1. What do the initials mean?

DVLA -  Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency – the name of the Executive Agency of the Department for Transport that is charged with maintaining driver and vehicle records.  DVLA’s HQ is a substantial complex at Swansea.

DVLC -  Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre – the original name for the centralised, computerised, registration system, this abbreviation is now used only to describe the complex at Swansea.

RF60 or VE60 – the old style buff or green card log books phased out in the 1970s when vehicle records were computerised.  RF stood for Road Fund, VE for Vehicle Excise.  RF60 log books were still being issued several years after the Road Fund ceased to exist.

Road Fund – It is still common to hear the “tax disc” referred to as the Road Fund Licence, an expression that dates from the time that vehicle tax was collected by local authorities and linked directly to road building and maintenance.  The direct link between vehicle taxation and road construction (and hence the “road fund”) ended in 1937.  Nowadays, the correct name for the amount payable for a tax disc is Vehicle Excise Duty.

V? - DVLA forms and information leaflets all have reference numbers.  Those relating to vehicles generally start with V.

V5 – original computerised vehicle registration document.  V5s were phased out in 2004-5 in favour of the current V5C registration document.

V5C – current style of vehicle registration document that is uniform with all such documents in the European Union.

VED – Vehicle Excise Duty – amount paid to obtain a “tax disc”.  VED for pre-1973 vehicles is currently rated at nil.

2. I have bought a vehicle, but it has no papers, how do I get them?

Assuming DVLA recognises the registration number, you complete a form V62 (downloadable from the forms page at www.dft.gov.uk/dvla) pay the fee (£25 at the time of writing) and wait.  (You can check whether or not DVLA recognise the registration by following the “Vehicle Enquiry” link at www.taxdisc.direct.gov.uk)

DVLA will have to write to the previously recorded keeper to check that they no longer have the vehicle and have to wait a set time before issuing a new V5C registration document if there is no response, but you should receive it within 25 working days.

3. Can I get a tax disc for a vehicle while I am waiting for my V5C to arrive?

No. You can only get a tax disc if you have a V5C in your name or the “New keeper’s details” section of the V5C that was issued in the previous keeper’s name.

4. My vehicle has a registration number plate on it, why doesn’t DVLA recognise it?

Until the late 1970s, the vehicle registration system was based on paper records held by local authorities. From the mid-1970s, registration records were transferred to a centralised computer system.  This happened automatically when tax discs were renewed, and new computerised registration documents were issued.

Owners of vehicles that were not re-taxed during this period were given several years during which they could send in their old style log books and have their vehicles recorded on the new computer, but this option ended in 1983. Registrations that had not been transferred to the DVLC system by 1983 were “lost” and are no longer recognised, but they can be re-claimed in certain circumstances.

5. I have evidence that my vehicle has been taxed since 1983 [old tax disc, old V5], but DVLA says my vehicle is not recorded on the computer. How can this be?

There was a period in the 1990s when the capacity of the DVLA computers was causing concern.  For a brief period, while the system was upgraded, records for vehicles that had not been licensed for some years were backed up and removed from the main computer to increase capacity.  Many of today’s front line staff at DVLA do not know of the backed-up records.  You need to apply again, this time enclosing a covering letter explaining why you believe your vehicle should be recorded.

6. How can I get a “lost” registration re-allocated to my vehicle?

Provided you have the necessary documentary evidence, such as an old-style log book, you should be able to recover the lost number. You will need a form V765 and the help of an appropriate club. Both the form and a list of appropriate clubs (V765/1) can be downloaded from the “forms” page at www.dft.gov.uk/dvla

7. What is the V765 scheme?

The V765 scheme is a mechanism whereby “lost” registration marks may be recovered. The scheme came in to being in the late 1980s after intense lobbying by FBHVC and “V765″ is simply the reference number of the form that is used for the purpose.

In order to re-claim a lost registration, you will need a piece of documentary evidence linking the vehicle with the number being claimed.

The V765 itself is a simple form and has useful notes on the reverse. It contains a space for completion by an authorised vehicle club, or other approved body, to authenticate the claim.

You will also need a form V55/5 which can only be obtained from a DVLA local office. This is more complicated. Applicants should take care to use black ink and clear capital letters. Leave items that make no sense or are not relevant to old vehicles blank, but do remember to sign the form on page 2. If in doubt, seek advice from the club authenticating the V765 form (see below). Please note: supporting documents proving identity are not required for a V55/5 when it is used in conjunction with a V765.

8. What is considered suitable evidence?

An old style logbook (RF60/VE60) is the strongest evidence, but other pre-1983 documents linking the make of vehicle to the registration number (such as old tax discs, MoT certificates, insurance documents, garage receipts etc.) are usually accepted.

DVLA has to inspect the document(s) that you are using to support your claim.  DVLA will accept photocopies provided the original document(s) have been seen and authenticated by a club or organisation listed in the V765/1. The club or organisation examining the originals does not need to be the same as the one countersigning the V765 but may be one which is more convenient for you to take the originals to. Although DVLA will accept originals and do undertake to return them after use, to avoid risk of loss of valuable original documentation, the FBHVC recommends you do get the originals inspected and authenticated. The copies can then be used for the application process.

If you have no documentation, you may be able to obtain a certified copy of the entry in the local authority register that was made when the number was first allocated. Although many of these old records have been destroyed, some have been kept in local authority archives and others have been rescued by specialist organisations such as the Kithead Trust. You can find out if the register recording your vehicle’s original registration still exists by going to the Kithead Trust’s web site www.kitheadtrust.org.uk – this gives a list showing the location of the registers that are known to have survived.

For further information, or advice on a specific case, please e-mail the FBHVC secretary.

9. How do I find a suitable club to countersign the V765?

If there is no obvious one-make club appropriate for your vehicle listed in the V765/1 booklet, try one of the clubs that caters for a range or type of vehicle, such as:

Veteran Car Club of GB for cars made to the end of WW1;

Vintage Sports-Car Club for those made between the wars;

Vintage Motor Cycle Club for all makes of motorcycle;

British Two Stroke Club Limited for 2-stroke motorcycles;

National Autocycle and Cyclemotor Club for all mopeds and cycle-based machines;

Historic Commercial Vehicle Society for all commercial vehicles; or

National Vintage Tractor & Engine Club (or similar regional clubs) for agricultural machines.

If in doubt, please e-mail the FBHVC secretary for assistance.

FBHVC recommends that you make contact with the relevant club before sending any documents. The club has to satisfy itself that the claim being made is justified before it can countersign the application.  If writing, and expecting a reply, always send a stamped reply envelope of a suitable size – most clubs are non-commercial organisations and are usually run by volunteers.

The authenticating club should arrange for the vehicle to be inspected and is entitled to charge a fee both for the inspection and for countersigning the V765. Fees should be agreed in advance. The inspection fee is payable whether or not the club subsequently agrees to countersign the application. Clubs may not refuse an application from a non-member, but may offer discounted fees to members.

You should be aware that once an application has been submitted to a club, the club is bound to forward it to DVLA, even where the club is unable to accept the application.

10. What happens if I don’t have the necessary evidence, or if DVLA won’t accept the evidence I do have?

Provided you can prove the year of manufacture of your vehicle to DVLA’s satisfaction (they will usually accept a dating letter provided by an appropriate club listed in the V765/1 list) an “age-related” number will be issued. Unfortunately, the supply of such numbers is running out and those of the ABC 123 type that were issued from the mid 1930s to 1950s have already run out. Vehicles of this period will receive numbers of the 123 ABC type until those too run out.

It is rare not to be able to specify the year of manufacture for a genuine mainstream vehicle. Problems arise with vehicles that have been modified or which are of a type that was not really intended for road use, such as builders’ dump trucks. If your vehicle falls into either of these categories, you may find two DVLA information sheets useful: (V848) ‘How to register your “old” vehicle’ (available from Local Offices), and (INF 26) ‘Guidelines for the registration of rebuilt or radically altered vehicles and kit cars’ (down loadable from the forms page at www.dft.gov.uk/dvla).

You need to be aware that if DVLA considers that your evidence suggests the vehicle has either been manufactured abroad and imported in to the UK or has been exported and re-imported, and you cannot provide compelling evidence that it is not the case that the vehicle has never been imported, you may need to submit a paper NOVA 1 Form to HMRC before DVLA can proceed. See the NOVA item elsewhere. Please email the FBHVC Secretary if you need assistance with this.

11. If I accept an age related number, will I lose entitlement to the original number?

Accepting an age-related registration will not prevent you reclaiming the correct registration for your vehicle if the requisite evidence becomes available.

12. Will I be able to transfer my recovered or age related number to another vehicle?

No. Recovered numbers and age related numbers are non-transferable.

13. Why does the V765 form have to be countersigned by a club or other approved body, and what do they have to do?

For technical reasons, DVLA is unable to make a charge for the re-issue of a “lost” registration. This means it is unable to devote the resources necessary to checking applications in detail and part of the deal when FBHVC negotiated the scheme was that others (usually clubs) would take responsibility for carrying out basic authenticity checks. Those carrying out this work have to be registered with DVLA to do so and are listed in the V765/1 list.

Their role is to check that the vehicle exists and appears genuine and that the documentation being used to support the claim is both genuine and relates to the vehicle in question. An inspection of the vehicle to verify chassis and engine numbers etc. is standard practice.


Driving Entitlement


1. What do the various categories of driving licence entitlement mean?

This is not a straightforward question to answer as codes and categories have changed over time. Before 1990, entitlements were arranged in “groups”.There was another distinct watershed on 1 January 1997 when the current category system was introduced as part of the EU harmonisation process, and further changes
(that will not alter existing entitlements) are due by 2013 when UK has to give effect to the Third Directive on Driving Licences. Full details of previous groups, categories and entitlements can be found at www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing.

The table below is a summary of current categories. Additional “vocational” licences are required for categories shown in bold

Category Description
P Moped under 50cc and not capable of more than 50kph
A1 Light motorcycle under 125cc and under 11kW power
A Unlimited motorcycle (note: age restrictions apply)
B1 Tricycles, quadricycles and other three and four wheeled vehicles under 550kg unladen
B Motor cars and light vans up to 3500kg maximum authorised mass (MAM) with no more than eight passenger seats.  Also allowed to tow a trailer up to 750kg gross provided the total MAM of vehicle and trailer does not exceed 3500kg.
B auto As B, but limited to vehicles with automatic transmission
B+E As B, but with a larger trailer than allowed under B.  MAM of trailer must not exceed unladen weight of towing vehicle and total MAM of vehicle and trailer may not exceed 3500kg.
C1 Medium sized vehicles between 3500 and 7500kg MAM with no more than eight passenger seats.  Also allowed to tow a trailer up to 750kg gross.
C1+E As C1, but with a larger trailer, up to total 12000 kg MAM.  MAM of trailer must not exceed unladen weight of towing vehicle.
C Large vehicles over 7500kg MAM (includes trailer up to 750kg)
C + E As C but towing a trailer over 750kg
D1 Mini buses with minimum of 9 and maximum 16 passenger seats.  Also allowed to tow a trailer up to 750kg gross.
D1 + E As D1, but with a larger trailer, up to total 12000 kg MAM.  MAM of trailer must not exceed unladen weight of towing vehicle.
D Any bus or coach with more than 8 passenger seats.  Also allowed to tow a trailer up to 750kg gross.
D + E As D but towing a trailer over 750kg
F Agricultural tractors
G Road rollers
H Tracked vehicles
K Mowing machines or pedestrian controlled vehicles


2. What happens to my driving entitlements when I reach 70?

At age 70, driving licences expire and must be renewed every three years thereafter. From 1998, new drivers have been required to pass additional tests for categories B+E, C1, C1+E, D1 and D1+E but existing holders of a general car licence at that date were effectively given ‘grandfather’ rights to the new categories until renewal. These ‘grandfather’ rights, however, are not renewed automatically, so if you wish to retain them after 70, you must ask to do so and will need to provide a medical certificate with the renewal request. (A medical certificate is not required for categories B + E alone).

3. I have recently replaced my licence and find some of my previous entitlements have been lost: why – and what can I do about it?

In some cases, previously held entitlements have been dropped either when renewing at age 70 (see previous question) or when notifying a change of address.  In other cases, the loss of entitlement is usually related to motorcycles and almost invariably results from the holder failing to submit their pass certificate within the relevant time period.  At one time, this had to be done within 10 years of the test pass but this generous period of grace was subsequently reduced first to three years and is now two years.  If an applicant can provide an old licence showing that an entitlement was valid and properly notified, DVLA will reinstate it.  Otherwise, there is no option but to submit to a new test.

4. What kind of large (or unusual) vehicles can I drive on a normal car licence?

At the time of writing, the holder of a full category B licence may drive the following vehicles without seeking further qualification:
steam vehicles;**
goods vehicles made before 1960 used unladen;
buses or coaches over 30 years old carrying no more than 8 passengers;
road construction machinery, digging machines & engineering plant;
works trucks;
tractors & agricultural vehicles;
certain breakdown vehicles.

This is not an exhaustive list and distance restrictions apply in some cases. Full details at www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/DriverLicensing

**FBHVC strongly recommends that anyone contemplating driving a steam vehicle should consider one of the training courses available from the National Traction Engine Trust

5. How do I go about getting the licence necessary to drive additional categories of vehicle?

Visit the Driver Standards Agency website at www.dsa.gov.uk for full details of the training and testing procedures to qualify to drive vehicles of categories outside your existing entitlement. From 1st April 2014 the Driver Standards Agency will merge with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency to become the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency and the website will accordingly become www.dvsa.gov.uk. Members in Northern Ireland should note that the Driver and Vehicle Agency is the relevant body there.