How To Buy a Car for Export in the UK?

buildings and cars evening view in the street of UK.

Many view the United Kingdom as a good location for the car export business. Indeed, buying and selling cars for export is an excellent idea, and the paperwork is straightforward. Yet, many people don’t know how to purchase a car for export in the UK. 

Everyone can buy a car in the UK for export purposes. To buy a car for export, you will need your passport and driver’s license. Besides, you must file for export approval from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and then pay the appropriate government fees and taxes.

As you read below, you’ll learn what documents you need to prepare and what fees and taxes you would pay for car export in the UK. You can also buy cars and export them for a few months. Take the following steps to export a vehicle from the UK if you’re planning to purchase one. 

Read about buying a car in the UK as a foreign citizen.

Can you export a car from the UK?

In the UK, car export is possible, and the process is straightforward even after Brexit. This article describes the steps and requirements involved in the export process.

Most people who want to export a car from the UK seek help from auto dealers and export companies. You can, however, export your vehicle if you have the capital and follow the legal process. 

If you’re planning to buy a new car for export purposes, it’s also relatively easy because most car dealers will walk you through the process before they allow you to purchase a new vehicle.

So if you have a car collection and plan to export a car from the UK and suddenly decide to export it outside the country, here are a few tips you could follow. 

If you want to export a car while you’re a resident of the UK, you must notify the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about the details of the car export. 

One of the requirements for permanent export is the vehicle log book or V5C. The logbook contains the car’s manufacturer, model, and registration papers. Also, you’ll no longer worry about export taxes in the UK. But, you might have to handle overseas taxes, customs fees, and tariffs. 

You can still export a car if you don’t live in the UK. All you need to do is coordinate with the DVLA and the vehicle authority in your country.

If you have documentation proving you own the car you’re exporting and the vehicle you plan to export was legally acquired, you won’t run into any problems. 

Curious on what are the fees and dues you need to pay? Well, the answer is simple. You may only have to pay import duty on your vehicle once your vehicle arrives in the country you’re exporting. Ensure you check with the authorities in the country where you’re taking your car to avoid sanctions and further fees. 

You don’t have to pay import duty if you want to import your vehicle from Great Britain to any EU member state. But, you will still present necessary documents such as your license, proof of vehicle ownership, and the registration papers.  

In the case of a non-EU country that charges duty, you can buy a CPD Carnet. By purchasing a CPD Carnet, you can temporarily enter a non-EU country duty-free.

Additionally, it simplifies border crossing. There are fees and deposits, however. Once you apply and complete payment, you usually get your CPD Carnet within four weeks.

If you’re planning to use rented or leased vehicles for export, you can also do so. For the export of a hired or leased vehicle abroad, a VE103 is required. This document certifies that you can use a hired or leased vehicle while driving it abroad. 

Ensure also to check the rules of the country you’re exporting to regarding rented vehicles. You can get a VE103 for a fee from the following organizations: 

Tax-free car importation is possible if you bring your car back to the UK. However, there’s a catch. The vehicle’s route must be on UK roads only, and a SORN (Statutory Off-Road Notification) is available. 

Want to finance a car in the UK? Read this guide on car loans and how to get one.

Can you buy a car for export in the UK?

a regular view of busy street in UK.

Local suppliers and car dealers follow the requirements of the DVLA for buying cars for export. If you buy a new or used vehicle to take out of the UK, you might enjoy a tax-free purchase. However, you must pay fees and other dues in the country you are exporting to. 

You may be able to use the Personal Export Scheme to take a new or used vehicle: from Great Britain to anywhere outside the UK and from Northern Ireland to a non-EU country. When you buy a new car and export under the scheme, you don’t pay UK VAT. 

Therefore, vehicles purchased for use outside the UK are VAT-free in the UK.

You still have to pay vehicle taxes and appropriate dues, however. You must be planning to leave the UK for at least six months with the vehicle. In most cases, you must personally drive the automobile. 

You need to fill in form VAT 410 (your supplier will give you a copy) and give it to your supplier. You can drive the vehicle in the UK for up to 6 months after delivery or 12 months for non-UK and non-EU residents. 

The export date of the vehicle is on the VX302 (for new cars) or the VAT 410 (for used cars). After export, send the DVLA the: VX302 or vehicle log book (V5C) for second-hand vehicles. You’ll have to pay the UK VAT if you don’t export the car on time.

Coordinate with the seller and ensure they follow the legal process if you’re planning to buy a vehicle for export outside the UK.

If you’re the vehicle’s new owner, the seller should provide you with the vehicle log book and the appropriate documents to prove that you bought and own the car.

Car export process in the UK

There are two most-common car export processes in the UK. These processes depend on the nature of the export and the status of the exporter: 

1. Permanent export

To take your vehicle out of the UK for 12 months or more, including to the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey), the Isle of Man, or Ireland, you must notify the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. DVLA considers this a permanent export, so if you return to the UK with the vehicle, it will need to be registered again. 

To process a permanent export, you’ll need a vehicle log book or the V5C. The V5C contains the “permanent export” section, which you must fill out and submit to the office of DVLA located at Swansea, SA99 1BD. 

If you’re moving abroad and entitled to a tax refund on your export, include a letter with your request for a vehicle tax refund. Be sure to keep your log book (V5C) – you’ll need it to register your vehicle in the country you visit. 

If you change your local address, update your driving license address before filing for a refund. DVLA processes the rebate from the date the DVLA receives your ‘permanent export’ section.

DVLA also handles cases for people who want to export cars out of the UK but don’t have a vehicle log book. Most of these people are also planning to leave the UK, so if you’re among them, here are some things you could do. 

Before leaving the country, you must register the log book immediately. Because the DVLA cannot ship the vehicle log book outside the UK, it’s your responsibility to secure one before leaving the country. Once you have the vehicle log book, you fill out the export section and mail it to DVLA’s office. 

In the case of someone who no longer resides in the UK but wants to export their car from the UK, there is an additional requirement before export. You must coordinate with the authorities in the country you reside. 

Additionally, you’ll need to coordinate with the DVLA about export details. As part of the export process, the DVLA requires information such as the date of export, the owner’s name, and the owner’s mailing address. Tax refunds are also available if you purchase a car and qualify for a vehicle tax refund.

Suppose medical reasons or any unfortunate circumstance prevents you from acquiring a vehicle log book from the DVLA. In that case, you’ll need to register your vehicle to the country you plan to export. 

Generally, each country’s driving and vehicle authority coordinates with the DVLA and verifies that the car you exported is legal. However, you also have due diligence to fulfill. You’ll have to notify DVLA about the export details, such as the export date, your name and new address, and the details of your car. 

2. Exporting for less than 12 months

Taking a vehicle abroad for less than 12 months is called a “temporary export.” In that case, you must take your vehicle log book (V5C) with you.

You may have to show it if you are stopped at a port or driving internationally. On your V5C, you should list your most recent residential address in the United Kingdom.

Apply in advance if you need to get a V5C or update your V5C before you travel to avoid holiday jams or the issues brought about by the pandemic. The UK law still applies even if you take your UK-registered vehicle abroad for less than a year.

That means you must ensure that your UK-registered vehicle is taxed in the UK while it’s abroad, you have a current MOT, and you have UK insurance that is valid for the duration of your stay abroad. You’ll also need to meet international or national licensing and taxation conditions.

If you have personalized registration, you’ll need to transfer or retain your personalized registration before exporting your vehicle. Otherwise, you’ll lose your right to the registration number.

How to buy a car for the export in the UK

If you opt to buy a new car, you’ll need a valid driving license and car insurance before getting on the road. The company you buy from deals with all the documentation, including registering the vehicle, which will require insurance and proof of your identity.

Regarding the place where to purchase a car in the UK, you can choose between private sellers and dealerships. This can be done online or in-person, depending on your preferences. You will also need to obtain a driving license and insurance in order to drive in the UK legally.

Buy a car for export in the UK following these steps:

  • Find a vehicle
  • Pay for the vehicle, and receive V5C/2 from the owner
  • Go through the MOT test 
  • Purchase temporary car insurance
  • Pay for vehicle tax
  • Drive the vehicle away and wait for your V5C

Car insurance for car export

If you plan to drive your car within the UK before exporting it permanently, you will take out at least temporary vehicle insurance. Drivers aren’t allowed to use a car without valid insurance.

Before getting car insurance, a vehicle must go through an IVA test (Single Vehicle Approval); this applies to all cars less than 10 years old from the date of manufacture. The insurance will be valid only after your vehicle has passed this test.

If you are a non-resident in the UK, you will face some issues when signing for vehicle insurance. Generally, insurance companies charge high prices for foreign drivers with foreign driving licenses.

For instance, the average car insurance rate for UK drivers is £626 per year, while it’s £1,683 for drivers with a non-EU license. Check out the cheapest UK car insurance in this article.

When your purpose of purchasing a car in the UK is purely for export, check out temporary insurance packages. Some providers offer insurance coverages that last from 1 hour to 28 days. This is long enough to buy and export a car from the UK.

Moreover, you can select the cover you need – from basic liability to comprehensive.

Find suitable car insurance via online calculators

Read more about purchasing a car in the UK with an international driving license.

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