Most used vehicles imported into the State from overseas are sourced in the UK. This section is to ensure that customers are aware of the implications of Brexit on the vehicle registration process.

Under the withdrawal agreement, the UK was in a transition period until 31 December 2020. During this period all procedures in relation to registering a vehicle from the UK remained unchanged. From 1 January 2021 very significant changes take effect. If you import a used car you should factor in possible increased costs due to customs duty and VAT at import.

Registration of imported used vehicles to Ireland from 1 January 2021

Implications of importing cars from Great Britain and Northern Ireland

After the transition period, an import of a vehicle from Great Britain is treated as an import from a non-European Union (EU) country.

If you are an individual or a business and you import vehicles from Great Britain you are required to do the following before presenting the vehicle for registration:

  • Complete a customs declaration.
  • Pay or account for customs duty, if applicable.
  • Pay VAT at 21%.

You must enter the VIN of the vehicle on the customs declaration in the appropriate field (please see eCustoms Notification 33/2020 and AIS trader guides for more information).  

Before a vehicle can be registered, the NCT Centre will check with Revenue that the VIN is associated with a customs declaration.

If you have any technical difficulties submitting your customs declaration, please contact the Customs Technical Helpdesk at ecustoms@revenue.ie.

Where a customs declaration is required in respect of a vehicle brought into the State the vehicle will be liable to seizure if:

  • the declaration is not completed
  • the vehicle is not registered within 30 days of its arrival in the State.

Motor dealers and new vehicles

Motor dealers

Authorised motor dealers that have pre-inspected vehicles before 1 January 2021 can register them online as normal.

You can find detailed information about the registration of used vehicles in Vehicle Registration Tax.

New vehicles

In addition to making a Customs declaration, if you are importing a new vehicle into the State it must always be accompanied by the following:

There are implications for registering new vehicles, which have been type approved by the UK Vehicle Certification Agency, after the transition period. Guidance documents on the treatment of UK type approvals have been issued by the NSAI and Road Safety Authority. You are advised to consider these prior to purchasing new vehicles in the UK.

Registration of imported used vehicles to Ireland from 1 January 2021

Vehicles imported from Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Vehicles imported to Ireland before 1 January 2021

These vehicles can be registered as normal. You must provide documentation to prove that the vehicle was imported prior to 1 January 2021. An example of the documentation would be a sales invoice or a ferry ticket.

Vehicles imported from Great Britain after 1 January 2021

If you import a vehicle from Great Britain into Ireland you must complete a customs declaration. You must also pay customs duty, if applicable, and VAT on the import value of the vehicle.

From 1 January 2021, the draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all UK origin goods traded between Great Britain and the EU. The zero tariff and zero quota provisions apply to all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The following vehicles imported from Great Britain will have tariffs applied as they will not qualify as UK origin under the rules of origin:

  • Vehicles of EU origin used in the UK
  • Vehicles of other third country origin used in the UK. This is even if the EU has a Free Trade Agreement with the relevant third country such as Japan

For imports to benefit from duty free treatment, the importer must make a claim on their import declaration for preferential treatment.

See table below for further information on Customs Duty and VAT payable depending on the origin of the vehicle that is being imported from Great Britain.

Customs Duty and VAT payable
Origin of Vehicle Customs Duty Payable VAT Payable
 UK 0%  21%
Third Country such as the USA or Japan 10%  21%
EU such as German or French 10%  21%

You must present the vehicle for registration at the NCTS Centre. A check is carried out to verify that a customs declaration in respect of the vehicle has been completed. It is important to include the VIN on the declaration so that this check can be made automatically. You will also need to provide:

  • the foreign registration document (the V5 from the UK)
  • a copy of the customs declaration or the reference number of the customs declaration (the MRN).
  • any other supporting documentation.

Where a customs declaration has not been completed, you must complete or arrange for a Customs agent to complete a Customs declaration. This must be completed before Revenue register the vehicle. Please see our customs traders and agents section for more Information on filing Customs declarations.

Vehicles registered in Northern Ireland before 1 January 2021

You can register a vehicle registered before 1 January 2021 without any checks on the customs status if it was registered:

  • in Northern Ireland
  • or
  • to a person resident in Northern Ireland.

Vehicles first registered in Northern Ireland after 1 January 2021

You can register a vehicle first registered in Northern Ireland after 1 January 2021 without any check on its customs status. If it is a new vehicle for VAT purposes, then the VAT is collected at registration.

Vehicles first registered in Great Britain and subsequently registered in Northern Ireland after 1 January 2021

Proof that vehicles were properly imported into Northern Ireland will be required for vehicles first registered in Great Britain and subsequently, after 1 January 2021, either:

  • registered to a private individual or a business in Northern Ireland
  • or
  • sold by a motor dealer with an address in Northern Ireland.

Proof will be in the form of:

  • a copy of the customs declaration showing the importation of the vehicle into Northern Ireland
  • or
  • a T2L document issued by HMRC.

The vehicle must be identifiable from the supporting documentation.


A person should not purchase a vehicle from Northern Ireland with either a GB registration or which had previously been registered in GB, where this documentation is not available.

If you cannot provide proof that a vehicle has been imported into Northern Ireland you can, prior to presenting your vehicle at the NCTS Centre for registration:

  • make a customs declaration
  • pay customs duty, where applicable
  • pay VAT based on the import value of the vehicle.
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