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Importing a car from the UK to Ireland

8 key steps to importing a car from the UK to Ireland

26 Oct 2018
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Following the Brexit referendum result in June 2016, the value of sterling fell dramatically against the euro. The British pound fell 8.5% against the euro overnight on the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU and over the following 3 months the decline stretched to almost 18%.

Irish consumers looking to purchase goods from the UK were capitalising on the weakened British pound and discovered that they could get more value for their euros, especially when purchasing high-value items.

Nowhere has this been more evident than by the steady increase in car imports from the UK to Ireland since 2016.

RTE reported that, in the first six months of 2018, the Society of the Irish Motor Industry registered 49,971 used car imports from the UK, a 12% increase on the same period in 2017, and a 64% increase on the pre-referendum level seen in the first half of 2016.

If you are importing a car form the UK to Ireland, we have put together a list of the fundamental steps to take to make the process as seamless as possible:

1. Sourcing your vehicle

With an abundance of websites literally at your fingertips, you can commence the search from the comfort of your own sitting room. Some of the more popular options include, and

There are also a number of options if you are looking to buy a car from Northern Ireland and very often this can work out cheaper in terms of collecting the vehicle and bringing it back home.

For a start, you remove the expense involved with booking flights or a ferry and accommodation (if necessary), not to mention the time saved. Check out or browse websites of popular car dealers in Northern Ireland such as Charles Hurst Group

sourcing your vehicle

2. Consider all associated costs

Buying a car in the UK and bringing it back to Ireland can be an attractive option, especially when you see the price tag on the windscreen. But have you factored in total associated costs of the purchase?

Will you be flying over or taking a ferry and will you need accommodation? Are you taking the car back to Ireland yourself or are you considering taking delivery of your new vehicle? For those looking at the transportation option, there are some reputable companies who will facilitate this for approximately €500.

Other important costs to consider:

VRT & Registration

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) is a tax you must pay when you first register a motor vehicle in Ireland. The amount of VRT payable is based on a percentage of the recommended retail price, which includes all taxes. This price is known as the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP). has a useful VRT Calculator to help you determine if it is worth buying your car outside of Ireland.

VRT has to be paid on all cars imported to Ireland and this has to be shown on the registration certificate. Any car brought into Ireland will need to be registered at a National Car Testing Service (NCTS) centre.

Make sure to make an appointment within seven days of bringing the car to Ireland and have it registered within 30 days. Failure to do so will incur additional costs.


You may also be required to pay VAT but this is only charged on a new car, for example,  in service for 6 months or less or has been driven 6,000km or less. Please note that VAT in this instance is also charged even if it had initially been paid in another EU state.

Cost of Sterling (FX)

Getting a better deal on the EUR/GBP exchange rate could save you enough money to tax your new car for a year. High street banks charge up to 5% on their foreign exchange services with additional fees that could end up costing you more than you had anticipated.

Fexco offers car buyers competitive FX rates with an average margin of 0.5% on a EUR/GBP exchange. Dedicated account managers can also advise on the timing of payment, making sure your transfer is delivered on the same day if necessary. This can be critical when you need to get your car back to Ireland without delay.

Want a better EUR/GBP rate on your UK car purchase?

Get a FREE quote from Fexco today >> 

3. Complete a UK car inspection/history check

You like the look of your dream car and the price even more so, but before you make the purchase you need to be aware that a vehicle could end up costing you more than just the selling price in the long term. Some advisory steps to ensure you are accounting for any potential additional costs include:

Car Inspection

Get a RAC Vehicle Inspection to determine if the car is roadworthy. This will give a structural and mechanical report of any vehicle in the UK. The current fee of £99 for the basic package consists of a 218–point inspection but if you are keen on a more detailed report it will currently cost you £239.

To book a vehicle inspection you will need the vehicle registration number, the seller’s permission and the address where the vehicle is kept.

History Check

It’s very important as a buyer that you perform a full check on any vehicle to be imported into Ireland from the UK before you buy. An auto history check from the AA will investigate issues around any outstanding car finance or loans or if the vehicle was ever reported as stolen. You can request a comprehensive car history check from just £6.

UK car history check

4. Inform UK authorities that you are importing a car into Ireland

When you have purchased the car, there are a number of steps you must take before leaving the UK:

V5C registration/logbook

Get the V5C registration/logbook from the seller which will be needed later. You should also have an invoice with sale details including the date purchased and final price paid.

Notification of permanent export

Before you leave, you will need to fill out the V5C/4 section of your logbook which details ‘notification of permanent export’ and get in contact with the UK’s Driver & Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA) to notify of your intention to export the vehicle.

Form VAT411

Form VAT411 will also need to be completed and is a declaration that the buyer isn’t liable for VAT in the UK but will pay the VAT due in the destination state (see point on VAT above).

5. Register your car at the National Car Testing Service (NCTS)

You must have your car booked in for an appointment at the NCTS within 7 days of its arrival in Ireland for a VRT inspection.

This is a pre-registration examination of the vehicle carried out on behalf of the Revenue Commissioners and you need to declare the level of CO2 emissions as part of this process. This inspection will confirm that your vehicle is as described in your V5C document.

registering a UK car in ireland

6. Pay VRT on your UK car import

The registration process and payment of VRT at the NCTS centre needs to be paid within 30 days of the arrival of the vehicle in Ireland.

The VRT payment will depend on the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP) determined by the Revenue Commissioners. Your VRT liability is calculated as a percentage of the OMSP and varies depending on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions.

Calculating VRT

The VRT Ireland site has a useful calculator which will give you an estimate of how much you need to pay. Simply provide your vehicle registration number and it will deliver a report detailing a VRT estimate for similar model and version of the vehicle based on a best effort match of the vehicles in the revenue’s database.

The 7 VRT categories are as follows:

Category CO2 Emissions % of OSMP
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%

Note: If you had been using the vehicle in the UK for a period of 6 months or more and can prove this with documentation, you will be exempt from paying VRT.

Registering a new car imported from the UK

If the vehicle you are importing from the UK is new, you will need to provide certain documentation which include:

– An electronic Certificate of Conformity (e-CoC). Since 12 September 2016, all new motor vehicles registered by Revenue are legally required to have an e-CoC. This must be submitted on the Revenue website before you register the vehicle.

– Vehicle Purchase Details Forms VRTVPD1 or VRTVPD2

– An invoice of sale of the vehicle clearly showing date of purchase/sale

– A document which verifies your name and your address in Ireland. This can be a bank statement/ utility bill but should be an original document and not older than 6 months.

– A payslip, P60 or other documentation issued by the Revenue Commissioners which displays your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN), name and address

Registering a used car imported from the UK

If you are importing a used car into Ireland, the above 5 steps will also have to be followed. In addition to these, you will also need to:

– Produce a completed Declaration Form for the Registration of a Used Vehicle

– Confirm the level of CO2 emissions at the time of manufacture. If you do not have documentation at registration verifying evidence of CO2 emissions at the time of manufacture, VRT will be charged at the highest rate applicable.

7. Getting your plates

Once all documentation has been provided and all necessary payments made, you will be issued an Irish registration number. This must be displayed within 3 days so please get and attach the plates within this time. Failure to display your new registration plates can incur a fine from An Garda Siochána.

Plates can be acquired at most motor factors nationwide.

You will then be posted an Irish registration certificate.

get your irish registration plates

8. Pay your motor tax and insurance

When you receive your VRT receipt and your registration number assigned to the vehicle, the NCTS will also provide form RF100 which you will need to pay motor tax. Once this and your car insurance has been sorted you can begin life with your new imported vehicle… happy motoring!


Ready to start saving on your new car?

When you’re ready to pay for your car, make sure to get a competitive GBP/EUR quote that will save you money. Alternatively, call the payments desk at Fexco on 1800 246800 for more information on our service, including same day transfers.

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