The provisional registration is basically a temporary registration. It either proves that a vessel is in the process of getting formally registered or proves that a vessel is actual registered in the national ships registrar. In all cases it is a temporary document.



Examples of provisional registrations

When registering a yacht in Poland, a provisional registration is issued between 2 to 7 days after the registration has been completed. The provisional registration states some basics, including the final registration number, but not details of the owner. Nice feature is the QR code. On scanning the QR code the name of the vessel, the registration number and HIN code will be shown.

Mind you that the Polish provisional registration is no guarantee that the Certificate of Registry will be issued. The Polish ships registrar still has the option of declining the registration.


The provisional Certificate of Registry issued by the Dutch authorities is slightly different. This is issued when the vessel has been formally accepted and registered. Because in the Netherlands there is the procedure that a registration is only final after an inspector of the ships registrar conducted an inspection and carved the registration number on the boat, the provisional registration was introduced due to two unforeseen circumstances.

  1. The ICP was no longer being accepted in Italy and boats were getting confiscated. Because it was not always possible to inspect a vessel on such a short notice and due to the COVID travel restrictions, owners could have their yacht registered and obtain a provisional registration, so they could prove that the vessel was formal registered and had the Dutch nationality
  2. Because of the overall COVID travel restrictions, the inspectors of the ships registrar could not travel for a period of nearly a year. The provisional registration was an in-between solution so that registered yacht owners could formally prove the nationality of the vessel.

Once the pandemic has lost its status, the Dutch provisional registration will most probably no longer be available.


Validity of a provisional registration

As the title already indicates, a provisional registration is a temporary registration, which is not ever lasting.

The Polish provisional registration is valid for 30 days after date of issue. That means that either the Certificate of Registry is issued within 30 days, or a formal statement will be issued that the application has been denied.


In case of the Dutch provisional registration, the temporary registration expires after 6 months.


Provisional registrations and commercial yachts

Commercial registrations differ in many ways from regular registrations. In Belgium, for example, commercial vessels are inspected by the ship registrar, prior to finalising a registration. Here to because of travel restrictions provisional Certificates of Registry are being issued. The expire date is less rigid, in the sense that the inspector determines him/herself when the provisional registration expires.