What documents do I need to take to an MOT test?

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Find out what you need to bring to the garage on the day of your MOT test, what you can leave at home, and how to update or replace your documents.

Now that the majority of garages and MOT test centres can access your past MOT history and certificates online, you might not have to bring as many documents with you to your MOT test as you thought. In this article, we'll discuss the documents involved in MOT testing and what to do if any of them go missing.

The MOT test is an annual test for vehicles over three years old (four in Northern Ireland). Its purpose is to ensure they meet minimum road safety and environmental standards.

Upon passing the test, you'll get an MOT certificate, which it's illegal to drive without if your vehicle falls within the aforementioned parameters.

With 40.72 million registered cars on roads across the country, it's safe to say most UK residents will have to deal with MOT testing at least once per year. To ensure a quick and painless experience, it's important to know what documents to prepare ahead of time.

What should I bring to my MOT test?

On the day of your MOT, you generally won't have to take any physical documents or forms with you to the garage. Every approved MOT test centre has access to an online database of your MOT history and certificates, which they can use to confirm your vehicle's status and legitimacy.

However, there are a couple of things you should bring to your MOT appointment:

V5C logbook

Your V5C logbook is your car's registration document. It proves you are the registered keeper of the vehicle. It also contains important information about your car (e.g., make and model), its tax band, and previous owners (if you purchased it on the secondhand market).

There are two times when you will have to bring your V5C with you to an MOT test:

  • It's your vehicle's first MOT test.
  • It's the vehicle's first test since changing the number plate.

After its first MOT check, you won't have to bring your V5C to any future ones — that is, unless you make changes to the vehicle's registration information.

Appointment confirmation

When you scheduled your MOT appointment, the test centre provided you with a confirmation (probably sent by email).

Upon arrival, the MOT testing centre will ask you for your booking confirmation number and vehicle identification number (VIN). This helps to avoid any mix-ups and ensures you are at the right location.

Of course, the MOT garage will have a record of the booking. But it makes the process easier if you show up with the confirmation number handy. To prevent hiccups and delays, it's best to keep the confirmation email in your inbox and pull it up when they ask for it.

Payment method

Unless you've already paid online, you'll have to bring your credit card, debit card, or cash to cover the cost of your MOT test.

The maximum cost of an MOT test is set by the government at £54.85 for a passenger car and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle.

Driving licence and insurance cover

You need a valid driving licence to legally drive to your MOT appointment. You should always carry this with you anyway, so this one's a no-brainer.

While you won't be asked to present your insurance policy at the test centre, you also must have insurance cover to legally drive your vehicle

Should I bring my previous MOT certificate with me?

All DVLA-approved garages can find your previous MOT certificate, advisory notes, and failure points in their online database. Therefore, you do not have to bring your previous MOT certificate with you to the test.

Having a paper copy of your previous MOT certificate can be helpful for personal record-keeping. This is particularly the case if you're preparing to sell your car, as potential buyers will want to see proof of its roadworthiness and current MOT status.

But even then, you can check any car's MOT status and history using our free online tool. All you need is the vehicle registration number.

What if I've lost my V5C logbook?

If your original V5C has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, you can apply for a new one through the DVLA's online service. You can handle this straightforward process online or by phone if the V5C's details remain the same. From there, you can expect to receive your V5C within 5 working days.


  • your name/address has changed
  • your vehicle's details (e.g., engine capacity) have changed
  • you've just bought, sold, or transferred ownership of the vehicle
  • your new vehicle didn't come with a V5C

...you cannot apply online because changes have been made to the vehicle's registration information. Depending on your situation, there are other ways — you'll have to apply by post using the DVLA Form V62, tell the DVLA you've sold your car, or visit a Post Office that deals with vehicle tax.

Can I use digital documents for the MOT test?

For the MOT test, you only need a digital version of your MOT certificate. In fact, the UK government actively encourages motorists to opt for a digital copy over their paper one.

That said, there have been rare instances of MOT test centres forgetting to record the test result in their database (verify this using our free MOT checker after your test). In such a case, having your physical copy will help to prove you did indeed pass the MOT.

If, for whatever reason, you need to have a paper copy of the certificate, you can request a replacement using the DVLA's free 'Get a replacement MOT certificate' service.

As for your V5C logbook, only a physical copy will suffice. It's only intended to be a physical document, and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon

What happens if I bring incomplete documents to my MOT?

If you forget to bring your V5C logbook or appointment confirmation, the test centre may still proceed with your MOT as long as they can access the necessary information through their online database. However, this could cause delays and inconvenience for you and the centre carrying out your test.

In some cases, if you fail to bring necessary documents (e.g., payment method), the garage may refuse to carry out your MOT test.

Do I need to show proof of address for an MOT test?

On your driving licence, you'll find your current address. This serves as proof of address should the MOT centre ask for it.

The DVLA also allows you to submit a change of address online or by post (the latter takes 3 weeks). While not necessary for an MOT test, be sure to have these details updated if you've recently moved house.

This is especially important for your driving licence, as you could be fined up to £1,000 if caught using an outdated address on it.

Do I need to provide service records for the MOT?

No, you do not need to provide service records for the MOT test. However, it can be helpful to have these records handy in case there are any questions or discrepancies during the test. It also serves as proof that your vehicle has been regularly maintained and can help with potential resale value.

Are there documents required for re-testing if my car fails its MOT?

When a car fails its MOT test, the garage will issue a VT30 ('Refusal of MOT certificate') form with a list of the recorded failure points. It will include which defects are 'dangerous' and which ones are 'major'.

If your car has dangerous defects, you will have to fix them at the garage — it is illegal to drive a car with dangerous defects, even if your current MOT certificate is still valid. The VT30 will indicate this.

It's helpful to keep this document safe and bring it with you when you return for a re-test, since there is no formal process for scheduling one. But, again, the test centre will have all your MOT info on record.

How do I update my documents before the MOT?

If your documents have expired, you've lost them, or they've been stolen, damaged, or destroyed, but you need them for your upcoming MOT, there are a few steps you can take to update them before the MOT:

  • Replace them using an online service. You can replace your driving licence (£20), MOT certificate (free), or V5C logbook (£25) online, depending on which one you need.  This is the fastest and most convenient way to update your documents.
  • Visit a Post Office. If you're unable to use the online service for any reason, you can visit a Post Office that deals with vehicle tax to carry out the process.
  • Apply by post. Alternatively, you can apply by post using the appropriate DVLA form.

Keep in mind that replacing your documents will take some time, particularly if you're handing it the old fashioned way. Give yourself at least 2-3 weeks to receive your updated documents before your MOT test.

Keeping documents in your vehicle

Some drivers keep their car tax, MOT certificate, insurance policy, driving licence, and/or V5C logbook at all times in case the police stop them.

Even the police advise against this. If someone were to break into or steal your car, you'd essentially be handing over all the necessary documents to take it as their own. It could also lead to identity theft and other forms of fraud.

It's always best to keep these documents in a safe place at home, only bringing them with you when necessary. If the police pull you over, what they'll actually do is issue a notice to produce the necessary documents at a police station within a few days.