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All About Importing a Car in the UK

Vehicles have become a necessity for both convenience and comfort. Nowadays, most British families own at least one car. Some even have one per family member.

But when it comes to acquiring their vehicles, not everyone chooses locally manufactured cars. Importing a vehicle has become a common practice among residents and Citizens of the UK.

Fortunately, various procedures are established to ensure you get the best deal and pick acceptable automobiles according to UK standards. If you’re planning to import a car from the EU or outside the region, here is what the law requires you to do.

How to import a car in the UK

Why You Might Be Interested in Importing a Car

The act of buying a car and shipping it to the UK is what people refer to as importing. The primary reason you could be interested in importing one is if you are looking to get a specific brand or model you can't get hold of in your own country. However, if you are relocating back to the UK and would love to bring your car, you can also use this procedure to ensure your vehicle gets to your new residence in perfect condition.

Pros And Cons of Important a Car

Before importing a car, you must consider the pros and cons you may experience. Such information allows you to make better decisions when picking models and even countries to import your automobile from. Some of the benefits you could enjoy when importing a car to the UK include:

  • Better quality
  • Value for your money when you manage to get a particular model at less money than you would if you had bought from a local dealer.
  • Multiple options to pick from since you’ll be dealing with international dealers who have the leverage to varying car models.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to using this option. You may encounter:

  • Online scammers trying to lure you into wiring money to them before they deliver.
  • Tedious paperwork and inspection processes over the internet.
  • A potential waiting list considering there are thousands of other buyers sourcing for vehicles using this method.

What to Consider Before and After Importing a Vehicle

As with any importing exercise, you must consider a few items during and after the process to provide a smooth sailing encounter. Some vital features to consider include:

  • Getting insurance for your car before it arrives in the country
  • Informing HM Revenue and Customs about the arrival of your car within 14 days after importing it
  • Obtaining a vehicle approval certificate that ascertains your car is fit for UK roads
  • Registering the car
  • Paying taxes where applicable

What does registering your car mean?

By law, you must register the car in your name after importing it. This means informing HM Revenue and Customs that you are the owner of the said car. To register a new or used imported car, you need to have an account on the website and complete the whole process before you can legally start using your vehicle.

Alternatively, you can call their offices at 0300 200 3700. People with hearing problems can contact this department at 0300 200 3719 for help.

Documentation needed

To inform the registrar of imported cars that this vehicle belongs to you, you will be asked to provide:

The procedure for registering new and used cars is the same. However, you will fill out form V55/4 for new cars and form V55/4 for cars that have been used before.

How To Import a Car Step-by-Step

Follow the following steps when importing a car in the UK to ensure a smooth process:

  • 1. Identify a trustworthy company. Choose a reputable company to partner with. Working with a legitimate company gives you peace of mind.
  • 2. Do your research and learn to negotiate. Once you pick a model you want, inspect its condition, and then negotiate the price if you have decided that is the car you want.
  • 3. Calculate the costs. Calculate customs duty, clearance fee, and freight charges and add them to the CIF cost.
  • 4. Request for a payment account. Considering you’re doing this independently, ensure the bank account you’ll be wiring funds to is credible and traceable. We suggest you pick a company that allows you to pay in installments; one before shipping and the second after the package arrives.
  • 5. Print out your receipt and keep it safe for record keeping.
  • 6. Check the condition of your package. Once it arrives, inspect it to see if it’s in the required condition before paying the remaining amount. You must inform HM revenue and customs within 14 days of its arrival.
  • 7. Pay up all the VAT and duty requirements.
  • 8. Apply for the vehicle’s approval.
  • 9. Register the car using your name.
  • 10. Pay taxes on the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and get insurance cover for it.

If you would like some extra help with importing your car, you can reach out to a car agency for a hassle-free process. UK Car Import, Total Auto Imports, and UK Car Exports are a few companies that can help you get started.

Importing a car in UK

Requirements And Documentation Needed

To import cars, you must provide the required documents to facilitate a smooth process during and after the procedure. These necessary items include:

  • • Identification details (Name and address)
  • • Bank account details
  • • A commercial invoice (original)
  • • Bill of lading (original)
  • • Customs, VAT, and duty payments
  • • Insurance cover
  • • Custom import declaration
  • • Certificate of roadworthiness/ Vehicle Approval
  • • Logbook from the car’s country of origin
  • • Application fees during the registration process.

How Much Time in Advance Should You Start the Importation Process?

Importing a car to the UK takes time, especially if you’re doing it from overseas. Therefore, you may want to start preparations early. Before the importation can begin, the car must have an import approval at the import check.This takes four to six weeks.

There’s also a shipping period to consider, so you should start the importation process three months in advance to ensure you receive the package on time.

How much will importing a car cost?

The cost of importing a car will vary from one vehicle to the other. However, you will be required to pay registration fees and cater for the entire importing process yourself.

What Next

Importing a car independently is much cheaper, but you may need to research and plan to have the car arrive on time. Ensure you involve HM revenue and customs in your importing procedure to avoid being prosecuted for missing a step. Know that when registering an imported vehicle over 10 years old, the DVLA procedure is different from others.