Transport & Travel

all you need for relocation to scotland: edinburgh

Driving or Importing a car from outside the EU for more than six months

warning-32.png Before going on to more details about registering your vehicle, the obvious question may be, is it worth it? Is it worth it financially, is it worth is time wise? Is it worth the (considerable) effort?

If you are planning to stay in Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), for longer than a six month period, you MUST register, tax and insure your vehicle with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as soon as possible after you became resident in this country.

practical-info.png Practical info!

As from 1 July 2013, 28 countries are part of the EU:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.

Where do I Register my Vehicle?

To register the car you import, you will need to return all original documents listed in the next section Registering a vehicle” to the main DVLA office in Swansea (Wales).

Unfortunately, all local DVLA offices have closed down. You can now access DVLA services by contacting the main DVLA office directly, or using their online services. Some services can also be accessed through selected post offices. 


Registering a Vehicle

The documents required to register your car are DVLA forms that can be downloaded online or you can also request an “Import Pack - Application to register an imported vehicle for use in Great Britain” online from DVLA. 

Once you have brought all the forms duly filled in, DVLA will take 2 or 3 days to process your registration. DVLA will also arrange for your new UK plate number.

Once the vehicle is registered, insured and taxed you can bring it to a garage to have the plates fitted. Remember to bring 2 forms of ID with you to the garage (driving licence and passport). There is a fee for this service.

New Vs. Used car

1. New vehicle

warning-32.pngA NEW vehicle is exactly what it means: it's never been on the road or just enough to be delivered to you and it has never been previously registered. 

To be registered in Great Britain as a new car, your vehicle must:

• be registered with DVLA within 14 days after collection (this is normally the date of the invoice from the supplier) however, the registration period may be extended to one calendar month at peak periods (e.g. prior to 1st March and 1st September)

• have the minimum mileage needed to deliver it 

• have not been permanently registered before, and

• be a current model or a model that has stopped being made within the last two years.

practical-info.png Practical info!

The advice given by DVLA is to transport, rather than drive, your vehicle from the port of entry to your home or first destination and to keep it off the road until it is registered, taxed and insured.

2. Used vehicle

Is considered a used car/vehicle, a car which has been used on the road and has been registered, even if it's only been for a week.


You should return all documents listed below to the main DVLA Office in Swansea.

1. V55/5 form or V55/4 form

V55/5 form (for used vehicles) OR V55/4 form (for new vehicles). 

The purpose of the V55/5 form is to apply for a first licence and registration of a used motor vehicle. The form is available online from DVLA

The purpose of the V55/4 form is to apply for a first licence and registration of a new motor vehicle. The form is available from the Post Office (see branch finder) or can be ordered online from DVLA.

Whichever the form you're using, you must accompany them with 2 original forms of identity and 1 proof of UK address. 

TWO forms of identity ONE document to confirm your address in the UK

your photocard driving licence and

your EU passport


your EU national identity card


your birth certificate


your marriage certificate

current utility bill for the last three months (gas, electricity, water, landline telephone)


bank or building society statement valid within the last three months


 medical card


 council tax bill for current year 

2. First registration fee

There is a one-off fixed fee of £55 when you register your car for the first timein the UK.

Cheques or postal orders made payable to DVLA Swansea.

3. Apply for tax disc & fees


warning-32.png Since 1 October 2014 you no longer receive the coloured tax disc paper (see below) but you still need to tax your vehicle.



Apply for a tax disc

Four weeks or so before the tax disc expires, you’ll receive a letter from DVLA called vehicle tax renewal reminder (V11 or V85/1) asking you if your circumstances have changed (e.g. you no longer have a car, or it’s been taken off the road, etc).

The reminder will have a 16 digit reference number that you'll need to use if you want to apply for your tax disc online. The reminder will also have the details of your car (plate, model) and will indicate how much the tax disc will cost you.

If you apply online you do not need to evidence the proof of a MOT certificate or car insurance. This will be checked separately by DVLA.  

If you'd rather apply for the tax disc at the Post Office, bring the DVLA letter, a valid MOT and the certificate of insurance before the expiry date. Go to a Post Office counter that deals with tax discs (big Post Offices will do whereas the small ones located in convenience stores are unlikely to). Cost of the tax disc Here's a very good link to calculate the cost of your tax disc. 


Calculate vehicle tax rates (tax disc)

Here's a very good link to calculate the cost of your tax disc.

For cars registered before 1 March 2001 the rate of vehicle tax depends on its engine size.

The rate for cars registered on or after 1 March 2001 depends on CO2 emissions and fuel type.

Since April 2010 owners of new cars pay a different rate of Vehicle Tax known as the First Year Rates (based on CO2 emission) for the first tax disc.

From the second tax disc onwards they will then pay the standard rate.

4. Valid British certificate of motor insurance

There are over 60 companies in the UK that provide car insurances and it would not be useful or practical to list them all here. One very good (and clever) way to choose is to use online price comparison websites.

gold-star.png and compare in seconds hundreds of prices from UK top car insurance providers.

Alternatively, the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA) will be able to give you information on insurance companies that provide the cover you need.

You can phone them on (0044) (0)870 950 1790 or send an email to:

warning-32.png The certificate of motor insurance must be valid when the tax disc will start.

 The insurance company will ask for your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or chassis number as it is sometimes known. 

• All vehicles are assigned a unique VIN when they are manufactured which is made of a combination of 17 letters and numbers

• VINs help fighting against car theft

• VINs are recorded in accidents, insurance records, and when work is done on a vehicle by a body shop, dealership or mechanic

• Most VINs are displayed in several places on the vehicle:

–passenger side of the windscreen

–engraved on a metal plate usually found in the engine compartment

–often stamped under the bonnet or in the floor panel on the driver's side

5. original foreign registration documents

This is self-explanatory.

The original documents must include any documents proving that your car/vehicle was previously registered in your country and generally speaking, any documents relating to your vehicle.

6. Current British MOT certificate

 warning-32.png Your car/vehicle must have a current British MOT test certificate but only if it is more than 3 years old.

If it less than 3 years old, no MOT or equivalent is needed.

The certificate is valid for one year. The car will need another test, each year.

The Ministry OTransport test car inspection checks that vehicles meet the minimum road safety and environmental standards to be used on British roads. 

There are around 19,000 garages authorised as MOT test stations across the country that can carry out your MOT test. 


The blue three triangles logo is displayed to identify authorised test stations.

The maximum fee for the test must be displayed on a poster inside every test station. The station, however, can charge less than what is on the poster if they want to. 

The MOT must be tested under the VIN number (see point 4 above).

warning-32.png If you forget to have the MOT done before the expiry date then you are not authorised to drive the car. You can however, drive your vehicle if the MOT has expired for the purpose of taking it to a garage and have the MOT done. 

7. Evidence of Type Approval

warning-32.png Whether your car is used or new, if it comes from outside the EU, is must pass an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate. The IVA is carried out by the  Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). 

The reason is simple. Before a vehicle can be registered and taxed, DVLA wants to be certain that your car is properly designed, built and meets environmental standards, in other words, that it is suitable for use on UK roads.

For instance, you may need to change parts of the car such as headlights so that they dip to the right, the speedometer must shows miles per hour (mph) and the vehicle must be suitable for driving on the left-hand side of the road.

Proof of  Type of Approval is a legal requirement so you cannot skip that part of the process! 

Although IVA test stations are located throughout the UK there’s none in Edinburgh.

To find out where your nearst IVA Test Centre is across England, Scotland and Wales click the following link.

You have to pay a heavy fee for the inspection of your vehicle. 

8. V267 form

The V267 form only applies to brand new vehicles imported to the UK.

Brand new means a new vehicle which has not been permanently registered in any country before it was imported into Great Britain, has not been sold for retail, has not been subject to excessive use, and is a current model or a model that has stopped being produced in the last two years.

V267 is to declare that your vehicle is new and it should be filled in by the person or organisation importing your new vehicle. The form is available online from DVLA

9. HMRC - Vehicle VAT & tax

Since 15 April 2013, if you import new or used vehicles into the UK from abroad for permanent use on UK roads you have to notify HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) within 14 days.

Use the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) service to tell HMRC you’ve brought a vehicle into the UK.

You’ll need a Government Gateway account to use NOVA.

HMRC will use the information you provide in NOVA to work out the VAT you must pay.

You can’t use NOVA before you import your vehicle.

 practical-info.png You’ll get a late notification penalty of £5 per day if you don’t notify HMRC within 14 days of the vehicle arriving in the UK.

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