Clear Customs

Importing cars and other Motor Vehicles into the UK.

Many people have successfully imported cars and other motor vehicles of all shapes and sizes into the UK. From a rolling chassis for complete restoration, to museum/show-ready classics and from a small scooter, through to a school bus or light aircraft. 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 you money.


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 assistance and advice to keep it simple and hopefully to keep your costs down.

Looking for shipping information rather than the Customs process?

As far as the actual shipping is concerned, there are several options available.
If you want to know about the different shipping options for your vehicle, then click here to to find out.

We have lots of information on this site relating to the importation of cars and other vehicles, so please select from one of the following:

VAT registered trader/company or Private Import?

Being VAT registered makes a big difference when importing goods into the UK in general, as VAT will usually need to be paid whether you are VAT registered or not. However, being VAT registered does enable you to reclaim the VAT paid to Customs. This is the same when importing a motor vehicle. There is also one other difference, which relates registering your vehicle with the DVLA (on the NOVA system).

Don't worry, you do not have to be VAT registered! Cars and other vehicles which are being 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 commercial import and the importer must hold an EORI number.

For a Private Importer to register a vehicle, they will require a letter from Customs. This letter is confirmation that Customs are satisfied that any Import Duty and / or VAT has been paid, and that it has been declared on the NOVA system. A Private Importer will NOT be able to register a vehicle for road-use without it.

VAT registered importers (or ones with an EORI number), will need to register the vehicle on the 'HMRC Online Services'. ukimports

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

Remember : Shipping and Customs clearance doesn't have to be expensive, but choosing the wrong agent could be! ™ ukimports

For more information on importing cars, motorcycles, boats, pick-ups or any other motor vehicle, please feel free to contact a member of our Imports Team, on 0345 309 6360, or email us at:

Other related pages:

Back to top