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Changes to the V5 vehicle registration document

Carlton Boyce / 14 September 2015 ( 21 August 2018 )

You can now report a change of car ownership online, rather than by post. We look at the changes to the V5 vehicle registration document.

Person driving along a country road
You can now change a car's ownership by completing a V5 form online

Those of you who have bought or sold a car in the last few years might have noticed that the DVLA is encouraging drivers to report a change of ownership online, rather than by post. 

While this has been done to save the DVLA some paperwork (and, presumably a lot of money), it also brings some very real benefits to both seller and buyer. 

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What are the changes to the V5 vehicle registration document?

When you sell a car you must tell the DVLA that you have done so. This keeps its records up-to-date and makes sure that it knows with whom to deal in the future. 

Crucially, it also insulates you from any offences that the new owner may commit in your old car.

In the past you told the DVLA that you’d sold a car by completing the relevant section of the log book (or V5, as it’s officially known) by hand before giving the buyer the V5C/2 New Keeper Supplement and posting the rest of it to the DVLA in Swansea. 

You must still do the latter but the former can now be done online.

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How do I inform the DVLA online?

If you visit the DVLA’s online portal Tell DVLA you’ve sold or bought a vehicle, it will guide you through a series of questions. 

It’s a straightforward process but you will need the vehicle’s V5 registration document because you have to enter the 11-digit reference number. 

You’ll also need the new owner’s details, including an email address if they have one.

You still give the buyer, or ‘new keeper’, the green V5C/2. This acts as a temporary V5 until they get a new one in their name.

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What are the benefits of the v5 document changes to me?

There are a few benefits to recording the sale online rather than posting off your V5 document: the biggest is that the DVLA will have an instantaneous record of the point of sale, so if the new owner speeds down the road and triggers a speed camera, the DVLA knows to send them the ticket, not you!

There are other benefits, too: the online registration process triggers an email and a letter to you, both of which confirm that the DVLA has successfully recorded the change in keeper. It also calculates any outstanding road fund licence (‘car tax’), raises a cheque, and posts it to you.

The new keeper also gets an email from the DVLA confirming the changes and a new V5 within five working days.

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I don’t have a computer, so can I still post my V5 document to the DVLA?

Yes you can. Just complete it in the same way you have always done and pop it in a stamped envelope to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BA.

If you do post it, it might be worthwhile recording the time of the sale as well as the date, and getting the buyer to sign a receipt that you keep. 

This will give you some protection against any speeding tickets they clock up.

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What if I sell my car to a car dealer?

The process is exactly the same, no matter who you sell your car to.

What do I do with the old V5 document?

The DVLA advises you to destroy your old V5 vehicle registration document. 

Shred it if you can or otherwise destroy it completely to avoid identity thieves or other criminals getting their hands on it.

Is there anything else I need to know?

You can now transfer or retain a cherished registration number online too. 

This is just as easy to do and records it all instantaneously, enabling you to either retain it or put it on your new car immediately, instead of having to wait weeks for the new V5 document to arrive.

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Next article: Do you know about these changes to the UK driving licence? >>>

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