When you arrive in the UK, and after you leave customs, you are required to register your car ‘as soon as possible after it arrives in the country’. The application for registration should be made using a V55/5 form for used vehicles or V55/4 forms for new ones. The forms can be ordered online using the link below. they can’t be printed locally and need to be mailed to a UK address.
Of course, the car cannot be registered unless it has a NOVA number (Notification of Vehicle Arrival) from HMRC. This will generally be done by your shipping agent as you can see from the link below. Though do take a look as it will give you an idea of what needs to be done and the timelines for VAT payment and so on.
With the registration forms you’ll need to send some proof of identity and several other documents – make sure you get the V55 form in plenty of time so you know what you’ll need.
Documents you can use to confirm your name include:
Documents you can use to confirm your address include:
As well as documents to prove your identity, you must also send:
Once approved, the DVLC will send you a “log book” to prove you own the car. It’s called a V5C. They will also send back any documents you sent them, worst case all within 6 weeks, but often much less.
By the way, although it is cheap and easy to buy a personalised number plate in the US, it is more complicated and dull in the UK.
It is expensive and explained on the DVLA Web site in the list below.
I found the registration a fairly painless process, as I got help. There are companies set up to specifically help people register imported cars. Peter Anderson specialises in this, for both new and classic cars, and provides the service for a reasonable cost. His contact details are also below.
By the way, on the front of my Explorer I managed to get Ford to supply me a UK style number plate mounting, so I could put a UK number plate on properly. For the rear number plate there is no room in the bumper indent for a UK style one but I discovered that the Mildenhall folks can get US sized number plates with the UK numbers on. I got one from them for just £8.50 and it looks great. On my most recent purchase I also found a local company that could make a USA sized plate so do look around and you’ll probably be OK.
Imported Vehicle Registration Expert help is at hand!
Tel: +44-20 8591 5489
Shipmycar.com Registration service
HMRC’s NOVA (Notification of Vehicle Arrival) Process
DVLA Registration info
DVLA Form ordering service
DVLA Import Page
Personal number plates