How to SORN a car with the DVLA

February 06, 2023 by

If you’re planning on parking your car up for a long time, you’ll need to SORN it with the DVLA.

If you have a car you will not be using for a reasonable amount of time, you can apply for a ‘SORN’ with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing agency, which tells them the car won’t be being driven on the road, and saves you from having to pay road tax for it.

This guide will walk you through how to SORN a car.

SORN meaning

SORN stands for Statutory Off-Road Notice, and it is essentially a legally binding statement telling the DVLA that you won’t be using your car on the road.

Why would I need a SORN?

If you’re planning on parking your car up for more than two weeks, you can apply for a SORN. This will take your car off the road and means you don’t have to pay any tax or insurance.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you can’t park your car on the road if you have a SORN. All cars parked or used on the road have to have tax and insurance.

Situations where you would SORN your car include:

  • You’ve not taxed it and don’t plan on driving it
  • You don’t have insurance and you don’t plan on driving
  • You have a project car that isn’t running
  • You plan on scrapping your car or breaking it for parts
  • You’ve bought a new car but don’t want to drive it yet

If you don’t have tax or insurance on your car, you must declare it SORN and park it off the road. If you don’t you may get a ticket come through automatically and the fines can be hefty.

How do I get a SORN for a car?

You can declare your car SORN over the phone, by post or online. Online will be the fastest way to do it, and you’ll need your V5C logbook.


You can declare your car SORN through the Government’s website. If you want to SORN the car straight away, you’ll need the 11-digit reference number on the front of your V5C.

If you want the car to be SORNed from the start of the following month, you can use the reference number from your V11 tax reminder. Once you have declared your car as SORN you’ll get a refund for the tax you haven’t used.

By post

To SORN your car by post you’ll need a V890 form, which you can be downloaded from the Government’s website or be collected from a post office.

Once you’ve filled this form in, you need to post it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AR. You should receive confirmation within four weeks that your car is SORN, but if you don’t then you need to chase it up.

By phone

To SORN your car over the phone, you’ll need to have the details to hand, including either the V5C reference number or the V11 tax reminder. Simply ring the DVLA on 0300 123 4321 and explain that you wish to SORN your car.

You should receive confirmation within four weeks that your car is SORN, but if you don’t hear anything then give them another ring. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Do you have to pay to SORN your car?

Declaring your car as SORN will not cost you anything, and you may even get a tax refund depending on how long it has left.

How long does it take to SORN a car?

If you’ve notified the DVLA that your car is SORN using the V5C, it will take effect immediately. If you used the V11 tax reminder it will be from the 1st of the following month.

If you SORN a car using the DVLA’s online tool, this will also be immediate.

You should receive confirmation within four weeks of notifying the DVLA that your car is SORN. If you haven’t heard anything after four weeks, you’ll need to chase it up.

Don’t just assume that your SORN has taken effect because you could be liable for tax and insurance if there’s been an error.

How do I bring a SORN to an end?

Simple: just pay to tax it: this will automatically remove its SORN status. Don’t forget to insure it properly before you take it out on the road, though.

How to SORN my car FAQs

Can I SORN my car without the V5C logbook?

If you don’t have a V5C logbook, you’ll need to apply for a new one before you can SORN your car. You can do this by filling out a V62 form and posting it to the DVLA along with your V890 form to SORN the car. There is a £25 fee for a new logbook.

Does a SORN car need to be taxed?

No, a SORN car has been taken off the road and therefore you won’t need to pay tax on it.

Just remember that the car has to be parked off the road on private land, or you could still be fined for not taxing it.

Does a SORN car need to be insured?

The same applies to insurance as the tax, the car doesn’t legally need to be insured if it’s SORN – though it would be wise to insure it for fire, theft and possibly accidental damage.

Can I still drive a car with a SORN?

If your car is SORN, it must be kept off the road and therefore you cannot drive it. This is because all cars used on the public road must be taxed and insured. Do so and you risk a fine of up to £2,500, and possibly a court appearance. The only exception is if you are driving the car to or from a pre-booked MoT appointment.

How long does a SORN last?

Once you’ve SORNed your car, it lasts indefinitely. You don’t need to renew the SORN and it will stay in place until you choose to get it back on the road.

How do I unSORN my car?

If you decide that you want to start driving your car again, all you have to do is tax and insure it. Once you’ve done this the SORN will automatically be lifted.

Can I park a car with a SORN on the street?

No, unfortunately not, as it would technically be using the road; a SORN car must be parked on private land.

Does it cost anything to get a SORN?

Nope: applying for a SORN is free.

Do I get tax back if I’ve got a SORN?

Yes: if you SORN a car you will be refunded any tax you have already paid for it – though the DVLA only issues refunds for complete months of tax.

Do I still need insurance for a car with a SORN?

Not legally, no: as the car won’t be used on the road there is nothing to force you to insure it – though covering it for fire and theft is sensible, even if the vehicle is not drivable – thieves have been known to steal non-running cars using trailers, for example.

Can I sell a car with a SORN?

Indeed you can, though the buyer will either need to tax it before they drive it away, or will a trailer for it. If you’re selling the car privately you may find it easier to tax and insure if prior to advertising it, though you could always save yourself this hassle by selling your car with a SORN through Carwow.

Our dedicated guide to selling a SORN car has more details.

If I buy a car with a SORN, do I need to redeclare it?

Yes. A SORN is not transferrable between owners, so if you buy a SORN car you will need to either tax it yourself, or redeclare it as SORN.

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