Road Registered Forklifts

This information was last updated in March 2024.

You must check that the fee’s associated with the sections below are still correct before submitting any application. Incorrect fee’s may result in rejected applications.


Road registering a forklift for the first time isn’t an easy process and is time consuming if you don’t have the correct information.

The process is made up of 3 main steps.

  1. Gathering information about your Forklift
  2. Notification of Vehicle Arrival in the UK (NOVA)
  3. First Registration to the DVLA
  4. Taxing your Vehicle


To properly register your vehicle you will need enough information to complete the forms for a NOVA (If required) and the First Registration.


If you acquired the vehicle before the UK left the EU, it is likely that it never was NOVA registered with HMRC.

You can check this status by calling HMRC and asking to check if your forklift’s serial number has a NOVA against it. If it does, you can skip to First Registration.

If you bought the vehicle from a dealer in the UK you may be able to request that they NOVA register the vehicle. Otherwise you will need to find out from the Manufacturer as much information as possible for when this might have happened.

| First Registration

You will require at least the following information to successfully register a vehicle:

  • Manufacturer
  • Make
  • Model
  • Type of Body
  • Wheelplan
  • Colour/s
  • Type of Fuel
  • VIN/Frame Number/Serial Number
  • Length and Width
  • Unladen Weight
  • Revenue Weight
  • Year of Manufacture
  • Number of Seats
  • Max Net Power

For Diesel and LPG vehicles you will require additional information:

  • Engine Serial Number
  • Cylinder Capacity (in cc)
  • Mass in Service


2 | NOVA


Before completing this step, check with HMRC that your vehicle does not have a NOVA. This will save you time.

If you recently purchased the vehicle from a UK Dealer, reach out to them and ask if they can register it for you (they will more than likely be the importer).

| Requesting a NOVA

Each vehicle that is brought into the UK needs to be paired with a Notification of Vehicle Arrival or NOVA.

Forklifts prior to the UK leaving the EU will most likely not have had this completed and will not be able be registered with DVLA until completed.

If you don’t know the full details on how the vehicle was imported, you must be able to show this in a cover letter attached with the NOVA form.

In your cover letter, include:

  • When you bought the vehicle and include copies of your receipt
  • If you were able to find out the importing company; when they think it was imported
  • If you are unable to complete Section 2 fully; include why you cannot complete all the details
  • We advise adding your contact details in the letter

In addition, include:

  • All the requested documentation from the form
  • A photocopy of the vehicle certificate
  • Anything else you think would help them

You will need to reach out to HMRC to get access to the form to be able to post it. Alternatively, you can now use the Government Gateway system to register a NOVA:

We strongly recommend speaking with HMRC if you are unsure about any of the sections or need some advice on where to obtain details.

Once your form is submitted, HMRC will try to respond with a decision in 14 days time.


3 | First Registration


Before completing this step, you must have a NOVA for your forklift. DVLA will not accept an application without one.

If you do not have a NOVA, refer to the previous step.

| Fees

  • The DVLA has a fee to register a vehicle for the first time which, as of 2024 is set at £55.00
  • You will need to check the Tax bracket for you vehicle, if you are unsure reach out to the DVLA: with a weighing over 3,500kg are classed as Special Vehicles (Class 14) and are currently charged at:
    6 Months = £90.75
    12 Months = £165.00

| Before Submitting Your Application

You will need to attach 2 cheques:

  • First Registration Fee £55.00
  • Your chosen Tax bracket – 6 months or 12 monthsYou cannot skip taxing the vehicle for the first time. After receiving your V5C you can SORN the vehicle if required.
  • For (2) Tax Class you need to enter:

| New Vehicles

Registering a new vehicle with DVLA has a time limit. You will require:

  • A Certificate of Newness must be included
  • The vehicle to have a NOVA
  • The vehicle to be registered within’ 1 month of receiving it

New vehicles are registered under a V55/4 form:

We recommend asking your dealer to register the vehicle for you if you are buying new, otherwise it will most likely be rejected.

| Used Vehicles

For a used vehicle that hasn’t been registered, you will need to complete a V55/5 form:

Try to complete as many sections as possible from our list of information in 1. Gather Information. If you are unsure, please check the notes on the above page (V355/5) or contact DVLA who can help understand it a bit more.

For some items you may have to refer to your operator manual or contact the manufacturer. We found this out for:

  • Cylinder Capacity
  • Max Net Power
  • Mass in service

On newer vehicles, especially electric, this is stamped on the serial or rating plate.

| Submitting your application

The application submission process for the DVLA takes a lot longer than a NOVA application, up to 30 days or more if they are backlogged.

If your application is rejected, normally you will only find out once the letter has been sent back to you or an agent has contacted you by Email to request more information.

Before resubmitting your application, contact DVLA to get advice on how to best answer the missing items.

| Approved Application

After your application is approved and a license plate number is assigned to your vehicle, you will receive a letter to the registered keeper informing you of this. This will also contain your V5C document.

You will now need to get plates for you forklift from a local dealer or auto shop. They may require a scanned copy of your V5C.

Once you have your license plates, both the front and rear will need to be fitted to your forklift before it goes out on to the public roads.


4 | Taxing Your Forklift

When you first register your forklift, you will be required to tax it for at least 6 months to complete the application.

Upon approval by DVLA you can use your V5C to SORN the vehicle if needed.

Whilst a forklift is exempt from the requirement of an MOT, you will need to keep it safe and legal with a Thorough Examination Certificate.

| Renew your Tax

You can try to renew the tax on the Government website with either your reminder letter number or the V5C or another option is to renew at your local Post Office.

Renewing your tax will require proof of an MOT test for the vehicle, of which is not applicable to forklifts.

Just to be safe, we recommend filling out a declaration of exemption from MoT V112 Form:

This will need to be presented alongside your tax payment at a Post Office.


5 | Numbered and Q Plates

From our experience you may end up with either a numbered or Q plate at the end of your application.

We have found some items that may affect you getting numbered plates.

If the certificate you use:

  • is not the original but a photocopy.
  • does not have a hand-written signature.
  • the date of manufacture is not clearly stated.

The DVLA will reach out typically to the Email address included on the form to ask if you would like to accept a Q plate. This will include the reasoning behind the decision.