Driving a foreign registered car as a visitor. After becoming a UK resident, you can not drive a car with a foreign number plate in the UK. You will need to register your car and change the number plate immediately.

Driving a foreign car in the UK

You can drive a car with a foreign registration plate in the UK if:

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  • You are not resident in the UK, just visiting with no plans to live here.
  • The car is taxed, insured and registered in its country of origin.
  • The vehicle is only used for a maximum period of 6 months in any 12 months (can be one visit or several visits but not over 6 months in total). If you are stopped by the police they can demand that you show proof of being a visitor such as a train or ferry ticket.

After 6 months of visiting England, or if you become a UK resident, you must immediately tax and register your vehicle in the UK. You could be fined if you do not. To do so, you must follow these steps for importing a vehicle into the UK

  1. Inform HMRC (HM Revenues and Customs) within 14 days of importing your car into UK.You can do this online HMRC – NOVA
  2. Pay any Value Added Tax (VAT) and Duty if HMRC demand this. You do not have to pay VAT if:
  • You have already paid VAT on your car in any country within the European Union.
  • You have been using the vehicle for more than 6 months.
  • If you have driven more than 6000 km.

3. Obtain “Vehicle Approval” if requested. You must have the following documentation approved:

European Certificate of Conformity – This is issued by the car manufacturer and it shows that the cars technical characteristics meet the safety and environmental standards set by the EU. If your car has a valid certificate then authorities won’t be able to request any further technical documentation.

Certificate of Mutual Recognition – This is required for vehicles with left hand drive. You can claim this document from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) for £100. You can find the application form here:
Cars Application for Commission Notice /Mutual Recognition – Passenger Cars
Motorcycles Application for Commission Notice /Mutual Recognition – Motorcycles
Van Application for Commission Notice /Mutual Recognition – Vans / Light Goods Vehicles

4.Tax and Register your car with DVLA (they will give you a new registration number so you can have new registration plates) You can request a Used Vehicle Import Pack online DVLA Forms.

You will need your passport, proof of address e.g. bank account statement, medical card, council tax or utility bill, MOT certificate, Road tax and £ 55 registration fee.

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5. To drive off with your newly registered car, you will need to insure it first in the UK. Each person that drives the car must be insured.

Well known insurance comparison websites include: