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Importing a vehicle into England

Is it a good idea to import a European/foreign car into England?

Generally, unless the vehicle that you want to import is built to drive on the left-hand side of the road, importing it is a very long, laborious and expensive process.

For safety reasons, the government demands that the car be modified in various ways, such as the speedometer, the lights, etc. (however, the steering wheel doesn’t have to change side!). Once the modifications have been carried out, the government will issue a certificate confirming that the vehicle conforms to British regulation. Equipped with this certificate, you will then be able to register the vehicle, and the number plates will be changed to an English number.

As for the cost of all of this, if we add the cost of the technical modification of the car to the various registrations you must go through, the overall cost is sizeable. Insurance will also cost extra because a driver in a vehicle where the wheel is to the left is considered more dangerous.

Also, don’t forget the difficulties of ticketed car parks when driving a car with the wheel on the wrong side of the road – if the driver is alone, he/she must have very long arms (…), or they will have to get out of the car to get the ticket from the machine.

To conclude, except when it comes to vehicles with a unique hallmark or style, or when only importing a vehicle temporarily, we recommend that you change your vehicle when you arrive in England.

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