Know Your Rights: Importing a car into Ireland

Question

What are the rules about buying a car in the UK and bringing it back to Ireland?

Answer (February 2017)

In general, all vehicles brought into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered. If you have imported a vehicle, you must pay VRT and receive the vehicle’s registration certificate showing that you have paid VRT.

If you live abroad and are moving to live in Ireland, you may be eligible for a VRT exemption. Even if you are not required to pay VRT, you must still register your vehicle when you move to Ireland. In certain cases, foreign-registered vehicles may be imported into Ireland temporarily by a non-resident without the requirement to pay VRT or register the vehicle.

You register the car and pay the VRT at a National Car Testing Service (NCTS) centre. You can get an estimate of the VRT due from the Revenue Vehicle Registration Online Enquiry System.

When you register and pay the VRT, a registration number will be assigned to your car. You can obtain vehicle registration plates from the NCTS centre or from any motor factor.

If you are importing a new car from another EU state, you have to pay VAT (Value Added Tax), usually when registering the car. If you are importing a new or second- hand car from outside the EU, VAT (and customs duty) is payable.

If your vehicle is 4 years old or more, it will have to go through the National Car Test (NCT) immediately.

Further information is available in the Revenue guide to VRT and on revenue.ie.