Importing a used car from Germany - OldHand
Does anyone have specific information on this? Everything I've read here in the FAQ's and forum search seems to relate to new cars.

This is the situation as I understand it. Hopefully if anyone knows more we can have the definitive answer for forum users

Importing a used car from Europe is fairly simple. Some of this information may be wrong currently- I need help to correct the innacuracies

You need a certificate of EU conformity (the vendor should be able supply this if he is a car dealer)

Then if you are importing from Germany you need to get a set of plates made up as cars there are sold without plates. The dealer can't do this for you and it may take some time to get these plates ie a whole day waiting around some office. (any details about this plate process would be VERY helpful- I presume they are just temporary transit plates)

You need to sort out insurance with your UK insurer- they should be able to do this through the VIN number. One problem here is that there are reports that some UK insurers will not provide an insurance certificate without an english reg number ie a catch 22 situtation.

Drive the car back to the UK.

When back in the UK you are not allowed to drive the car on the transit plates except to your place of residence or to the MOT test it will require if over 3 years old.

To pass the MOT you will need either new lights or if your car is equipped with them it is just a matter of using the adjustment lever to switch from LHD to RHD. Which models this applies to I don't know but I'd imagine any car with HID lights would have it

You then need to apply to your local DVLA office with your certificate of conformity, certificate of insurance, form V55/5, the original paperwork and reg doc from Germany, the MOT test certificate (if it needs one), the invoice from the vendor, the MONEY ie reg fee and road tax.

They may wish to see the car in person and I have no idea how long the above process takes to complete.

I'm also confused as to whether you need a MPH speedo or not. You can pass the MOT with a KPH speedo so this one is not clear cut as far as I can see.

If anyone can add information or shed any light on these questions then it would not only help me but everyone else as well.

Thanks in advance.
Importing a used car from Germany - Collos25
Transit plates(3 day) in Germany include insurance ,you do not need a certificate of conformity nor will you get one exept on new car all vehicles in Germany need a TUV test certificate in two parts one for the mechanics one for the abgas.If you have done the deal the dealer will have the plates waiting if you are buying private then use one of the many shops that will do it for you ,all vehicles in europe must have a speedo that reads in kmh but not mph so I have found no problems getting them tested in the uk with just kmh.As for driving on transit plates I know of a Porsche I brought in 2000 and sol on its still on its transit plates.Thge headlamps is a tricky one as most car headlamps are LHD specific and so you have to buy a new set.I live in Germany and often fetch cars to the UK not so much these days as second hand cars are much cheaper in the UK than Germany it has to be a specialised vehicle to make it worth your while.After you have registered the vehicle make sure both log books are returned to the German dvla in Flemsburg or you will run up massive fines
Importing a used car from Germany - Steptoe
There has been some discussion on relating to the importation of secondhand motorhomes, which I imagine pose similar problems.

The main concern is insurance; but apparently the dealer can arrange to supply temporary plates ( don't know how long this takes ) which include TPO insurance for a few days to get you to the channel ports, which otherwise would be difficult to get. Once in the UK insurance would have to be arranged with a UK insurer.

Importing is not an easy option, plus the vehicles are LHD, but in the case of MH's the hassle is worth it as savings of several K's can be made, IMHO not worth it for a car.

One mans junk is another mans treasure
Importing a used car from Germany - barchettaman
Just out of interest Oldhand, why do you want to do this?
Second point - if you don´t already know, lets you browse in English, might be useful.
Importing a used car from Germany - Collos25
The insurance is full european cover as is all mainland insurance and covers you to the door in the UK,the plates take about half an hour plus the lengh of the queue."Importing is not an easy option "I beg to differ in could not be simpler.
Importing a used car from Germany - Steptoe
Sorry, Andy, I stand corrected.

Not done it myself, so I thought the transit insurance was just to the channel

One mans junk is another mans treasure
Importing a used car from Germany - Steptoe
PS Are you sure that the transit insurance is fully comp; the folks who have imorted the MH's have all reported that they could only get TPO, which made for a scary drive in an expensive van.

One mans junk is another mans treasure
Importing a used car from Germany - OldHand
Great replies there and very useful especially regarding the transit plates. I live on the continent for 3 or 4 months a year although I'm resident in the UK so a LHD car is as desireable as RHd to me.

The car I'm thinking of importing is a BMW 330XD which was never available in the UK, it also has the benefit of xenon headlights which have a simple switch to convert them between LHD and RHD. It's a car which ticks all the boxes for me, 4 wheel drive, high power diesel, reasonable fun to drive and you can get a dog in the back. I can't think there's another car in my price range of 15K maximum that does all those things and believe me I've thought long and hard.
Shame the A4 3.0 diesel quattro isn't cheaper or I'd have one of them.

As it is an import from Germany looks like my best bet.
Importing a used car from Germany - barchettaman
Quite a few of those about on Mobile:

hope the link works Oldhand.
Importing a used car from Germany - pmh
You can have the MoT done with the LHD lights, provided they are adequately masked with tape.

For MoT testing purposes it is admissable to use beam deflectors or Black Tape! strange but true!

Quote from MoT Manual
Right hand dip headlamps can be temporarily altered for use in the UK by fitting masks or converter kits which remove the beam 'kick-up' to the right.

A headlamp altered in this way is not a reason for rejection, if

a. the headlamp aim is not rejected for the reasons listed under diagram 1 (except that the top of the beam image will be a straight line)

b. the light output is not unduly
reduced - not usually a problem with commercially produced kits

c. the mask or converter is securely attached

But I dont know whether the same exemption would be applied to a personal import, registration as new, if CE marks are required.


pmh (was peter)

Importing a used car from Germany - jc2
I've insured cars in the the past on the chassis number-no problem.
Importing a used car from Germany - Tearingmyhairout
I think a lot of the information above is rather out of date.

I am having a dreadful time trying to register a German build Ford Kuga, ordered and registered originally in Spain, and that is less than a year old. The problems come from a very complex process involving the DVLA and the VCA, and the fact the whole process is not adequately explained. It has also become fairly clear that the Ford dealer and other garages I have spoken to about all this do not understand the full process either!!

The DVLA's website encourages you to submit a registration application to them, and to include the manufacurer's Certificate of Conformity as well as the registration document (the latter being the Spanish document in my case). The problem is that they then reject the car as not conforming to UK standards, not surprising perhaps as it is a left hand drive having been built for Spain. I should add that I had already changed the headlights anyway and adapted the dashboard to show Miles per hour, not kilometres. However, the DVLA wont accept this directly and only then explain that you should first go through the Vehicle Certification Agency. Having then read the notes and forms on the VCA website, I see that I need to provide evidence from the garage that the required adaptations have been done. So that is now my next step, after which I submit an application with the evidence to the VCA, (plus £100). I then wait 2 weeks for the application to be proceesed. If successful, I then resubmit the registration application to the DVLA.

Everything has to be done by post- neither office has a shopfront as such- so each cycle of correspondence takes at least 2 weeks.

None of the correct process sequence is adequately explained in the initial information on the DVLA website, which is confusing, to say the least. I have so far spent 6 weeks toing and froing with the DVLA on this, unable to drive the car legally in this country, and only just had the correct required process explained to me. Why cant two agencies that are part of the Ministry of Transport make this process clearer? They would save a lot of frustration as well as a lot of their own time, if they did so.

Edited by Tearingmyhairout on 03/05/2017 at 18:21

Importing a used car from Germany - Avant

"I think a lot of the information above is rather out of date."

Not surprising, as all the posts are over ten years old.

But it may be useful to resurrect the thread, if we end up with an idea of what the position is now.

Importing a used car from Germany - glidermania

Ah, this takes me back to when I imported a couple of brand new cars from Holland & Germany.

For a brand new car, you could (can) actually legally drive from point of import to destination (home usually) without ANY registration plates. Insurance done on the VIN. Apparently Police round Harwich and Dover didnt bother stopping cars without plates as there were so manynew cars coming in as personal imports.

Id presume if you got the above info from the DVLA site it should be good to go. Even a used import can be taxed on the VIN as the German transit plates might only cover your travel in Germany. That was the case with Dutch transit plates. If a UK ins co wont cover you, search for one that will, I cannot believe none will cover you.

Getting the Certificate of Conformity is essential. Without it you wont be able to register the car in the UK. DVLA never wanted to see my imported cars in person but these were new. Even so, Id be surprised if they wanted to see a used import.

Essentially, so long as you arent importing a really old used car. you shouldnt have to change indicator bulbs \ covers. Also if the car has xenons, changing the direction of the headlamps may be as easy as a garage visit rather than whole new headlamp units.

Edited by glidermania on 03/05/2017 at 23:42

Importing a used car from Germany - colinh

"I live on the continent for 3 or 4 months a year although I'm resident in the UK so a LHD car is as desireable as RHd to me."

Edited by colinh on 04/05/2017 at 10:52

Importing a used car from Germany - Mike H

I can clear up the confusion re MPH speedo - you need one! I live in Austria, and some Scottish friends who settled here decided to return to the UK. They had a 1-year old Austrian-registered Honda, which only had KPH on the speedo. The rules are simply that your speedo needs to show MPH, and if you have to have it converted then DVLA need to see the bills for the work. They spent 6 months investigating the feasibility, but no-one, not even a Honda dealer, would attempt the conversion due to the complexity of the electronics. They couldn't have it done outside the dealer netork in any case because the car was under warranty.because the car was under warranty. They ended up selling it in Austria at a huge loss (over 5000 euros) and buying a new one in the UK.

Importing a used car from Germany - glidermania

An MPH speedo was also my understanding as a legal requirement for an imported car tobe registered in the UK and not just a stick on type indication.

Importing a used car from Germany - Wackyracer

I would probably go the route of an IVA test. The best people to talk to would be your nearest VOSA (or whatever they call themselves this week) test station. I used to take alot of cars to the VOSA test station in Edmonton and at that time there were alot of Japanese imports being tested there on the SVA test scheme.


Ask Honest John

Value my car