How to SORN a car or motorbike

Everything you need to know

IF AN owner does not intend to drive their car or motorcycle for a certain period of time, they may decide to save money on tax and insurance by declaring their car off the road using a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

A SORN is a declaration to the DVLA that an owner does not plan to use or park their vehicle on a public road for the length of the SORN.

Do I have to make a SORN on my vehicle if I’m not driving it? 

If you do not plan to drive or park your car on a public road for a while, then, to avoid being liable for tax and insurance for the period, you must declare your car off the road with the DVLA. If you have more than a month of tax remaining, it’ll be refunded to you. Your vehicle’s MOT can legally expire under a SORN too.

It’s important to make a SORN rather than just letting a vehicle’s tax expire as drivers can be fined £80 for letting their tax and insurance lapse.

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How do I make a SORN? 

A SORN can be made online or by sending a V890 application form to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1AR.

If you’ve just bought the vehicle and are not yet the registered owner, you can only apply by post, completing the applicable section in the V5C logbook.

Otherwise, if a vehicle’s tax is due to expire the owner can declare it off the road up to two months in advance using the 16-digit number on their vehicle tax reminder letter.

Where can I park my vehicle if it is under a SORN? 

Owners of vehicles under SORN must park on private land such as in a driveway or garage and not on the street. SORN or not, if a vehicle is parked in a public place such as the street outside the owner’s house, the owner will still be liable for any fines resulting from being caught without tax or insurance.

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Do I have to renew my SORN? 

No, a SORN runs indefinitely and is valid until the owner taxes, sells, scraps or exports the vehicle.

Does a SORN transfer between owners? 

No. If you buy a car that is already under SORN, if you intend to continue keeping it off the road without tax, you must immediately make a new SORN to the DVLA.

Can I drive a vehicle on the road under a SORN? 

No, except under one limited circumstances (see below). Drivers caught on the public road with a SORNed car could face fines of up to £2,500.

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How do I end a SORN? 

To end a SORN, you just have to tax the vehicle, which can be done online using the 11-digit reference number found on the V5C.

However, that could be slightly trickier if you’ve let the vehicle’s MOT lapse or declared it off the road due to a failed MOT. There is a provision in place whereby an owner can drive a SORNed car to a pre-booked MOT provided they have the appropriate insurance in place. This is the only occasion where a SORNed vehicle can be driven on a public road.