Macchine in coda in una strada di citta'

How to import an Italian car into the United Kingdom

Macchine in coda in una strada di citta'

If you’re planning to bring your Italian car to the United Kingdom, it’s essential to understand the procedures and requirements you’ll need to navigate. This comprehensive guide will take you through all the stages, from tourist visits to permanent relocations, ensuring you have all the necessary information for a smooth import.

Bringing Your Car for a Visit to the United Kingdom

Requirements for Tourists

When you’re visiting the United Kingdom temporarily and want to use your Italian car, there are specific conditions you need to follow. These include:

  1. Visiting the UK without the intention of permanent residency.
  2. Having your vehicle registered and taxed in Italy (or any other EU country).
  3. Using the vehicle for a maximum of six months, which can be consecutive or divided into multiple visits within a 12-month period.

Additionally, if your vehicle is not registered in an EU country, there are additional conditions to meet:

  • Using the vehicle for private use.
  • Not being a resident in the UK or an EU state.
  • Not selling, lending, or renting the vehicle in the UK or the EU.
  • Ensuring that the vehicle leaves the UK and the EU within six months, unless you have received special authorization to keep it longer.

If you’re stopped by the police for a check, you’ll need to prove that you’re a tourist exempt from taxes. So, make sure to have a document confirming your entry date into the country, such as your ferry ticket.

Required Documents for Tourists

When you bring your car for a visit to the United Kingdom, there are some important documents you should have with you:

  • Italian driving license: Your Italian license is generally valid for driving in the UK. However, it’s always a good idea to have an official translation in English or an international driver’s permit.
  • Identity document: Make sure to have your personal identification document with you.
  • Vehicle registration document: This document confirms vehicle ownership, and you should carry it with you.
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Fiat 500 rossa parcheggiata

Temporary Vehicle Insurance

When you bring your car for a visit to the United Kingdom, it’s essential to ensure that your vehicle is covered by valid insurance. Check with your Italian insurance company if your existing coverage extends to the UK and what the details of the coverage are. Make sure to have a “carta verde” or “green card” with you to demonstrate that you have valid insurance covering the UK.

If you are a new driver, be prepared for a hefty insurance cost. On average, drivers under 25 years old might have to face an expense of £1544 per year, which is more than triple the national average of £471 per year (in 2018). You can use online comparison tools to find lower rates.

Uso della Temporary Q Number Plate

Se hai dubbi sull’identità del tuo veicolo, potresti dover richiedere una temporary Q number plate. Questa targa temporanea ti aiuterà a dimostrare la legalità del tuo veicolo nel Regno Unito. Assicurati di seguire le procedure necessarie per ottenere questa targa temporanea se richiesta.

Moving to the United Kingdom with Your Italian Car

Declaring Your Vehicle to HMRC

If you plan to settle in the United Kingdom or stay for more than six months, the process becomes more complex. The first thing to do is declare your vehicle to HMRC within 14 days of its arrival. This declaration is essential to avoid fines and future issues.

Paying VAT and Other Taxes

HMRC may require you to pay VAT and other taxes based on the value of your vehicle. Prices vary significantly, so it’s advisable to contact HMRC’s helpline for a precise idea of what you’ll need to pay.

Getting Vehicle Approval

To ensure that your vehicle complies with UK environmental and safety standards, you’ll need to obtain vehicle approval. The cost of this process is £100.

Vehicle Registration with DVLA

The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is responsible for vehicle registration in the UK. You’ll need to register your vehicle with the DVLA and pay the necessary fees, which amount to £55. You will later be assigned a registration number to receive your new British plate.

The vehicle registration procedure with the DVLA can be complex, with various forms to fill out and a waiting time of about six weeks. Ensure you have all the necessary documents, including:

  • Vehicle approval documents
  • V267 form
  • A document proving when you acquired the vehicle (such as an invoice)
  • The original foreign registration certificate to verify the vehicle’s manufacturing date (which will not be returned to you)
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The vehicle tax, paid annually, will replace the Italian road tax.

Italian Driving License Conversion

In most cases, there is no need to convert your Italian driving license if you plan to stay in the United Kingdom for an extended period. The Italian driving license is generally accepted for driving in the country, but it’s important to consider its potential conversion into a British driving license after demonstrating residency in the United Kingdom for a certain period.

UK Laws and Regulations

The United Kingdom has specific laws and regulations regarding vehicle imports, including safety requirements and emissions standards. It’s essential to understand these laws and adhere to them carefully.

Safety Requirements

The UK imposes strict vehicle safety requirements. You must ensure that your vehicle meets these standards. In some cases, you may need to make modifications to achieve compliance.

Emissions Standards

The UK has specific emissions limits that vehicles must adhere to. You’ll need to check if your vehicle meets these requirements and, if necessary, make the required modifications.

Required Certifications

To demonstrate that your vehicle complies with British regulations, you’ll need to obtain some key certifications, including the “CE Certificate of Conformity” and the “Certificate of Conformity” (CoC), which confirms that your vehicle was produced according to European standards.

Modifications to the Vehicle for Driving in the United Kingdom

When you bring your Italian vehicle to the United Kingdom, you may need to make some modifications to meet local requirements. Some common modifications include:

  • Changing the Speedometer: In the UK, speed is measured in miles per hour, so you may need to change your vehicle’s speedometer to display this unit of measurement.
  • Headlight Position: Ensure that your vehicle’s headlight position complies with British requirements. This may require some adjustments.

Economic Considerations: Importing or Selling Your Italian Car

One of the most important decisions is whether to import your Italian car to the United Kingdom or sell it and purchase a new one in the country. This choice involves significant financial considerations.

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Financial Considerations

When making the decision between importing and selling, you’ll need to carefully evaluate the financial implications. There are several expenses to consider, including:

  • Importation Costs: These can include shipping costs, customs duties, and import taxes.
  • Resale Value of the Car: Assess how much your Italian car is currently worth and how this value might change once in the UK.
  • UK Purchase Costs: If you decide to sell your Italian car and buy a new one, consider the costs of purchasing a vehicle in the UK.

Vehicle Transport to England

Once you’ve made a decision about your car and are ready to bring it to the United Kingdom, it’s important to know the available options for transporting the vehicle. Here are some of the most common options:


One of the most chosen options is to drive your car to England. You can take a ferry from Calais, in northern France, to Dover, United Kingdom. The cost of the journey can vary, so book in advance for a better price. You’ll also need to consider the cost of fuel and tolls.


Another option is the Eurotunnel, which always departs from Calais and takes you to Folkestone, United Kingdom, in just 35 minutes. Prices vary based on the timing of your booking, so book in advance for the best price.


If you are already in the United Kingdom and don’t want to drive your Italian vehicle, you can opt for transportation services. The cost will vary depending on your vehicle and the distance to be covered. You can get a free quote and more information on these services from specialized providers.

Additionally, consider the location where you’ll be moving to, as some cities, like London, impose restrictions on vehicle use and daily charges for access to limited traffic zones. The good public transportation networks in the United Kingdom often make using a vehicle less essential, so carefully weigh your decision based on your personal needs.


This comprehensive guide has provided you with all the necessary information for importing a vehicle into the United Kingdom, from tourist visits to permanent transfers. Now you’re ready to successfully plan the importation of your Italian car and drive on British roads with safety and compliance with local laws. Before embarking on your journey, make sure you’ve fulfilled all the necessary requirements and procedures. Safe travels in the UK!

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