Transport & Travel

all you need for relocation to scotland: edinburgh

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

warning-32.png Is considered a used car/vehicle, a car which has been used on the road and has previously been registered, even if it's only been for a week.

warning-32.pngIf you are planning to drive to Great Britain (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) with your own car and stay here for longer than a six month period, you MUST register, tax and insure your car with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as soon as possible after you became resident in this country.  

This also applies when you import cars to the UK.

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 used car?

To register the car you import, you will need to return all 8 documents listed in the next section “How do I register my 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.


 How do I register my car?

Some of the forms required to register yourcar can't be downloaded from the DVLA website because they include features that can’t be printed, e.g. a clear plastic window to attach a photo. They must be ordered by post.

The other registration forms are DVLA forms that you download 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 sent 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.


You should send all 8 documents listed below to the main DVLA Office.

1. V55/5 form


The V55/5 form is available from the DVLA Edinburgh office (not available online). Its purpose is to apply for a first licence and registration of a used motor car/vehicle.  It applies when you bring your own car or import one.

You must accompany the V55/5 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 time in 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 paper tax disc (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

If you know the vehicle's details, here's a very good link to calculate the cost of your tax disc.


Calculate vehicle tax rates (rates of vehicle tax from 1 April 2015)

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.  The amount you pay for vehicle tax might be different if you pay with direct debit. 

4. Valid British certificate of motor insurance


There are over 60 companies in the UK that provide car insurances and one very good 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 email

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 the car that you drive or that you import was previously registered in your country.

6. Current British MOT test certificate


warning-32.png Your car/vehicle must have a current British MOT test certificate 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


Now things are getting a bit more complicated...again!

This is a tricky one however, we did spend a lot of time, on purpose, on “Type of Approval” so that you won't have to spend hours searching for the many information that you will need. Do take the time to read it as it will save you time and effort. 

Before you can register your car and have it taxed, DVLA wants to be certain that it is properly designed, built and meets environmental standards, in other words, that it is suitable to drive in Scotland (and on all UK roads at large).

For instance, you may need to change parts of the car such as headlights so that they dip to the right. 

warning-32.png Evidence of Type of Approval is a legal requirement so you cannot skip that part of the process! 

If the vehicle you want to register is LESS than 10 years old then you need to produce a “Type of approval”.

If your vehicle is OVER 10 years old then no “Type of approval” is requested.

Let’s hope your car is old!

If your car is less than 10 years old, you must produce only 1 of the  following 3 documents to provide evidence of “Type Approval”.”

1) Certificate of Conformity

• issued by the manufacturer of the vehicle if it was bought in a EU Member State

• must state that the speedometer shows miles per hour (mph) and that the vehicle is suitable for driving on the left-hand side of the road

• If you do not have a Certificate of Conformity you can get one by contacting the manufacturer. There is a fee for this.

practical-info.png  Practical info!

By far and large, the Certificate of Conformity is easier, quicker and cheaper to obtain than any of the other “Type of Approval” listed below. DO try to obtain a Certificate of Conformity if you can.


2)  Mutual Recognition Certificate

If you cannot obtain a Certificate of Conformity, all left-hand-drive vehicles from within the European Community will need a Mutual Recognition Certificate, issued by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), under the Mutual Recognition scheme.

This shows that changes have been made to the vehicle so that it is suitable to drive on British roads.

There is an administration fee of £100 and the application to VCA can only be posted as this is not an “over the counter” service.

You will need to contact VCA on (0044) (0)300 330 5797 or (0044) (0) 117 952 4191.

Here's the form to apply for the Mutual Recognition Scheme.


3) Evidence of previous GB or Northern Ireland registration

 This can be either:

• the Registration Certificate (V5C - formerly known as a log book -  or V5CNI), or
• the new keeper’s details section (V5C/2 or V5C/2NI)


warning-32.png If you cannot provide any of the documents mentioned above, your vehicle will need an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate.

The IVA is carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). 

The reason for having the IVA is that before you register your vehicle, DVLA wants to be sure that it is fit for purpose.   

IVA test stations are located throughout the UK but there’s none in Edinburgh. The nearest is in Glasgow and is open Monday to Thursday between 08.00 and 17.00 and Friday between 08.00 and 16.30. 


The Ellipse

Padley Road




Telephone: (0044) (0)300 123 9000

Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 6pm

8. 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.

That's it...

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