How to export used cars from the UK

Updated April 17, 2017

After you buy a used car from the United Kingdom, or if you lived in the U.K. and are now moving your car overseas, you will need to follow government procedures before putting your vehicle on a ship. Exporting a used car from the U.K. has rules depending on whether you are exporting the vehicle permanently or temporarily. All United Kingdom countries other than Northern Ireland require you to follow the steps.

Permanent Export

Evaluate for how long you will have the vehicle outside of the U.K.

Contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, DVLA, about the car exportation. Complete the purple section called "Notification of Permanent Export" located on the vehicle registration card. Send it to the DVLA.

Keep in your possession the registration certificate. You will need this to register the car abroad. You can get another one from the DVLA if you have lost yours.

Contact a car shipper that can ship your car to the country of your choice. Ensure the company will guarantee to safety of your car.

Temporary Export

Pay U.K. taxes on your vehicle if you are exporting it for fewer than 12 months.

Keep it under U.K. insurance so you can secure a tax renewal. This is useful when the taxable period expires while you are still overseas.

Contact the DVLA if you lose the registration certificate so the office can mail you a new one. You will not need to fill out paperwork with the DVLA if it is for less than 12 months.


Ask your manufacturer which auto shippers are best. Note that the shipping company will complete the appropriate paperwork for importing the vehicle. Depending on which country you are shipping the vehicle to, you will need to complete a series of vehicle inspections before you are authorised to drive the used car in your country.

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About the Author

Phillip Woolgar has been a reporter since 2008 in communities throughout western Canada. His work has appeared in Canadian national publications such as the "Globe and Mail" and the "Vancouver Sun." In 2009, he received second-place recognition in the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association's Excellence in Arts and Culture writing category. Woolgar graduated from the Langara College Journalism Diploma program in 2008.