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Complete guide to importing a car from the UK to Ireland

October 5, 2017

illustration outlining the steps to importing a uk car into ireland

Import a car from the UK into Ireland

Irish buyers are increasingly looking to the UK market for a great deal. How easy is it to import a car from the UK to Ireland? This handy guide from CurrencyFair takes you through the steps involved.

Why import a car from the UK into Ireland?

The post-Brexit weaker British Pound has made buying and importing from the UK a popular option for many Irish car buyers.

The number of used cars being imported from the UK into Ireland is soaring with Motortrade.ie reporting an annual increase of almost 40% in used car imports in 2017, up to the end of July.

When it comes to paying for their cars in UK Sterling, car buyers seeking a bargain will want to make sure they get a great deal on their currency exchange as well. That’s where CurrencyFair step in.

Whilst major banks are currently charging between 2-5% for FX transactions, CurrencyFair has an average margin of 0.4% on the same transfers, with no hidden fees.

This means that the proud owner of a newly imported £10,000 car could save as much as €253 by getting a better exchange rate with CurrencyFair. That’s enough to fill up their tank three times.

Where to look online to find UK cars to import to Ireland?

illustration of step 1 to find your car online

There is a wealth of websites that can help you find the ideal car for your budget and needs. Websites like usedcarsni.com, autotrader.co.uk and buyacar.co.uk offer a choice of brands to fit all budgets, so you can shop the forecourt from the comfort of your home.

How to research a UK car’s history

After you have found the car of your dreams, there are simple steps you can take online to ensure you know a car’s history and health:
1. Arrange an RAC inspection. This is worth completing to ensure the car is roadworthy. All they require is the vehicle registration number, seller’s permission and the address where the vehicle is kept. Priced from £99 it will provide a full 218-point inspection.
2. Complete a History Check here: hpi.co.uk – costing £19.99 you can check a single car to find out its complete auto history.

All costs when importing a car from the UK to Ireland

illustration of checklist of costs to importing a uk car into ireland
Before you buy, it is important to factor in all the associated costs with your purchase into your budget. For example:
– Are you travelling over to inspect the car? Here is a good guide from cartell.ie on how to inspect your prospective car properly.
– What are the costs of flying over and getting the car ferry back?
– Are you arranging for a lorry to transport the car into the State?
– Are there accommodation costs and expenses if you need to stay overnight in the UK?

Get an estimate of the VRT due from the Revenue Vehicle Registration Online Enquiry System.

For example, the most popular new car in Ireland in 2017 was the Hyundai Tucson (previously the ix35).

price comparison of buying a 2010 Hyundai ix35 from Autotrader using CurrencyFair

As listed above there are extra costs associated with your car import that must be factored in. But once these are budgeted for – and if you can negotiate a fair price – as seen above you could save over €3,000 by taking advantage of current trends in the GBP exchange rate.

The most important steps to take when importing a car from the UK:

illustration of the forms to complete to import a uk car into ireland

  • 1. Get an invoice from the seller with the date of sale and final price paid and the V5C registration / logbook – you will need this later.
  • 2. Inform the DVLA before you leave the UK that you are intending to export the car by filling in the V5C/4 ‘notification of permanent export’ section of your logbook.
  • 3.  If you have already left the UK with the car then you need to fill in a V561 certificate of permanent export. You can apply for one of these using form V756. More information can be found here.
  • 4.  If you haven’t left yet, complete form 411 found here.  Use this form to report when a new means of transport is bought or sold in the UK and will be removed to an EU state within 2 months, and the buyer isn’t registered for VAT. This form is a declaration that the buyer is not liable for VAT in the UK, but will pay the VAT due in the destination state.

How to register a UK car in Ireland

illustration of the steps to register a uk car in ireland

1. National Car Testing Service (NCTS)

You have seven days from the arrival of the car into Ireland to book an appointment with the NCTS to have a pre-registration examination of the vehicle. When you are registering your car in the NCTS centre, you must declare the level of CO2 emissions as part of the registration process.

2. Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT)

You must complete the registration process and pay the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) within 30 days of the car arriving in Ireland.
NOTE: VRT is not charged on a vehicle that you have used in another jurisdiction for more than 6 months, so if you have documentation to prove you were using this car abroad already, you won’t have to pay VRT.

If registering a new car:

  1. Provide an electronic Certificate of Conformity (e-CoC).
  2. Complete form VRTVPD2
  3. Provide the vehicle’s invoice, which must have the date of purchase/sale clearly indicated.
  4. Provide documentation verifying your name and address in the State (Utility Bill, Bank Statement etc.). It must not be older than 6 months and be original documentation.
  5. Have documentary evidence of your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) e.g. a payslip, P60 or any documentation issued by the Revenue Commissioners which include your PPS number, name and address.
  6. For vehicles imported from Northern Ireland, where the invoice is dated more that 30 days earlier than the date the vehicle is presented for registration, provide details of where the vehicle was stored.

If registering a used car:

    You must complete steps 1-6 above as well as:

  1. Complete a Declaration Form for the Registration of a Used Vehicle
  2. Provide documentation (as approved by the Revenue Commissioners) confirming the level of CO2 emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture (if this information is not on the foreign certificate of registration). Where evidence of the level of CO2 emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture is not available at registration, VRT will be charged at the highest rate applicable.

These and more are explained on the NCTS website for importing and exporting vehicles from Ireland.

Your VRT payment is due within 30 days of your car entering the state. It will depend on the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP) determined by the Revenue Commissioners: this is the price the vehicle is understood to be worth if sold in Ireland. The vehicle’s VRT liability is calculated as a percentage of the OMSP.  This percentage varies, depending on the car’s CO2 emissions.  The higher your car’s CO2 emissions, the more VRT you pay.

VAT, if applicable, is also paid at this stage. This is only charged on a new car, i.e. in service for 6 months or less, or has been driven 6,000km or less.  VAT in such a case is still applicable even if VAT was initially paid in another EU member state.

After payment, if you disagree with the vehicle’s OMSP, the Revenue will allow you to appeal and possibly receive a refund.

3. Getting your license plate

Once all necessary payments have been made and required documents provided, you will then be issued a car registration number and you will have three days to get license plates and fix them to the car. Registration plates may be acquired at most garages around the country.
Finally, you will then be posted an Irish registration certificate.

Reserving a specific registration number:

As of September 2017, completing Form VRT 15a will allow you to reserve a particular license plate for a fee of €1000. To reserve a number, you must apply to the Central Vehicle Office on or after 1 November in the year before it is intended to first bring the vehicle into use.

How to import a car if you are moving to Ireland?
For expats relocating to anywhere in the Republic of Ireland you must complete a Transfer of Residence form. You are eligible for VRT exemption if moving to Ireland, however certain conditions and timeframes apply to be exempt as outlined above.

For more information here are some helpful links:

Revenue Commissioners

Citizens Information

NCTS VRT inspections

DVLA (UK car registration)

When you’re ready to take the leap and buy your new car from the UK, CurrencyFair will be available to offer you a great exchange rate on your GBP transfer.

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