Over the past few months, there have been some changes to trailer registration in VIC which all trailer owners need to be aware of. On July 1 2023, the previous transitional arrangements that were permitted under the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018 came to an end.
Trailers and caravans that are manufactured or imported since that date (July 1, 2023) now must be entered into the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV), a trailer identification plate, and import approval where applicable. To help make this transition smoother for trailer owners, we’ve compiled all the relevant information that you need to be aware of when it comes to registering your trailer.
Who can register a trailer in Victoria?
Any individual or company can register a trailer (or caravan), so long as they have a VicRoads customer number – this is a unique number that is issued by VicRoads to the individual or company.
For individuals, your VicRoads customer number is either your learner permit or driver’s licence number. If you don’t have a licence but do have a vehicle registered in your name, the customer number can be found on your registration renewal notice. If you don’t have a Victorian licence or VicRoads customer number, you will need to visit a VicRoads service centre and provide full proof of identity documents to obtain a customer number.
For companies, your VicRoads customer number is on your company’s myVicRoads account or any registration renewal notice on any company-registered vehicle. If your company does not have a VicRoads customer number, you will need to visit a VicRoads customer service centre and provide full proof of identity documents for your company.
How old do you have to be to register your trailer?
You must be at least 16 years old to register a light trailer or caravan in Victoria, and at least 18 years old to register a heavy trailer or caravan. However, if you’re underage, someone else can register a trailer or caravan in their name for you.
What if I need to travel interstate with my trailer?
If you need to tow your caravan or trailer interstate, you should register it in Victoria before you leave to avoid any issues when you’re on the road.
What if my trailer’s registration has expired?
It is illegal to tow a trailer with an expired registration. If your trailer’s registration has lapsed, you can simply renew it for up to 3 months after its expiry date.
Different trailer types & what you need to register
You will need a few different numbers at hand to register your trailer in Victoria, including its Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) and dimensions. The requirements for registering a trailer will vary based on the type of trailer, its ATM and what it is used for.
What is the ATM and how do I find it?
The ATM of your trailer refers to the weight of the trailer itself plus its maximum payload. Often the trailer’s ATM will be displayed on the manufacturer’s plate on the trailer body, but if it isn’t, you can always contact the manufacturer directly or check the vehicle on the Register of Approved Vehicles.
What size of trailers can be registered?
For a trailer to be registered in Victoria, its dimensions must not exceed 4.3m in height (or 4.6m for livestock, car carriers and some low-profile semi-trailers), 12.5m in length including the drawbar (or 14.6m for semi-trailers) and 2.5m in width, including any guards, awnings or permanent fixtures.
If a trailer has one axle group or a single axle near the middle of its length, the maximum length of the rear overhang is the lesser of the length of the overhang in front of the axle, or 3.7m.
Are any trailers exempt from registration?
Light trailers (except for trailers built to carry a boat) are exempt from registration in Victoria so long as they weigh less than 200kg when unloaded, isn’t wider than the tow vehicle, is 3m or less in length (including the drawbar) and isn’t used for business purposes.
However, you can choose to register your trailer even if it’s exempt from registration. If your trailer is exempt and not registered, it must display the same registration number as your tow vehicle or an exempt trailer plate.
Do you need an RWC to transfer a trailer in VIC?
You only need a roadworthiness certificate (RWC) if you’re transferring the registration of a heavy trailer. This RWC must be issued no more than 30 days before the date of sale.
Can a Learner driver tow a trailer in VIC?
No. One of the restrictions of holding a learner’s permit in Victoria is that the driver must not tow a trailer, caravan or another vehicle.
Can red P-platers tow a trailer in VIC?
In Victoria, a red P-plater cannot tow a trailer except under specific, work-related circumstances. For more info on Victoria’s towing laws, read our full guide here.
Can green P-platers tow a trailer in VIC?
Yes, green P-platers can legally tow a trailer in Victoria, so long as they are not driving a prohibited towing vehicle. For more information, read our full guide on Victoria’s towing laws here.
How do I apply for trailer registration?
For light trailers with an ATM of 750kg or less
If you have a light trailer with an ATM of up to 750kg, you’ll need to ensure that the trailer’s VIN is recorded on the Register of Approved Vehicles, stamped on the trailer and have a trailer plate affixed, make sure it complies with the VSBI, use the Light Trailer Registration Form to apply, and book an appointment at a VicRoads customer service centre.
For trailers with an ATM between 750kg and 4.5 tonnes
If your trailer’s ATM is between 750kg and 4.5T, the requirements are the same as above, with the exception that you will need to fill out and apply with a Vehicle Registration Form.
For heavy trailers with an ATM of more than 4.5 tonnes
If your trailer’s ATM exceeds 4.5T, it is considered a heavy trailer. In addition to completing the usual steps to register as well as filling out a vehicle registration form, you will need to complete a heavy trailer nomination form (unless it is a pig trailer or semi-trailer) and have an original and current Certificate of Roadworthiness.
What if my trailer is imported?
If your trailer was imported or manufactured after July 1 2023, you will need to make sure its VIN is recorded on the Register of Approved Vehicles. If you were granted import approval before June 30 2023, you will need to have a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA).
What fees do I have to pay to register my trailer?
There are up to five fees you will have to pay to register a trailer: a vehicle appointment fee, vehicle inspection fee (if needed), a trailer registration fee, a number plate fee, and for heavy trailers, (unless exempt) a motor vehicle duty fee. A card payment fee will also apply for payments by VISA and MasterCard.