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SORN Rules: Statutory Off Road Notification

SORN stands for Statutory Off Road Notification. This guide explains how to declare an untaxed vehicle as 'taken off the road'.

WHEN TO MAKE A SORN: There are specific reasons for making a valid SORN declaration to the DVLA.

As a rule, you should make a SORN notice any time you stop taxing and insuring a vehicle. Then you can then take the car off the road.

A vehicle becomes ‘off the road‘ when it is not kept or used on a public road. Typical examples would be those stored in a garage, a driveway, or on some private land.

There are consequences and penalties for those who avoid paying car road tax in the United Kingdom.

Note: You must get road tax and insurance for your vehicle unless you have a valid SORN declaration. You will get an automatic fine of £80 for not having a Statutory Off Road Notification. There is a separate fine for having an uninsured vehicle.

How to Make a SORN Declaration Online

It is not a difficult process to make a SORN online, by telephone, or by postal methods. But, making a SORN is not necessary if you received a V11 reminder letter for a vehicle that you already sold. DVLA will send confirmation that the vehicle is no longer yours within four weeks.

But you must make a SORN if:

  • It is not taxed or insured, no matter how short the time (e.g. due to a delay renewing the insurance policy).
  • You choose to break it down for parts before scrapping your vehicle at an ATF.
  • You take possession of it and want to keep it off the road. But, a SORN notification is not transferable from the previous keeper.

When Does SORN Start and End?

The time when a SORN starts depends on how you have made the application for it. But, remember that a vehicle must remain in the United Kingdom for it to be valid. As a rule, a SORN notice will start:

  • Immediately, when using the V5C reference to apply for a SORN online or by phone.
  • On the first day of the following month, when using the V11 reference and applying online or by telephone.
  • On the actual date requested as per the DVLA form when you apply for a SORN by post.

A SORN gets cancelled by automatic process if you tax the vehicle again or sell it. The same SORN rules apply to scrapped written-off vehicles and those exported overseas. Thus, it does not need renewing or removing for any of these particular situations.

After Making a SORN: Tax Refund

Several things can happen after you make a Statutory Off Road Notification. DVLA will send a vehicle road tax refund for any full months that remain unused. This usually takes place within 6 weeks after making the SORN.

SORN rules do not allow you to drive on a public road. The only exception is while driving to or from a pre-booked MOT station or other testing appointment.

Note: Using a vehicle on the road for any other reason is likely to result in a court prosecution and a fine up to £2,500.

How to Check if a Vehicle is SORN

Anyone can make a SORN check online to get vehicle information from DVLA. They hold the current SORN status for all vehicles. But, you will need to know the make and registration number to check if a car is SORN online.

Note: Any member of the public can report a vehicle as untaxed if they see it parked or used on a road or on a highway.

Information available on a DVLA SORN Check

What details do you get when you check car tax and mot online? Some of the information you can find out about a vehicle include:

  • The date the vehicle was first registered and its SORN status.
  • Current vehicle tax rates and when its current vehicle tax and MOT expire.
  • Vehicle colour, engine size, CO2 emissions, and year of manufacture.

Note: Write to DVLA if you are requesting personal information about the current or previous registered keeper of a vehicle.

Motor Trader Exceptions for SORN

Motor traders or vehicle testers are not required to make a SORN on a vehicle providing:

  1. The vehicle is only temporarily in your possession (until you sell it) and kept at your business premises.
  2. The registered keeper notified DVLA that it got sold or transferred to you.

For the purpose of SORN rules and regulations, motor traders would be defined as a:

  • Motor dealer, motor auctioneer, or a dismantler of vehicles.
  • Vehicle insurer looking after a vehicle while a claim is being settled.
  • Finance company licensed to temporarily hold a vehicle following an order for repossession.


What is SORN Declaration?
A Statutory Off Road Notification is a vehicle registration certificate. You can register your vehicle off the road instead of paying road tax and insurance if it is not kept or used on a public road.

How Long is SORN Valid?
A SORN is valid for one full year from the start date unless you tax the vehicle, sell it, scrap a car as salvage or export it abroad during the SORN period.

How Do I Get a SORN Car Back on the Road?
You must insure it, tax it, and ensure the vehicle has an
up-to-date MOT before you drive it on public roads. The SORN will expire after you use the DVLA V5C application form.

How Long is a MOT Certificate Valid For?
According to most MOT rules the certificate is valid for a maximum of 12 months from the date of the test (exceptions apply).

How Long is a Temporary Cover Note Valid For?
A maximum of 60 days seems to be the typical length of time that a cover note has validity. But, the timescale must be clearly stated on the cover note.

Do I Have to Insure My Car?
Minimum motor insurance is a requirement for all vehicles used on roads and in public places. ‘Continuous insurance enforcement’ means you may not need to insure it providing the vehicle gets declared as off the road (SORN).

What is the Minimum Insurance Cover Required to Drive a Vehicle on a Public Road?
Third party insurance is the legal minimum to drive a vehicle on a public road. This minimum insurance cover is law in case you have an accident and cause damage or injury to another person, any other vehicle, an animal, or a property.

DVLA SORN Rules UK: When to Declare an Untaxed Vehicle with Statutory Off Road Notification