Importing vehicles into the UK

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 (external link) (HMRC) within 14 days that the vehicle has arrived in the UK
  2. Pay VAT and duty (external link) if HMRC tells you to
  3. Get vehicle approval (external link) to show your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards
  4. Register and tax the vehicle (external link) with DVLA, they will give you a registration number so you can get number plates made up

You must also insure your vehicle (external link) before you drive it on UK roads. 

You can be prosecuted if you use your vehicle on a public road before you complete these steps, unless you are driving it to a pre-booked MOT or vehicle approval test. 

Commercial importers of new vehicles that use a secure registration scheme (external link) do not have to follow these steps. 

Bringing your vehicle in or out of Northern Ireland 

You can move your vehicle freely between Great Britain and Northern Ireland if it is registered in either country. Tell DVLA about the change of address (external link)

Visiting the UK with a vehicle 

Follow the rules for temporary imports (external link) instead if both of the following apply: 

  • you do not usually live in the UK 
  • you are bringing a vehicle to the UK for less than six months