Importing a car from the USA requirements vary depending on the age of the vehicle, for example if under ten years of age it will need an IVA Test.
Let’s start with the requirements for a car over ten years old, as it is much easier.
First you need to work out the method of how you will ship the car to the UK, the most popular way from the USA is by shared or consolidated container. This is where three or four cars are loaded into one 40ft / 45ft container.
The way they are loaded varies, the more experienced shippers such as ShipMyCar will use a system known as R-Rak – this involes specialist metallic racking systems that ‘hoist’ the vehicles up into the top of the container. It is very safe and the cheapest method.
Other shippers will load using wood, this involves a wooden frame built up using strong, treated wood, and then vehicles driven up ramps to enable other cars underneath. The technique has been around for many years and is in general a perfectly safe way to ship a vehicle.
If speed is important to you then a sole use 20ft container will be the way to go (unless your budget allows for air frieght which adds around £6000-10,000 to your costs!)
The popular US ports are Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Savannah, Miami and Charleston for container services. There are Roll-on-roll-off providers but the risks and downside of not being able to ship items in the car, makes it often not worth the small savings you may achieve.
Once the car arrives safely in the UK, you will need a UK agent to unload it. If you are shipping in a shared container, then your shipper will assign somebody to do so (often ShipMyCar in Milton Keynes as they act as agent to many of the big US based shippers).
Car Import – Tax and Duty
Customs duty and VAT will both be due unless you are relocating to the UK permanently from the USA. These are likely to be:
Car being imported over thirty years of age: 5% of vehicle value
Standard car: 10% Duty and 20% VAT
Vehicle originally built in the EU: £50 duty and 20% VAT
Commerical vehicle: 22% duty and 20% VAT
Import car testing
If the vehicle is over ten years of age then you will need an MOT test – this will involve changing the lights to ensure indicators at the rear are amber and seperate from the brake lights, side repeaters are added to wings (check dates required) and a rear fog light. Usually the headlights are OK if there are clear sidelights already there as US cars rarely have a kick-up beam pattern.
Pre-1966 the only change needed is clear sidelights to the front of the car.
Vehicles over ten years of age can be harder, they need the same changes as above, but will need to go through an IVA Test – we strongly advise using a specialist such as ShipMyCar to book and handle this for you to save both time and money
Once tested you just need to register the car with the DVLA, if you don’t like paperwork then get a professional to handle it for you, it is likely they will also have a DVLA account manager to speed up the V55 application process.
Source: ShipMyCar Import Car from USA