Importing a car or any other motor vehicle

Site updated regularly - Page last updated July 2017

Importing a motor vehicle

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Many people have successfully imported vehicles of all shapes and sizes into the UK. If you think that this could also be for you, then by using some of the information below, you could find that there are numerous procedures available, which could save even more money. ukimports

WARNING!

Alongside genuine reputable companies, there are some companies that offer car shipping services who claim that they can import your vehicle and save you money on: shipping costs and Import Duty & VAT. Some of these methods are classed as fraud, and if caught, come with severe penalties, contact our experienced Imports Team for the correct procedures for importing vehicles. ukimports

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VAT registered trader/company or Private Import?

Being VAT registered makes a big difference when importing goods into the UK in general, by enabling VAT paid to be reclaimed. This is the same when importing a motor vehicle. There is also one other difference, which relates registering your vehicle with the DVLA.

Vehicles that are imported for Private / Personal use can only be imported with the Customs Form C384. This form carries a disclaimer stating: "... the vehicle is being imported for my personal use and not for resale by way of trade."
Any vehicles imported for resale, solely to make a profit, must be imported under a full VAT number, or under a pseudo TURN.

As mentioned above, for a Private Importer to register a vehicle, they will require a C386 from Customs. This document is proof that Customs are satisfied that any Import Duty and / or VAT has been paid. A Private Importer will NOT be able to register a vehicle for road-use without it.

VAT registered importers (or ones with a pseudo TURN), can complete a self-certified C389. ukimports

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The vehicle was manufactured in the EC

Goods manufactured in the EC, returning back to the EC are generally exempt from Import Duty, However, depending on the circumstances surrounding the vehicle's departure from the EC, you may not qualify for this when importing your car.

Although its generally regarded as common knowledge that Ferrari, for example, is Italian. And that Rolls Royce, is designed and built in Great Britain. Most people, including Customs, know this, and know that other makes are built in other European Countries. In fact, there's just too many to mention here.

Well, true as it may be, motor vehicles that were manufactured in the EC can only qualify for Return Goods Relief, if the importer has obtained evidence that the vehicle being imported was manufactured for the European market.
Vehicles manufactured for the export market (outside of the EC) are classified as 'New goods to the EC' and therefore must have Customs duty and / or VAT paid in full (unless other circumstances apply).

- Export evidence:

As far as UK Customs are concerned, if you are claiming relief from any import duty or VAT, then its down to you, the importer, to provide documentary evidence to show that the goods were exported from the EC.

The type of document that they are usually after is usually one of the following:

Copy export entry
Export invoice
Export Bill of Lading/Airway Bill

If none of these are available from the vehicles manufacturer, you might want to try and obtain a letter or fax (on company headed paper), from them, declaring that all the parts for your particular vehicle, were both manufactured and assembled in the EC.

Unfortunately failure to provide this documentary evidence means that your vehicle will be liable to the full rate of import duty and / or VAT. ukimports

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Pick-up Trucks - Is it a commercial vehicle?

Nowadays it is not unusual for people to purchase pick-up trucks or vans for their own personal use, as opposed to commercial use.

However, due to the fact that these vehicles have the capability to be used for commercial use means that UK Customs classifies these under separate parts in their tariff, as follows:

1. 8704 "Motor vehicles for the transport of goods"
2. 8703 "Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons (other than those of heading 8702), including station wagons and racing car"

So, which one is yours going to be classified as?

Pick up Trucks:

(Tariff Notice 06/07)

Pick up trucks are generally classified under 8704 - Motor Vehicles for the transport of goods, which carries a Customs duty rate of 22%.

However, because Customs acknowledge that more and more pick up trucks are being imported by Private Individuals (C88 box 8 = PR), they have therefore issued this Notice to allow any pick up trucks where the inner length at the floor of the area for transport of goods is no more than 50% of the length of the wheelbase of the vehicles, to be classified under 8703 - Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons (other than those of heading 8702), including station wagons and racing cars, which carries a Customs duty rate of 10%.

For Pick up trucks to qualify for classification under 8703, proof must be provided by way of a copy of the vehicle specification sheet, showing clear measurements.

Click here to see an example of a specification sheet. ukimports.org

Please note: Regardless of load space, vehicles with two or more rear axles will be classified under 8704. ukimports

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Motor vehicles of Historical Interest

UK Customs has acknowledged that even motor vehicles can lay claim to being of historical interest. However, as you would expect, the criteria to qualify for this, are quite clear.

Any motor vehicle over 30 years old is automatically eligible for import duty relief and a reduced rate of VAT. Now, if your vehicle is newer, it doesn't necessarily mean your vehicle cannot obtain these same low rates. But, you have to write to Customs to apply for a BTI (Binding Tariff Information), explaining your reasons. Perhaps its rare, or may have been owned by a famous person, or won a famous race etc.

Customs have a page on their website from which the text below is taken:

"In order for vehicles (and ‘original authentic’ as opposed to ‘modern replica’ parts) to be considered as eligible for historic collectors status, you’ll have to provide information dating the year of manufacture. You must also state whether any substantial changes have been made to the vehicle as modernised or modified vehicles are excluded.

Repairing and restoring is allowed, and broken or worn-out parts, accessories and units can be replaced, provided that the vehicle is preserved and maintained in the historically correct condition."

Please contact us if you require more information. ukimports

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Temporary Importation of a Motor Vehicle

If you want to import your motor vehicle on a temporary basis, you can. And there are various schemes available to you. The most common one for motor vehicles, is one that allows a vehicle to be imported, and used, for a six-month period (although this can be extended), you can use your vehicle on the UK roads, without paying any import duty and / or VAT.

This example, above, is just one of many ways of temporarily importing a motor vehicle. To find out how it would work for your particular circumstances, please contact us. ukimports

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Relief from VAT on Caravans

Motor Vehicles, Trailers and Caravans are generally liable to VAT when imported into the UK. However, Caravans can be VAT free, if it is either:

- more than 7.0 metres long; or

- more than 2.3 metres wide

Note that these measurements exclude towing bars and any similar apparatus used solely for the purpose of attaching the caravan to a vehicle.

To ensure that there is no confusion as to what exactly a Caravan is, HM Revenue and Customs have issued the following definition:

‘any structure designed or adapted for human habitation that is capable of being
moved from one place to another (whether being towed or by being transported on a motor vehicle so designed or adapted).’ (1960 Act) and, if a twin unit caravan
‘is composed of not more than two sections separately constructed and designed to be assembled on site by means of bolts, clamps or other devices’ (1968 Act). ukimports

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Moving to the UK and bringing your motor vehicle with you (from outside the EC)

If you are deciding to make a permanent move to the UK, you can. But once again, you have to fulfil certain criteria to bring your motor vehicle with you without incurring any import duty and / or VAT.

For this you will need to read Customs Form C104a ukimports

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Roll-on, Roll-off (RORO)

One of the other options available to anyone importing a motor vehicle, is the option NOT to have your vehicle placed in a seafreight container. This could possibly be an option for you whatever your reason, and could possibly even a way which could save you money on the shipping costs. Contact our Imports team, if you would like some more information. ukimports

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Registration with the DVLA / SVA

Registering your imported vehicle with the DVLA

The following is taken from the Department for Transport website:

What Customs forms do I need?

The DVLA will only issue UK registration documents on vehicles imported from outside the EU, with one of the following Customs forms:

C&E 386 - This form used to be issued by HM Customs for a vehicle of any age personally imported from outside the EU upon payment of any/all import duties and taxes. Since the introduction of NOVA, HMRC will now send you a letter. ukimports

C&E 388 - This form used to be issued by HM Customs for a Customs restricted vehicle of any age personally imported from outside the EU, upon payment of any/all duties and taxes. As with the C386, above, since the introductions of NOVA, HMRC will now send you a letter. ukimports

C&E 389 - This is a self-declaration form which should be used by VAT registered traders for commercial imports from outside the EU. ukimports

These forms are either issued by UK Customs or the importer, and will show the DVLA that the appropriate taxes have or will be paid.

For more information on this, please contact us. ukimports

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IVA Test

Once a vehicle is imported, it must pass an IVA test.

The following is taken from the Department for Transport website:

What is the Individual Vehicle Approval Scheme?

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) is a UK national scheme and the most likely route for those manufacturing or importing single vehicles or very small numbers. IVA does not normally require CoP requirements (unless in conjunction with the N1 enhancements scheme outlined below) as it is based on inspection of each vehicle, although most bodybuilders and converters will work with manufacturers to ensure there is no warranty compromise. ukimports

Please contact us if you require more information. ukimports.org

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Notification of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA)

From 15 April 2013, new or used land vehicles brought permanently into the UK from abroad must be notified to HMRC within 14 days of arrival and any VAT due paid or ‘secured’. A new online system called Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) supports this change.

Information and guidance about NOVA and paying VAT on vehicles arriving from abroad is available on the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/nova
(will be shown in a pop-up window).

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Further reading:

The Department for Transport has put together booklet PI5, titled: "How to import your vehicle permanently into Great Britain". This booklet is a guide to the technical requirements that need to be met before vehicles can be registered and licensed for use on roads in Great Britain. ukimports

Click here to view the PI5 Booklet, or

Click here for a link to the Department for Transport website
(will be shown in a pop-up window)

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