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New ‘Register your trailer to take it abroad’ service goes live

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: DVLA Digital Services

If you’re taking a trailer abroad, you may well need to use our new trailer registration service. Rebecca Naylor from DVLA Vehicle Services gives the lowdown.

Photo of trailer registration team sitting around desk looking at laptop

I’m pleased to announce that we’ve just successfully launched our new ‘Register your trailer to take it abroad’ service into public beta. You can now use this service to register and manage your trailers, and it’s designed to be really quick and user friendly.

From 28 March 2019, registration is mandatory for all commercial use trailers travelling internationally with a gross weight of over 750kg. Registration is also mandatory for non-commercial use trailers that travel internationally and have a gross weight over 3,500kg.

Why we needed the service

You may wonder how the new service has come about. It’s to make sure that we meet the requirements of the UN 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which the UK has ratified. This will come into force on 28 March 2019. The UK was already broadly aligned with the terms of the 1968 Convention, though a notable area of difference was that we had not introduced trailer registration.

Trailers in the mandatory categories have to be registered when being used internationally in countries that have ratified the convention.

Once a trailer is registered through our new service, DVLA will issue a secure trailer registration certificate by post and send email confirmation which includes authorisation to get a number plate made up for the trailer. The number plate must be displayed on the trailer and the registration certificate must be available to present to a foreign authority upon request.

Getting the ball rolling

At the inception stage, we figured out the scope of the service and how it would support DVLA’s transformation journey. In this digital age, we decided early on that the service would be online only, with our Contact Centre providing assisted digital support to anyone who required it.

Fast forward a couple of months, and private beta kicked off on 4 January for hauliers to register their existing international trailers. The customers who took part in this phase were assisted by a dedicated support team that we set up especially for them, who helped them set up a trailer account and register their trailers. We had excellent feedback about the service, with customers telling us they found it easy to use. Result!

Our customers’ needs really count

The service we’ve designed meets the requirements of the convention. This means that each registered trailer has a unique registration number and a secure registration certificate showing the details that need to be held about the trailer.

But we’ve also made sure we’ve built a service that has our customers’ needs at the heart of it. To do this we gathered lots of customer insight from hauliers. They told us that their main needs were to be able to manage all their trailer records through an online log in, and complete and pay for multiple transactions.

We also developed a number of common service elements, such as the customer address look-up, print facility and notifications. As our transformation programme continues, we’ll use these in all our services for consistency – even better for our customers.

Shout out to our stakeholders

Our stakeholders have been really supportive, communicating key messages to their colleagues and providing useful insight. We’ve worked hand in hand with the Department for Transport, providing significant input into the legislation linked to the service. A big thank you to all.

Taking stock

For me, the last 6 months have been hard work but very rewarding. I’m really proud of the team who’ve done so much in such a short time. We have a great network of people who make sure that our business is ready to provide first class customer service.

So if you’ve got a trailer that needs to be registered by 28 March, make sure you do it in time.

Register a trailer button



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  1. Comment by Rod Came posted on

    What is the situation with regard to hired trailers?

    • Replies to Rod Came>

      Comment by Rebecca Naylor posted on

      Hi Rod - a trailer should be registered to the keeper. The keeper is the person responsible for making sure that the trailer complies with the necessary legal obligations. We’d advise that the hire or lease company should register the trailers in their name. However, if a trailer is on long term hire or lease, registering the trailer could fall to the person hiring or leasing it with agreement from the hire or leasing company.

  2. Comment by Peter posted on

    Useful information
    I have a touring caravan, weight about 1300kg, for holidays and assume I do not need to register that

    • Replies to Peter>

      Comment by Rebecca Naylor posted on

      Hi Peter,
      If a caravan weighs over 3,500kg in gross weight and travels abroad, it'll need to be registered.

  3. Comment by Barry Loster posted on

    Does the tractor unit Registration still need to be displayed on the trailer too? Does trailer reg need to be displayed just internationally, or in the UK too? If not UK does trailer reg need to be removed when driving in UK?

    • Replies to Barry Loster>

      Comment by Rebecca Naylor posted on

      Hi Barry, the trailer registration number plate must be displayed along with the towing vehicle’s registration plate and must be fixed as far as reasonably possible from this plate. Once registered, the trailer registration number plate should be displayed at all times.

  4. Comment by Alfie posted on

    Is this for caravans.

    • Replies to Alfie>

      Comment by Rebecca Naylor posted on

      Hi Alfie,
      If a caravan weighs over 3,500kg in gross weight and travels abroad, it'll need to be registered. If the caravan is to be used for commercial purposes, it'll need to be registered if it weighs over 750kg in gross weight.

  5. Comment by Simon Hofman posted on

    Hi Rebecca
    Can you tell me please, does my trailer need an MOT type test for the registration to be used in the EU.
    thank you.

  6. Comment by Andrea Gardner posted on

    Does this include Trailers going to Dublin, Ireland?

    • Replies to Andrea Gardner>

      Comment by Rebecca Naylor posted on

      Hi Andrea,
      If a trailer keeper is travelling between the UK and Republic of Ireland (RoI) only, there's no requirement for them to register. However, if they’re then travelling on to a 1968 Convention country from Dublin/RoI, the trailer would need to be registered.