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How do I import a car to the Republic of Ireland (ROI)?

To legally import a car to the Republic of Ireland (ROI) you’ll need to make sure you’ve paid your Vehicle Registration Tax, bought and fitted new Irish registration plates, paid the correct Motor Tax and arranged the correct insurance cover.

For more information on UK road tax rules and car insurance, read our in-depth guides.

What is Vehicle Registration Tax?

To import a car to the ROI, the first thing you must do is pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT). This is calculated based primarily on the car’s CO2 emissions. All cars – including emissions-free vehicles – will cost at least €280 while models emitting more than 225 can cost €720 or more.

The rate of VRT you’ll pay will also factor in the car’s retail value. If a set percentage of your car’s value exceeds the minimum VRT rate, you’ll have to pay the difference, too. This percentage ranges from 14 per cent for band A1 cars to 36 per cent for band G cars.

Your car must also be inspected at an official National Car Testing Service (NCTS) centre – similar to a British MOT centre. Here you’ll receive an official registration certificate that’ll include your car’s new registration number. You must fit new registration plates within three days of your car being inspected.

Does everyone have to pay VRT?

In some cases, you may be exempt from paying VRT. If you’re not a resident and you’ll be using the car for fewer than 12 months, you shouldn’t have to pay any VRT. If you’re a foreign student, you’ll be exempt from paying any VRT for the duration of your studies, too.

What is Motor Tax?

Even if your car’s VRT exempt, you’ll still have to pay Motor Tax – an annual charge that’s similar to UK Road Tax. For cars built after 2008, this will be calculated based on CO2 emissions while older cars will assessed based on their engine size alone. Electric vehicles will cost just €120 per year while highly polluting vehicles could set you back as much as €2,350.

Do I have to pay any VAT?

If you’re importing a car that’s less than six months old or has covered than 6,000km (3,728 miles), you’ll have to pay VAT, too. This will be equal to 23 per cent of the car’s value and must be paid even if you’ve already paid VAT in another country.

Is there anything else I should consider?

If your car is more than four years old, it must be put through a National Car Test (NCT) immediately after it’s registered. This comprehensive examination – similar to a UK MOT test – will make sure it’s safe to drive and advise if any repairs are needed. An NCT certificate will be valid for 12 months.

You must also make sure you book an appointment to have your car inspected for VRT within seven days of arriving in the ROI and complete the registration process within 30 days to avoid any fines.

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