Guide for Importing Cars From the UK

Uk Car Imports Guide

Vehicle Registration Tax is a tax charged when one registers a new or imported used vehicle in Ireland. It is charged based on the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP) of the vehicle as determined by the revenue commissioners. Vehicles exported from Ireland receive a VRT refund.

Although you will have to pay vehicle registration tax (VRT) on a UK car import, there are still real saving is made when importing a second hand model as UK cars are cheaper, higher spec and the euro sterling exchange rate is really good at the moment.
The following is a guide for anyone interested in importing a car from the UK into Ireland. By following this guide you will make sure that:

  • You get a better EURO to GBP exchange rate on your car purchase making your car import considerably cheaper
  • You make sure that you car is in good condition
  • You complete all of the necessary paperwork for the tax office in time.
  • You have all the information necessary to get your car on the road as soon as possible and if you need further detail of any of the topics covered in this guide, we recommend visiting

How much will I save by using to pay for my UK car import?

The saving we make is on the import price, before the VRT is estimated:

  • 2% for transfers under €10,000;
  • 1.5% for transfers from €10,001 to €20,000;
  • 1% for transfers over €20,001.

Why Import a car from the UK?

Even after VRT is taken into account you can still expect to save 5-25% off the price of your imported car compared to buying the equivalent model on the Irish marketplace.

Higher spec
Asides from price you also tend to get a higher specification model when importing from Northern Ireland or the UK.

Service histories
Service histories are usually very good.

Better Condition
This is down to better roads, more motorway and a keener interest in car maintenance. The Used car market in the UK expect cars to be in immaculate condition with a perfect service history.

How can I make sure that the car has no problems?

There are a number of ways you can research a cars history online to look out for:

  • outstanding finance due on the car
  • previous damage
  • stolen vehicles
  • clocked mileage
  • vehicle identity

My Car check is the cheapest service for this:

Current condition
It is advisable to also have a vehicle inspection. It will cost a few hundred euro but will save you buying a faulty vehicle. This check may cost approximately 100 however it is well worth the investment.

What is the cheapest way to buy sterling to pay for the UK car import?

Many people neglect the importance that commissions and exchange rates have on the cost of their car import and simply get a sterling draft from their bank branch. If you do this you are 100% guaranteed to lose a few hundred euro.

Call our vehicle payments team on one of the following numbers and we will guarantee to save you money.

Ireland: +353 1 635 3700
UK: +44 207 659 9185
Australia: +61 2 9037 2735
USA: +1 8 667 993 864

How do I bring the car back?

    1. Get it delivered by CAT
      Costello Auto Trans have been delivering cars back and forth between Ireland and the UK for over 15 years and are experts in their field.
      The average cost to bring a car back is €400-500 euro which taking all things into account will work out cheaper and less hassle than doing it yourself. To contact Cat check, phone their office 071 9650825 or phone Liam directly on 086 2609616.
    2. Collect it yourself;
      You will need to travel to the UK and return by ferry. Unless the car is near the coast, it is probably easier to book a cheap flight with a low fairs airline to the airport closest to the cars location and book the ferry home. You may also need to consider booking a nights accommodation to split the journey or if flight times don’t suit. Between booking flights, taking the trip over and possibly staying overnight its often just easier to have someone do it for you. CAT above are the leader in their field.

When do I pay my VRT on a UK car import?

You must make an appointment with the NCTS within 7 days of its entry into the State to have a pre-registration examination of the vehicle carried out. You must complete the registration process and pay VRT at the NCTS Centre within 30 days of the arrival of the vehicle in the State.

What if the car has been modified and the specification is not on the revenues database?

If the vehicle presented for registration at an NCT centre differs significantly from a similar one on Revenue’s database then the NCT centre sends vehicle details to revenue to calculate VRT. In some cases you will have to return to the NCT centre on another day to complete the registration process.

How is VRT calculated?

The rate at which VRT is charged depends on the type of vehicle being registered. For standard passengers cars the rate of VRT is based on the CO2 emissions of the car. Depending on the commercial vehicle the tax rate is either 13.3% or €200. Some vehicles are exempt from VRT such as ambulances and fire engines. Finally motorcycles are taxed at a rate based on engine size in cc’s. You can calculate your VRT at by sending a text, Text VRT, followed by a space, then the registration number to 57252, e.g. VRT LL12NRN to 57252. Texts sent are charged at normal network rates and the cost of reply is €2.00.

The 7 VRT categories as follows:

Category C02 emmissions Percentage of OMSP
A 0-120g 14%
B 121-140g 16%
C 141-155g 20%
D 156-170g 24%
E 171-190g 28%
F 191-225g 32%
G >225g 36%


How do I pay the VRT?

The National Car Testing Service Centre will collect the VRT charge (and other tax liabilities) on behalf of Revenue. You can pay this charge either by:

  • Cash (Up to €200)
  • Laser Card (Up to €1,500)
  • Bank Draft (payable to Applus Car Testing Service)
  • Credit Card (This method of payment incurs a 1.5% administration charge which is imposed by the NCTS centre)

Details of the entire VRT process can be found at

What else will I need to provide to the NCTS?

  • A VRT Vehicle Purchase Declaration Form must be completed in respect of each vehicle prior to arriving at the NCTS centre for registration.
  • Invoice which must have the date of purchase/sale clearly indicated.
  • Documentation verifying the new registered owner’s name and address (Utility Bill, Bank Statement). Please note that a Television Licence is not acceptable as a Utility Bill.
  • Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) of the person in whose name the vehicle shall be registered. Documentary evidence of the PPSN will be required. This includes a P60 or any documentation issued by the Revenue Commissioners which include your PPS number, name and address. Where an authorised trader (TAN Holder) is registering a vehicle on behalf of a customer, they should give their Revenue Customer Number (i.e. VAT or CT number) in place of the PPSN of the person in whose name the vehicle is being registered.
  • Satisfactory evidence of the date of entry of a vehicle into the State is required. This can include shipping details, travel documents, SAD number or evidence of vehicle storage outside the State where the invoice is dated more than 30 days earlier than the date the vehicle is presented for registration. Where satisfactory evidence of the date the vehicle entered the State is not available, an additional charge may be raised by Revenue for the period from the invoice date to the date of registration.
  • Where an exemption from VRT is claimed, the exemption notification letter issued by Revenue.
  • Documentation (as approved by the Revenue Commissioners) confirming the level of CO2 emissions of the vehicle at the time of manufacture. 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.
  • Documents 1 – 5 above are compulsory and the vehicle will not be registered unless they are all presented with the vehicle at registration.

What do I receive once I have paid my VRT?

  • A receipt for the VRT paid showing the registration number assigned to your car.
  • A Form RF 100 for use when you are applying for road tax.
  • Registration plates showing the assigned registration number must be displayed on your car within 3 days of the date of registration (a leaflet showing the correct legal format of the registration plates to be used is available at any NCTS). You can apply for registration plates on

If I have been living in the UK and am bringing a vehicle back to Ireland am I exempt from paying VRT?

Yes, once you have been living in the UK and have bought and owned the car for at least 6 months while living in the UK.

I have been living in the UK for the past 6 months or more. What do I need to prove that I have been living in the UK for at least 6 months?

The revenue commissioners are very particular about making sure that you have substantial evidence to show that you have indeed been living in the UK and are not simply trying to trick the system in avoiding VRT. The following would be required as evidence:

  • Vehicle Registration Certificate / Export Certificate
  • Evidence of vehicle’s insurance cover abroad for previous 6 months
  • Current Drivers Licence
  • Invoice relating to the purchase of the vehicle
  • Sailing ticket or other relevant document
  • Evidence of the sale of property abroad
  • Evidence of a property rental / tenancy agreement abroad
  • Evidence of payment of taxes abroad (P45, P60, poll tax etc.)
  • Evidence of day-to-day living abroad (e.g. household bills, medical records, work contracts etc.)

The motor tax rates are out of date, the correct rates are here:

You pay road tax on a vehicle no matter whether you are importing a car yourself or buying it in Ireland. The amount of motor tax you pay is currently based on engine size. For new cars registered from 1 July 2008, motor tax charges will be determined on the basis of seven CO2 bands. Charges will range from €100 a year for the greenest cars to €2,000 for cars with the highest emissions ratings.

Cars registered before 1 January 2008 will continue to pay motor tax on the basis of engine size. New cars registered between 1 January 2008 and 30 June 2008 will have the choice whether to tax their vehicle based on engine size or CO2 emissions. You simply choose whichever is cheaper. There is a lot of confusion over this matter however this is the official word from the motor tax office as of 24th April 2008.

The following are the new tax bands that will apply after June 30th 2008:

New System
Band A, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of under 120 grams per kilometre – motor tax rate of €100.

Band B, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of between 121 and 140 grams per kilometre – motor tax rate of €150.

Band C, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of between 141 and 155 grams per kilometre – motor tax rate of €290.

Band D, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of between 156 and 170 grams per kilometre – motor tax rate of €430.

Band E, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of between 171 and 190 grams per kilometre – motor tax rate of €600.

Band F, which corresponds to CO2 emissions of between 191 and 225 grams per kilometre – motor tax rate of €1,000.

Band G, the top band – motor tax rate of €2,000, reflecting CO2 emissions of over 225 grams per kilometre.

How should I insure my new car?

Most Irish companies will cover you for a period limited to approximately 30 days on UK plates until you have changed the plates over and got your new Irish plates. Ask your insurance company to transfer your policy to the new car. They will only issue a temporary cover for a non-Irish reg that lasts for 1 month.

If you have any other questions that we can help you with regarding importing a car from the UK please email

Again make sure to call the payments desk at to make sure that you get a better deal than using your Irish bank. Simply phone 01 679 3255

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5 Thoughts to “Guide for Importing Cars From the UK”

  1. Thanks for Sharing the Valuable Information…!

  2. Archie Harvey

    Wow. Wonderful article on Car Finance and I really appreciate it for sharing as this article is very informative and helpful 🙂

  3. Katie

    No mention of the documents we would need to procure from the UK car owner, dealership?

  4. Benny

    Nice read! Thanks for the useful info and it’s worth sharing!

  5. Car Check

    This is very informative blog. I agree with the point hta performing the Car Check once before taking it for a ride is important.

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