Trade plates for vehicles

A trade plate can be issued to people such as motor car dealers to allow the use of an unregistered vehicle on the road (e.g. a test drive). Trade plates are usually white number plates with black characters.

To be eligible to have a trade plate and General Identification Mark (GIM) assigned, you must be either an individual or company, and fall into one of the following categories:

  • manufacturer of vehicles
  • dealer in vehicles (Licensed Motor Car Trader/LMCT)
  • fleet owner (must own more than 50 vehicles)
  • licensed vehicle tester (LVT)
  • person engaged in the business of modifying, repairing, altering or transporting vehicles before first registration or
  • person or company providing a service of inspecting and checking vehicles for mechanical condition and efficiency.

If you fall into one of the above categories, you must be able to provide the following evidence:

  • manufacturer of vehicles - company letterhead and description of nature of business, the reason trade plates are required and website address (if applicable)
  • dealer in vehicles - a current LMCT number (External link) 
  • fleet owner - company letterhead and description of nature of business, the reason trade plates are required, website address and number of registered vehicles
  • licensed vehicle tester - a current LVT number 
  • vehicle transporter, vehicle repairer or vehicle modifier - company letterhead and description of nature of business, the reason trade plates are required and website address.

If an eligible person falls into more than one category, separate trade plate applications for each category must be provided. 

If assessed as eligible and payment is made, VicRoads will assign you or your company with a General Identification Mark (GIM) and trade plate.

 

A manufacturer of/or a dealer in vehicles/trailers

The above GIM/trade plate holder or a person acting on his/her behalf may use the vehicle on a road or road related area under any of the following circumstances, to:

  • drive the vehicle in the process of manufacture from place to place
  • drive the vehicle from place of manufacture to the place where the vehicle will be offered for sale
  • test drive the vehicle
  • demonstrate the qualities of the vehicle to a purchaser or prospective purchaser
  • drive the vehicle in the course of its delivery before or after sale
  • drive the vehicle anywhere to be repaired, or during the process of repair or modification, or to drive it to return it to its owner after repair or modification
  • a dealer in vehicles/trailer can allow a prospective purchaser to test drive a vehicle on a road or road related area.

A fleet owner (owns more than 50 vehicles)

The above GIM/trade plate holder or a person acting on his/her behalf may use the vehicle on a road or road related area in the course of preparing it for registration. This includes testing or modifying the vehicle.

A licensed vehicle tester

The above GIM/trade plate holder or a person acting on his/her behalf may use the vehicle on a road or road related area to drive it from place to place for the purpose of examining and testing it, or collecting it and returning it to its owner.

A person engaged in the business of modifying, repairing or altering vehicles

The above GIM/trade plate holder or a person acting on his/her behalf may use the vehicle on a road or road related area under any of the following circumstances, to:

  • drive the vehicle to any premises to be modified, repaired or altered
  • drive it during the process of modification, repair or alteration
  • return it to its owner after modification, repair or alteration.

A person providing a service of inspecting and checking vehicles for mechanical condition and efficiency

The above GIM/trade plate holder or a person acting on his/her behalf may use the vehicle on a road or road related area under any of the following circumstances to:

  • drive the vehicle to any premises to be altered, modified or repaired
  • drive it during the process of alteration, modification or repair
  • return it to its owner after alteration, modification of repair.

  • A trade plate can only be used on an unregistered vehicle. This includes vehicles that have suspended, expired or cancelled registration.
  • The vehicle on which a trade plate is displayed must be safe for use on the road.
  • A trade plate cannot be used on a stolen vehicle or a vehicle that is a statutory write-off.
  • When the vehicle is of a type that is usually registered with conditions, a trade plate can be used, provided that the vehicle is used in accordance with the conditions which would normally apply when it is registered
  • An unregistered vehicle may be used on a road or road related area without having a trade plate attached to it if the vehicle is being used on the premises of a GIM/trade plate holder or within 25 metres of the perimeter of premises of the GIM/trade plate holder. The vehicle must be owned by the GIM/trade plate holder and be driven and occupied by only one person who is either the GIM/trade plate holder or one of their employees.
  • An expired or cancelled trade plate cannot be used on a vehicle.
  • A trade plate cannot be loaned to any other person or organisation.
  • A trade plate cannot be transferred.
  • All trade plates must be returned to VicRoads when a GIM/trade plate holder ceases business or if the trade plate renewal is not paid within 3 months of the trade plate expiry date.
  • Trade plates remain the property of VicRoads.

Victorian trade plates interstate

Check with relevant authorities before using Victorian trade plates in another state or territory.

Display of trade plates

  • A trade plate is a number plate and must be displayed at the rear of the vehicle in the space generally provided for a rear number plate. This also applies to motorcycle trade plates. A trade plate must not be carried in a satchel across a motorcycle rider’s shoulder.
  • If an unregistered vehicle still has number plates attached, the trade plate should be displayed over the registration number plate.
  • A trade plate can only be used on the category of vehicle for which it was issued. A vehicle trade plate can be used on a motor car or motorcycle; a trailer trade plate can only be used on a trailer.
  • A vehicle being towed or carried by a vehicle which has a trade plate attached to it is not required to have a separate trade plate attached to it.  

Carry a load or towing a vehicle with a trade plates

  • A vehicle with a trade plate may tow another vehicle provided the towing vehicle is being used with the purpose in which the trade plate was issued.
  • A vehicle displaying a trade plate must not carry any load, unless the vehicle is:
    • carrying a load solely to demonstrate to a prospective purchaser its capacity to carry a load
    • carrying another vehicle from its place of manufacture, repair or purchase and is being driven by the shortest practical route to the GIM/trade plate holder’s premises
    • a trailer specially constructed for the carriage of a boat and the load consists solely of a boat.

To apply for a trade plate you will need to:

To lodge the Vehicle Trade Plate form and fees:

  • visit a VicRoads Customer Service Centre (pay by VISA, MasterCard*, cheque, EFTPOS or cash)
  • mail to VicRoads, GPO Box 1644, MELBOURNE VIC 3001 (cheque only).

* A card payment fee (External link) applies

Mailed applications will take 2 - 3 weeks to process. 

However, all Customer Service Centres can process and issue plates** on the spot provided that all requirements are met. If applications don’t meet the criteria, they will take 2-3 weeks to process.

**Vessel trade plates cannot be processed at Customer Service Centres and must be mailed. These applications will take 2 - 3 weeks to process.

Replacement trade plates

A GIM/trade plate holder must report stolen trade plates to the police and obtain a police report

A replacement trade plate will only be issued for a:

  • stolen plate on a provision of a police report
  • damaged trade plate after the damaged plates are returned to a VicRoads Customer Service Centre
  • lost plate on provision of a statutory declaration.

Replacement trade plates will incur the annual fee per trade plate.

Refunds

No refund is available for the annual trade plate fees.

You can apply for a pro-rata refund of the TAC premium by filling out a refund form [PDF 159 Kb] and on return of the trade plate(s).

Change of address on a GIM/trade plate

A GIM/trade plate holder can have a residential, postal and an address where the trade plate(s) are used.

To ensure you receive all correspondence relating to your GIM/trade plates, you need to advise us of the correct residential, postal and address where will trade plate is used, by either: 

Trade plate fees

A Transport Accident Commission (TAC) premium may apply per trade plate. Please refer to the TAC website (External link) for more information. 

There are no fee concessions available for trade plates.

 
Transaction  Fee 
Annual issue fee for general identification mark  $118.00
Annual fee for trade plate (per plate)  $48.30

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