IMPORTING VEHICLES INTO THE UK

1. Overview

Your vehicle must meet both of the following regulations if you want to use it on the road:

·Road Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended)

·Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations 1989 (as amended)

You must prove that your vehicle meets environmental and safety regulations or has an exemption from the regulations if you’re permanently importing it into the UK. To do this you’ll need the right paperwork, which could be:

·a copy of the European Certificate of Conformity or type approval certificate from the manufacturer or importer - suitable if it’s a right-hand-drive, UK specification vehicle

·a certificate of Mutual Recognition if the vehicle was approved and registered in the European Union (EU)

You must also:

·pay any VAT, duty or tax due

·insure it with a motor insurer authorised in the UK

·register it - there are special arrangements for commercial importers of new vehicles

Until you’ve done this, you can’t keep or use the vehicle on public roads, except to drive it to pre-arranged appointments that are necessary to register it.

You can get a vehicle import pack from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

There are different rules if you’re temporarily importing a vehicle into the UK.

DVLA advises you to transport your vehicle from the port, rather than driving it.

Driving with a foreign registration number

UK residents aren’t allowed to use non-UK registered vehicles on UK roads. The only exceptions are if you:

·work in another EU member state and use an EU-registered company car temporarily in the UK

·lease an EU-registered car and use this temporarily in the UK

Vehicles over 10 years old

If you’re importing a vehicle into Great Britain that’s over 10 years old,contact DVLA.

If the vehicle’s a goods vehicle over 3.5 tonnes, you can apply forMutual Recognition.

The 10 year date is based on the date of manufacture or first registration.

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2. Mutual Recognition

You may need to get a certificate of Mutual Recognition, depending on the type of vehicle and whether it was first registered within or outside the EU.

Mutual Recognition scheme

You can apply for the Mutual Recognition scheme if you’re importing a left-hand-drive car, motorcycle or light goods vehicle first registered within the EU.

Contact the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) on 0300 330 5797 to find out if your vehicle qualifies for Mutual Recognition.Find out about call charges.

The Mutual Recognition scheme (also known as the Commission Notice Procedure) asks you to:

·make declarations about your vehicle’s suitability for use in Britain (eg the headlight beam dips to the left)

·make alterations if needed (eg fit rear seat belts) - and provide garage receipts to prove you’ve done this

The VCA will give you a certificate if your application is accepted. You need to present this to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to support your application for registration.

You can download an application form, including guidance notes, below.

Download ‘Cars - Application for Commission Notice / Mutual Recognition’ (PDF, 483KB)

Download ‘Motorcyles - Application for Commission Notice / Mutual Recognition’ (PDF, 443KB)

Download ‘Goods vehicles - Application for British national type approval goods vehicles under 1 year old’ (PDF, 1.6MB)

Download ‘Goods vehicles 2 – Application for British national type approval goods vehicles over 1 year old’ (PDF, 587KB)

Download ‘Vans/light goods vehicles - Application for Commission Notice / Mutual Recognition’ (PDF, 642KB)

Download ‘Motorhomes - Application for Commission Notice / Mutual Recognition’ (PDF, 135KB)

Download ‘Commission Notice plating particulars’ (PDF, 93KB)

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3. VAT and tax: vehicles from within the EU

You usually pay VAT using Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) when you bring any type of vehicle into the UK from the EU.

You must also pay vehicle tax from the date your vehicle is first registered in the UK.

Using NOVA

You usually need to use NOVA within 14 days of importing a vehicle into the UK.

You can’t use NOVA before you import your vehicle.

You don’t need to use NOVA if any of the following apply:

·the vehicle is in the UK for less than 6 months in a 12-month period and you normally live in the EU

·the vehicle’s engine is below 49cc, or 7.2 kilowatts (about 9.65 horsepower) if it’s electric

·you’re using a secure registration scheme

If you change your mind and decide to import the vehicle permanently or not to use a secure registration scheme you must use NOVA within 14 days of changing your mind.

Log in to use the NOVA service. You’ll need a Government Gateway account to do this.

You can also ask the VAT helpline for a VAT NOVA1 form.

You can report on a spreadsheet if you need to use NOVA for lots of vehicles.

If you don’t notify HMRC within 14 days of the vehicle arriving in the UK you’ll get a late notification penalty of £5 per day.

You can only register your vehicle with DVLA after you have confirmation that HMRC has processed your NOVA application. You can still register your vehicle with DVLA if you get a late notification penalty.

Pay VAT

HMRC will tell you how much VAT is due and how to pay after they’ve processed your NOVA application.

You normally pay VAT on the vehicle, accessories bought with it and any delivery or incidental charges.

Second-hand vehicles

You don’t usually have to pay VAT if you’re importing a second-hand vehicle and the VAT was paid in another EU country - but you’ll still need to use NOVA.

You’ll have to pay VAT if your vehicle is classed as a ‘new means of transport’ (NMT). HMRC will tell you if this is the case.

You can reclaim the VAT you paid in the the other EU country. Send the Certificate of VAT you receive from HMRC to the person you bought the vehicle from.

How to pay

If you’re a VAT-registered business, account for and pay the VAT due on your next VAT Return.

If not, you’ll have to pay the VAT to HMRC separately.

Reference number

You’ll need your 13-character NOVA reference number. You’ll find it on the:

·email HMRC sent you after you signed up for NOVA online

·payment notice that HMRC sent you if you used a form VAT NOVA1

Through your bank

You can pay through your bank or building society using Bacs, Faster Payments or CHAPS.

HMRC’s bank details are:

Sort code

Account number

Account name

08 32 00

12000903

HMRC Indirect Miscellaneous

HMRC’s banking address is:

Citibank N A
Citigroup Centre
Canary Wharf 33
Canada Square
London E14 5LB

Use these details to pay from an overseas account:

IBAN

BIC

Account name

GB08CITI08320012000903

CITIGB2L

HMRC Indirect Miscellaneous

Pay by post

It will take up to 10 working days for your payment to reach HMRC’s account.

Make your cheque payable to ‘HM Revenue & Customs only’ followed by your NOVA reference number.

Send it to:

HM Revenue and Customs
Personal Transport Unit
Building 22
Priory Court
St Johns Road
Dover
Kent
CT17 9SH

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4. VAT, duty and tax: vehicles from outside the EU

You usually pay VAT through customs when you bring any type of vehicle into the UK from outside the EU.

You must also pay vehicle tax from the date your vehicle is first registered in the UK.

If you’re a VAT-registered business you usually need tell HMRC using Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA).

Pay VAT through customs

You pay VAT through customs when you import a vehicle into the UK, unless you meet certain conditions and you’re:

·moving to the UK

·importing previously exported vehicles

·importing a vehicle registered to a non-EU resident

If you’re moving to the UK

You don’t pay VAT or duty on vehicles imported from outside the EU if you qualify for transfer of residence relief. To qualify you must meet all of these conditions:

·you’re moving your normal home to the UK

·your normal home was outside the EU for a continuous period of at least 12 months

·you’ve owned and used the vehicle for at least 6 months outside the EU

·you didn’t get the vehicle under a duty or tax-free scheme

·you’re going to keep the vehicle for your personal use for at least 12 months

To get the relief, fill in form form C104A and give it to Customs when you enter the country.

Importing previously exported vehicles

You don’t pay duty or VAT on a vehicle imported from outside the EU if it was previously exported out of the EU. This is known as ‘returned goods relief’. To qualify you must meet these conditions:

·you exported the vehicle outside the EU within the last 3 years

·the taxes were paid on the vehicle in the EU and not refunded when it was exported

·the vehicle hasn’t been altered outside the EU, other than necessary running repairs

To get the relief, drive your vehicle through the ‘green channel’. You must have proof that:

·the vehicle was exported

·you were the person who exported it

Non-EU registered vehicles

You don’t pay duty or VAT on a vehicle imported from outside the EU if it’s registered to a non-EU resident and:

·you’re not an EU resident

·you’re importing the vehicle temporarily for your own private use

·you don’t sell, lend or hire it within the EU

·you re-export it from the EU within 6 months - you get longer if you’re a student or on an assignment lasting a specific amount of time

This is known as ‘temporary admission relief’. You don’t need to contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to get the relief. However, completing form C110 can help customs identify you.

VAT-registered businesses

If you’re VAT registered you normally need to use NOVA within 14 days of importing a vehicle into the UK.

You don’t need to use NOVA if both of the following apply:

·the vehicles have engines below 49cc, or 7.2 kilowatts (about 9.65 horsepower) if they’re electric

·you’re using a secure registration scheme

If your customer changes their mind about how to use the vehicle and you can no longer use a secure registration scheme you must useNOVA instead within 14 days of your customer letting you know.

Log in to HMRC online to use NOVA. You need a Government Gateway account to do this.

You can also fill in form ‘VAT NOVA 1’, which you can get by calling theVAT Helpline.

You must pay the VAT when the vehicle is imported into the UK. You can then claim the VAT on your next VAT Return.

You can only register your vehicle with DVLA after you have confirmation that HMRC has processed your NOVA application.

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5. Registering an imported vehicle

You need to register any vehicle that you’re importing into the UK permanently.

Before you register

You need to use Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) before you register if:

·you’re importing a vehicle from the EU

·you’re a VAT-registered business and you’re not using a secure registration scheme

How to register

You must follow all the instructions for registering a new vehicle orregistration schemes for the motor trade. In addition, you’ll need to include with your application:

·proof of ‘Mutual Recognition’ or type approval or an exemption from it

·if the vehicle is new, form V267 (‘Declaration that a vehicle is new’)

·the original non-UK registration document (which will not be returned to you) - if you don’t have this, send a letter of explanation and a dating certificate from the manufacturer or other acceptable source

·evidence showing the date the vehicle was collected (normally the invoice from the supplier)

·the appropriate HM Revenue and Customs forms, showing you’ve paid VAT and/or duty (if applicable)

·any other papers relating to the vehicle

You’ll need to use original documents - you can’t use photocopies or faxed copies.

In some cases, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) may want to see the vehicle to check its identity.

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6. Registering a vehicle as 'new'

You can drive a vehicle to the UK and register it as ‘new’ if all the following apply:

·it’s registered within 2 weeks of collection (extended to one calendar month at peak periods, eg before 1 March and 1 September)

·it hasn’t been previously permanently registered

·it’s been stored before registration and is a current model or a model that’s stopped being made within the last 2 years

·it only has reasonable delivery mileage - (eg vehicle being driven from the pickup point to home using a direct route)

·it has not been sold by a retailer before

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) advises you to transport rather than drive your vehicle from the port to its first destination.

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7. Temporary imports

You can usually use a vehicle displaying non-UK number plates without needing to tax or register it in the UK if all of the following apply:

·you’re visiting the UK and don’t plan to live here

·you only use the vehicle up to 6 months in a 12-month period (one single visit, or several shorter visits adding up to a 6-month period)

·the vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country

You must tax and register your vehicle in the UK within 14 days if you become a resident or your stay is longer than 6 months.

Customs relief for non-EU vehicles

You may be able to claim relief from customs charges if your vehicle is registered outside the EU and you’re bringing it to the UK temporarily. This is known as ‘temporary admission’.

If you meet the conditions, fill in form C110 and take your vehicle through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel when you arrive in the UK.

If HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tells you that your vehicle needs to be registered and taxed in the UK, you must fill in form C&E 388. You can get this from the National Import Relief Unit (NIRU).

NIRU
Abbey House
Head Street
Enniskillen
County Fermanagh
BT74 7JL

Students and workers

You may be able to use a vehicle with non-UK number plates for longer than a 6-month period, without taxing or registering it, if all the following apply:

·you’re a student or worker

·you normally live outside the EU

·you’re in the UK for a set study or work period

·the vehicle is registered in its home country

You must contact HMRC before or upon arrival in the UK to apply for customs relief.

If you meet these conditions, HMRC will give you a customs relief form which you can present to the police if you’re stopped when driving your vehicle.

You must register and tax your vehicle in the UK if your vehicle is eligible for customs relief and you stay in the UK after it expires (normally at the end of the study or work period).

When you need ‘Q’ number plates

You must get temporary ‘Q’ number plates if you visit the UK for up to 6 months and either of the following apply:

·your number plates display numbers or letters that aren’t identifiable in the UK (eg Arabic script)

·your vehicle isn’t registered in its home country

If you claim custom relief charges, you can get your form C110 - temporary admission stamped on arrival in the UK. If you fill the form in after you arrive in the UK, you must send it to NIRU to have it stamped.

NIRU
Abbey House
Head Street
Enniskillen
Country Fermanagh
BT74 7JL

If you’re stopped by the police

If your car has non-UK number plates and you’re stopped by police, you must show you can use the vehicle in the UK without taxing and registering it here.

You may have to show proof of the length of time you’ve been in the UK (eg a ferry ticket) or evidence that you and the vehicle are eligible for customs relief.

8. Moving vehicles between Britain and Northern Ireland

You can move your vehicle freely between Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI) if it’s registered in either country.

You will need to notify DVLA of the change of address.

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9. Commercial importers of new vehicles

Commercial importers can use a simpler process for licensing and registering new vehicles with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

You use the form V55/2 instead of the V55/4 form used for personal imports.

You don’t need to provide supporting evidence or complete the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) forms.

If you don’t use the simpler process you must tell HMRC usingNotification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA).

Who is eligible

You can apply to join the scheme if you:

·are registered for VAT

·can show that you’re only registering type approval compliant vehicles under the scheme

·have facilities for securely storing certificates of conformity so they can be audited on request

If accepted, you’ll be responsible for:

·proper use and secure storage of the V55/2 forms

·sending the completed V55/2 forms to DVLA Swansea, SA99 1BE, on behalf of your customers

How to apply

Email the Vehicle Policy Group at DVLA to get an application pack.

DVLA Vehicle Policy Group Email:secureformsscheme@dvla.gsi.gov.uk

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Please contact us with any question regarding the classification, tax rates, documentation, etc of your goods. We are happy to offer advice on your import or export.

BTI – 5% VAT APPLICATION SERVICE

Applications can be submitted for vehicles in original condition, over 30 years of age, no longer in production and not being imported for their original purpose (eg not a daily driver). Successful applications reduce import taxes to just 5% VAT and zero duty. We offer this classification service for a small fee which covers the application and subsequent correspondence with HMRC. Please contact us for submission of this application on your behalf.

FREQUENTLY USED CUSTOMS FORMS

Click the links below to view or download the forms.

·C384 - Private Motor Vehicle - Application for release on payment of Customs Duty, and VAT as applicable(13.8 KB)

·C104a (vehicle) - Importation of a private motor vehicle into the United Kingdom on transfer of residence from outside of the European Community (EC)(20.5 KB)

·C104a (vessel) - Importation of a private vessel into the United Kingdom on transfer of residence from outside the European Community (EC)(20.2 KB)

·C3 - Bringing your personal belongings to the United Kingdom from outside the European Community(26 KB)

·C179b - Re-importation of an unaccompanied private motor vehicle from outside the European Community (EC)(18.3 KB)

·C110 - Temporary Importation - Notice of arrival of a private motor vehicle(246 KB)

·C220 - Application for Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) for VAT registered traders(153 KB)

·C220a - Application for Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) for non-VAT registered traders(172 KB)

COMMON DUTY / VAT RATES - IMPORTS INTO THE UK - FOR GUIDANCE ONLY (CURRENT AS OF JULY 2014)

·Motorcycles (not exceeding 250 cc) - 8% duty + VAT

·Motorcycles (exceeding 250 cc) - 6% duty + VAT

·Cars - original condition over 30 years of age - possibility to apply for 5% VAT - we offer a full application service for this, please contact us for further information

·Cars - EC manufacture - £50.00 lump sum duty + VAT (assume proof of EC status is available and private import)

·Cars - non EC manufactured - 10% duty + VAT

·Pickup Trucks - commercial imports 22% duty + VAT (certain Pickup trucks can be classified at 10% duty + VAT - please contact us for further information)

·Cargo trailers - 2.7% duty + VAT

·Travel trailers - 2.7% duty. The VAT rate assessed on a case by case basis, please contact us for further advice

·Boats - typically 1.7% duty + VAT