How to Transfer Ownership of a Car in South Africa? Documents

How to Transfer Ownership of a Car in South Africa? Documents

There’s a very important procedure everyone who owns a car in South Africa must take notice of: how to transfer ownership of a car. Whether you own a car or are about to buy one, you will have to know about this procedure eventually as, changing ownership of a vehicle is done when buying or selling it. As we are aware of the fact that this transaction happens often enough in South Africa, we didn’t want to leave you without this useful information. Next, you’ll read about the requirements, costs and how to make the changing of ownership in a useful way, and the important at the moment to pick an insurance company or ask for different insurance quotes.

What do I need to change ownership of a car in South Africa?

Before even thinking about starting changing ownership of a car, it is of paramount importance you know what you need to do it. The first requirement is, of course, not only having the vehicle but also, having all its documents and papers certifying who is the present owner. In this matter, please make sure those documents are valid and perfectly legible so as to avoid delays on the process. After that, the requirements vary according to few aspects:

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  • If you’re selling or buying the car.

  • If you’re a South African citizen or a foreigner.

  • If you also need to change address.

For example, if you’re about to buy the car, you will be asked to present the RLV form and, a roadworthy certificate to the registering authority. Keep in mind two points: you’ll have 21 days to do this errand from the moment you buy the car and, you’re seen as the responsible party to assure the car’s roadworthy.

What documents are required for vehicle change of ownership in south Africa?

As we mentioned earlier, the documents needed to transfer ownership of a vehicle are different if you are the buyer or the seller. If you are selling your car, the documents to present are: the NCO form and the registration certificate. But, don’t get confused as the first document should be submitted to the registering authority but, the second one, to the person who is buying the car. Then, the buyer will be in charge of presenting that document.

How do I change ownership of a car in South Africa?

When a South African citizen buys a car, whether that vehicle is used or new, he or she must notify the SA authority that he or she is the new owner of that car. So, transferring the holder of a vehicle means to register the car under the new owner.

1) Of course, you should start by checking the requirements.

2) Then, make sure to gather the documents you need to present. Specially if you are the buyer as, you need to wait for the seller to hand you over their documents.

3) The moment you have everything set, you have to approach the registering authority you have closest to your house and present all the documentation.

4) Once the registering authority accepts and assesses the application, you will be charged with the corresponding fees.

Bear in mind this information in case you are planning to sell and old car to buy a new one as, you’ll have to know this procedure for both vehicles as the seller and the buyer.

Can you transfer ownership of a car online?

This errand can only be done in person. Even though today there’re plenty of procedures that are carried out online, changing the owner of a car is not one of them in South Africa. This means, you must take the time to go to the nearest registered authority and apply to make the change of title holder. This is why we highly recommend to make sure you have all the forms and documents you need in perfect conditions before starting the process. If you do so, you can avoid having to go more than once. Remember, this is an easy one-day task so, you can do your part to keep it that way. As a result, although you need to do it in person, it shouldn’t take you much time.

How much is it to change ownership of a car in South Africa?

A common question about making this registration is how much will you be charged. In fact, citizens usually ask if they can have the change of ownership of their car for free. Unfortunately, we must tell you that you will have to pay some fees when doing this procedure. The thing is that the cost will be different depending where you live as, that’s a detail each province decides on. As a consequence, you need to contact your own municipality or city to find out how much do they charge in your area.

How long does it take to change car ownership in South Africa?

Even though you can only go through the change of ownership of your car in person, you won’t believe how fast will be complete. Assuming all the documents are right and in perfect condition, it will only take a day to start and finish transferring the title holder of a vehicle. However, I’ll emphasize on the importance of double checking the documents before going to start the process as, any little problem will surely delay it.

Can you change ownership of a financed car?

To finance a car means that the bank you choose to work with, lends you the money for you to buy the vehicle. Then, you repay that money plus some fees and interest to the bank over an agreed period of time. The problem is that the owner of that car will be the bank until you finally cancel the loan. So, you don’t have permission to sell it as, you don’t own the car. Hence, you can’t make the change of ownership because the actual owner is the bank. You must remember you won’t become the official owner if you don’t pay all the instalments. Only after cancelling every instalment will the bank transfer the ownership of the car to your name and, then, will you be allowed to sell it and, of course, make the ownership transfer. So, to answer the question, no, you can’t change ownership of a financed car.

How to transfer ownership of a financed car?

As we have detailed a moment ago, transferring ownership on a financed car is not a possibility, in fact, it’s illegal. If you have taken a loan to purchase your car and, for some reason, you want to sell it, you will have to find another solution. For instance, you might try to cancel what’s left of the loan. Once you are debt free, you will be the title holder of your new car and you will be finally able of selling it. Only after that, will you be allowed to make the change of ownership to the person buying it.  Of course, this is not as simple as it seems as on one hand, you must have the money, which can be a high amount depending on how far have you gone with the instalments. And, on the other hand, you will probably have to face penalty fees for repaying the credit earlier than stipulated in the loan agreement.

Can I change ownership of my car at the post office?

It’s important to clarify the post office is not equipped to do such task. With no exception, any South African needing to make a change of ownership of a vehicle will have to approach the traffic department as, they are the only one available to carry out the process. But, if you are worried about the time you need to dedicate to such procedure, don’t forget it only takes a day to have it completed.

Transfer Ownership of a Car in South Africa

What is it?

It’s a process that needs to be done when a person buys or sells a vehicle. By this procedure, the vehicle will be registered under the new owner.

What do you need?

You need to complete forms to request the transfer of ownership and to support who is the present owner and who will be the future one.

What to pay attention to?

You must remember you have 21 days to make the transfer.

To conclude, we can assure you that having this information beforehand will surely prepare you better to have a quick and successful experience when being the new owner of a car. Now that you can go about this topic with no problem, you can start thinking about what car insurance you will get for your newly bought car. Luckily for you, we are fully prepared to assist you on this matter as well. We can inform you about what’s involved on the different types of car insurance covers in South Africa and, about companies offering them like, for example, FNB. Clearly, you’ll be ready to purchase a car and have the best protection.

Author: Cristian Renella

Update: 02/09/2023

Preguntas Frecuentes

Is it necessary to take your ID?

Of course! For any type of legal procedure, you have to certify your identity.

What exactly is the RLV form?

RLV form refers to a form you need to complete to apply for registration and licencing of a vehicle.

Why is it illegal to change ownership if my car is financed?

Simply because you’re not the owner of that car yet, the bank or lending entity will be until you finish cancelling the instalments.

Is there a grace period in changing ownership of a vehicle because of Covid19?

The government has announced a grace period of thirty days for driving licences, but nothing has been said about ownership change for a vehicle. You should try contacting the registration authority of the city you live to see if any measure has been taken in regards to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Can I send someone to do the transaction for me?

In the event you are unable to carry out this procedure yourself, you can have a power of attorney issued in favour of another person, so they can do it for you. However, you should first ask your local registration authority if they accept this kind of document in their offices.

What is the process of buying car from somebody that has not done change of ownership of the previous owner yet?

In order for you to perform the vehicle ownership you need to know who the previous owner is and this person should also sign the paperwork. However, if this has not been done, the person who is selling you the car should go to the nearest Registry Authority and find out if he or she can make some sort of special request.

What if you do not do it within 21 days?

If you do not go to the registry authority to perform the vehicle ownership transfer within the 21-day period, you will be subject to fines. The amount of these fines will depend on how late you actually are to perform this change. Consider that this is something that will only take a day, so, you should definitely do it on time.

When you change the ownership of vehicle do you need a seller and buyer to come in persons?

For a change of ownership of a vehicle the buyer must go to the registering authority with all necessary documents. The seller will only need to fill in a NCO form that the buyer should also bring when requesting the change of ownership, of the vehicle, but he or she will not need to go to the Registration Authority.

How much does it cost to change ownership of a car?

The amount you will have to pay to transfer ownership of a car will depend on the licensing office where you are going to register the car. This amount will be based on what car you own and varies according to which location you are going to make the transfer ownership of the car.

I bought a trailer then the seller was the one who done all the the process of the change of ownership, so when I asked him what to do to get it?he just said I can go to any licence station with my I'd because he done all the transaction and payments. Okey I went and they need a certificate, I called him and let him know so he just tell me he took everything with him to where he done all the transaction. So can I use the disc paper and my I'd to go get a change of ownership?

If you wish to change the ownership of a vehicle, it is vital that the previous owner fills out a form with all the details about the car. Then, you need to hand in all the paper work and take your ID to the Resgistration Office to continue with the process. You will also need to pay some fees. 

What to do if you can't find the owner

One of the requirements to carry out the transfer process is to hand in a document (NCO form) filled out by the seller since you need to take it together with the rest of the certifates to the Regsitration Office. If you do not comply with this, unfortunately, the process will not take place. 

If a family member is giving me the car, is the procedure the same? And does it require the same documents?

Whenever a family member is transferring the ownership of a car to another  member, it is important to follow the same procedure. The seller must complete the NCO form and hand it in to the registering authority. Also, the buyer must complete the Application for registration and licensing of motor vehicle form for submission. 

Before my husband passed away, I changed the car to my name – but can find no record of this. Should I have any papers?

Certainly, you do. Your husband must have handed it in the NCO form to the nearest registration office. Then, he must have given you, as a buyer, the registration certificate. If you do not have any record of this, the recommendation is to go to the same registration office and speak with any advisor to find a copy of the document. 

What is the process of change of ownership in the case of a deceased estate, and which forms need to be completed?

In the case of a deceased family member, if you need to continue with the process of change of ownership of a vehicle, you have to present an ID and a certificate of the deceased. It is important to have an Executor with a valid ID, as you will need to provide a Letter of Executorship.  You will also have to pay an Executor's fee up to 3.5% of the total value of the assets in the estate. 

We bought a car from a friend whose mum is now deceased. The car was registered in her name, how do we go about registering the car in our name?

In order to transfer a car ownership from your friend's mother to you, as the vehicle was registered in her name, you will need to present a Death Certificate of the deceased and ID. Another requirement is to submit a Letter of Executorship. Finally, you need to provide a MVR1A or RVL change of ownership form. The errand has to be done in person and in the nearest registration office. 

Hi, I recently bought a car and want to register the car in my name, but I didn't receive the NCO form from the seller, but I do have the NaTIS from previous owner. How do I register the car if I don't have previous owners details?

There are some requirements for the new owners to comply with in order to register the car under their name. First, it is compulsory that the seller hands in the NCO form, since this document notifies the change of ownership. Then, you should go to the nearest registration authority and hand in your ID, proof of residential address, the vehicle registration certificate, proof of purchase and a valid motor vehicle licence.

Can I do change of ownership of a car if the original owner is not available, but I have all the documents needed?

Of course, you can. There is no need for the seller to attend the registration office in order for you to register the vehicle under your name. If you already have all the necessary documentation, the process will be easier. However, it is fundamental that the previous owner has handed it the NCO form. 

My mother passed away and left the car to me, although she didn't have a formal will, there is a letter to this effect. How can I transfer the car ownership?

If there is no a formal will, and you wish to have the ownership of the car that your mother left, you should first obtain a letter of authority, which will allow you to act on behalf of your mother's estate. Then, you should complete all the forms, gather the necessary supporting documentation and visit the nearest licensing authority. 

I sold my car to a friend of a friend, who sold the car again. The car still under my name. What do I do?

If you sold your car to a person who subsequently sold it to another one, then you need to proceed immediately as follows in order to settle this situation. First, you need to gather all the documentation related to the sale of the vehicle, then you will need to contact the first buyer to transfer the ownership. If possible, contact the second buyer and visit the licensing office and provide all the necessary documentation. 

Can I make a change of ownership if a seller has two cars under his name and one car disc is in debt, and you cannot pay one car disc due to that?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to do a change of ownership if any of the cars has any pending payment. The Road Traffic Management Corporation in South Africa requires that all the traffic fines and licence fees to be paid before a change of ownership. This problem should be solved to carry on with the process. 

What do you need to change ownership if the owner lost all the vehicle documents?

If the owner has lost all the vehicle documents, then the process of changing ownership can be a little bit more difficult, but not impossible. The suggestion is to issue a police report stating that the owner lost all the documentation. Also, it will be necessary to obtain a registration certificate from the South African Police Service. Then, the owner will need to obtain a roadworthy certificate and complete a change of ownership form. 

Is it necessary by law to change the registration number when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle?

No, it is not necessary by law to change the registration number when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle in South Africa. This number remains the same, so it does not need to be changed when the vehicle is sold or transferred. The only recommendation is that when the process of changing ownership happens,all the documentation must be in order.

I bought a vehicle privately from Cape Town and need to register it in Durban. Which licensing office do I need to go to do the change of ownership?

In this case, if you bought a vehicle privately from Cape Town and you need to register it in Durban, you will have to visit the right office in this location. It is recommended to resort to the Durban Metropolitan Municipality's Licensing office or the Department of Transport office. If you contact the customer service, they will provide you with the address. 

If the owner of the car (my daughter-in-law) has emigrated, and I have now bought her vehicle. Can she sign the change of ownership and email it back to me to take to the licensing bureau to have the vehicle changed into my name?

In general, when transferring the ownership of a vehicle, both the seller and the buyer need to be present in order to sign all the paper work to ensure the entire process is legitimate. However, in your case, where your daughter-in-law has emigrated, and you have bought her vehicle, you may need to consult to the corresponding licensing bureau to get an exception. 

I sold my car last year and I did not fill in NCO. The buyer claimed it was done. How do I find out whether the change of ownership was done.

In order to find out whether the change of ownership was done, you can contact the nearest registering authority.  If you did not fill in the NCO form when you sold your car, it is important that you do it as soon as possible. At the registering authority, you can ask for assistance on how to proceed. 

I bought a car from a person who unfortunately died before getting the new log book which he had applied for. He had put in the change of ownership forms and the application for new one a few days before passing on, and now I am left with a vehicle that his wife whom he was separated disputed the ownership and is claiming this vehicle back . I had drawn up an agreement to say I had bought this car where the deceased had signed on, and she disputes the signatures on this agreement. But the NCO form had been done, and the car is pending on my wife's name for whom I bought the vehicle for. Help me, please.

If you bought a car from a person who unfortunately died, you will need to transfer the title of the vehicle into your name. If the title of the vehicle was only in the decedent's name, you will need to find out if the estate is going through probate. You will need to wait for it to be complete before transferring the title. Also, you may need to look for legal advice, if there is a dispute over ownership. 

Hi, can I change ownership without the previous owners' ID document?

This depends on a specific procedure to follow.  If you are the buyer of the vehicle, you will not be able to transfer ownership without the previous owners' ID document. It is necessary to have the Change of Ownership form signed by both parties. You will need to have all the required documentation to avoid legal issues.

What should I do if I have exceeded 21 days to change ownership?

In the case that you have exceeded the 21-day deadline to change the ownership of your vehicle, you will need to register and license your car as soon as possible. In other words, if you do not do it, you will have to face some arrears and penalties. It is important that you gather all the required documentation.

I bought the car. The owner is nowhere to be found. No papers, except the documents from Avaf services and his ID. what can I do to have the car under my name?

Please, notice that in order to have the car under your name, you have to have all the necessary documentation when buying. Nonetheless, there are some steps you can follow to do the transfer. For example, you can obtain a police clearance certificate, a complete statuory declaration form, a copy of the vehicle's registration certificate, and a transfer/tax form. 

Good day, can you change ownership if you maybe have an outstanding fine or warrant? Asking on behalf of a friend.

Your friend must take into account that if there is an outstanding fine or warrant, they may not be able to change the ownership of the vehicle. It is extremely important to regularize the situation before carrying out the transferring. The Road Traffic Infringement Agency manages everything in this matter. 

Can I change ownership of motor vehicle in Durban if car was bought in Johannesburg?

Yes, you can change the ownership of your motor vehicle in Durban even if the car has been bought in Johannesburg. In order to carry out the process, it is necessary to fill out the Notification of Change of Ownership (NCO) form and had in all the documentation to the corresponding authorities. 

I have a car and want to give it to my son. I am not selling it to him, I just want to change the ownership. Do I need to get a roadworthy certificate before doing the change of ownership?

If you have a car and want to give it to your son without selling it, just by changing the ownership, you can do so without a roadworthy certificate. However, it is recommended to obtain it to ensure that the vehicle is safe. This certificate will be valid for 60 days. 

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