The Ultimate Guide to Register your Car in the UK

Commuting within the UK isn’t something that you need to worry about if you plan to rely on its laudable public transport system. Now while that seems to work for most people out here, having your own car is definitely a lot better since you can move about, as you please. It also becomes necessary because the UK’s climate can be extremely cold or scorching hot — now that explains why it’s so important for you to own a car out there. As cars don’t come cheap in the UK, you may as well 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.

So 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 is regulated by the Department of Transport. So these are the agencies that issue driving licenses, personalized registrations, update the records, etc…  To provide more clarity on registering or re-registering a car in the UK, we shall now discuss 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 there is little to worry about its registration. Usually, the automobile company and its representatives would handle that for you. As far as the documentation is concerned, you are going to need the V55/4 form, in order to apply for the first vehicle tax and for new registration. This also applies to brand new cars imported into the UK.

How to Re-Register a Car in the UK on a Permanent Basis

 If you are from the EU, then you may want to ship your very own car to the UK, and that makes sense if you plan to stay in the UK for a longer duration. 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 intimate the Revenue and Customs Department (HRMC) within two weeks of its arrival.

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. This typically happens within a month from the date when you apply for registration, at no additional cost.  Now all of this applies for cars intended for ‘permanent use’ but 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.

Formalities Connected With Temporary Registrations

​ If you are importing your used car to the UK on a temporary basis, then you may claim customs relief from the HRMC. However, make sure to renew it periodically and carry it 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 the car was shipped into the UK, so make it a point to have the ferry ticket with you. 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 intimating HRMC, DVLA or the DVA and more. However, before you hit the roads in the UK, you need to make sure that the vehicle is insured.

Other Documents Required to Register a Car in the UK

In order to register a car in the UK, the concerned authorities require 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 the new ones, you would 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 are also required to provide a photocopy of your driving license along with other documents. So, if you have recently moved to the UK and are wondering whether you can drive here, then in most cases, the answer is in affirmative. Usually, those from the EU can drive in the UK with a license 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.

Whether you plan to buy or import a car, RV or any other vehicle meant for personal use in the UK, the procedure remains almost the same. However, you may face some restrictions if you plan to import a brand new car. These restrictions are levied in order to protect the best interests of the domestic automobile companies. So the feasibility of importing a vehicle into the UK depends on what’s hampering the economy and what’s not. Therefore, it is usually a lot easier to import an older vehicle, as compared to a new one.

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3conditional 17 February 2022
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