Changing your cars registration when moving interstate

Are you planning a trip to NSW or moving there permanently? 

No matter what your decision is, you need to make sure that you will be able to drive the vehicle you own. For this, it’s important to get your vehicle registered. Buying a custom number plate in NSW is simple. Transport for NSW is the authority that assigns the new number plate, records the change and sends the information to an interstate authority so that the state you were living in also knows you have changed your car’s registration. 

Once your vehicle is registered, you are given a receipt, which can be used for a refund if you move back to the state you were previously living in. 

In which state can you keep the old number plates?

In some states, you can keep your old number plates even if they are not used anymore. These states include:

  • Queensland: You can keep personalised, special, prestige and custom number plates.
  • ACT: All number plates can be kept.
  • South Australia: You can keep some special plates, number-plates, Grand Prix and Jubilee only.
  • Tasmania: You can keep all of your personalised number plates.
  • Victoria: You can keep all types of number plates.

States where you can’t keep your old number plates

You can keep your old number plates in Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Western Australia. When you apply for NSW registration, you will have to hand over the old number plates at the state’s service centre. 

Now that you know the basics of vehicle registration when changing states, let’s take a look at how to get new number plates in NSW:

Documents you need to submit

Whether you are driving your car in NSW or not, you will have to register it. Even a car parked in the garage, which is never driven, without a number plate is considered ‘unregistered.’ You will be charged with a severe penalty if your car is found on the roads.

Following are the documents you need to submit when you are buying a custom number plate in NSW:

  • Proof of identity
  • Details of your organisation or business
  • Registration entitlement proof (If applicable)
  • Evidence of concession or pensioner entitlement (If applicable)
  • Original number plate
  • Compulsory, original 3rd party insurance receipt (CTP green slip) – The insurance policy must be issued by an insurance provider in NSW, should have a period of 12 months, and not have number plate details.
  • Blue Slip – A report from an Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station, which must be issued 42 days prior
  • If you have modified the vehicle, you need to show a compliance certificate issued by the Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme.
  • The “Application for Registration” in PDF form
  • Application payment

Vehicles that do and do not need NSW registration

No matter what type of vehicle you are driving, you need to register it if you are moving to NSW. From bikes to trailers, caravans and trucks, all of them should have an NSW number plate, or you will be charged with a penalty for driving a car that has other states’ number plates on it.

However, when it comes to visitors and overseas vehicles, these rules don’t apply:

Visitors to NSW

Visitors from interstate, in NSW temporarily, can drive their vehicle with interstate registration. However, they need to carry their driver’s license and other car documents to show the motorway police that they are not a resident of NSW and are here for business or pleasure.

You can drive a vehicle with interstate registration plates in the following conditions:

  • You are in NSW for a couple of days
  • Your registration in the home state is current
  • You display the registration labels and number plates provided by the state you live in

Overseas vehicles in NSW

Like interstate vehicles, overseas vehicles also do not need any NSW number plates if they are temporarily in the state. However, the labels and plates should be displayed fully to be visible to motorway police while driving. 

It is still recommended that you carry your Certificate of Registration when driving

Visiting overseas vehicles don’t need 3rd party insurance. If an accident occurs and an NSW resident makes a 3rd party injury claim, it is administered by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority. Here are the contact details for such an emergency:

For more information;

Transferring personalised number plates

Since a personalised number plate does not have a Certificate of Right to Display and Trade, it cannot be transferred. If you get approval, the number plates can be used on your vehicle only or by an immediate family member. If you no longer want to use the plates, you will have to send a written request stating that you relinquish any claim on them.

If you want to use the same plates for another vehicle in your name, you need to go to a DVS centre with your ID and proof of ownership for the change.

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