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Car & Vehicle Imports - Customs Clearance

To enable us to complete your customs declaration we will require the following

information and documentation:


Motor or Commercial Importer:

  • Full company details (Incl VAT/EORI Number)

  • Copy commercial invoice

  • Copy Bill of lading

We can also arrange the payment of shipping charges on your behalf, lodge your bills of lading, arrange your transportation [for one or multiple cars], even advise on SVA, NOVA and registration procedures in the UK.

We are able to provide competitive shipping prices for both Ro-Ro and containerised traffic.

Customs Clearance for Private Individuals:

There are a few different scenarios attached to the importation of vehicles for private individuals, some people move home, some just purchase a new car from overseas to save money.


  • Moving home or Transfer of residence

HM Customs waive taxes on vehicles that are coming to the UK as part of an international transfer of residence, specific requirements have to be met in order for this waiver to apply.

You must have been living in the country from which the vehicle is leaving for more than 12 months and must have owned and used the vehicle for more than 6 of those 12 months.

Taxes must have been paid in the country of origin and not refunded in anyway on export.


Early in 2017 new regulations came into effect which removed the need to use separate forms for different scenarios. More information can be found on our Moving Home page.


In addition to your TOR paperwork we will also require:

Proof of vehicle purchase [ i.e receipt/bill of sale]

Copy bill of lading

Proof of ID (Driving Licence/Passport etc)

Copy utility bill for your UK address

If you are returning a British registered vehicle then you need to complete a C179b [ we provide ] and a copy of the British log book may be required in addition to the above paperwork.


  • Private Importer, straight forward vehicle purchase

If you fall into the category of purchasing a vehicle abroad to save money and are not moving home then taxes are due to H.M.Revenue & Customs,

currently these taxes are set at 10% of the CIF [cost of vehicle/Insurance/Freight] value of the vehicle and then 20% VAT [for cars].
The following paperwork will be required:-

  • Copy invoice/receipt

  • Copy bill of lading

  • Copy de-registration [this sometimes comes in the form of police authorisation from some Arab countries]

  • Full name and address of the importer/owner

  • EORI number [if applicable see note below]

  • Proof of ID (Driving Licence/Passport etc)

  • Copy utility bill for your UK address


Once we have your documents we will calculate the taxes due and request they be transferred to us along with our fee for clearance, we then settle your

debt with HMRC and within a few hours your vehicle will be cleared through the process.

After clearance, we request that HMRC place your vehicle on the DVLA NOVA (Notification Of Vehicle Arrivals) system when, once you place your forms in

to register the vehicle tie up to say that all taxes are paid.

There will be other charges to pay to any other parties involved i.e. Shipping lines or trucking companies but we can advise what you should expect to pay.

Google 'Kleerfreight' and you will see many recommendations from happy customers suggesting new importers use our services. 

How are import duties and VAT calculated on my car or purchase:

Import taxes are calculated on the CIF price of the vehicle/goods you have bought, CIF terms mean

  • 'Cost' of the thing you are buying

  • 'Insurance' any insurance paid

  • 'Freight' The cost of getting the goods to the UK port of arrival

If you have bought your car FOB then we will need the cost of freight you paid to get it here so that we may input the correct figures to HMRC to ensure correct taxes are paid and amount declared, the below worksheet will give you a rough idea on the taxes potentially due, HMRC's rates of exchange change monthly so all calculations are done or made in GBP


For cars without any special circumstances applicable to them (i.e. collectors items or antiques) duty is charged at 10% of the CIF price therefore:

Cost of vehicle 'A'      Lets say £500.00

Freight to get it here 'B' Lets say £450.00

Insurance if paid 'C' Lets say £50.00

So A+B+C = CIF Price - covert into Pounds Sterling (£1000) and then X 10% = Duty 'D' £100.00


VAT is charged at 20% of A+B+C+D+ any UK handling or clearance charges, with a car which has arrived by 'ro-ro' method these are usually around £180.00 so

£500 cost +£450 freight +£50 insurance +£100 Duty + £180 UK Charges  x 20% = VAT £220.00

So with this calculation your taxes will have been £320.00 total.


If the importation is a ‘one-off’ and you are not planning on importing another vehicle then you will not require a temporary VAT number, if there are more to come you will need to apply and gain a temporary number VAT / EORI number from HMRC.

This number allows Customs to keep track of all importations made by non VAT registered traders.

Commercial vehicles may attract a 22% duty rate and rates at import can vary for all vehicles and goods.

EORI application for NON VAT registered people can be made here :

EORI application for VAT registered traders can be made here :

It is important to note that even if you have a VAT number you will need to register it for EORI before you can use it for import/export

We know how important it is to get your vehicles customs cleared and moved ready for sale as soon as physically possible.

We also understand that costs need to be kept to a minimum in order to make your profit or make your vehicle import attractive.

Kleerfreight are able to offer very competitive rates for the motor trade in these circumstances as well as private importers and collectors.

worldwide vehicle shipping specialists
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