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MH is ordered and due for collection form Germany in July. All paperwork looks straightforward for VAT DVLA etc but DVLA are categorical that it is not legal for a UK Resident to drive a vehicle in the UK under foreign plates i.e. the temporary plates supplied by the german dealer. Bit awkward to get it from Hull to Scotland then. Insurance should be OK (but invalid if breaking the law). I had previously seen that the DVLA "advised" against driving the vehicle home instead of using a transporter.
No-one seems to have mentioned this when talking about importing.
 

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My friend just bought a second hand van from Belguim and had Belgian plates [now returned].

He got insurance on the VIN [safeguard] but the cover only ran when half way across the sea on the ferry back.

The dealer drove it to the ferry port of Dunkirk.

He then drove it home from Dover.

Not sure if the same for Germany, but thought it may help.

w
 

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One thought (somewhat tongue in cheek bit not totally);

why not ask a UK citizen living overseas to drive it back for you?

i.e. someone who is British but lives across the Channel and who could therefore legally drive on foreign plates to where you need it.....

Dave
 

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German temporary plates are not valid anywhere except Germany.

UK residents who buy a vehicle abroad must re register the foreign vehicle as soon as they can, there is no period of grace, but as soon as they can does not mean immediately. It means you have chance to get it home etc and then do it. But you cannot wait for months. it is what is reasonably practicable.

But that means it has to be fully taxed and plated for the country you have brought it from in the meantime. And there is your problem. Its presumably a VAT "free" brand new import subject to VAT in the UK, so is on temporary registration plates that are only valid in Germany. That is a different proposition to a second hand import on permanent plates.

Don't expect DVLA to give you a correct or binding or legally sound answer, or indeed any answer that's the same twice in a row.

The insurance isn't an issue as you can get insurance now via EU regs and a willing insurer on a vehicle registered anywhere in the EU from an insurer anywhere in the EU.

Your problem is that to get the vehicle registered in the UK, you will need the German V5 or equivalent? So you cant get the vehicle registered in advance. They don't half make things complicated.

But then its jobs for us legal types if its complicated
 

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It's a very interesting point and I would like the DVLA to point me to the piece of legislation involved, I certainly haven't come across it yet.

In practice most importers simply drive them home from the channel port and I've yet to hear of anyone being pulled over, the situation in the event of an accident however could well be "interesting". :?

The German third party insurance that comes with the export plates CLAIMS to be valid for all EU countries (or at least it did last time I imported one) but I wouldn't like to rely on that, for peace of mind I always arranged UK cover on the VIN number which becomes effective once you're on UK territory.

There's always the option to play safe and get somene to trailer it back, or even drive it back on trade plates if you're not happy with driving it.

Make sure you have a concrete agreement with the dealer to either not charge you VAT or to refund it promptly on production of a UK VAT receipt or you could have problems getting a refund within a short time, someone posted on here some time ago that the dealer ignored their requests for a refund.
 

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gaspode

i'm pretty sure its under the Vienna Convention for International Circulation. Haven't got time to look it up.

That sets out the rights to temporarily import if you are not UK resident and how long you can use in UK on foreign plates.

There is no legislation to say what the position is if you are UK resident. You just don't fall under the exception in the Convention. So buy a vehicle abroad when you are UK resident and bring it back to UK, you don't get the Convention dispensation as a temporary import. Ergo you must register immediately.

Technically you must register before using it on the UK roads, but in practice you get time

The DVLA guidance states (my italic highlighting)

6. Registering a vehicle as 'new'

You can drive a vehicle to Britain and register it as 'new' if all the following apply:
it's registered within 2 weeks of collection (extended to 1 calendar month at peak periods, eg before 1 March and 1 September)
it hasn't been previously permanently registered
it's been stored before registration and is a current model or a model that's stopped being made within the last 2 years
it only has reasonable delivery mileage - (eg vehicle being driven from the pickup point to home using a direct route)
it has not been sold by a retailer before

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) advises you to transport rather than drive your vehicle from the port to its first destination.

In other words you have a bit of leeway extra statutorily; so as to be sensible
 

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Here is how it was done last year:

a. Collect vehicle from dealer VAT-free and on German export plates complete with covering insurance (Z-plates). In theory, these cover all of Europe, but I would only rely on the insurance as far as the port of exit.

b. Drive to port of exit and board ferry.

c. On port of entry to UK, drive through the red channel and declare the vehicle as an import where VAT has NOT been paid in the UK. The customs man will give you customs form to complete (not sure of the form number) and attach a copy of your receipt from the German dealer. You will receive a VAT demand in due course at your home address.

d. On exiting the dock, park and phone an insurer of your choice to insure the vehicle against its VIN. Leave the Z-plates in place.

e. Drive home and submit the V5 from the German dealer to DVLA requesting it to be registered on a UK plate. Send the Z-plates back to Germany - the address will be on the paperwork.

f. Wait ...... wait ..... wait ...... wait. Eventually, the UK V5 arrives and you can order new plates for the vehicle.

Whether this is the official way or not, it worked last year on a new vehicle import (rally-prepared VW Golf).

Colin

PS - the dealer in our case was Volkswagen Wolfsburg rally prep centre.
 

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camallison said:
Here is how it was done last year:

a. Collect vehicle from dealer VAT-free and on German export plates complete with covering insurance (Z-plates). In theory, these cover all of Europe, but I would only rely on the insurance as far as the port of exit.

b. Drive to port of exit and board ferry.

c. On port of entry to UK, drive through the red channel and declare the vehicle as an import where VAT has NOT been paid in the UK. The customs man will give you customs form to complete (not sure of the form number) and attach a copy of your receipt from the German dealer. You will receive a VAT demand in due course at your home address.

d. On exiting the dock, park and phone an insurer of your choice to insure the vehicle against its VIN. Leave the Z-plates in place.

e. Drive home and submit the V5 from the German dealer to DVLA requesting it to be registered on a UK plate. Send the Z-plates back to Germany - the address will be on the paperwork.

f. Wait ...... wait ..... wait ...... wait. Eventually, the UK V5 arrives and you can order new plates for the vehicle.

Whether this is the official way or not, it worked last year on a new vehicle import (rally-prepared VW Golf).

Colin

PS - the dealer in our case was Volkswagen Wolfsburg rally prep centre.
That is exactly how I imported a vehicle a few years ago. Went into the customs area and they put me right on every aspect of what I needed to do. That was at Newcastle and all was well.

Dave
 

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Importing MH

Hi

Have the rules been changed in recent years.

I know that in the distant past if you bought a brand new Mercedes car you could opt to go to the factory to collect your car instead of just collecting it from your local agent.

You would be flown out , put up in a hotel, given a tour of the factory and then given your car all at their expense .

The vehicle was on German plates and insured for 7 days.

When you got back to the UK the Mercedes agent through whom you had purchased it would arrange the UK registration and number plates etc.

If this is the case how about asking your local Mercedes agent how they do it.

Doug
 

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I have just imported a new MH from France.
Ignoring the Continental details of travel, as they will differ from Germany, you must be insured in the UK at all times when on the road. If you get the VIN from the german dealer in advance, you can insure it in the UK (I used Safeguard) before the vehicle enters the UK.
Though I am not advocating breaking the law, a number of 'advisory comments' from the UK agencies can be taken with a pinch of salt.
As previously mentioned, VAT has to be paid, either in Europe or the UK depending on whether the vehicle is new or 2nd hand.
The vehicle will need some kind of identification on the roads in the UK when driving it from the port, but I would advise that you leave the german plates on the vehicle. The british authorities will not be in the slightest bit interested in the registration plate, so long as you can prove you have insurance and are heading for home with an imported vehicle. I actually borrowed a friends Trade Plates, but all that does is to temporarily exempt the vehicle from road tax.
In my opininion, I would ignore the paragraph about using a low loader. Even if you had an accident, the insurers would indentify the vehicle by the VIN as they know that it doesn't yet have a registration.
Also, don't forget that if it is a LHD you will need to get a doc from the VCA to confirm that you have modified the vehicle to suit British roads.
 

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The only issue is whether the drive from Part to home and use on the roads until GB registration is complete, whilst on German temporary plates is legal under the Vienna Convention, which it isn't, and whether, in spite of that, the police will take any action, which, whilst I cant guarantee, they probably wont want to bother.

If you have UK insurance with the VIN and the insurer is advised, in writing, that the Registration is the German Registration until import and GB Registration formalities are complete the insurers should not be able to avoid
 

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Picking up my new van from Belgium next week, dealer will drive it to the port for me on Belgium plates.

Yes it is technically illegal to drive in the UK with Belgium plates and to be legal I should remove the plates and drive home without any plates but what do you think will attract the attention of Mr Plod, no plates or Belgium plates. I will leave the Belgium plates on like I did last time.

As for going through the red lane an declaring it as VAT unpaid import I never bothered last time and won't this time as you are traveling from one EU country to another it is not necessary, goods are shipped all around the EU every day VAT free and the importer pays VAT at the destination. Anyway under new rules you have to pay VAT before you can register the vehicle.
 

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I am fascinated by these opinions that it is illegal to drive a foreiggn registered vehicle on a UK licence.

So far that comment has been confined to driving in the UK.

Is that only UK law? Is it only applicable to foreign 'export' plates?

How do non-UK drivers manage to hire UK vehicles?

Are UK licence holders illegal if driving hire cars in other countries?

Is there some unique restriction on UK drivers and foreign plates and only on UK territory?

Please explain to me how the international hire car market works.

Geoff
 

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Geoff, that is not what is being said.

The driving licence and where it is issued is not relevant. And its nothing to with car hire by foreigners here or Brits abroad, because its to do with temporary import for non residents, 6 months period of grace, or permanent import by UK residents when you must register in UK the minute it hits UK soil

Under the Vienna Convention a non resident (residence, not where your licence is issued) can temporarily import a vehicle registered in a foreign country, for up to 6 month without having to register in the temporary country, paying import taxes etc as long as its validly taxed and registered in its home country.

And there is the rub, German export plates do not allow you to drive the vehicle anywhere in Germany except for the temporary purpose of getting to an exit point for export.

So if you are resident in UK, buy in Germany on export plates and actually bring to the UK you don't qualify for the exemptions,

1. You are resident here, not somewhere else
2. The minute you leave Germany the German plates are spent

UK law provides that to drive a vehicle on the roads it must be registered and taxed. As the German tax and registration is no longer valid and you aren't a non resident so as to claim the Vienna Convention exemption so you have to register and tax before you use on UK roads

That leaves the doubt about legality of driving from port of entry to home

I've not mentioned insurance because that can be done wherever you live or wherever the vehicle is registered
 

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thieawin said:
Geoff, that is not what is being said.

The driving licence and where it is issued is not relevant. And its nothing to with car hire by foreigners here or Brits abroad, because its to do with temporary import for non residents, 6 months period of grace, or permanent import by UK residents when you must register in UK the minute it hits UK soil

Under the Vienna Convention a non resident (residence, not where your licence is issued) can temporarily import a vehicle registered in a foreign country, for up to 6 month without having to register in the temporary country, paying import taxes etc as long as its validly taxed and registered in its home country.

And there is the rub, German export plates do not allow you to drive the vehicle anywhere in Germany except for the temporary purpose of getting to an exit point for export.

So if you are resident in UK, buy in Germany on export plates and actually bring to the UK you don't qualify for the exemptions,

1. You are resident here, not somewhere else
2. The minute you leave Germany the German plates are spent

UK law provides that to drive a vehicle on the roads it must be registered and taxed. As the German tax and registration is no longer valid and you aren't a non resident so as to claim the Vienna Convention exemption so you have to register and tax before you use on UK roads

That leaves the doubt about legality of driving from port of entry to home

I've not mentioned insurance because that can be done wherever you live or wherever the vehicle is registered
John

I was distracted by so much talk concentrating on the word 'driving' when I suppose in transport terms posters were more referring to 'operating'

I now understand that it is the vehicle problem not the driver, but I suppose the driver of a vehicle is the operator so is responsible. In aviation Law there is a distinction so that the pilot is not responsible for breaches by the company of the Operators Licence.

Silly me.

Geoff
 

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Not sure that is a good analogy. Really it isn't driving or operating its keeping or using on a public highway. Keeping would be stationary and the owners responsibility, using includes driving and could be the responsibility of both owner and driver
 

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thieawin said:
Not sure that is a good analogy. Really it isn't driving or operating its keeping or using on a public highway. Keeping would be stationary and the owners responsibility, using includes driving and could be the responsibility of both owner and driver
And if it is on German plates a trailer/'A'-frame on the UK public highway?

Answers on a postcard to A.P. Herbert
 

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I have just imported a MH from Germany. The export plates are a temporary registration allowing you to legally export the vehicle from Germany. They provide you Third Party insurance within EU countries. This is a temporary registration for the purposes of export to another EU state. The temporary registration and third party insurance will expire on the date stamped on the plates.

You will not be able to get UK insurance to cover you outside of the UK until the vehicle is registered. UK insurance can be obtained on the VIN number so you can get fully comprehensive insurance cover from the port of entry.

Legally UK residence cannot drive foreign registered vehicles on foreign licence plates, unless you work abroad and use a lease or company vehicle temporarily brought over. Its a mute point whether a temporary registration plate counts or not as being foreign registered, as you can't drive unregistered vehicles anyway, unless for the purposes of official appointments for the registration process.

Driving from port of entry to the address the vehicle is insured to, is a grey area. You would have to be very unlucky and meet a knowledgeable and very overzealous traffic cop for any enforcement on this issue. It would be interesting to see if any case law does exist on this, especially as a result of an accident.

You can get UK insurance to cover this journey, and you will also be insured to drive the vehicle to any official appointment to fulfil the registration process, i.e. vehicle examination or MOT if an older vehicle. But other than those limited circumstances that is it, no driving until registered and licensed.

I have been waiting over three weeks for the DVLA to register the vehicle only to find out today my application was rejected as the budget increased the duty by £5. Even though I submitted the forms prior to 1st April they were not processed until 3rd. So I have to send off the whole lot again and probably wait another four weeks. Meanwhile I can't drive it anywhere, not even to get my self installed Gaslow system checked !

It is a very frustrating process now that local DVLA offices have closed. So be prepared for a wait and make sure your paperwork is 100% or there will be more delays as they don't phone or email to clarify anything. Everything is done by snail mail and I mean slow, over 10 days for a letter to get to me after drafting. If they have to clarify anything on the application it will be sent back as rejected and you will have to resubmit.
 

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"Legally UK residence cannot drive foreign registered vehicles on foreign licence plates, unless you work abroad and use a lease or company vehicle temporarily brought over"

macmedal, that just isn't true. If my friend from France brings over their French registered car, temporarily, within the Vienna Convention, and I am insured to drive it and it is taxed and registered correctly in France, I, if I were a UK resident, could drive it in the UK.

I think what you meant to say was that legally a UK resident cannot drive a foreign registered vehicle in the UK if it is owned by and registered to him.

And the reason for that is that neither the UK resident, or the foreign registered vehicle fall under the Convention exception

So a UK owner of a foreign registered vehicle must register it in the UK
 
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