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Provisional Registration of a Merchant Vessel on Part 1 of the Register

When an owner intends to register a ship on Part 1 and the vessel is currently outside of British waters, you may apply for a three month provisional registration. This allows a vessel that is currently outside of British waters to be brought back to a British port, however, whilst provisionally registered, a vessel cannot operate commercially.

A Provisional Certificate is valid either for three months from the date of issue, until the ship’s arrival in the UK or termination by the Registry on request from the owner - whichever is sooner. 

Provisional registration gives no entitlement to register a ship under the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. 

Once a ship is provisionally registered, it cannot be renewed, nor can it be provisionally registered again within one year of the date of the original certificate of provisional registration.

If registration onto the UK Ship Register is not completed before the certificate expires, your ship will cease to be recognised as British.

How to get started when applying for a provisional registration

Your first step will be to complete an Information Required for UK Merchant Ship Registration (MSF 5547) form, which provides us with the necessary information to check if the ship and the owner are eligible for UK registration.

Following a successful check, you will then be assigned a Key Account Manager (KAM) who will guide you through the transfer of the ship on to the Register. They will also be your dedicated point of contact for administration and general policy matters, both during the “flag-in” process and for the period that the vessel remains with the UK Ship Register.

Applying for provisional registration

If you want to apply to provisionally register your vessel, you can use the UK Ship Register online service.  

You will need to provide supporting documents and pay the appropriate fee. The Application to Register and Declaration of Eligibility forms are not required if submitting your application online.

Documents required for Provisional (Part 1 Merchant) registration are:  

You will need to print off and sign any documents, as we cannot accept digital signatures.

  • Where to send your documents

  • Please note that any documents used to support your application for a Provisional (Part 1) Registration, if not in English, must be accompanied by a notarised translation. 

    You can send these documents to us by email at

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 3908 5200 if you need any more information.