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.

  1. Tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 14 days that the vehicle has arrived in the UK.

  2. Pay VAT and duty if HMRC tells you to.

  3. Get vehicle approval to show your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards.

  4. 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.

If your vehicle is damaged, rebuilt or modified, check if you can register it in the UK before you import it.

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.

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.

Tell DVLA about the change of address.

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

Bringing a vehicle back to the UK

You must complete certain steps if you are bringing a vehicle back to the UK which:

  • has been registered in the UK previously
  • is being reimported to the UK