How to import a vehicle
You must complete certain steps as soon as you bring a vehicle into the UK permanently.
You can pay an importer or shipping company to do them for you.
Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 14 days that the vehicle has arrived in the UK.
Pay VAT and duty if HMRC tells you to.
Get vehicle approval to show your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards.
Register and tax the vehicle with DVLA - they’ll give you a registration number so you can get number plates made up.
You must also insure your vehicle before you drive it on UK roads.
You can be prosecuted if you use your vehicle on a public road before you complete these steps, unless you’re driving it to a pre-booked MOT or vehicle approval test.
Commercial importers of new vehicles that use a secure registration scheme do not have to follow these steps.
Importing a damaged or modified vehicle
If your vehicle has been damaged, rebuilt or modified in another country, DVLA may:
- give your vehicle a Q registration number
- give your vehicle a new vehicle identification number (VIN)
- put a marker on your vehicle log book (V5C) - to show that your vehicle has been altered or assembled using different parts
- ask for Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)
Bringing your vehicle in or out of Northern Ireland
If you are a UK resident you can move your vehicle freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland if all of the following apply:
- it’s registered in either country
- you’re not moving it to sell it, or for any other commercial purpose (for example, using the car as a taxi or hiring it to someone)
- the car is for your own or your household’s personal use
Find out what to do if someone else is bringing your vehicle to Northern Ireland.
Visiting the UK with a vehicle
Follow the rules for temporary imports instead if both of the following apply:
- you do not usually live in the UK
- you’re bringing a vehicle to the UK for less than 6 months