Nova and Registration Explained:

Registering an Imported Classic Motorcycle

Welcome to our free ‘how to’ guide to registering any bike you’ve bought from us.

It might look complicated, mainly because the government uses the same forms for many purposes, but once you know how it’s done it’s quite simple.

You’ve also probably heard horror stories about the DVLA but our experience is that they are just ordinary people doing a job and if you need help they will provide it.

When applications arrive at Swansea they go into a queue waiting to be scanned. This usually takes 10 working days but this can vary according to demand. Once it is scanned it is sent to one of the processing clerks and they will check that all documents are in order.

If so then normally that is it and the new V5 is issued. Most of your documents are also returned (minus the title document) along with a V948 Number Plate Authorisation Certificate. This will allow you to have a number plate made for the bike.

Interesting Fact This is not widely known but all historic bikes i.e. over 40 years old, can have a black and white number plate. That said, when given the choice many people go for the correct colour for the period i.e. yellow and black from 1 January 1973.


Like any procedure, it’s best to have a checklist of what you’ll need, so here it is already done for you.

ü V55/5 form

ü V112 form

ü Title document

ü NOVA confirmation

ü Invoice for the motorcycle

ü Copy driving license

ü Payment

V55/5 Form

An example of this document filled in is available from us by email, just ask on

Send your filled-in form to the DVLA Swansea SA99 1BE

This shows the fields to be filled in. You can choose whether to put n/a in the other fields (we do) but you probably don’t need to. If you print off ours then they will be filled in for you.

There are some fields which can only have one entry (unless you have a single seat or diesel motorcycle!!) but ours are likely to have two seats and will certainly be petrol.

You can opt for only 6 months free road tax instead of 12 but we’re not sure why you would!

An original document can be downloaded from the following web address.

V112 Form

An example of this document filled in is available by clicking from us by email, just drop us a note at

As any imported bike purchased from us will be over 40 years old it will not need an MOT in order to register it. Instead a declaration can be made and we have again shown you how to do this.

An original document can be downloaded from the following web address.

Title Document

We will supply you with the original title document. This will be from whichever US or Canadian state the bike came from and will show the previous owner and, crucially, the year of manufacture. The DVLA will need this to show which year the bike was made and therefore the correct year for the V5 and the number plate.

There is only one original document and the DVLA will ask for it (so it might be best to send everything Recorded or Special Delivery). If you buy one of our bikes we will usually have scanned this document so you may have a back-up if it gets lost.

NOVA Confirmation

This is a customs document called the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals. Basically, when the bike gets to the docks (Southampton in our case) we pay a duty on each bike to HMRC. The DVLA will need to check that this has been done.

A copy of the NOVA will be supplied to you with your bike. Additional copies are available if it gets lost.

Invoice For The Motorcycle

We will supply this for you with the bike and it will show the VIN number which you will need to register the bike.

Copy Driving License

A photocopy or printed scan of the license will be fine, you don’t need to send the original.


The fee is £55 and this can be in the form of a cheque or postal order.

Anything Else?

That should be all you need to do but there are other ways you can help the process along. Taking photographs of the bike, one for each side, one of the VIN plate and one of the speedometer showing the mileage will help the processor see that this is a real bike and the application is genuine.

Although not necessary, we take the view that the more you send them, the easier their job is and the less likely that they will have to query anything. If you put your contact details on the V55/5 (such as your email address or phone number) they can contact you to clear up any quick query.


If the DVLA has any doubts, or you’re unlucky enough to be randomly selected for an inspection, then someone will arrange to come and have a look at the bike before the documents are issued.

This is purely to check that the bike is legitimate and that everything is in order. If you have bought one of our bikes then we can assure you that it will be. You have a money-back guarantee on that.


Not all insurance cover allows for bikes which are not yet registered for the road. Please see the Home page of this website for details of a scheme which allows this or click Here.

That’s It!

Once you have the paperwork back you can enjoy your new bike, knowing that for a little bit of effort you’re likely to have saved a lot of money against buying a bike that spent it's early years in the UK. A large number of Japanese classics in the UK today have come from the US.

Interesting Fact Most imported bikes don’t come from the so-called ‘dry states’ in the south, having survived because it never rains (so they don’t rust). In fact, a large number come from northern states where they were bought in large numbers back in the 70’s, often to be put in garages and outbuildings and forgotten. That said, most of the bikes we sell were still being occasionally used on the road by their American owners right up to the point at which we bought them!