2. Telling HMRC

You have 14 days to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after you bring a vehicle into the UK permanently. You can’t register the vehicle until you’ve done this.

You can be fined £5 for every day you’re late telling HMRC.

If your vehicle has an engine below 49cc (or 7.2kw if it’s electric), you can register it without telling HMRC first.

If you import a vehicle from the EU

Tell HMRC by using the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) service. You’ll need a Government Gateway account.

You can use a spreadsheet if you’re a VAT-registered business and you need to use NOVA for lots of vehicles.

If you import a vehicle from outside the EU

Unless you’re a VAT-registered company, you tell HMRC by filling in customs forms when your vehicle enters the UK.

Get the forms from your shipping company or customs officers at the UK border. They’ll ask to see any:

  • foreign registration for your vehicle
  • other documents you have for it

Claiming relief from VAT and duty

Tell your shipping company or customs officers at the UK border if you want to claim relief from VAT and duty.

Check if you qualify for relief because you’re:

If you’re a VAT-registered company

Tell HMRC by using the NOVA service. You’ll need a Government Gateway account. You can use a spreadsheet if you need to use NOVA for lots of vehicles.

Ask the VAT helpline for a VAT NOVA1 form if you don’t want to use the NOVA online service.

After you tell HMRC

HMRC will tell you:

  • if you have to pay VAT and duty
  • when your NOVA application is processed - you can’t register your vehicle with DVLA until it is

If you filled in customs forms to tell HMRC, they’ll make a NOVA application for you.