Your vehicle must meet both of the following regulations if you want to use it on the road:
- Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended)
- Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989 (as amended)
You must prove that your vehicle meets environmental and safety regulations or has an exemption from the regulations if you’re permanently importing it into the UK. To do this you’ll need the right paperwork, which could be:
- a copy of the European Certificate of Conformity or type approval certificate from the manufacturer or importer - suitable if it’s a right-hand-drive, UK specification vehicle
- a certificate of Mutual Recognition if the vehicle was approved and registered in the European Union (EU)
You must also:
- pay any VAT, duty or tax due
- insure it with a motor insurer authorised in the UK
- register it - there are special arrangements for commercial importers of new vehicles
Until you’ve done this, you can’t keep or use the vehicle on public roads, except to drive it to pre-arranged appointments that are necessary to register it.
You can get a vehicle import pack from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
There are different rules if you’re temporarily importing a vehicle into the UK.
DVLA advises you to transport your vehicle from the port, rather than driving it.
Driving with a foreign registration number
UK residents aren’t allowed to use non-UK registered vehicles on UK roads. The only exceptions are if you:
- work in another EU member state and use an EU-registered company car temporarily in the UK
- lease an EU-registered car and use this temporarily in the UK
Vehicles over 10 years old
If the vehicle’s a goods vehicle over 3.5 tonnes, you can apply for Mutual Recognition.
The 10 year date is based on the date of manufacture or first registration.