Vehicle documents

Before you can legally drive on the road in the UK, there are some documents you must have.

  • Driving licence: you must have a valid licence for the type of vehicle you're driving. For more information on how to get your driving licence, visit the provisional licence section.
  • The vehicle registration certificate (V5C) (log book): your vehicle must be registered with DVLA. The vehicle registration certificate (V5C) will show the details that have been registered (registered keeper and vehicle information).
  • Vehicle tax: vehicle tax must be paid on all vehicles used or kept on public roads, unless the vehicle is exempt. Visit GOV.UK to pay your vehicle tax or claim an exemption. If you want to take your vehicle off the road instead of taxing it, you must make a Statutory Off-Road Notification (SORN). Make a SORN at GOV.UK.
  • Car insurance: it’s illegal to drive without insurance. You must have at least third-party cover before you can take a vehicle on public roads.
  • MOT test certificate: the MOT test checks your vehicle is safe on the road and that it meets minimum legal standards for its effect on the environment. If your vehicle is more than 3 years old, it must have a valid MOT certificate. The certificate lasts for one year – then you’ll need to get the vehicle tested again.

You must tell DVLA if you

You must show your driving licence, a valid insurance certificate and a current MOT certificate (if appropriate) when an authorised person, such as a police officer, asks for them. You can either produce them immediately or within 7 days at a police station.

If you borrow or rent a vehicle, or if you lend someone your vehicle, it’s your responsibility to make sure that all the appropriate documents are in place. Never assume that someone else has arranged the documents or that they’re not necessary.

Other countries may have different rules about these documents so remember to check before you drive abroad. You may need to have your documents with you whenever you’re driving. Find out more about driving abroad.

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