TEMPORARY CAR IMPORTS: In most cases, you can use a vehicle with foreign number plates ‘temporarily’ in the United Kingdom.
Thus, it would not need registering with the DVLA or taxing providing all these apply:
- The purpose of the visit is temporary and not to live in the United Kingdom on a permanent basis.
- The vehicle is already registered and taxed abroad in the home country.
- You use the vehicle for a maximum of six (6) months in total. It can be several short visits or one single visit in a 12 month period.
Note: Becoming a resident of the UK or staying longer than 6 months means you must register and tax the vehicle. There are specific steps for importing a vehicle into the United Kingdom.
Bringing a Vehicle from the EU
As a rule there will be no liabilities for VAT or excise duty if the vehicle you bring is from within the EU. You can contact the imports and exports helpline for further information.
They will answer questions about bringing a vehicle from the EU for less than 6 months, importing, exporting and customs reliefs.
HMRC Imports and Exports: General Enquiries
Bringing a Vehicle from Outside the EU
No VAT or duty is due on a temporary vehicle import from outside the EU providing all these apply:
- The vehicle is for your own private use and not for business use.
- You are not an EU resident and you do not sell the vehicle, lend it, or hire it within the European Union.
- You re-export the vehicle from the EU within 6 months (longer if you qualify to use foreign number plates for longer).
Note: You can apply for temporary importation of a private motor vehicle using C110 form. You claim relief using form C110 and taking the vehicle through the ‘nothing to declare‘ channel when you arrive at the UK border.
Using a Vehicle on Foreign Number Plates (longer than 6 months)
In some cases, you can use a vehicle, even with foreign number plates, for longer than 6 months. To qualify all these must apply:
- You usually live outside of the European Union.
- You are in the United Kingdom for a set period as either a student or a worker.
- You claim relief from VAT and vehicle excise duty.
HM Revenue and Customs will supply you with a customs relief form when claiming the relief. You need this form to show the police if you get stopped while driving the vehicle in the UK.
Note: But, you must register and tax the vehicle in the UK if you stay after the customs relief expires. Thus, follow the usual steps for vehicle imports to the United Kingdom.
If You Cannot Claim the Relief
What if you get told by HMRC to register and tax your vehicle in the United Kingdom? In this case, you should contact the Customs, International Trade and Excise team.
If You get Stopped by Police in the UK
If you get stopped by the police while driving they will need to see that you can use it ‘legally’ in the UK. Thus, without taxing and registering the vehicle in Britain, you will need to show documents that prove:
- The period of the time that you and the vehicle stayed in the United Kingdom (e.g. a ferry ticket).
- The vehicle qualifies for relief from VAT and excise duty (e.g. the customs relief form).
Temporary Q Number Plates
Certain situations mean you need to get temporary Q number plates from the DVLA. For example, visiting the United Kingdom for up to 6 months and either:
- The vehicle plates display numbers or letters which are not identifiable in the UK (e.g. Arabic script).
- The vehicle is not registered in its home country.
Note: You should contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to get temporary Q number plates.
Before getting Q Number Plates (vehicles outside the EU)
You need to claim relief from VAT and duty before you get temporary Q number plates if the vehicle is from outside the EU. The process depends on where you claim the relief:
- At the border: Officers will stamp form C110 for you on arrival in the United Kingdom.
- After arrival: You should fill in form C110 and then send it to the CITEX team to get it stamped.
CITEX Written Enquiry Team
Local compliance S0000