Comprehensive Guide to Importing a Car from the UK to Ireland

Posted on August 18, 2023

Importing a car from the UK to Ireland has become a trend and a financially savvy choice for many Irish motorists. However, the dynamics have shifted since Brexit, and it’s essential to be informed about the changes. This guide delves deep into the key factors to consider when importing a car from the UK to Ireland.

Why are people importing cars from the UK to Ireland?


Importing Cars

Since the UK voted to leave the EU, there has been a growing demand for imported cars. The drop in the strength of the Sterling has been a factor in this increase. People sought a bargain and took advantage of the weak exchange rate. 

Do a History Check 

Before finalising your purchase, conducting a thorough history check on the vehicle is paramount. This check will confirm crucial details such as the date of first registration, the number of previous owners, and any potential red flags that might affect your decision. A comprehensive history ensures you’re making an informed choice and not inheriting unforeseen problems.

Get an Inspection Done on the Vehicle

This is an optional step, but it will give you peace of mind to understand the car’s condition. You should go to a professional to undertake this inspection to see if they spot any possible issues. Various businesses can perform an inspection to different levels to suit your budget. It may be an extra expense, but importing your dream car could be worth it.


All cars imported from the UK are subjected to a levy known as Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT). If you buy from a dealer, it may already be included in the sale price. You should ask your car dealer this. If the price does not include VRT, you must arrange it yourself. You can find more information on the Citizens Information website.

Collect/Deliver the Car

You can collect a car from the UK to Ireland in two options.

You could get it delivered to you. Regular lorries travel between the UK and Ireland and offer car delivery services.

The other option is to collect the car yourself. It could be more costly and time-consuming as you have to full over or travel by ferry and then return by ferry. Depending on the transport times, you may also need to book a night’s accommodation. It may be worth asking the seller if they could collect you at the airport. They are more than willing to if it means they will make a sale. 


Cars over four years old will need an NCT on arrival in Ireland. It will need to be sent to a National Car Testing Service. (NCTS) the centre where it will be assessed. You have seven days upon arrival to get this done. All you need to do is book online on their website.

NCT - Importing Cars

License plates

You must fill out a VRT Purchase Details Form, depending on whether your vehicle is new or used. You must also fill out a Declaration of Registration. Your vehicle will be assigned a registration number once you’ve registered and paid for VRT. You can use this number to order your license plates, which must be displayed within three days of being issued.

Importing vs Buying Locally:

While importing offers a broader range of choices and potential savings, especially with high-end models, buying locally can save you the hassle of paperwork and logistics. Consider factors like warranty, after-sales service, and the overall cost difference before deciding.

Step-by-Step Guide to Importing a Car:

  1. Research: Understand the market, compare prices, and identify potential cars.
  2. History Check: Use services like Car History Check Service for a detailed report.
  3. Inspection: Consider getting a professional inspection to ensure the car’s condition matches the description.
  4. Payment & Logistics: Decide the payment method and how you’ll get the car to Ireland.
  5. Legalities: Pay the VRT, get the car registered in Ireland, and ensure it’s compliant with all local regulations.
  6. Insurance: Secure a comprehensive insurance policy tailored for imported cars.

Car Insurance

You’ve done all the hard work importing the car and getting the documents in order. You now need insurance to drive the vehicle. It is a legal requirement to have car insurance to drive in public. When looking for your imported car insurance, you must tell your reinsurers that the vehicle is an import. They may invalidate your cover if you fail to do so. 

It is well worth researching importing a car from the Uk before deciding. You must have all the correct paperwork, stick to the rules set around the NCT, etc.

Importing a Car from the UK to Ireland FAQ

Secure your newly imported car with KennCo’s specialised insurance tailored for imported vehicles. Don’t leave things to chance; get your personalised quote now!

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