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Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Old Jun 19th 2020, 4:40 pm
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Default Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Hi everyone previous to my earlier post (returning to the UK) I would like to take my Italian registered vehicle to the UK and hopefully and have it registered with English plates, does anyone know if this is possible and if so what are the procedures to register the vehicle and the cost, and whom do I need to contact here in Italy before departure, the vehicle is under 10 years old and good working order, also will I be able to insure the vehicle with a UK insurance company even though its left hand drive .Thankyou
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Old Jun 19th 2020, 5:01 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

I don't know any of the details on how to do it, but there are quite a lot of (obviously imported) LHD vehicles registered and on the road in the UK, so it is certainly achievable.

One thing I would say is to make sure that you have cleared any finance on the vehicle and own it "free and clear" because removing a vehicle from the country if it has a loan secured on it could lead to legal problems (in Italy) for you, in the nature of theft/ fraud, and make it difficult or impossible to register in the UK.
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Old Jun 19th 2020, 6:28 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

It's described on the UK Gov website; this link will take you straight there. I did it some time ago, it was no hassle at all.
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Old Jun 19th 2020, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Thankyou for your reply, the vehicle was bought outright with no finance attached to it , I have seen many vehicles in the UK with left hand drive just wondering how difficult it could be to register but thanks anyway much appreciated
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Old Jun 19th 2020, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Originally Posted by sruggieri View Post
Thankyou for your reply, the vehicle was bought outright with no finance attached to it , I have seen many vehicles in the UK with left hand drive just wondering how difficult it could be to register but thanks anyway much appreciated
Some reading for you about LHD cars in the UK: https://www.autotrader.co.uk/content...u-need-to-know

And Autotrader.co.uk currently lists 571 LHD cars for sale across the UK.
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Old Jun 22nd 2020, 1:50 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Be aware that you will need UK insurance on your vehicle from the day you arrive in the UK to be a permanent resident even before you have reregistered Most mainstream companies will not do it so you will need to go to a specialist company You cannot use your vehicle at any time until it is re registered apart from getting an MOT for it as the UK will not accept any foriegn MOTs In addition remember that a LHD vehicle could attract a higher insurance premium and of course there is the practical aspect of driving an LHD in the UK You also need to consider the change of headlights and the speedo from KPH to MPH all of which will add to costs


Last edited by Listen Very Carefully; Jun 22nd 2020 at 1:56 pm.
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Old Jun 22nd 2020, 2:04 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

The biggest problem I ever had with a LHD car in the UK was getting a replacement exhaust as the steering box on the LHD car blocked the way for the RHD exhaust; ended up having cut and weld some extra bits.
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Old Jun 22nd 2020, 2:26 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
The biggest problem I ever had with a LHD car in the UK was getting a replacement exhaust as the steering box on the LHD car blocked the way for the RHD exhaust; ended up having cut and weld some extra bits.
Some other things can be a problem for the same reason, such as if the clutch is operated by a cable, because the cable will obviously be a different length. Also perhaps some of the wiper parts.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 22nd 2020 at 2:31 pm.
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Old Jul 14th 2020, 2:45 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

I've just been on the phone to Admiral regarding a prospective insurance policy for importing my Italian car to the UK and they made it sound reasonably straightforward: it would only be insured (using the chassis number) initially for theft and for travelling to an MOT centre until you get your UK plates made up.

The premium wasn't bad and they guy at the call centre also explained how I could go about proving my foreign no-claims discount.

A couple of questions for anyone who's done this before: does the Certificate of Conformity have to be translated? Also, my car is over 10 years old and so is in theory exempt from the vehicle recognition process. But do I still have to get the speedo changed/headlights realigned etc.? And do you have to get the vehicle MOT'd before getting it registered in the UK? The DVLA website isn't entirely helpful with some of these details.
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

The COC may not need translating as it is a standard EU document but you can phone DVLA to ask You will need to show that the car complies with UK law to get an MOT which requires a speedo in MPH and the headlights have to comply The MOT needs to be done before it can be re registered .Have you got a digital speedo if so you can change it from the menu
Another thing to consider is what the insurance will pay out on a LHD vehicle ie market value -which may not be what it is worth to you-or its actual value

Last edited by Listen Very Carefully; Aug 5th 2020 at 4:12 pm.
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Originally Posted by Listen Very Carefully View Post
The COC may not need translating as it is a standard EU document but you can phone DVLA to ask You will need to show that the car complies with UK law to get an MOT which requires a speedo in MPH and the headlights have to comply The MOT needs to be done before it can be re registered .Have you got a digital speedo if so you can change it from the menu
Another thing to consider is what the insurance will pay out on a LHD vehicle ie market value -which may not be what it is worth to you-or its actual value
Thanks for all of that. The DVLA is even less responsive than normal at present because of their reduced staffing. They're not sending out the forms you need to do things like converting an EU licence to a UK one, for example. I suspect when I send in my application to have the Italian car registered, it will take forever.

Your answer was particularly helpful because I have been unable, thus far, to establish if I need an MOT doing before making the application - the DVLA site is a bit circular for a car like mine which is over 10 years old, and therefore exempt from the vehicle approval process. The DVLA also refers to something called a "Certificate of Mutual Recognition" but on the form for that it says it doesn't apply to vehicles over 10 years old. Very confusing.

Sounds like my next step is to get the car insured (it's currently parked off road), then book it in for an MOT and the necessary modifications (headlights, speedo, rear fogs).
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 5:47 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Originally Posted by GeorgeYoung View Post
.... and the necessary modifications (headlights, speedo, rear fogs), then book it in for an MOT.
FIFY
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 6:59 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Well, I kind of thought the same garage could do both, if I book the MOT in advance.
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Old Aug 5th 2020, 7:05 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Originally Posted by GeorgeYoung View Post
Well, I kind of thought the same garage could do both, if I book the MOT in advance.
Yeah, you're correct - but you need to find a garage able to make the modifications and then do the MOT. There are many places to get an MOT, but fewer experienced in making the required modifications to LHD cars.
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Old Oct 12th 2020, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: Registering foreign vehicle in the UK

Update: last Friday, I received a letter from the DVLA with my new UK registration number.

It arrived 4 weeks after I sent the application off which is better than the 6 weeks advertised on the DVLA website and much quicker than I expected given the current delays with most government departments (my driving licence took 6 weeks to come back with my new address...).

To import the car, I had to do the following:

1) Park it offroad as soon as I arrived back in the UK. Once you're a UK resident, you're not allowed to drive a foreign vehicle aside from going for an MOT. If I had been stopped between Dover & my home, I could have been challenged about my residency but given I was moving at the same time, I thought it would be ok.
2) Arrange UK insurance as your Italian insurance isn't valid once you don't live there. Use the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to register it and make sure you declare it as an import and LHD. I found Admiral the easiest to deal with and best priced but it will vary from one person to another.
3) Get a European Certificate of Conformity for your vehicle. This has to be issued by the manufacturer's office in Italy (i.e. you can't ring the UK branch for one). I got mine from the Motorizzazione for my provincia, a PDF version. This seems to have been acceptable to the DVLA, although obviously an original would probably be better if you can find one.
4) Your car might need a mutual recognition inspection with the VCA, unless it's more than 10 years old or otherwise exempt. I didn't have to do this so can't offer any advice.
5) Arrange for the mandatory modifications (changing of headlights & speedometer if it does not indicate mph) and an MOT if the car is more than 3 years old at a garage. Remember you can only drive the car to the garage for an MOT. Otherwise, see about getting it towed there.
6) When that is done, fill out form V55/5, write a cheque for £55 + the cost of the road tax for your vehicle (you can find this, eventually, on the DVLA website. It is based on the rules which applied when the car was new, so it won't necessarily be the same as what would be applied for a new car today).

When I got the letter back confirming the import, I had to get the numberplates made up by an authorised company. I managed to fit them myself and gave the new reg to the insurance company, which should mean everything is sorted now and I can drive the car freely.

It is fiddly and the information on the DVLA website could be a lot clearer (for example, the applicability of the mutual recogntion inspection took a bit of working out) but all in all it's not too bad a process. I didn't have to translate any documents either.

And in the meantime, I finally received proof of no claims from my Italian insurer which I have submitted to Admiral and am waiting to find out if it's been accepted. That proof had to be written in English and printed on the company letterhead.
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