Bringing a car into the UK

Bringing a Car into the UK

In the late 1990’s importing cars was very popular due to high UK car prices compared to many other European countries. However, after pressure from the UK public to car manufacturers, the price differences began to slowly diminish. However, the car import market continues to be a popular function today.

They are many reasons for bringing a car into the UK permanently. Most commonly these are when you come to live or work in the UK. In addition to this, the increase in demand for the popular American classic cars has continued to drive the number of imports up each year.

Bringing a Car into the UK

Whatever your reason may be, they are certain requirements and agencies you will need to inform before. Please note, they are differences when importing from within and outside the EU, and once BREXIT is completed these may change again.

Can I bring a car into the UK?

In most cases you can bring a motor vehicle into the UK very easily, however, you should understand the legal obligations when you import a car. Most commonly this would include a valid insurance policy, as well as showing that the car meets the current safety and environmental regulations. In addition to this, if the car is over 3 years old, it would also need a valid MOT certificate.

If you bring a car, or any other type of motor vehicle, into the UK you will have to pay duty or Road Tax and may be forced to pay VAT depending upon the location of the car sale.

Informing the HMRC, DVLA & NOVA

If you intend to keep the car inside the UK for longer than 6 months you must inform the HMRC within 14 days of the arrival of the vehicle into the UK. This is due to the HMRC considering 6 months as “permanent use’. After informing the HMRC you must also register and license the car with the DVLA (driver and vehicle licensing agency.

NOVA (notification of vehicle arrivals) can be completed online, however, you would be required to make a Government gateway account first. If you prefer you can complete this on a VAT NOVA1 paper form. Once the HMRC receive this information they will advise you on what additional costs need to be paid. This can include any VAT, Duty or Road Tax.

Do I Need to pay VAT or Duty?

You will have to pay the VAT before you can register the vehicle, and therefore before you can tax it and ensure it is UK road legal.

However, they are some exceptions. Currently, if you purchase and import a vehicle from a country within the UK no VAT or Duty is liable, as you would have paid the equivalent VAT in the country of purchase.

If you purchase a car from outside the EU, for example, America or Australia then these additional fees will be incurred. This ranges from 5% VAT Liability (cars over 30 years old) to the standard 20% VAT liability (cars under 30 years old). If you want to import a classic car, this 30-year date can mean the difference in payment £5,000 or £20,000 VAT costs. For example, a 1986 Ferrari valued at around £100,000, would only have a £5,000 VAT bill, whereas a 1996 Ferrari would have a £20,000 bill. This date can make a massive difference in the cost-effectiveness of importing a vehicle.

The Duty costs incurred will depend on the original location the vehicle was originally built. Again, many factors can impact the final payment figure with it ranging from a simple £50 for cars made within the EU (e.g. BMW) to a massive increase in payments, to a percentage of 10%, for vehicles made outside the EU (eg. Chrysler).

Research Car & Import Prices

Import a car
Photo by form PxHere

With all the additional costs, in some cases, it is better to purchase a vehicle inside the UK. However, if you are looking at purchasing a classic car, which is only made in America for example, then we would advise looking closely into the hidden importing fees.

Along with the cost of the car, you will have additional costs for International Transportation. In some cases when importing a car from the EU you will be able to drive this into the UK and not have this fee. However, if purchasing a car from America then you will need to look at this in more detail. We have seen prices ranging from £800 to transport a car from Italy to £8000 to import a car from America.

The final figure will depend on the mode of transport, time, and in some cases the services you purchase. You can find cheaper import transportation, but sometimes it better going for the higher price where they are more careful and secure with the vehicle.  You may also want to consider purchasing car shipping insurance.

They will be many additional fees along the way. This can include port fees as well as document registration or alteration fees which you will also need to consider.

As an overview from inside the EU (egg Italy)

This is a relatively easy process and, in most cases, you can easily manage the import of the vehicle from inside the UK

  • No liable Duty or VAT payable
  • Purchase the vehicle, ensuring it has the equivalent of a valid MOT certificate
  • Insure the car for the UK using the VIN number. Please note in some countries, such as Italy, the licence plate is assigned to the driver and not the car. Therefore, you will have to arrange for temporary plates (which could incur additional costs)
  • Collect and obtain the temporary registration document, declaration of sale and certificate of ownership.
  • Drive or arrange transport for the vehicle to the UK
  • Notify the HRMC
  • Organise for a UK MOT
  • Register the vehicle with the DVLA

As an overview from outside the EU (e.g. America)

A lot more complicated process, and we would advise using companies to help you manage the process to ensure all steps are completed and inside the current regulations.

  • Purchase the car
  • Ship the vehicle to the UK
  • Complete a C384 document. This will to work out the Customs Duty and VAT additional costs you will need to pay.
  •  Notify the HRMC
  • Organise for a UK MOT
  • Register the vehicle with the DVLA

Purchasing an already imported car

You can easily purchase a currently imported car. Once these imported steps have been completed, they will not need to repeat when purchasing or selling the car inside the UK. When looking at used cars, you may complete a Car Check. In most cases, this will show you if the car has been imported as well as checking for any outstanding finance, police stolen reports and insurance write off details. Imported cars are usually cheaper, and depending on the make or model, may not usually be available within the UK.

Therefore, the fact it is imported may be considered a bonus to some. For other people, this may be a pitfall, as this may mean the car layout could be incorrect such as the steering is on the wrong side.

Bringing a Car into the UK 1

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Post Next Post