The Car Buyer » Registering a car in South Africa

Registering a car in South Africa

Procedure for registering a car in South Africa

How do I register a car on my name?

You register a vehicle by submitting a registration form to the motor vehicle registering authority.

Where do you register a car?

The department in charge of vehicle registration is called the MVR, motor vehicle registration authority commonly referred to as the traffic department or vehicle license office.
You can only register a car in your own district. If you live in Cape Town, you cannot register a vehicle in Johannesburg unless your address is changed and fica’d accordingly. This will change the address of all the vehicles registered onto your name and you will need to re-license the vehicles to obtain the correct number plates for that province.

Why do you register a vehicle?

You are registering a vehicle so you can take legal ownership. You want proof of ownership for the vehicle. Ownership is confirmed once you have a certificate of registration with your name and ID number listed under owner and title holder. You also want the authority to license the vehicle annually and to insure the car, for this you need to be registered as the owner at the very least.

The registered title holder has higher authority than the registered owner. In the case of vehicle registration, being the owner simply means you are responsible for the vehicle.

Registering a vehicle onto your name is usually a straight forward process, in some instances which is usually in the absence of the correct documentation, it can be frustrating. To start off, we will list the documents that come into play when registering a vehicle.

what do I need to register a vehicle ?

    • The certificate of registration, this is title deed of the vehicle. The entire registration process is about changing the particulars of the vehicle certificate of registration to reflect that of your own. You want the cars papers to list your name and id number under owner and title holder. When this is achieved, you have successfully registered the car, bakkie,motorbike,  truck, trailer etc
    • The NCO form (notification of change of ownership) is a double sided document that’s officially distributed as a yellow document. A limited amount of these forms seem to be available and as such a blank black and white copy can be used to write on. If you do photocopy this document be sure to copy and complete both sides. The document contains 3 sections.
      • A – The sellers details. Contains a section for the sellers details, sellers proxy where applicable and acknowledgement
      • B – The buyers details. Contains a section for the buyers details, buyers proxy where applicable and acknowledgement
      • C – The vehicles details. To be completed by the seller, all the information required for this section is available on the license disk of the vehicle.

      Its important to note: the Notification of change of ownership document cannot be furnished with errors especially in the date fields.
      When completed correctly, The NCO form is the official document that constitutes a receipt.
      In some rare cases, an NCO may not be required provided theres a correctly worded receipt, invoice or letter from the bank for the vehicle. Its better to be prepared and have an NCO form completed before you attempt to register a vehicle.
      A photocopy of the raw blank document is accepted, but a photocopy of a completed signed form may not be accepted.

Registration form

      A blue form called the RLV must be completed and signed by the buyer or in the case of a company, the proxy or proxies representative


      This form contains 3 sections
      • A, The details of the title holder
      • B, the details of the owner. If the owner and title holder are the same, section B can be left blank
      • C, the details of the vehicle

Proof of identity, this can be in the form of a South African ID, A South African Drivers License, a traffic register certificate or a business register certificate.
If you are registering a vehicle for the very first time, a drivers license will not suffice.
The sellers ID may also be required (explained further on)
Proof of address, once a year your address must be verified by the MVR, this is done by submitting proof of address and your ID. Documents that can be used to verify your address is correspondence received in the form of:

      • A municipal account
      • A lease agreement
      • Telephone bill
      • An account from any recognized company, a big chain store.
      • A bank statement

If you a registering a vehicle within 12 months from the date you fica’d your details then proof of address won’t be needed.

To register a vehicle you need to own one so lets start at the beginning.

You financed a vehicle

When you finance a vehicle, to secure the loan the vehicle is registered to the bank/financier.
You can only take ownership of the car and register it when the bank signs the vehicle over to you. Its important to note, this does not happen by default. Once your vehicle is paid up and the loan settled, the bank doesn’t sign the vehicle over to you automatically. You need to initiate the procedure.

How do register a car from the bank?

You contact the bank via telephone and give them your account number. They will ask you a few questions to verify you are indeed the owner, you then request that they send you the appropriate documentation which enables you register the vehicle
For a smooth transaction it is crucial that you receive the following 4 documents from the bank

      • A paid up letter/ settlement letter
      • The certificate of registration
      • A signed and stamped notification of change of ownership (Yellow form or copy)
      • The banks proxies ID

All 4 of these documents are important and serves a particular purpose

The paid up letter from the bank, this document tells the traffic official that you are done paying the vehicle and the bank has authorize you to proceed with the registration. It also explains the procedure to you and indicates that you have 21 days to submit the documents to the traffic department. Take note that the settlement letter is dated, it is from this date that your 21 days start. Its not common but if you submit these forms after the 21 day period you may be penalized for late registration, it all depends on the mood of the teller so be on the safe side and stick within your 21 day window.

The certificate of registration, this document ties the other 3 forms together. It’s a smart and subtle way of the bank informing the teller, the car is really settled and they are aware of the transaction. You wouldn’t have the original document otherwise!

The Natis NCO form must be signed by the proxy, this form is sent as part of procedure. If the settlement letter is signed and dated then it may or may not be needed. Complete section B and C of the yellow form and take it with you just to be safe.

The ID of the proxy, All Businesses with a business register certificate will have an assigned proxy, their ID needs to be attached to all transactions.

The bank will send you all the forms needed but one, the registration RLV blue form. This can be obtained by the traffic department.
The cost of this transaction is currently R132.00 provided your vehicles license is valid.

You bought a vehicle cash

      If you bought a vehicle from a private seller, its recommended to register the vehicle at the traffic department with the seller present. We explain this in being safe when buying a car.


      Assuming you’ve passed this point you will need the following:
      • The original, most recent certificate of registration
      • A copy of the sellers ID
      • A signed NCO (yellow) form
      • A Blue RLV form
      • Proof of address
      • Road worthy certificate

If the cars license is expired you will not be able to transfer ownership unless you bought the vehicle before the license had fallen and its proven on the receipt and or the yellow form.
A vehicle can be registered without a roadworthy certificate but the license disk will be retained.
Also, the roadworthy certificate is not a physical document anymore, its submitted to the Natis system directly from the roadworthy center. Some bigger roadworthy centers still issue some form of a certificate but its not for the traffic department - 2024