Moving abroad? Here’s how to take your car with you!

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You’ve taken the plunge and are going to live overseas – that means sorting out where you are going to live and what sort of property you’ll need. And if you’re planning to take your car, you’ll also need to think about how you’ll get it there. Before making plans to export your car, remember that shipping costs can be expensive, so if it’s only an old banger, you may want to sell it in the UK and buy a new one once you get to your new home. That will also put you behind the wheel of a left-hand drive vehicle, which might take some getting used to, but which could be a good long-term proposition when you’re driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.

However, if this isn’t your preferred option, and you definitely want to take your current motor with you, then you’ll need to complete some basic paperwork first. If you are taking your car out of the UK for 12 months or more, then this is known as a ‘permanent export’ and you will need to notify the DVLA. You can do this by filling out the V5C/4 ‘notification of permanent export’ section of your V5C registration certificate (logbook). Keep the rest of the certificate, however, as you may need it when you are registering your car abroad. If you don’t have a V5C certificate, then you’ll need to apply for one using the V62 form, which can be downloaded from

You will also need to get vehicle import approval from the relevant government department before your car is shipped. Most shipping companies will be able to provide you with any forms you will require. Bear in mind that, depending on where you are moving to, your car might need a quarantine inspection on arrival, so you should have it steam-cleaned before you go.


When you register your car in the country you are moving to, you will need to provide proof that the vehicle is insured. Your UK car insurance policy may be accepted, but only if the company you are insured with has an office in the country you’re moving to (or if it is authorised to provide cover there), so you will need to check this before your vehicle leaves the UK. If your insurer can’t or won’t cover your car in the country you are moving to, then you will need to take out insurance in that country. Always compare several different quotes before buying so you can be certain you aren’t paying over the odds for cover.


If you are moving to Europe, then your easiest and cheapest option is to drive your car there yourself. If you are moving somewhere further afield, then the situation is rather more complicated, and you will need to look into the various different shipping options for exporting your car.

Always compare quotes from a wide range of shipping companies to make sure you are getting a good deal. Remember you will need shipping insurance when your car is exported so you will be financially protected in the event it is damaged or stolen while in transit. Take photographs of your car before it is shipped, so that if it arrives with any new dents, you will be able to show that these weren’t around before it was moved.

You’re likely to need evidence that your car is in good running order, which you should be able to get from your garage, as most shipping cars will refuse to take a car that isn’t working. Check what charges will be levied by the shipping agents at the port for handling your vehicle. There may also be costs payable at the relevant customs and border services, so make sure you know what these are before your car is despatched. Once you arrive at your destination, contact the driving licence authorities to find out how you can apply for a local driving licence.

If you are driving in the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland, you can use your British driving licence.

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