Understanding your vehicle registration certificate.

The registration document shows not only the vehicle owner’s name, but also the name of the finance house or bank that is financing the vehicle, also known as the vehicle’s titleholder.

Understanding your vehicle registration certificate

NaTIS stands for National Administration Traffic Information System. Essentially, a NaTIS document is your car’s birth certificate; it is the vehicle registration certificate. But it’s not unusual for you never to have seen it or to even be aware it exists! It is a vehicle registration certificate that is created when a vehicle is registered at any traffic and licensing department. Vehicle registration documents used to be handed to the vehicle owner when the vehicle was registered, even if the vehicle was being financed by a bank or other financial institution. Due to an increase in fraud, a new licensing system was implemented in 1996, which required that the NaTIS be kept by the bank financing the car until the owner of the vehicle settles the vehicle finance account or trades in the vehicle at a dealer and the dealer settles the account.

The registration document shows not only the vehicle owner’s name, but also the name of the finance house or bank that is financing the vehicle, also known as the vehicle’s titleholder. The NaTIS or vehicle registration document remains in the titleholder’s safekeeping while the vehicle is being financed and will only be released when the finance account is paid in full.

The contents of a certificate of registration

Registering authority: Licensing department

Register number: Not to be confused with the licence number. For the NaTIS system, this is the most important identity number of a vehicle. If the register number of a vehicle is currently recorded as ABC123Z, 20 years later it will still be the same even if the vehicle has changed ownership 100 times. This is not always the case with the licence number, VIN or engine number. Unlike the VIN, engine and licence numbers, the register number is not visible on the car itself. It is part of the NaTIS system and can be found on the vehicle registration certificate or the licence disk.

VIN number: This is the vehicle identification number. This number corresponds to the chassis of the vehicle and is assigned by the manufacturer and may identify the design of the vehicle, the factory that built or assembled the vehicle, the date that the vehicle was completed or a batch number. Every VIN is unique and rarely changes, but there are a few scenarios where it could change:

  • To make a correction in the rare instance where it was recorded incorrectly by mistake.
  • If the car is stolen and recovered and on recovery an official deduces that the car was tampered with. They may stamp a new number on the body of the vehicle called a police number. This new VIN could start with AAPV.
  • If the area where the VIN is stamped or engraved is damaged and no longer legible.
  • If the VIN doesn’t correspond to the NaTIS, then you have trouble. The VIN is cross-checked on several transactions. If you intend to buy a vehicle, be a safe and weary buyer, always check the VIN number. If it doesn’t correspond, walk away … fast!

Engine number: This is also determined by the manufacturer of the engine. The engine number on the certificate will correspond to an engraved or stamped number on the sub-assembly of the engine and like the VIN, it is cross-checked against the car’s papers on certain transactions. The engine number can change if the sub-assembly is changed. The necessary procedures should be followed so the new number corresponds with the NaTIS system, the certificate of registration and the licence disk.

Make: The manufacturer of the vehicle.

Series name: The model of the vehicle; in some cases this value can be printed as UNKNOWN.

Vehicle category: There are seven different vehicle categories:

    • A – Motorcycle.
    • B – Light passenger vehicle that carries less than 12 passengers.
    • C – Heavy passenger vehicle that carries more than 12 passengers.
    • K – Light-load vehicle where the GVM is less than 3 500 kg, ie a small bakkie.
    • L – Heavy-load vehicle where the GVM is greater than 3 500 kg, ie a truck or similar.
    • U – Special vehicle, ie a tractor or similar industrial vehicle.
    • M – Heavy-load vehicle where the GVM is greater than 3 500 kg and the vehicle draws a trailer.

Driven: How does the vehicle move on public roads. There are four driven types:

    • Self-propelled (most engine-driven vehicles)
    • Trailer
    • Semi-trailer
    • Trailer drawn by tractor

Tare: The tare weight of the vehicle, which is what determines the cost of your vehicle licence.

Date of liability for first licensing: This is the date when the vehicle was first licensed.

Vehicle status: There are four different vehicle statuses:

    • New
    • Used
    • Rebuild
    • Scrapped

Date liable for registration: This is the date that you took ownership of the car. It is usually determined by the date on the settlement letter, on the notification of change of ownership or the receipt from the seller.

Last license: This will list the last three licence numbers that have been recorded on the system for the vehicle since this certificate of registration was printed. It may or may not contain the current licence number. If you buy a vehicle and the vehicle is issued with a new number plate, the new licence number will not show on this certificate of registration until the vehicle is sold and registered again, or until you apply for a duplicate certificate.

An explanation of this: a licence number is assigned on licensing and not on registration. When you register a vehicle onto your name, you usually license it at the same time. Although this may seem like one transaction, technically the certificate of registration was created before the licence, even though it is mere seconds apart. When the certificate of registration was printed, at that very second the system had not yet recorded the new licence number.

Titleholder: The titleholder is the legal owner of the vehicle and has higher authority over the vehicle than the owner. Only the titleholder can request a duplicate registration certificate.

Type of identification: This can be a business registration certificate, a traffic register certificate or a South African identity card or document.

Identification number of the titleholder.

Country of issue: Where the supplied form of identity was issued.

Name: The name of the titleholder

Owner: This is not literal. In this context, the owner is the person that is responsible for the car and is accountable for traffic violations, offenses, insurance and licensing of the vehicle. The owner cannot sell the vehicle, de-register it, request a duplicate certificate or cross the South African border unless authorised by the titleholder.

Control number: This is one of the most important numbers on this document; it’s a unique identifier for this specific document. Only the titleholder has access to this number.

Issue number: This code is used by eNaTIS to record the transaction that was used to print the document.

Date of issue: The date the document was printed or issued.

Registering authority: The licence department that issued the certificate.

Receipt number: A unique identifier for the transaction and its cost. Even in the case of multiple adding, each transaction will have its own receipt number.

Total amount received: Cost of this transaction in South African rand (ZAR).

Date: The date of receipt, usually the same as the date of issue.

Received by: The name of the teller at the licensing department who processed the transaction.

Method of payment: Single or multiple payment. If you registered and licensed a vehicle, it will show as multiple adding. If you request a duplicate certificate or if you only register as the titleholder in the case where you’ve settled the vehicle, this will show as a single transaction.

The exact date and time the document was printed.

The South African vehicle certificate of registration is a crucial document that should be protected. The departments in charge have done an excellent job maintaining the integrity of the system in place that protects the ownership of vehicles for South African citizens.


What to do if you need the following:

  • A copy – request it at mfc.co.za, on the Nedbank Money app or by contacting the MFC Contact Centre on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co.za.
  • The original – request it at mfc.co.za or contact the MFC Contact Centre on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co.za. 

If you have traded the vehicle at a dealer, the dealer will request the NaTIS directly from MFC/Nedbank, so no action is required from you.

If you requested a settlement and settle the account before the end of your contract term, MFC will do the change of ownership into your name and dispatch the NaTIS to you. The cost for the change of ownership and courier fee is included in your settlement. MFC will need your correct delivery address and contact information. For more information you can call the MFC Contact Centre on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co.za.

If you have reached the end of your contract term and paid the account in full, you have two options:

  • Contact the MFC Contact Centre on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co.za and request the NaTIS with Nedbank/MFC noted as titleholder. If you select this option, you will receive the NaTIS with a Notification of change of ownership (NCO) document and paid-up letter, which you will have to take to the licensing department to do change of ownership into your name.
  • Log into your profile on the MFC website at mfc.co.za or contact the MFC Contact Centre on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co.za and request MFC to do change of ownership for you. This service comes at an additional fee, which you can pay via cash or EFT. We strongly recommend that you use this option, as it will save you time and you will receive your NaTIS listing you as the owner and titleholder. When you contact MFC, the agent will explain the process to you. If you request this service via the MFC website or e-mail, an administrator will contact you.


    Insurance claims – In the unfortunate event of the vehicle being stolen or written off, your insurance company is responsible for obtaining a settlement and the NaTIS after the account is settled. MFC will only release the NaTIS to the insurance company after the titleholder and owner have been changed to them.


    If you requested your original document previously and have lost it, MFC can only help you with a duplicate NaTIS document if the titleholder is still listed as MFC/Nedbank. If you have already done the change of ownership and MFC/Nedbank was removed, you will have to obtain a duplicate from your nearest licensing department. For assistance with a duplicate NaTIS, please contact the MFC Contact Centre on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co.za. There is a fee applicable, which must be paid before a duplicate NaTIS can be requested.


    Engine was replaced In the unfortunate event of you having to replace the complete engine, you need to contact MFC on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co. This is to ensure that MFC requests a new NaTIS from the licensing department to supply to you when you have paid your account in full. There is a fee applicable, which you must pay before a replacement NaTIS can be requested.


    Your responsibilty:

  • Vehicle licence – The vehicle licence disk must be renewed yearly. Failure to renew the licence disk will prevent you or MFC from updating the titleholder and owner information when you have paid your account in full.
  • Account paid in full – Request the NaTIS immediately after you have paid your account in full. If you opt not to select the change of ownership value offering, you must visit your licensing department within 21 days and do a change of ownership into your name.
  • Contact and address information – Ensure you contact MFC on 0860 879 900 or at care@mfc.co.zato update your information if it changes.


NaTIS online Services

NaTIS online services offers a variety of services including bookings for Learners Licence Test and Driving Licence Test; Book for Driving Licence Card Renewals along with a host of other services. Click here for more information at https://online.natis.gov.za/#/    


Use this site to make a Representation, to Nominate a Driver, make a Revocation, and make an application to Pay in Instalments. Click Here for more information https://online.aarto.gov.za/#  Remember to register and login to see traffic fines etc.