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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, so it is necessary to transfer the Rego to your name when your 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.

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 (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, AQL, VIC). You must therefore be in the state at the time of the change of ownership to carry out the technical checkup.

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).

Steps to follow per Territory / State

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

1- If the car is older than 6 years a technical inspection is required, ‘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 sends the ‘Notice of Disposal‘ to: Access Canberra – Road Transportation Authority, PO Box 582, Dickson ACT 2602;

4- The buyer must provide in person: The Registration Certificate of the old state or the receipt, the registration form (available at the Access Canberra office), the Certificate of Inspection, the receipt, three proofs of identity (passport, proof of residence in ACT for three months, bank statement). All receipts must show an address in the ACT as well as evidence of residence for at least three months;

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

New South Wales (NSW)

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;

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 Territories (NT)

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: the make, model, color, the year of the car and the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number);

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 (QLD)

1- The seller must pass a technical inspection 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 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);

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 (SA)

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 must complete the Application for Replacement Registration Certificate form in order to obtain it in person in SA;

2- The seller sends part B of the form (‘Sellers Copy’) to the SA Transport authority. 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);

3- The buyer goes to the bank to fill out and stamp the proof of 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.

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

Tasmania (TAS)

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 sends the part ‘Notice of Disposal‘ 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);

3- 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);

4- The buyer pays the tax and the transfer fee.

Victoria (VIC)

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 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);

4- 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;

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

Western Australia (WA)

This is clearly the most liberal state when it comes to registering your vehicle. You will find that many backpackers register their vehicle in WA

1- The seller and buyer complete the transfer form together. 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. The buyer must fill the red section;

2-  The buyer must also complete the ‘Fitment of an immobilizer declaration‘ form if the car is under 26 years old;

3- The buyer delivers the following to the DOT WA office in person: both forms and two proofs of identity. In addition he must provide a home / garaging address in WA and a proof of address in WA (actually the DOT never asks for it). However, it might be a good idea to print a copy of a bank statement with an address in WA anyway;

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.

Buying a car without Rego or from outside its registration state

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.

For changing to another state it will be necessary to go with the seller to a transport office where the seller will give you the license plates of the old state and you will have to fill a registration form.

A specific case: Western Australia

Know that 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, see the Rego Renewal Rules at the end of this article.

Steps to be taken for a new registration (expired or transferred from another state)

For purchasing 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 license plates.

Know that 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. 

ACT

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

2- The seller provides the signed ‘registration certificate‘ or a receipt for the purchase which shows: the make, the model, the color, 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;

3- The parties must go to the Access Canberra office where the seller delivers the plates of the old state;

4- The buyer must provide in person: The Registration Certificate of the old state or a receipt, the registration form (available at the Access Canberra Office), the Certificate of Inspection, three proofs of identity including a passport and proof of residence in ACT for three months. This could be bank statements sent to an address in the ACT. All receipts must show an address in the ACT as well as evidence of residence for at least three months.

NSW

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 then 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;

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

5- The parties go to an NSW Service office where the seller delivers the places of the old state;

6- The buyer provides the transfer form, the RWC, two proofs of identity, a proof of address in NSW (‘Letter of Introduction’ on the official bank statement, the receipt for purchase and the receipt for the Green Slip

NT

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- At the MVR office the vendor will have to surrender the license plates of the old state. The buyer must give him the form, the receipt, three proof of identities and proof of address in the NT (copy of your bank statement for example).

QLD

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

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

3- The parties must go to a QLD Transport office where the seller will hand over the plates of the old state;

4- 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).

SA

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.

1- A Vehicle Identity Inspection from a Vehicle Inspection Station or police station is required to obtain SA’s Vehicle Identity Inspection Report. Note: A non-registered car that was previously registered in SA does not need a Vehicle Identity Inspection;

2- 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‘;

3- The parties must go to an office of SA Transport where the seller provides the plates of the old state. The buyer provides the form, the Vehicle Identity Inspection Report, three proofs of identity, a proof of address in SA and the receipt for the purchase.

TAS

1- A technical check is required to obtain the AIS Report (RWC) from TAS. For a car from TAS whose rego expired less than three months ago, you are not required to provide a technical control. You will be required to pay the rego from the date of expiration. If the rego expired more than three months ago a technical inspection is necessary;

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 parties must go to the Service Tasmania office where the seller delivers the plates of the old state and the buyer provides 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.

VIC

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, color, 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 an 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.

WA

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. For a car from WA with an rego that has expired less than three months ago a technical checkup is not necessary. You will be required to pay the rego from the date of expiry;

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 form ‘Application to License Vehicle‘ and ‘Proof of Identity‘;

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

Rego Renewal

You can renew the rego of all states by internet, phone or in person. However, in Tasmania, NT and NSW you need the ‘payment number’ / ‘transaction number’ / ‘billing number’ which is on the Renewal Notice. Otherwise you have the option to pay by phone or in person.

For cars of NSW (over 5 years old) or NT (over 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.

Note for vehicles of the NT : If you are not in the territory and must renew your Rego, you can pass a technical control in another state (this is possible only once per Rego).

Note for NSW vehicles: If you are not in the state, the NSW service accepts RWCs from other states but the procedure is complicated. This is impossible without the original ‘Registration Renewal Notice’ and it is not possible to get this online.

LPG vehicles

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

Written by Tom Kimmet & translated by Joshua

Vehicle Registration in Australia – Rego Guide
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Joshua Waleson
Written by Joshua Waleson