4 Steps to Ship and Bring Your Car to the UK

closeup of a black car

Cars can be expensive in the UK. On average, ownership costs could reach about £1,400 each year. It could also account for nearly 5% of the budget.

If you’re planning to move to the UK from the USA, then more likely, you already have a vehicle. Instead of spending more money, perhaps you want to bring it over to your new home.

To do that, consider these tips:

1. Clear All Your Obligations with the Vehicle

Before you can bring the vehicle outside the United States, you need to prove that you already own it through a title. If it still has a lien or under any form of financing, you may have to pay everything first.

Otherwise, negotiate with the lender and ask for a letter that says you can bring the vehicle somewhere else. Perhaps you can come up with a setup so you can pay it continuously, even if you’re already in the UK.

2. Look for the Right Transport Company

Not all transport specialists can handle international or overseas shipping of vehicles. If you’re living in Oregon, you can look for a local vehicle transport that can help you.

Usually, you have two options: container and non-container. In the container approach, your car will be inside a steel box or container and delivered to the UK as cargo on a ship. Usually, it will be among other vehicles.

Although this choice provides better security and safety for the vehicle, it is also pricier than the alternative, which is non-container. With this one, your car reaches the UK through roll-on, roll-off (RoRo).

It is more affordable since these ships can lower the costs by carrying other objects or even passengers and stopping in multiple locations. Nevertheless, this option is ideal if you are sending only one vehicle to the UK.

Either way, working with a transport company than doing this DIY saves you a lot of headaches. The process can be both time-consuming and confusing.

luxury car parked

3. Determine Your Taxes and Customs Duties

Even if you’re an individual, you will still likely pay import duties and taxes once the vehicle arrives in the UK.

Within 14 days after the car arrived, you need to inform the HM Revenue and Customs about it. Since it came from the United States, fill out form C384, which is an import declaration document. Send it to HMRC by email or by post. Until further notice, though, you need to do it by email because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The HMRC will then inform you if you need to pay import duties and taxes and how much. If you already own the vehicle for at least half a year and lived in the US for a year, you are less likely to pay these. However, the transport company must be able to help you with clearing details with customs.

4. Submit Your Vehicle for an Inspection

Before you can drive your vehicle, the UK needs to know that it’s safe and complies with environmental standards. If your car is less than 10 years old, it might have to go through the individual vehicle approval (IVA) test.

There are two exams: basic and normal. The former is only a visual inspection but applies only to a select number of vehicles, including a left-hand-drive car, which your vehicle is likely to be.

If you didn’t meet the criteria or fail to pass the standards, your car would have to go through the regular test. This one is more comprehensive, and you might need to submit more documents as proof of the vehicle’s roadworthiness.

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