What is V5C and how to change the address on it

Find out everything you need to know about V5C or vehicle registration certificate with AXA's guide. Learn about when should you update your certificate and why.

Buying or selling a car

5 August 2022

What is V5C?

Just bought a car? Congrats on your new purchase! You might be swooning over its shiny new paint, testing out your car’s spanking new sound system or simply taking in that ‘new car smell’ – but amongst the less exciting (but very important!) things to do is completing your V5C.

But what is the V5C document? The V5C is a document that registers your car to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This document has quite a few aliases, so you might also see it referred to as:

  • vehicle registration certificate / document
  • V5C log book / form
  • proof of vehicle ownership file

This document records the registered keeper/s of the vehicle to the DVLA. Usually, that’s the owner of the car, but sometimes the person registering may differ from the owner.

What information should the V5C contain?

The V5C contains all the important information about your new vehicle, such as:

  • date the vehicle was first registered
  • name and address of the registered keeper
  • if applicable, the number of previous registered keepers
  • car manufacturer and model
  • engine size
  • colour

When should you update your vehicle registration certificate?

If you’re selling your car or passing it on to someone else, you’ll have to contact the DVLA to update the details on your V5C.

This also applies if you change your name, address or make certain modifications to your car such as changing the seating capacity, cylinder capacity or bodyshell.

If you bought your car from a retailer, they will inform the DVLA. However, if you purchased your vehicle from a private seller, here’s the checks you should make:

  • When viewing the proof of vehicle ownership document, hold it up to the light to check the DVL watermark is present, if you can’t see it, the V5C you’re holding is probably a forgery.
  • The name under the registered keeper section of the V5C should match the details of the person who is selling you the car.
  • Always ask the seller to show you a valid V5C. If they cannot provide you with this vehicle registration document, we recommend not buying the car from them.
  • If the vehicle identification number (VIN) usually located by the base of the car’s windscreen, bonnet or beneath the driver’s seat is missing or has been tampered with, we recommend not buying the car.
  • Always check the VIN and engine numbers match those reported on the V5C.

How to change address on V5C

Changing address on your V5C is free online and if you choose to change it by post, you’ll just have to cover the cost of postage.

Remember that if you change your address, name, make modifications to your vehicle or want to sell your car on, you’ll have to update your vehicle log book. Failing to do so may cost you a fine of up to £1,000.

There are two ways to update your vehicle registration document:

Changing your Vehicle Registration Certificate online

If you want to change address on your log book online, simply go to the dedicated gov.uk page and follow their step-by-step guide.

Before you start the process, remember to have the following information at hand:

  • Your vehicle’s registration number
  • Your V5C reference number
  • Your UK address

If your car needs taxing in the coming four weeks you’ll need to tax your car online using your current V5C.

Changing your vehicle registration certificate by post

You can also change address on your V5C by post. If you have the new style log book, with multicoloured numbered blocks on the front, you’ll need to:

  • Write your new address in section 3 (don’t use a PO Box address)
  • Send the log book to the DVLA address in section 3

If you have the old style log book then:

  • Write your new address in section 6 (don’t use a PO Box address)
  • Sign and send the log book to the DVLA address in section 8
  • On these older forms, you don’t have to tick the ‘new keeper’ box or fill out your name

Once you’ve made changes to your log book, you’ll usually receive your new V5C in around five working days if you applied online and up to six weeks if you changed the address by post.

Lost log book? Here’s what to do

Think you’ve lost your V5C? Has your dog chewed through your all-important log book? There’s no need to panic! Replacing your vehicle registration certificate is easy and usually costs around £25.

Ordering a new log book online

To request a new log book online you can visit the dedicated gov.uk webpage.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your vehicle’s registration number
  • The vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • The name and postcode registered to your V5C

But what happens if the details on your original log book are out of date? Unfortunately, if your details have changed, then you can only apply for a replacement log book by post.

Applying for a new log book by post

If your details have changed, your only option is to get a new log book by post. You can do so by downloading the V62 form from the gov.uk website.

Complete the form and send it to the DVLA Swansea address along with a cheque or postal order to cover the £25 fee.

Applying for a new log book by phone

You may also wish to apply for a new log book by phone. However, you can only use this service if you’re the registered keeper of the missing or damaged V5C and if none of your car’s details have changed.

If you’re applying by post or phone, you’ll get the new V5C within six weeks. If you apply online, you’ll receive it much faster, within five working days.

Selling a car without V5C

Thinking of selling your car but have lost or damaged your vehicle registration certificate? We recommend not selling your car without a V5C as it may deter buyers and could be interpreted as a sign of a stolen vehicle.

However, it is possible to sell a car without a V5C log book and for those of you wondering if it is legal to do so, rest assured it is 100% legal.

The problems you may face if selling a car without a V5C:

  • Buyers may haggle the price down
  • Buyers may suspect your vehicle is stolen
  • Buyers could pull out of sale due to mistrust

If you do decide to sell your car without a log book, here’s what you should do:

  • Clearly state that the vehicle is missing the V5C when listing/selling your car
  • Once sold, inform the DVLA via the dedicated gov.uk page
  • You’ll have to contact the DVLA in Swansea by post via a signed letter with the vehicle’s registration number, model, date of sale and the new keeper’s details

How to change log book owner

Whether you’re selling your car or simply transferring the ownership to another person, you’ll have to update your V5C and inform the DVLA.

But first, it’s important to understand the difference between the car’s keeper and the owner, especially since sometimes, the owner is not necessarily the keeper. For example, a company could own the car.

The difference between keeper and owner

The main difference is that the keeper of the car is the person named in the log book making them legally responsible for the car and thus accountable for insuring, taxing and maintaining their vehicle.

The owner may have purchased the car (say, on behalf of a company) but their details don’t need to be on the V5C as they are not keeping the car. So, if the keeper is caught speeding or driving in the wrong lane, the authorities will contact them and the fine will be sent to the keeper, not the owner.

So, when you sell on our car or need to change log book owner, the person who is registered on the log book is responsible for updating the V5C and sending it to the DVLA for the transfer of ownership.

How to transfer the ownership online

Applying to change log book owner online is the simplest and fastest way of transferring ownership. Simply visit the dedicated page on gov.uk and fill out the form.

To do so, you’ll need:

  • 11 digit reference number from your car’s V5C
  • The details of the new owner including their email address

Once submitted, both yourself and the new owner will receive a confirmation email. The new owner should then receive their new physical V5C within five working days.

Time to get on the road

Hopefully, you should now feel clued up on what a V5C document is. And, if you’re after a car policy, why not take a look at AXA Car Insurance?