Importing a Car into the UK – 90 Second Guide

This week we focus our 90 second guide on the subject of importing a new car into the UK. Bringing a vehicle into the country really took off around 10 years ago when all the rumours about rip-off Britian and unfair pricing began to circulate. By using the power of the internet to locate a suitable vehicle, smart buyers dismissed their local dealership and headed of to the EU to save hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

This quick guide will assist you in understanding the legal requirements of importing a vehicle into the UK. All the relevant information can be found in greater detail on the Directgov website – Importing a Vehicle

There are procedures you will need to go through and documentation you will need to obtain to register an imported vehicle. If you intend your vehicle to be permanently kept/used in Great Britain (GB) it must be registered and taxed as soon as possible after it arrives in the country.

The vehicle should not be used or kept on public roads until the registration and vehicle tax formalities have been completed.

However, if the vehicle needs to have a single vehicle approval (SVA) or MOT test in order to be registered, the vehicle may be driven to and from the pre-arranged test appointment. Thereafter, the vehicle must be kept off the road until the registration formalities have taken place.

Grey Import
If you have found a car of interest but it has the tag ‘grey import’ this means that the vehicle has never been Type Approved for Europe. Be aware, though, you may have to carry out some small jobs to make the car UK roadworthy.

Registering a previously used vehicle
As part of the registration process, DVLA will need to be sure that an imported used vehicle, that is less than 10 years old meets both European Type Approval standards and UK Construction and Use and Road Vehicle Lighting legislation.

Cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles first registered in another European member State will need to have a certificate issued by VCA under the Mutual Recognition Scheme. Larger goods vehicles will need full UK Type Approval before they can be registered.


Hi My name is Andrew and my area of expertise is car insurance. I have many years experience within the industry and have built up a considerable amount of knowledge.

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Posted in Car Reviews, General Car, Import Cars, Motoring Law

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