So, you’ve just moved to the UK? Or maybe you’re planning to move sometime soon. Depending on where you live, community via public transport may not be the best option. If so, you may need to get a car or bring the car you already own to the UK.
Having your own car in the UK is definitely a great option if you can afford it. You will be able to move about as you please, explore the country and commute to work in the comfort of your own vehicle.
As cars don't come cheap in the UK, you may want to ship your old car and avoid buying a new one. Now that could turn out to be a tedious process, especially if you do not know where to start.
In this blog, we’ll highlight how you can register your car in the UK and everything you need to know if you already have a car and you’ve just moved to the UK, including:
- The basics
- How to register a car in the UK
- How to re-register a car in the UK on a permanent basis
- Temporary registrations
- Other documents you may need
Whether you wish to buy a brand-new car, a pre-owned car or wish to import one, you need to do the necessary paperwork and register your car in the UK.
In Great Britain, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is responsible for maintaining this database. Likewise, in Northern Ireland, the same set of duties and responsibilities is conferred upon the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA). The DVLA and the DVA are regulated by the Department of Transport. These are the agencies that issue driving licenses, personalised registrations, update the records, and keep track of the vital information to do with your vehicle.
How much does it cost to register a car in the UK? According to GOV.The UK, you’ll have to pay £55 if your register and taxing a vehicle for the first time with the DVLA
To provide more clarity on registering or re-registering a car in the UK, we’ll now take a look at the various documentation and procedures involved.
How to register a car in the UK
If you work or study in the UK and wish to buy a brand-new car then you don’t have to worry too much about its registration.
Usually, the car company and its representatives would handle this registration process for you and you will be all set when you purchase the car. As far as the documentation is concerned, you are going to need the V55/4 form, to apply for the first vehicle tax and new registration. This also applies to brand-new cars imported into the UK. You can find all this information on the official GOV.UK website.
If you have just moved to the UK or you are planning on moving soon then the process will be a little different.
How to re-register a car in the UK on a permanent basis
If you are from the EU, you may want to ship your own car to the UK. If that’s the case then you may need to re-register the car for use in the UK.
So, if you are importing the car for ‘permanent use’, then it’s mandatory to register it. Here, the term ‘permanent use’ refers to cars that you intend to use for six months or more in any given year. This could be in one stretch or on various visits, within the span of one year. In that case, you need to contact the Revenue and Customs Department (HMRC) within two weeks of its arrival. Further details about importing vehicles can be found on the official GOV.UK website.
To register a used vehicle with the DVLA or DVA, you need to use the V55/5 form. This also applies to those who import their used vehicles to the UK, and wish to use it on a permanent basis.
If required, the concerned authorities may want to inspect the car and in that case, you shall receive a letter which informs you how and when this will take place. This typically happens within a month from the date when you apply for registration, at no additional cost.
All of this applies for cars intended for ‘permanent use’. If you wish to use the car on a temporary basis, then this procedure isn’t required. So, if you plan to use it for less than 6 months in a year and if it is registered in your country of origin, then you can skip registering it in the UK.
Wherever you are moving from, if you are importing your used car to the UK on a temporary basis, then you may claim customs relief from the HMRC.
It is important to make sure to renew your customs relief periodically and carry the documentation with you, just in case the police need to verify them. Also, it would be a good idea to have some proof to clarify when and how the car was shipped into the UK. For example, you could make it a point to have your ferry ticket with you in the car.
This is extremely useful and will save you from a lot of trouble, even during the initial period of 14 days. This refers to the period granted to complete the necessary formalities such as contacting HMRC, DVLA or the DVA and more.
Then before you hit the roads in the UK, you need to make sure that the vehicle is insured. There are a number of useful websites to look at for international drivers looking to insure their car in the UK and compare insurance prices including MoneySuperMarket and ComparetheMarket.
Additional documents you may require
To register a car in the UK you will need documents that confirm your name and address. Besides that, you need to have the necessary documentation for the vehicle tax which you are expected to have already paid, build plan for a kit car or an insurance certificate.
For cars older than 3 years, you must produce the MOT certificate and for new cars you will often be required to produce a ‘certificate of newness’. In Northern Ireland, you need the MOT certificate only for cars older than 4 years and a cover note should suffice instead of an insurance cover.
You will typically also be asked to provide a photocopy of your driving licence along with other documents. If you have recently moved to the UK and are wondering whether you can drive here, then in most cases the answer is “Yes”. Usually, people from the EU can drive in the UK with a licence from their country of origin, until the age of 70 years. Those belonging to other countries can do so for a year since their arrival in the UK.
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