA. The main reason is that WA is the only state where paperwork does not have to be handed over in person so buying and selling is quite easy anywhere in Australia.

1. The seller and buyer complete the Transfer form together. The buyer must also complete the form ‘Proof of Identity’
Note: the buyer must enter a home address in WA. The seller must send the green part of the form (seller’s copy) to the WA Department of Transport. Buyer must fill the red section;

2. The Seller must provides a receipt for purchase, which shows: names, addresses, signatures of buyer and seller, make, model, colour and year of vehicle, date of sale, price, plate number, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

3. The buyer delivers the following to the DOT WA office in person: the 2 forms and two proofs of identity (passport and credit card). In addition, he must provide a home / garaging address in WA and a proof of address in WA (a copy of a bank statement with an address in WA);

4. The buyer pays tax and a transfer fee

Note: If you want to buy a vehicle from WA from another state see the ‘special case’ box in the next section.

car rego in Australia

Buying a car without Rego

Two problems can arise when purchasing a car without Rego:

  1. It is illegal to move the vehicle. Unless the buyer buys the compulsory insurance and moves it straight to a garage. Without a valid Rego the vehicle is not insured for damages caused to third parties. If you get into a accident the financial and legal consequences could be enormous. Another option is to hire a mobile mechanic who will come to the owners home and do the technical checkup on the spot;
  2. You have to pass a technical inspection to register the car and this comes with the risks of expensive repairs. If possible insist that the person selling you the car obtains this certificate before you buy the vehicle.

To purchase a car without Rego it is necessary to follow the same steps as for buying a car from outside the state of registration. Except that, obviously, the seller will not have to go to the transportation department to bring back the licence plates.

Be aware that a vehicle inspection will be mandatory (except in SA) to register the car if the rego has expired for more than 3 months (TAS, WA, NSW) or more than 12 months in the NT. Of course an inspection is also mandatory for vehicles from the VIC, QLD and ACT.

Buying a vehicle from outside its registration state

For the change of another state, if the car is registered in the QLD or the VIC, or if the seller wants to take a refund of the remaining days of the rego, it will be necessary to go with the seller to a transport office where the seller will hand over the old state license plates and you will need to complete the registration form.

A specific case: Western Australia

WA is the only state that accepts property transfers without having to be present in WA itself. Example: You can buy a vehicle registered in WA from NSW (or any other state). The parties follow the same procedure as if the sale took place in WA, except that the buyer must have the copies of his documents certified, provide proof of identity and send all paper by mail to DOT WA. The buyer must also provide a home address/garage address anywhere in Australia to receive the papers. For more information, read the Rego Renewal Rules at the end of this article.

Australian Capital Territory

1. A technical control must be passed in ACT to obtain the ‘Certificate of Inspection’ (valid for one month);

2. If the car is less than 10 years old, a Vehicle ID Check is required.

3. The seller provides the signed ‘registration certificate’ or a receipt for the purchase which shows: the make, the model, the colour, the year, the plate number and the VIN (Vehicle Registration Number), the date and the price of sale and the names and the addresses of the parties;

4. At an Access Canberra office, the buyer personally delivers ‘Registration Certificate‘ of the old state or a receipt, the registration form (available at the Access Canberra office), ‘Certificate of Inspection’ , the vehicle ID check (if relevant), three proofs of identity including his passport, as well as a notification of the address in the ACT where the car will be parked.

New South Wales

1. A technical inspection is required. For the transfer from another state to NSW the RWC (the so-called ‘blue slip’) is mandatory.

For a NSW car with expired Rego for less than three months the ‘pink slip’ will suffice. It is less strict and cheaper then the blue slip. If possible the buyer should insist that the seller gets this document;

2. The seller must provide the registration certificate or other proof that he is the real owner and a receipt showing: Name, address, signature of the buyer and seller, date of sale, price, licence plate number and the VIC (Vehicle Identification Number);

3. The buyer purchases the CTP (Compulsory Third Party insurance) also called the Green slip from an insurance company;

4. The buyer completes the ‘Application for Registration ‘ form;

5. In an NSW Service office the buyer submits the transfer form, the RWC, two proofs of identity including his passport, a proof of address in NSW (‘Letter of Introduction’ on the official bank paper or a copy of his bank statement), the receipt for the purchase and the receipt for the Green Slip.

Northern Territory 

1. If the car is more than five year old you are required to obtain the RWC at the MVR at Darwin, Alice Springs or Katherine or an authorised garage in the NT. For a car that is less than five year old a compliance check will suffice;

2. The buyer must complete the registration form;

3. The seller must provide the ‘Registration Certificate’ or a receipt for the purchase which shows: The make, model, color, year of the car, the plate numbers, the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), date and price of the sale and the addresses of the parties;

4. In an office of the MVR, the buyer must submit the form, the receipt or the Registration Certificate signed by the seller, three proofs of identity including his passport as well as proof of residence in the NT (copy of his statement banking, for example).

Queensland

1. A technical inspection is necessary to obtain the ‘Safety certificate’ of QLD. Always insist that the seller gets this document;

2. The seller must provide you with a receipt for the purchase that shows: the make, model, colour and year of the car, the plate number and VIN (vehicle identification number), the date and the price of the sale and the names, addresses and signatures of the parties.

2. The buyer must complete the following form: ‘New Customer Application’ and ‘Vehicle Registration Application‘. The CRN (Customer Reference Number) will be delivered to the transport office;

3. In a QLD Transport office, the buyer must provide the two forms mentioned above, the safety certificate, the receipt for the purchase as well as three proofs of identity and proof of address of residence in QLD (for instance a copy of a bank statement showing an address in QLD).

South Australia

1. A “Vehicle Identity Inspection” in a Vehicle Inspection Station is necessary to obtain the “Vehicle Identity Inspection Report” from SA. If your address is more than 40kms from Adelaide city centre, Inspection is possible at a police station.
Note: A non-registered car that was previously registered in SA does not need a Vehicle Identity Inspection;

2. The seller must provide you with a receipt for the purchase that shows: the make, model, colour and year of the car, the plate number and VIN (vehicle identification number), the date and the price of the sale and the names, addresses and signatures of the parties.

3. The buyer must go to his bank to fill out and stamp the proof of address in SA. He must also complete the form ‘Application for Registration and Third Party Insurance‘;

4. At an SA Service office, the buyer provides the form, the Vehicle Identity Inspection Report, three proofs of identity, proof of address in SA, the receipt for the purchase.

Note: To change the rego to SA you do not need a technical control. You simply need a Vehicle Identity Inspection. However the seller could change the rego to SA without Vehicle Identity inspection as long as the original ‘Registration Certificate’ is in his name.

Tasmania

1. A technical check is required to obtain the AIS Report (RWC) from TAS.

2. The seller provides a receipt for the purchase that shows: The make, model, color, year of the car, the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), the date and price of sale and the names and addresses of the parties;

3. The buyer must go to the Service Tasmania office and provide the registration form (which is to be collected in person at the office), the receipt of the purchase, three proves of identity including a passport and proof of an address in Tasmania.

Victoria

1. To obtain the RWC from Vic a technical check is required;

2. Set an appointment in advance at the Vicroads office;

3. The seller provides a receipt for the purchase that shows: The make, model, colour, year of the car, plate number, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), the date and price of the sale and the names, addresses of the parties;

4. The parties must go to a Vicroads office where the seller provides the plates and the buyer submits the ‘Vehicle Registration’ form, the RWC, the receipt for the purchase, a proof of address in VIC and two proofs of identity (including a pasport). The seller will have to return the old plates.

Western Australia

1. A technical check is required to obtain the WA RWC. To pass this technical control the car must have an approved anti-theft device.

2. The seller provides a receipt for the purchase that shows: The make, model, year of the car, the plate number and the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) as well as the date and price of sale and the names, addresses of the parties;

3. The buyer must complete the formApplication to License Vehicle‘ and the ‘Proof of Identity‘;

4. The buyer must go to a DOT office to hand over the plates from the old state and provide the Inspection Certificate (RWC), both forms with two proofs of identity (including a passport) and a bank card and a home/garaging address in WA.

Refund of remaining Rego days

The seller can claim a refund of the days remaining on the old Rego when he hands in the plates. The seller will receive a receipt that must be sent with the refund/cancellation form to the ‘old’ state. A refund will be given for the remaining days. For ACT and NSW cars it is the buyer who can request a refund. Note: it is possible for the buyer to return the plates, but the buyer will not be able to claim a refund (except for an ACT or NSW car).

Rego Renewal

You will be able to renew the rego of all states by internet, telephone or in person. To pay online: in NSW, ACT and WA all you need is the plate number. In Tasmania and NT you also need the transaction / payment number, which can be found on the Renewal Notice. For the states of VIC and QLD the customer number is mandatory and in SA the customer number or billing number is required. In addition, if at the time of the transfer you open a myVicRoads or mysaGOV account it is possible to renew the rego with your account. Otherwise you have the option of paying by phone or in person.

For cars of NSW (over 5 years old) or NT (from 5 years old) a technical check is required to renew rego. Usually, the technical control must be done in the state that requires it. For NSW and the NT, the technical inspection is required annually. So if the former owner has passed a technical inspection six months ago and it was renewed it is not necessary to renew it for six months.

NB: For NT vehicles, if you are not on the territory and an inspection is mandatory for renewal. NT will accept out-of-state RWC but MVR in Darwin should be contacted for information on how to proceed. For NSW vehicles, if you are not in the state, be aware that there is a procedure by email and telephone where NSW accepts RWCs from other states but the procedure is quite complicated and not possible by internet.

Rego state by state table in Australia

Find a summary of the rules for each state here:

Roadworthy certificateRoadworthy certificate renewalRoadworthy priceRenewable onlineDuration of regoPrice to transfer regoRego price + compulsory insurance per yearWebsites
NSWNOYES for a car over 5 years old.$42 if NSW rego valid. $67 for othersYES if in NSW, with billing number, pink slip and green slip.6 or 12 months$34 + 3% of the value$900 - $2,000 depending on the weight of the vehicle and your insurance profile
VICYES in VICNONo fixed. Usually $100 - $150YES3, 6 or 12 months$40 + 4,1% of the value$726 rural - 791$ outer metropolitan - $846 City
SANONO$65 for a vehicle from another state (ID Inspection)YES3 or 12 months$31 + 3,4% of the value$550 – $950 rural / $700 – $1100 Adelaide
TASNONO. LPG gas inspection$206 (vehicle from other state or with no rego for more than 3 months)YES With payment number3, 6 or 12 months$30 + 3% of the value$550 – $700 according to engine type
WANONONot fixed - $150 - $200 for vehicle from another stateYES3, 6 or 12 months$19 + 2,75% to 3% of the value$21 per 100 kg + $410 (about $800)
NTNOYES on the 5th anniversary of the vehicle and annually from 10 years$59YES with transaction number and RWC1, 3, 6 or 12 months$18 + 3% of the value$600 - $1,300 depending on engine type
QLDYES in QLDNO$88YES with customer number6 or 12 months$30 + 3% to 3.5% of the value$700 - $1000 depending on engine cc
ACTYES in the ACT. Car over 6 years oldNO but LPG gas inspection$75YES except for LPG vehicles3, 6 or 12 months$44 + 1 to 4% of the value$900 - $1,200 depending on the weight of the vehicle

LPG vehicles

For an ACT or TAS LPG vehicle, a gas inspection is required from an accredited gas company.

Article by Tom Kimmet (Rego expert) – Updated 1 June 2022

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