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How To Import A Car From USA


Cars get imported into the UK from all over the world. Why? Because everyone’s weather is better than ours, so the cars are generally in a much better condition.

USA is one of our biggest importers, especially for classic cars. They’re weather and road conditions mean you can get a classic car from over there in a MUCH better condition that you could find over here. No grit or salt on the roads, no weather damaged roads. It’s not hard to see the appeal of going through the effort of importing cars from America.

Still Looking For Your Dream Car?

The guys at Beverley Hills Car Club have you covered. With a huge range of beautiful vehicles (with the occasional project thrown in) I’m sure you’ll find what you’re looking for and at the right price, From a 1960 Triumph TR3A project to an immaculate 1966 Ferrari 330GT. They could even assist in arranging the shipping however, there are other alternatives.

Costs of Importing

The costs of importing a vehicle from USA will vary depending on the vehicle and vehicle value.

Make sure you use a reputable shipping company or have a go to person in the US to act as your go between which can make things a lot easier. Your vehicle would usually be fully covered during transit should anything occur.

For your vehicle to pass customs there’s a fee which usually works out to around 5% of the vehicle value but again, this can vary depending on the vehicle.

Then there’s the cost of making the vehicle fit for UK roads and their laws. You would need to get a UK IVA/MOT test complete upon arrival in the UK. Some older vehicles may require slight adjustments for the little things such as headlights.

Ship My Car come highly recommended and can arrange everything for you, including the relevant tests and registration with the DVLA.

Along with getting the car shipped over to the UK, you must also remember to properly insure it. Some insurance companies may not insure imported cars but at Brentacre, our American car insurance is a very popular policy.

Registering with the DVLA

We’re getting close to the end of the process now and soon you’ll be able to drive your new investment in and out of the garage!

You’re going to need to get yourself a UK registration. With Brentacre, we allow you to insure the vehicle on the VIN/Chassis number for a few days while you wait for your UK registration to come through. This can take anything from a few days to a few weeks but it’s all worth it in the end.

If you’re doing it all yourself and not through a specialist import company there are some things you’ll need to do before being able to register your vehicle.

Firstly, you will need to inform the HMRC that you’ve imported a vehicle and they will then get your NOVA application processed.
You’ll also need to pay your VAT and duty at this point if the HMRC  requests it.

Whilst registering you will also be able to tax the vehicle (fee may apply).

Once that’s all done you can then order your vehicle import pack from the DVLA. Depending on the age of the vehicle you may need to get a new vehicle import pack.

There’s a criteria your vehicle would need to meet for this which you can find here under “forms you need”.

Currently the DVLA state up to 6 weeks for the V5C to arrive. Once that arrives your plates can then be made.

Once you’ve got your registration through, inform your insurer and you’re good to go. Just watch out for those potholes.


What to look for with an American car policy?

At Brentacre, we can insure your American import using the chassis number until your UK registration comes back (up to 30 days). This is great for those of us who really don’t want to wait to be able to drive our new toys.

Apart from a broker/insurance company that really knows what their talking about when it comes to specialist insurance, you’ll want to ensure you’re properly covered.

Some things to look for in policies would be:

  • Limited Mileage
  • Agreed Values
  • Car Club Discounts
  • Modifications Covered
  • Chassis Number Cover

What are the most popular cars to import from USA?

Like all countries, America has it’s popular imports and cars are no exception. Over the last few years cars being imported from the US has boomed with everyone wanting to get in on the action. From proper muscle cars, to a good old camper, importing seems to be the way forward.

The most popular cars to import from the US are:

  • Ford Mustang
  • VW Campers
  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Chevy Stepside/Fleetside
  • Dodge Charger
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