Search our content

Home  /  Arriving/Leaving  /  International  /  Vehicle

IMPORTING VEHICLEs INTO THE UK and purchasing vehicles in the uk

When Participating Nation personnel (PN) arrive in the UK on assignment and import their vehicle (new and used); car, motorhome, van, motorcycle, they must register it with the PN Policy Support Officer (PN PSO), HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Driving Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). 

UK Used & New Vehicle

 When PN personnel buy a UK vehicle (used or new), they must notify and record the vehicle with PNPSO, if they wish to claim duty free fuel and to buy VAT free vehicle (new vehicle only).

NB:  New vehicle - less than 6 months old, less than 6000 km 

        Used vehicle - over 6 months old, more than 6000 km

PN PSO will assist with and process application to register vehicles to HMRC and DVLA. PN PSO records PN's and vehicle details for entitlement to hold vehicles and checking duty-free fuel claims.

Visiting Forces Relief

PNs are entitled to Visiting Forces Relief (VFR) to purchase a new vehicle VAT free and to claim duty free fuel (for duty driving) for a vehicle. Vehicles must be registered with PN PSO and HMRC under Visiting Forces Relief, either as VFR (new vehicles) or DVFR (used vehicles).  A vehicle must be UK registered, and either 'VFR or DVFR', to claim duty free road fuel.  

Entitlement to hold Vehicles

A single/unaccompanied PN is entitled to hold one new or one used vehicle, at any one time. An accompanied/married/civil partnership PN is entitled to hold two new vehicles, or two used vehicles or a combination of one new & one used vehicle, at any one time.
(See Information Note – Visiting Forces Relief, Entitlement to Hold Vehicles, Duty Free Road Fuel, for full information.)

Status of NATO Forces Personnel in the UK

With regards to status, HMRC has confirmed that all NATO Forces personnel assigned to the UK, on an assignment longer than one month, are considered to be based here as a member of NATO Visiting Forces (VF), for the duration of their tour.

NATO VF personnel are not considered to have temporary visitor status in the UK.

Registering an Imported Vehicle in the UK

With effect from 1 January 2021 PN personnel MUST notify HMRC of their imported vehicle and have it entered under VFR, within 14 days of its arrival in the UK. PNs MUST notify PN PSO within 5 working days of the vehicle's arrival for completion and sending application to HMRC.

Transfer of Residence Relief

HMRC advised (wef 1 January 2021), PNs have an option to import their vehicles under Transfer of Residence (TOR) Relief, if conditions are met. Full details on the GOV.UK website -

Please be aware that if you import a vehicle under TOR Relief, you are NOT eligible to claim for refund of VAT on fuel purchases for your vehicle. 

Process to Register Vehicles to HMRC and DVLA

Due to COVID 19 restrictions (March 2020) HMRC and DVLA staffs are in office/working from home. PNPSO is also working from home and in office. A process has been agreed, applications to register vehicles to HMRC are by email and DVLA by post (wef Sept 2022). PN and PNPSO correspond by email.

Importing a Vehicle into the UK by Transport Company/Shipping Agent

When a vehicle is imported by a transport company/shipping agent, as unaccompanied freight, the company/agent is responsible for making the import declaration.  The company/agent will pre-lodge a C&E941 form** and C88 form with the National Clearance Hub (NCH) and enter it under Customs Procedure Code 40 00 010 'Goods imported for personal use by NATO Visiting Forces entitled personnel for which relief from duty or VAT is claimed'. On arrival at the port of entry, the company/agent will manually arrive the consignment (vehicle) and email the NCH to confirm its arrival in the UK.  The NCH will either clear the entry or select it for examination.  
The Cars Team at the NCH can be contacted at

NB:** A C&E941 form is completed and authorised only by PN PSO (or PN PO). PN must notify PN PSO in advance (ie 3-4 weeks) before the import date, for the form to be completed and forwarded.

NB:  Please ensure that you discuss the above requirements with the transport company/shipping agent. 

When you have the vehicle, please follow the processes below to register the vehicle.

Step 1 - Register an Imported Vehicle to HMRC

NB:  A PN and their vehicle must be at their home address in the UK before the process can be started.

1. PN to email PN PSO to notify they have imported a vehicle.  

2. PN PSO will reply and explain the registration process and the details and documents required. Documents - vehicle registration document (all), sales invoice (new vehicle).

3. PN replies with details and documents.

4. PN PSO compiles the form and emails the form & documents to HMRC for their action. The process to action the application and reply to PNPSO may take up to 10 working days.

HMRC reply to PN PSO

When HMRC have processed an application, they reply with a letter to the PN PSO. PN PSO contacts the PN personnel for the process to register the vehicle to DVLA.

Vehicle Insurance

Important Note:  You must have vehicle insurance with a UK insurance company, to drive in the UK.  It is illegal to drive on UK roads or in public places, without at least third-party insurance. You can be fined, taken to Court, or have your vehicle clamped or impounded, if you do not have insurance for your vehicle, or are driving a vehicle you are not insured to drive.

Full details at website –

Step 2 - Register an Imported Vehicle to DVLA

The registration process to DVLA is to be completed within 14 working days of reply from HMRC. Applications are in hard copy and posted to DVLA (wef Sept 2022).

1. PN PSO will notify PN of HMRC's reply, explain the registration process to DVLA, the documents required and send draft DVLA forms. Documents required - vehicle registration document (all), Certificate of Conformity (all), sales invoice (new vehicles), UK MOT certificate (used 3 years & over).

3. PN brings the required documents and completed forms to the PN Policy office.

4. PN PSO compiles forms, documents & cover letter and posts to DVLA for their action.

5. DVLA may take up to 8-10 working days to process an application. However, they may take longer if they have queries about the application.

DVLA Reply

DVLA will reply direct to PN at their home address, with letter and form noting UK registration number and vehicle V5C form (UK Registration Certificate/Registered Keeper).
When PN receives the letter/form, they can get the registration plates, full details on the letter.

PN to Notify PN PSO of DVLA Reply
PN to notify PN PSO of the reply from DVLA, by emailing a copy of the V5C form to PN PSO. 
PN PSO will then complete and close PN's vehicle record.  

Used Vehicle Purchased in the UK

When a PN purchases a UK used vehicle, they must email PNPSO to notify the vehicle, if they wish to claim duty free fuel. PNPSO will reply with the process and documents required. 

New Vehicle Purchased in the UK

When a PN purchases a new vehicle from a UK Dealership, they must notify PNPSO, as the Dealership require a HMRC form to confirm entitlement to buy VAT free. PNPSO will reply with the process & details required.

Please ensure that you follow the above process to avoid unnecessary delays or problems when registering your vehicle in the UK. 

Duty Free Fuel

When a vehicle is fully registered with HMRC and DVLA, PN can claim for duty free fuel for their vehicle.

UK Vehicle Road Tax  

PNs are exempt Vehicle Road tax for the first 12 months. 
After 11 months DVLA will notify PN of the vehicle tax due. The letter states the amount due, how to pay and the forms & documents required, full details in the letter. Do comply with the instructions in the letter.

Further Information/Assistance

Should you require further information or assistance on this matter, please contact the PN PSO Sue Miles -


Search our content:


Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
Imjin Barracks
United Kingdom

Welfare Office

Office Opening Time:
Monday - Thursday 0830-1630
Friday 0830-1400
+44 (0)1452 362550