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A Comprehensive Guide to Transferring Car Ownership in the UK

Transferring car ownership in the United Kingdom is a relatively straightforward process, but it’s crucial to follow the correct steps to ensure a legal and smooth transition of ownership. Whether you’re buying, selling, gifting, or inheriting a vehicle, this guide will provide you with a comprehensive overview of how to transfer car ownership in the UK. See how to establish legal owner.

Step 1: Gather Required Documents

Before initiating the car ownership transfer process, gather the essential documents, including:

  1. V5C Registration Certificate: Also known as the logbook, this document contains important information about the vehicle, including the current registered keeper. The seller should provide the V5C to the buyer.
  2. A Purchase invoice: This document records the sale of the vehicle and should be signed by both the buyer and the seller. It’s not legally required, but it’s a good practice to have one for your records.
  3. MOT Certificate: Make sure the vehicle has a valid MOT certificate if it’s over three years old.
  4. Service history and vehicle documentation: Providing service records and other relevant documents can help reassure the buyer and establish the car’s history.

Step 2: Notify the DVLA

Both the buyer and seller must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about the change in ownership. This can typically be done online, by mail, or over the phone. The necessary information includes the car’s registration number, the 11-digit reference number from the V5C, and the new keeper’s details.

Step 3: Payment of Vehicle Tax

Before transferring ownership, the seller should ensure that the vehicle tax is up to date. The buyer should also tax the vehicle in their name. This can be done online, over the phone, or at a Post Office that provides this service.

Step 4: Complete the V5C

The seller must complete the “Seller’s Declaration” section of the V5C and send it to the DVLA. The buyer should also complete the “New Keeper” section of the V5C and send it to the DVLA.

Step 5: Obtain a Vehicle History Check

Consider getting a vehicle history check from a reputable provider to verify the car’s history and check for any outstanding finance or issues that may affect its value.

Step 6: Vehicle Inspection

If you’re buying a used car, consider having a professional vehicle inspection to ensure the car’s condition matches the description provided by the seller. Book inspection Buying a car from private seller.

Transferring car ownership online

The easiest way to transfer ownership of a vehicle to a car dealer, car buying service or a scrapyard is by completing an online form on the DVLA website. You’ll need to provide details of the new owner and the 11-digit reference number from your vehicle’s V5C logbook. Reminder This service is available from 7am to 7pm.

Once you have completed the form, you should receive an email confirmation (and so will the new owner, so long as you have provided their address). The new owner should also receive a new V5C logbook by post within five working days. Difference between keeper and owner of the vehicle.

Transferring car ownership by post

To transfer car ownership by post:

  • Complete section 2 of your V5C.
  • Detach the New Keeper’s slip, fill out the Date of Sale/Transfer section – and give it to the new owner.
  • Post the remainder of your V5C (including section 2) to: DVLA, Swansea, SA99 IBA.

Transferring ownership when exporting a vehicle

If you wish to permanently export a vehicle, you must detach section 5 from your V5C logbook – and provide the date of export and a signed declaration before sending it to DVLA at the following address:

DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BD

This cannot be done online.

You should give the remainder of the V5C logbook to the new owner, as they will need this to legally drive the vehicle in the country of export.

DVLA Vehicle Enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6802
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm
Saturdays, 8am to 2pm


Transferring car ownership in the UK is a well-documented process, and following these steps will help you complete it successfully. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, taking the time to understand the process and gather the necessary documentation will ensure a smooth and legally compliant transfer of car ownership. Additionally, consulting the DVLA’s official website and customer service can provide further guidance and ensure you have the most up-to-date information for your specific circumstances.

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