If you’re planning to bring your car to the UK while you’re visiting, studying, or working, you are able to do so temporarily without registering it as a UK vehicle.
you can drive a European-registered car in the UK for up to six months without the need to register it
you can drive your car for the duration of your study or work assignment if you’re in the UK for a set study or work period
The six-month period allows you to use the car for up to sixmonths during a 12-month period:
this can be one single visit, or several shorter visits adding up to a six-month period
your car needs to be registered and taxed in its home country.
Find out more about temporary car imports at Gov.uk.
If you become a resident or stay for longer than six months you must register and tax your vehicle in the UK.
if you plan to keep your car in the UK permanently, you’ll need to re-register your vehicle
your car may need to be tested under the Individual Vehicle Approval scheme to ensure it is fit for permanent use on UK roads.
Find out more on Gov.uk.
If you are bringing your car into the UK, you need to tell HMRC within 14 days that the vehicle has arrived in the UK.
You will also have to:
pay VAT and duty if HMRC tells you to
get vehicle approval to show your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards
register and tax the vehicle with DVLA they’ll give you a registration number so you can get number plates made up
You must also get insurance before you drive it on UK roads.
You will not usually have to pay VAT or duty if you bring your own vehicle from the EU although this may change after January 2021 when the UK leaves the European Union.
If you bring a vehicle from outside the EU you do not pay VAT or duty on a vehicle if you temporarily import it.
So long as:
it’s for your own private use
you’re not a UK or EU resident
you do not sell, lend or hire it within the UK or the EU
you re-export it from the UK or the EU within six months – or longer if you’re eligible to use foreign number plates for longer
You can claim duty relief by filling in form C110 and taking your vehicle through the ‘nothing to declare’ channel when you arrive in the UK.
if you plan to stay longer then note that non-EU vehicles are admitted to the UK on a case-by-case basis.
As all EU vehicles must meet set requirements, cars from outside the EU may not meet UK safety or emissions standards.
You might be able to use a vehicle with foreign number plates for longer than 6 months if:
you normally live outside the UK or the EU
you’re in the UK for a set period as a student or worker
you claim relief from VAT and duty
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will give you a customs relief form when you claim relief – show it to police if you’re stopped when driving the vehicle
If you’re driving your car in the UK temporarily, your existing insurance policy should be valid until it expires but may only get the minimum cover in the UK, which is normally third-party cover.
This may apply even if you hold a higher level of insurance in your home country.
check with your existing insurer whether you’re covered to drive your car in the UK.
some countries may issue you a "green card” document to prove you have insurance cover
you may also wish to extend your policy to cover more than third party damage while the car is being driven in the UK
Once you’ve been driving in the UK for six months (or your current insurance policy expires), you will need to get a UK insurance policy — in order to do this, you must register your car for UK use
If your car is imported you will need to shop around for specialist car insurance.
there are added complications compared to cars designed for use and registered in the UK
there are different types of import and this will affect the cost of your premium
regular car insurance providers may increase premiums or excesses for imported cars
you may be able to find cheaper car insurance premiums by shopping around or using specialist import car insurance.
There are ways you can save money on insuring your imported car.
Many larger insurers are wary of imported vehicles, especially personal imports that have not come through trusted manufacturers, so you may need to source specialist car insurance
As imported cars are rarer than standard models, they are more likely to be targeted by thieves. Keep your car in a locked garage or secure driveway rather than on the road. Consider also installing alarms and trackers.
If your imported car is going to be a second vehicle for occasional use, having a policy that reflects your limited annual mileage could save you money
You may even qualify for a discount if you have previous experience of driving performance models. Consider taking an advanced driving qualification (link to advanced driving piece)
You don’t need to own a car to get car insurance. Unlike a full car insurance policy, you won’t build up a no claims bonus, but it does mean you can drive someone else’s car, as long as you have their permission.
If you are only planning on borrowing a car you can also compare quotes for short-term or temporary car insurance
When you start looking for car insurance make sure you shop around for cheaper new driver car insurance.
If your family own several cars it may be better to insure them via a multi-car insurance policy
Multi insurance might also be suitable:
if you own more than one car
if you’re a family with more than one driver
if you’re a couple with more than one vehicle