Importing a used car in Ireland – Why and How?

There are many advantages for importing a used car to Ireland.
 1. Cost – Used cars (e.g. UK, N. Ireland) cost a lot less even after paying the import duties, taxes, shipping, etc.
2. Extras – Beside the price, most cars imported seems to have a higher specification, due to VRT cost for the extra add-ons (e.g. trim, leather, air conditioning, etc.)

Importing a used car in Ireland is not that difficult, but you do need to do your homework and pay attention,, as mistakes can be made and could be irreversible. For example if you are going to import from UK or N. Ireland, best is to travel and check the car out yourself or have a mechanic with you. If you are going to import from Japan, traveling is not really an option, due to cost involved and language barrier, but if you have friends that imported from Japan before, ask them where they found it and how did they proceed.

When you bring the car from another country to Ireland, you must have at hand proof of ownership (vehicle registration documents, receipt for payment made, Certificate of Permanent Export, etc).

On arrival in Ireland, you need to pay the import duties and taxes as listed below:
1. Import Duty – 10% of the price you have paid for the car (if imported from non EU country).
2. VAT  – The VAT rate is 21%  and applies to the value of the car + Import Duty (if imported from non EU country).
3. VRT – Vehicle Registration Tax which must be paid by the end of the next day, following its arrival in Ireland. This can be done by filling out a VRT4 form which can be downloaded here: VRT4 download. To get a VRT estimate, you can go here: VRT calculator available from the revenue website.

Once you have all the taxes paid, with the documents given to you by the VRT office, you can go to any motor-factors to get a set of number plates printed with the registration number provided on the papers which has to be displayed within 3 days, and tax the car for the first time in Ireland using the RF100 form giving to you by the VRT office as well. Once your car is taxed, the new Irish registration certificate will be posted to your home address in a matter of days.

If you import a used car into Ireland that is over 4 years old, you need to go through the NCT (National Car Testing) process, which is due from the date is has been first registered in the country of origin. The NCT test can be booked on-line at

That’s all there is to it and it might seem complicated but is not, so good luck with your car hunting.

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46 Users Responded in " Importing a used car in Ireland – Why and How? "

Shane Slevin said,  

I was just wondering as I found a car that im interested in importing from japan and is it possible to have the supplier pay some of the duty, vat, vrt etc. from japan or is that even possible?

Louie said,  

Is not possible. All duties has to be paid on arrival in this case (we are in Ireland) Ireland.

stuart said,  

if i import into ireland from japan will it be VAT at the price i paid for it in japan or what the irish government say its worth?

eg; bought car for 6K and import tax @ 10% = €6600. will vat (21%) be on the €6600 or the €9500 irish government say it OMSP is?

Louie said,  

Lets say the car cost you 5000 euro (on the invoice from Japan).
On arrival you will be charged Import Duty 10% of 5000 = 500 Euro
The VAT @ 21% will be charged on the price on the invoice + import duty = 5500 Euro which will be 1155.00 Euro

The open market selling price (OMSP) will be used to calculate the VRT (vehicle registration tax).

tinster said,  

i was looking for a comercial it possible to buy a jeep in japan and collect it without paying the vrt until it is comercialised as there may be a saving on the vrt.

Rob Rothwell said,  

Hi there,

Is there a limit to the number of vehicles that I can bring in to the country in any given period and if so what are the conditions.

Louie said,  

As far as I can tell you can bring arround 3 cars after which the Goverment is going to start looking for you to pay your taxes.

Ola said,  

Can you please advice on how to pay these duties i.e, how can one go about clearing imported car from Japan.

Louie said,  

There is a company in Dublin City Center by the Luais train station that can do that for you but I can not remember the name of it.

Mavis Phair said,  

My husband and me are moving to Ireland early next year. I have a Renault Megane Scenic which was purchased in England and am hoping to take it with me. It is four years old in July 2008. Will I need to pay import duty and what other procedures will I have to go through.

Louie said,  

This situation is a bit complicated and some factors have to be taken in consideration.
You’ll be better calling the VRT office and get the right information.

There is a useful link for you

Luke said,  

I’ve just bought a new GTI Volkswagen golf in Australia and am going to be a year in Australia and over a year out of Ireland in total. What taxes and duties etc. am I liable for or exempt from upon importing the vehicle home when I come home to Ireland? Is there any way i can avoid these costs?

Pat said,  

Hi, I am planning to import a 7 month old car from the UK. It’s a demo model from a dealer.
Question: Do I have to register this car in Ireland as a ‘2007’ reg plate or can I register it as a 2008 reg (even if it means I have to pay a bit more VRT)? Any info or pointers appreciated. A friend told me I have some options here but I can’t find any info on the VRT website.

Louie said,  

It the car was a Demo, then it has been already registered in UK in 2007, therefore you will get 2007 plates in Ireland.

sean h said,  

hi, my name is sean
after alot of research of the japanese market i was lookin at different cars like mitsi evo’s and altezza’s.I found a mazda rx7 which realy caught my is a 99 model with a 1.3 litre twin turbo engine putting out about 300 breakhorse power..:D
there is 74,000 kms on it.could you be able to calculate the total cost of taxes,shipping and nct please.?thank you

Gordon said,  

Hi, i am moving home to Ireland in a few months from Australia, i understand i am exempt from the vrt because i own my car over 6 months. However i am confused by the VAT and Import duty, do i need to pay these? thank you.

Louie said,  

Sorry Gordon but I can say for sure.
You can get more info here:

Mark Johnson said,  

Not sure about some of the wording used in the above import article which states “For example if you are going to import from UK or N. Ireland” ………….

Why say “UK or N.ireland” ???

The article should read as follows “For example if you are going to import from Britain or N.Ireland” (with Britain being a seperate land mass), the UK already includes N.Ireland.

Louie said,  

I’ll look into it for you.

Padraig said,  

Hi, am I correct in understanding that if I buy a March 08 pre-regin the UK and import it to Ireland in July, I willbe subject to the following taxes.
2. Irish VAT
3. Irish VRT

Can we claim exemption on UK VAT as we are Irish? or can it be refunded from HM Customs on payment of the Irish VAT? Surely a car should be subject to a single VAT charge anywhere in the EU?

Ali said,  

I would like to export cars from the UK to Ireland, could you please advise the procedure and the duties and taxes involved from both the sides UK & Ireland.

Kindly advise as soon as you possibly can.

David Webb said,  

I would like to enquire about expats returning to Ireland after living abroad. Are we exempt from VRT? I have a 2002 Lancer Evo & am returning to Ireland later this year, after 4 years in Japan. I have owned the car since 2007(Feb). What fees/charges do I have to pay? (Import duty 10%? Vat on top 21%)

amber07 said,  

importing vespa from vietnam 1966 value 1500 wat costs do i have to pay

Charles said,  

How is the value calculated for import duty purposes if I have owned the car to be imported since new and it is now 3 years old? Is it the car’s open market value in the country where the car is currently located?

Ali said,  

I have a Toyota Corolla Automatic 2004 Model for sale – Anyone interested please right me back I can give you more details.

David Webb said,  

Charles, the information I got from the SIMI & Revenue comission is: If you are within the EU & coming to Ireland, once you have owned the car for 6 months & used it for 6 months in the country of residence you may be exempt from VRT & VAT (however I am a little unsure of this) but I am totally sure about coming from outside the EU. From outside the EU you must be the registered owner of the car for at least 12 months & have used the car in the last 6 months, then you are exempt. The Canary Islands are considered outside the EU for tax purposes.Please read link attached “Tax releif on transfer of residence”

Hope this helps

David Webb said,  

Also, in Fridays Daily Mail newspaper there was an article about the Revenus Comissioner inflating the OMSP of cars here in Ireland (the example given was a Saab 93 Aero being over priced by €13,000!!!!!! YES €13,000) According to the article 93,000(approx) cars were imported & out of that figure 500+ appealed the VRT charges & out of the 500+ 77% were successful in the appeal.They were given refunds!

David Webb said,  

Obviously my previous post was more detailed than my short sinopsis but I didn’t want to bore everyone to tears!

patrick mack said,  

18/9./08 patrick mack says thinking of importing 05 auto 5door 2lit diesal freelander will i pay road tax on co2 or cc

Dave C said,  

Do you have to register the car in the uk? How does the paperwork side of things work in the uk?

Thanks to anyone who can answer.

Ali said,  

Hi Dave, are you thinking of bringing the car in the UK? or from UK to Ireland?

Dave C said,  

Hi Ali,

Plan on buying the car from dealer in the UK and then importing to Ireland. I have not been able to find any info on the paperwork process that has to be done in the UK..


Ali said,  

Hi Dave,

You would need to speak to the VRT department in Ireland for all the necessary information for your assistance. Are you currently in the UK or in Ireland? As I could be of help to you if you want to buy a vehicle from UK I can get that delivered to you in Ireland.
Let me know if you are interested so that we can discuss it on which cars that you would be interested.
I look forward to hear from you.

Kind regards,


Christine said,  

Hi, thinking of buying a citroen C4 in N. Ire. Would love a cork registered number plate even though I live in north west of ireland. Is this possible – can you order a unique number, for example – 07-C-4444 or like? If so, would there be an extra charge? Also, if I import a car registered in uk after July 2008, will i pay reduced road tax based on co2 emissions.

Al said,  


I have a slightly more complicated situation.

I want to buy a truck chassis in Australia and bring it here. However i need to have work done on it in the UK.

How would you advise going about this? Any idea of combined costs between UK and here?

Thanks for any info


David Doherty said,  

I want to buy a car in England and bring to Ireland, I can get the car for 7000 but the book value on the tax website is 14000 will I be able to pay the tax on what I paid or will I have to pay on the 14000??
Also if I do pay 7000, how much do you estimate that it will cost me by the time I have it street legal here in Ireland?
It is bmw 2005 3 series 2000cc

Alan Duggan said,  

I bought a car in the UK and am looking to claim back the UK road tax I paid on it, do you know how to go about this?

Charles said,  

How is the value calcualted for import duty purposes if the car has been owned by the importer for some time? For example, I bought my car in the US new back in 2005. The invoice value is certainly more than its current value. If I import that car to Ireland will they just look at the original invoice value?

eamonn said,  

i would like to buy a land cruiser jeep bj 40. 1979. from japan, that makes it a classic car here in dublin what kind of taxes would i have to pay?.

Dan & Nancy said,  

I am a USA resident and have built a home in Ireland. I want to import a car from the US to keep at my home. It is a 2008 Chrysler Jeep Wrangler with RHD. I have owned it for 6 months.
Any idea on costs once I get it to Ireland?

David d. said,  

I am moving to Ireland in Jan 2010 I have own a merc 2005 for the last 6 months, will I be charged VRT when I go to register it in Ireland.
Any help please.

russboy said,  

Hi,I have bought a 2002 honda type r from a chap in dublin it is a japanese import imported in 2007 and has been driven in the south since then i bought it this year and want to register it in northern ireland but having trouble doing this as they say it needs a SVA TEST and an MOT TEST COSTING QUITE ABIT OF MONEY can you tell me why this is as the car has obviously been altered to suit SOUTH&NORTH regulations can you tell me the reason why this is.MANY THANKS.RUSSELL.

lewis111111 said,  

hi there i have a car from the uk im scotish and have been driving it in ireland for 1 and a half years now. just wondering if i change the plates will they charge me extra for having it here for so long? if so im gona tell them i just brought it over. (will they ask though? if so will they look for proof? i can always take alittle trip home and back. and also was seeing if you have the car 6 months or older then you can get away with paying the vrt. could i just say i have had it in my name for 1 and a half years now and just brought it over. i think they ask for bank statments though. could i just say i was paid cash? seriously i know this vrt is in place for the dealers really. but i couldnt aford a good car in ireland and i had been through 1 a year already. any info would be great. thanks

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