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Registration certificate: what you need to know

In the UK, whenever any vehicle is registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (more commonly referred to as the DVLA), the agency will issue a registration certificate. Also known by its official reference, V5C, or its unofficial title, the ‘logbook’, this is a crucial document which every driver should keep safe.

General information about the registration certificate

Amongst the key information about any vehicle stored by this certificate is its registration number, the keeper’s details, the model, the vehicle identification number and the number of previous keepers. An important point to note is that the registration certificate is not proof of ownership – the DVLA record keepers rather than owners. Despite this, you should never purchase a vehicle without a certificate.

The registration certificate has been updated considerably. Aside from the fact its basic colour is now red rather than blue, the information sections on the back of the certificate have been simplified. It also contains advice about avoiding vehicle crime.

Red certificates will be issued for all vehicles which have not received one by November 2012. These will also be sent out should you apply for any changes to details on the certificate, or if a replacement has been ordered. The blue certificates are still valid in the meantime, in the event of you notifying the DVLA of changes to keeper details, taxing or requesting SORN (statutory off road notification), or selling your vehicle.

Like any other documentation, criminals often attempt to forge registration certificates. Whether your V5C is red or blue, it must clearly show the DVL watermark when held to the light.

Replacing a registration certificate

Because of the importance of the registration certificate in establishing details of any vehicle and its registered keeper, should anything happen to it you must take the appropriate steps to order a replacement. Whether it has been stolen, damaged or simply lost, you can apply to have it replaced by completing a V62 application form from your Post Office.

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