Import Car from USA to UK

Importing a Car from the USA to the UK

Are you ready to get started importing a car
from the USA to the UK?

Request a free online quote – Quotes are available online with a guaranteed response within 24 hours for car import and moving services to the UK.

Please do not hesitate to call or email us anytime with any questions. Contact our import experts for more information. We are always just a phone call away!

Los Angeles | International
+1 (310) 639-7725

Miami | International
+1 (786) 708-0215

Domestic Coast-to-Coast
+1 (786) 708-0200

Want more information on car import services to the UK from USA?

Read on below for our US to UK Vehicle Import Checklist, Vehicle Import Options, US to UK Car Import Costs & Time Frame, US to UK Vehicle Import Options, Ports Served in the US & UK, and other details on how to import a car from the USA to the UK.


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US to UK Vehicle Import Checklist

Here’s a rough breakdown of the process you’ll need to go through to import your vehicle to the UK.
  • Before beginning the process of importing and registering a car in the UK, verify the key documentation you will need, as well as information on the mutual recognition policy that will affect those who wish to import a car from the USA to the UK.
  • Once you’ve identified the standards your vehicle must meet, you’ll need the documentation to prove it, as well as evidence of compliance with emissions standards. Documentation includes:

    • Original Title

    • Certificate of Origin

    • Bill of Lading

    • Doc Receipt

  • Understand the costs of importing a vehicle, including:

    • Freight and insurance charges when importing your vehicle

    • Wharf, transport, storage and delivery charges after your vehicle arrives

    • Duties, taxes and fees

    • Cleaning the undercarriage of foreign soil

    • Registration and insurance requirements in the relevant United Kingdom State or Territory

    • Other charges such as import processing, customs brokers’, and logistics service provider charges

  • Select an international car import company and preferred import method to transport your vehicle from the United States to the United Kingdom
  • Determine your vehicle’s departure and destination ports
  • Confirm the vehicle is clean and free of foreign soil.
  • If you wish to register your vehicle for road use in the UK, you’ll need to get the vehicle plated.

More information on the process of importing a vehicle to UK can be found here.

Vehicle Import Options

As you engage in the vehicle import process, some of the most important questions to consider include:

  • Whether you plan to permanently keep the car in the UK or if it’s just a temporary move,

  • Whether you have been the owner of the car for over 12 months.

  • Whether the car is older than 20 years.

These questions and more will determine whether your car is eligible for import to the UK. You should never assume your scenario is the same as someone else’s. Some vehicles such as classic cars may have eligibility requirements that differ from those for newer vehicles. Our expert import agents can help you determine whether your vehicle is eligible for import to the UK from the USA.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to import a car to the UK from the USA, fill out our free quick quote form.

Vehicle Import Approval

Upon arrival of your vehicle import to the UK, the vehicle must be declared in Customs.

You’ll need the following documentation:

  • Purchase invoice
  • Original certificate of registration, for previously registered vehicles

Things to Consider

  • Only cars originally registered in the EU that are now being imported to the UK qualify for mutual recognition.
  • It is crucial to know when your car is eligible for mutual recognition, as this can save a lot of time and effort in determining whether the vehicle conforms to UK roadways. For more information, visit this link. It is a good idea to either contact the DVLA in Great Britain or the DVA if you would like to import a vehicle that is more than 10 years old, to ensure all requirements have been met in order to obtain permission.

US to UK Car Import Costs & Time Frame

Using a baseline of a compact car being imported using the roll-on/roll-off method from the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Felixstowe, our estimate to import a car from the USA to the UK starts at a cost of $650 USD with an estimated turnaround time of 14 – 28 days.

However, the cost to import a car to the UK can vary according to factors such as the model and make of your vehicle, your current location, the nearest departure port in the USA, your import method of choice, availability of your chosen services and your final destination. Additionally, you’ll need to consider costs such as storage, cleaning, other vendor fees, and UK taxes & duties.

Taxes & Duties for Car Import from the USA to the UK

UK Vehicle Import Taxes

  • Import Duty: 10%
  • VAT: 20%
  • Import Duty for Collector’s Vehicles: 5% with no VAT

Instances Requiring VAT and Vehicle Tax:

  • Your vehicle is relatively new and has been driven for less than 6 months.
  • You normally live outside the EU / plan to remain in the UK for over 12 months.
  • You previously got a refund on VAT or sales tax on the vehicle.
  • You bought the vehicle duty free or tax free.

Instances not requiring VAT and Vehicle Tax:

  • You live in the EU and are only importing the vehicle temporarily.
  • You are relocating to the UK and are eligible for residency transfer.
  • You are not from the EU and are importing the vehicle to use temporarily. To be eligible you must satisfy the following conditions:
    • You must be visiting the UK.
    • You must only be using the car for a period of 6 months.
    • The vehicle must be registered and taxed in its home country.

Please Note: If you are a student or employee who is not living in the UK, you qualify for a period that’s a bit longer. Do contact the HMRC in advance and get hold of the official documentation for proof of customs relief. If you do not meet the above criteria, then import duty and VAT tax will be payable to customs. You must also ensure your car is validly insured.

The amount of taxes and import duties payable when importing a car to the UK from the US will vary and depends on the details of your import.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to import a car to the UK, fill out our free quick quote form.

US to UK Vehicle Import Options

Car Imports from the USA to the UK can be performed using a shared container, a sole container or a roll-on/roll-off service.


Roll-On/Roll-Off – With this method of shipping, cars are driven into a vessel with a cargo area like a sizeable parking garage. This option tends to be more inexpensive, as only customs clearance charges, port charges and the shipping charge are payable. Your car will need to be in working condition to ship via this method, as it will have to be driven onto a transport vessel.


Shared Container Service – Your vehicle will be shipped together with multiple others in one container. There will be a wider range of fees payable than with roll-on/roll-off shipping, which are to be shared between all the people using the container, such as a terminal handling charge, trucking charge, charge for unloading the vehicles at a bonded warehouse and customs clearance charge.

One of the downsides of the shared container service is having to wait a longer time for transport, as the container can only depart when it has a full load.


Full Container Load – This shipping method resembles the shared container service, except that your vehicle will be the only one in the container. Similar fees to those charged for the shared container load are collected, however these are borne by only one client rather than divided between several.

This method tends to result in quicker transits, since weekly departures are possible. With Ro-Ro services, departures are often not as frequent.

Instead of wood ramps which other companies use, we rely on a steel loading system, which is more effective at preventing loss and damage.

Additional Services


Sourcing Vehicles – Our many car buyer contacts make it easy for us to find and buy vehicles on behalf of overseas clients at a commission or additional fee to be paid to the car buyer.


Other Services – Some of the auto transport services we offer in overseas territories include domestic pickup, vehicle import assistance, tracking of your shipment, customs clearance in the USA and a full vehicle inspection report.

Ports Served in the US and the UK

Departure Ports – United States

The location your vehicle will depart from depends on the method of car transport to the UK, where your vehicle is located, your budget and which services the nearest port offers. We have multiple departure locations in the USA, including Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami, Savannah and more.

Destination Ports – UK

Here are the UK entry ports that we can import your vehicle to.

  • Felixstowe
  • Southampton
  • Tilbury
  • Liverpool
  • Grangemouth
  • London Gateway

Cleaning Your Vehicle’s Undercarriage

Before importing your vehicle to the UK, the undercarriage must be cleaned and free of foreign soil to prevent the introduction of invasive plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms. This can be accomplished through steam cleaning or other thorough cleaning methods.

CFR Rinkens can assist with finding an appropriate cleaner to help ensure you comply with this requirement. We do not recommend washing the interior of the vehicle as it can cause mold during transport. Vacuuming the interior is usually more than sufficient.

Plating Your Vehicle in UK

You must register any vehicle you bring into the UK permanently. You can’t register before you do all the following:

You also tax the vehicle when you register it with DVLA – there’s a £55 fee. DVLA might ask to inspect the vehicle. It can take up to 6 weeks for your registration certificate (V5C) to arrive. You need the V5C to get number plates made up. You can find more information on the Vehicle Registration here.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to import a car from the USA to the UK and other services, fill out our free quick quote form.

Other UK/US Import Options

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