Registering a German car in the UK

Can anybody help?

Purple Muffin
Okay so does anybody have any experience in doing this the other way round? I have a friend who is moving to the UK in April and he is thinking of taking his German car with him for a while. He is then thinking of possibly changing the plates to British ones.

Does anyone know how easy/difficult/expensive this is? To be honest I am thinking it is not going to financially worth it on top of all the hassle.

It is a long shot I know but I thought maybe somebody might be able to help.


I knew someone who did this several years ago. The paperwork was not too bad and they got British plates on it but when it was written off they did badly on the insurance claim because a lefthand drive has a lower market value. As for the cost a quick call to Swansea would probably answer your question.
I took my car over when we went back to live there for two years in the mid 90s and didn't change the plates. The main obstacle, as I recall, was that I would've had to get NEW headlights (angled left, rather than right) for the MOT.

Best call the DVLC, I reckon...
That Bloke Off The Radio
Not sure if you are still looking for help with this but thought I'd bung my bit in.

The last car I brought back to the UK from Germany was about 2 years ago and by coincidence I signed the DVLA paperwork on the day before the rules changed to the current set up.

To be honest I would think very carefully before doing it. Whether it is worth it is dependant on how old the car is (VAT issues) what the car is worth (issues over the cost of application to the DVLA and new plates etc..) and what sort of car it is (issues over whether the car has "Type Approval" from the manufacturer to be registered in the UK)

Before applying you will need:

UK insurance certificate
New MPH Speedo (As most LHD cars have speedos indicating KM/h only).(and a bill to prove it)
RHD headlights.(and a bill to prove it)
Certificate of Type Approval from the car manufacturer showing its construction has been approved by the Ministry of Transport to be registered in the UK (they charge for this)

You will also need to pay the DVLA for registering the car, pay about £40 for new plates, pay DVLA for them to deregister the car in Germany and take off the TUV seals on the plates and then you'll need to pay a ludicrous amount of UK road tax.

Other considerations are that car insurance in the UK is far higher than in Germany, a left hand drive car is worth less than it is in Germany and if you get caught by one of the thousands of UK speed camera you will have to pay the fine - Something I never had to do with German plates.

To be honest I would try to keep hold of my roots in Germany if I were you. Keep the car registered there, but a warning for anyone driving in the UK on German insurance. There are also tax benefits you can enjoy (I certainly am!) depending on where you say you live and work (I'm sure Dusty can enlighten you about that)

A word of warning though:

Unless you specifically request it, when you drive in the UK on German insurance you are only covered teilkasko even if you are covered volkasko in Germany itself. Make sure you tell your insurers as HDI for example will only cover you for a certain number of days outside Germany each year unless you ask for more cover.

I only found this out after someone ran into me in the middle of Chelsea which was handy. It is so bloody important to get this sorted. My car had a lot of damage and needed to be repaired in England. Because I wasn't fully covered HDI were trying to only pay me the cost of parts at German prices!!! Sorted it in the end because I could prove they were negligent by not telling me of the lack of cover outside mainland Europe when I informed them where I was going.

Also you need to cover your bum a little bit as if you are "living" in England, unless you are a student you are supposed to re-register your car with DVLA immdiately you land. It's fairly easy to get round this though as if you are still registered in Germany you can, if in the unlikely event you get asked, argue that although you are living in England you are not permanently resident there (thank god you don't have to register in the UK!).

I can't see any benefit of re-registering any car in the UK as the costs of running a car and the "whole life" costs to you are much higher than leaving it registered in Germany.

Having spent a fortune organising what was to be the last car I imported to the UK, the real slap in the face came 2 months later when I sold a French bloke...who immediately imported back onto Paris number plates!!!

I have to say it no longer surprises me the number of German plated cars all over England - They are everywhere and most seem to be being driven by Brits.
Purple Muffin
Hi Bloke,

Thanks for the useful info. I had more or less decided not to re-register anyway and what you have said seems to have confirmed my suspisions.

That Bloke Off The Radio
You're welcome. Where cars are concerned using (or abusing!) your ties with Germany is definitely financially worthwhile!
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