Macchine in coda in una strada di citta'

How to import a car into the UK?

Macchine in coda in una strada di citta'

If you visit or move to England and want to import and continue driving your vehicle, the are some rules to respect. Let’s find out in this article how to bring a vehicle to the UK  and what to do if you move permanently.

If you are a tourist

If you visit England temporarily, bringing your vehicle to the UK is very easy and, in most cases, you will not be asked for anything. The conditions are:

  • Visit England but don’t expect to live there;
  • The vehicle is registered and taxed in any EU country;
  • Use the vehicle for a maximum of six months (it can be six consecutive months or more short visits lasting a maximum of six months within 12 months).

There are additional conditions if the vehicle you bring to England is not EU registered. They are:

  • The vehicle is for your private use;
  • You are not a resident of England or an EU country;
  • You do not sell, lend or rent your vehicle in England or in the EU;
  • The vehicle will leave England and the EU within six months (unless you have received an authorization allowing you to keep the vehicle longer).

If the police stop you for a check, you will have to prove that you are a tourist and therefore exempt from taxes. So make sure you always have a document with you indicating your date of entry into the country (for example, the ferry ticket).

If the age or identity of your vehicle is in doubt, you will have to ask DVLA for a temporary license plate, called temporary Q number plate.

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If you stay for more than six months and / or become a British resident

The situation becomes more complex if you stay longer than six months or if you become a British resident and want to bring your vehicle with you. The first steps to complete are:

  • Declare your vehicle to HMRC within 14 days of arrival to avoid fines;
  • Pay the VAT and other taxes if the HMRC requests it from you (prices may vary a lot: call telephone support if you want to know how much you could pay);
  • Obtain the approval of the vehicle to prove that it meets environmental and safety standards (the cost is £ 100);
  • Register your vehicle with DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and pay the fees due (£ 55) – they will give you a registration number so that you can receive your new British plate.
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This last point is perhaps the most complex, with several forms to fill out and with a waiting time of about six weeks. The documents to send are:

  • Vehicle approval documents;
  • Form V267;
  • A document showing when you took the vehicle (e.g. an invoice);
  • The original foreign registration certificate to verify the vehicle’s manufacturing date (this certificate will not be returned to you).

The vehicle tax must be paid every year.

Also know that, in most cases, there is no need to convert your foreign driving license, even if you become a British resident. Read our article to find out more.


Once you have completed all the bureaucracy to receive the English plate, you will need to insure your vehicle in order to legally drive on British roads.

If you are a novice driver, prepare yourself at a very salty cost: on average £ 1544 per year for under 25. This is more than triple if we consider the national average of £ 471 per year (in 2018). You can use one of the best comparison sites to find the lowest rates.

Before driving, you will also need to pass the MOT (about £ 50, to be done every year), change the speedometer (to get the speed in miles) and the position of the headlights.

Is it worth bringing your car or should you buy one on the spot?

For simplicity, most of people buy a car directly in England, but in terms of costs the difference is minimal. The choice also depends a lot on the place where you are going to live: London tries to minimize the number of cars that circulate in the city, imposing a daily tax to be able to transit with a vehicle in the limited traffic areas. Public transportation in England is excellent, allowing you to travel virtually anywhere without having to buy a vehicle.

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To bring your vehicle to the UK, the options are as follows:


One of the most chosen options is to drive your car to England. In Calais, in northern France, you can take the ferry to Dover and drive from there to your destination. The cost of the journey is around 50 euros, book well in advance in order to pay less. To the cost of the ferry you will have to add the cost of fuel and the highway (a hundred euros to travel throughout France, in addition to the cost of the journey from your country).


This is another option for those who wish to drive their own car. Departing from Calais, the train will take you to Folkestone in 35 minutes. The price varies from 70 to 90 pounds, and even in this case we advise you to book well in advance.


This option is the most convenient for those who are already in England, as well as the most expensive. The price will be calculated based on your vehicle and the length of the journey. Costs are between € 1,000 and € 1,500, while waiting times are around two weeks from the day of booking. You can receive a free quote and request more information on the service on this site .

Are you undecided whether to bring your car or take one on the spot? Write in the comments!

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