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Taking a vehicle out of the UK permanently or temporarily

You’ll need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) when you are taking your vehicle out of the country on a permanent basis. If you are taking your vehicle or a hired vehicle on a temporary basis, you must take the appropriate documentation with you.

Taking your vehicle abroad for more than 12 months (permanent export)

When a vehicle registered in the United Kingdom (UK) is taken out of the country for 12 months or more, it’s regarded as being permanently exported from the UK.

You can tell DVLA by filling in the section ‘Notification of Permanent Export’ (V5C/4) of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C), and send it to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1BD. Keep the rest of the registration certificate, as you may need this to re-register the vehicle abroad. Your vehicle will become subject to the legal requirements of the new country when exported.

If you don’t have a registration certificate you’ll need to get a certificate of permanent export (V561). Download and complete the V756 ‘Application for certificate or permanent export’ and send to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AG.

Moving between Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI) with your vehicle

You only need to fill in the change of address section on your V5C (moving from GB to NI) and send to a Driver Vehicle and Operator (DVO) office, or your V5CNI (moving from NI to GB) and send to a DVLA local office as your vehicle is staying in the UK.

When transferring the vehicle from GB to NI you should leave the current tax disc on the vehicle until it expires and then re-tax in NI. This is the same for vehicles transferring from NI to GB.

The form V561 is no longer applicable when vehicles are moving between GB and NI.

Personalised registration on your vehicle 

You’ll need to transfer or retain your personalised registration before you export the vehicle. If you don’t, you’ll lose your entitlement to the registration number.

The 'direct export' and 'personal export' schemes

You can only take a vehicle abroad under the direct or personal export schemes if you meet the right criteria.

Direct export

If you buy a vehicle under the ‘direct export scheme’ it must be taken abroad without being used on UK roads. You don’t have to pay a first registration fee or vehicle tax.

The DVLA local offices that deal with direct exports are:

Birmingham, Chelmsford, Northampton, Wimbledon.

Once the vehicle is exported the manufacturer or applicant should return the appropriate part of the direct export certificate (V308) to the local office.

Personal export

Under the ‘personal export’ scheme, a vehicle can be used on UK roads for a limited time before exporting it to a country outside the EU. You must either be an overseas visitor to the UK or a UK resident intending to live outside the UK for six months.

UK residents can use the vehicle in the UK for up to six months but the vehicle has to be taxed. Overseas visitors can use the vehicle for up to 12 months without tax. A registration mark will be given from the ‘XA – XF’ range and a pink registration certificate (VX302) issued. These vehicles are subject to the first registration fee.

DVLA local offices that deal with personal exports are:

Beverley, Birmingham, Bristol, Chelmsford, Glasgow, Leeds, Lincoln, Maidstone, Manchester, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Stockton, Wimbledon.

Taking your vehicle abroad for less than 12 months (temporary export)

If a UK registered vehicle is taken abroad temporarily, it remains subject to UK law. This means that you as the keeper, must by law make sure that the vehicle stays taxed while it’s overseas. Providing the vehicle has a current MOT certificate and insurance, you’ll be able to tax the vehicle.

If you don’t tax the vehicle and it’s brought back to the UK untaxed, the vehicle will need to be transported and not driven upon entry back to the UK and SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) should be declared straight away.

You can tax or SORN online or by telephone, but please note that SORN can’t be made while the vehicle is abroad.

If you don’t have a registration certificate and you are taking the vehicle out the country on a temporary basis you can get a replacement from DVLA by phoning or applying by post.

The registration certificate may take up to four weeks to arrive. If you need to travel during this time you’ll need to apply for a temporary registration certificate (V379), available from a DVLA local office. You'll need to provide proof of ID and there’s a fee for the service.

You should make sure that you meet any international and national conditions for licensing and taxation.

Export licence for historic military vehicles

If you are a military vehicle owner, and wish to take your vehicle to another country you will need to apply for an Open General Export Licence. For more information see the Department for Business link.

Taking a hired vehicle abroad temporarily

The registration certificate for a leased, hired or rented vehicle will normally be held securely by the company that supplied the vehicle. When travelling abroad it’s important that you are able to show you are allowed to use the vehicle. The Vehicle on Hire certificate (VE 103) is available as evidence of this. The certificate, which is subject to a small fee, may be obtained from the following organisations:

  • AA - Automobile Association
  • RAC - Royal Automobile Association
  • RHA - Road Haulage Association
  • BVRLA - British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association
  • FTA - Fleet Transport Association
  • Source Direct Gov
  • Last Updated: 06 Jan 2012