Importing a car into the UK was pretty straightforward when we were part of the European Union. Now we are out; this is no longer a simple case.
Searching online will bring up a load of wrong information on the procedure, as most of the old instructions are now well and truly out of date.
Imported vehicles – have you notified HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)?
Before you can register your vehicle, you are, by law, required to notify details of any vehicle that will be imported permanently into the UK, to HMRC. You must do this within 14 days of bringing the vehicle to the UK.
The quickest way to notify HMRC is to use their online service, but a paper form
is available for anyone who cannot notify online. HMRC will calculate any VAT due and inform you of any required payment.
Once you have successfully completed your notification process, you will receive written confirmation from HMRC (either online or by post) of your eligibility to register and tax your vehicle.
There are two things to be aware of if you consider importing a car, bike, or anything into the United Kingdom.
Is it for personal use
This simple procedure can be pretty straightforward as long as you know the guidelines.
Is it to sell
This is a different matter if you are importing the vehicle to sell.
Ignore any videos or articles that are older than 2020, as they will more than likely be giving you old information. Looking at the Gov. website does not help as it seems to send you from pillar to post, trying to see which form you need to complete before moving on to the next.
It is no longer the case of just sending off a DVLA V55 form and registering your car. That is well down the list.
1. TOR – Transfer of Residence
This is the first step.
Moving to the UK, you must complete the TOR form first.
This ONLINE form is completed with all the goods you bring to the UK. This is the first step and can be completed before you return to the UK. This is the easiest part of the process.
You must email NOVA – email@example.com
Import taxes need to be paid on vehicles unless the importer qualifies for relief.
If you are moving to the UK and you have owned the vehicles for at least 6 months before you move to the UK, you may be entitled to claim Transfer of Residence Relief (TOR). No import Duty or VAT is required to be paid if the relief is granted.
You can contact the TOR Team on 0300 322 7064 (option 4) or at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and to see if your vehicles can be included under you existing application.
If the TOR is granted for the vehicles, you will need to email us the following when they arrive in the UK so we can issue the Notification of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA) references:
- Your TOR reference number or a copy of your Tor Approval Letter
- Your full name and UK address
- The dates the vehicles arrived in the UK
- A Certificate of Title or Registration Document, Export Certificate, Certificate of Conformity, or a Dating letter from vehicle manufacturers to confirm the year of manufacture, make, model, and VIN/Chassis number for each vehicle
Under this relief, the vehicles must be retained by you, the owner, for your own personal use. They must not be sold, lent, hired out, given as security, or transferred for one year from the date the relief was granted without notifying HMRC and paying duty and VAT on disposal/sale. Once the one-year restriction period ends, you can do as you wish with the vehicle.
Further information on ToR relief can be found using the following link:
Once the customs side of things has been completed and we issue the NOVA references, you can register the vehicles with the DVLA.
For information on registering the vehicles, you can contact the DVLA on 0300 790 6802. The link below provides details on other ways we can reach the DVLA:
Form V55 – Vehicle Registration Form
Form V55 cannot be obtained from a post office. This now needs to be downloaded from the internet. It is a pain, especially if you do not have a printer. You will need to be a member of a local library or something to get this form.
Things That Need To Be Completed
The details you provide on the V55/5 will be put on DVLA’s records, so make sure your information is accurate. Please write clearly in black ink using CAPITAL LETTERS.
If your form is difficult to read, issuing the V5C registration certificate (logbook) will take us longer than normal.
For DVLA registration purposes, applications to first register a vehicle (following the UK’s exit from the EU) will require type approval starting with e, p or u. The UK will move to a UK approval scheme where ultimately only e11 or u will be the first section of the type approval numbers for Certificates of Conformity (CoC). National type approval schemes will remain.
Confirming your name and address
Send a photocopy of your UK photocard driving licence with your application form to prove your identity (the only exceptions are applications made with an ‘Application to register a vehicle under its original registration number (V765)).
If you cannot do this, you must send in photocopies of one document proving your name and another proving your address.
Documents we will accept to confirm your name are:
- your current UK DVLA paper driving licence (not a paper counterpart)
- your passport
- your birth certificate
- your marriage certificate
- your decree nisi or decree absolute
Documents we will accept to confirm your address are:
- a gas, electricity, water or landline phone bill issued in the last 3 months
- your council tax bill for the current year
- a bank or building society statement issued in the last 3 months
- a medical card/letter
For vehicles that are being imported, you must:
- in the top right-hand box on the V55/5, tell us the country you bought the vehicle from
- tick the box to tell us whether it is a left-hand or right-hand drive vehicle
- enclose an original non-UK registration document or certificate for your vehicle (this document or certificate will not be returned to you), and any other papers relating to the vehicle
- send a letter of explanation if an original non-UK registration document or certificate is not available, together with a dating certificate from the manufacturer or other acceptable source
This is an ongoing import that will continue when I have completed the next stage.