How to Import Used Cars from Japan to the UK

Last Updated on 11月 26, 2021 by Carusedjp

Japanese vehicles have been popular across the world for their durability, efficiency, and technology. These days, more and more people purchase JDM cars like the Toyota Alphard, Nissan Skyline, and Subaru Impreza from Japan. Even in the UK, many people prefer purchasing their vehicles from a Japanese car auction for from a Japanese Car Exporter. After all, they can find the vehicle they want at a fraction of the actual cost. What’s more, they can ensure that the car will arrive in their location in good condition.

Now, it may seem like learning how to import cars from Japan to the United Kingdom (UK)  is a daunting task. Well, frankly speaking, you will have to handle a lot of paperwork. Several countries in the UK are strict when it comes to ensuring that the vehicles on their roads are safe and environment-friendly. That said, you do not have to panic because we can help make the process easier.

Here at, we ensure that our clients get all the help they need when importing cars from Japan. As such, we have put this article together to provide you with detailed guidelines on all the paperwork you need to secure when importing a JDM car to the UK.

What You Need to Remember While Choosing a Vehicle from a Japanese Car Auction

While selecting your vehicles from a Japan car auction catalog, you need to remember that most nations in the UK are right-hand drive countries. So, while it is perfectly legal to have a left-hand drive car in the UK, it is still best to shop for right-hand drive vehicles.

Of course, you need to select the nearest shipping port to your location. In the UK, the shipping ports are in Bristol, Southampton, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Tilbury.

Informing the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

After you’ve purchased your vehicle from a Japanese car auction and have secured your shipping arrangements, the next step is to inform HM Revenue and Customs about your car. Once you’ve brought your vehicle into the UK, you have 14 days to let HMRC know. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to register your car without doing this. Moreover, if you inform them beyond the 14-day limit, you will have to pay for fines. On the other hand, if your car has an engine below 49cc—or 7.2kw if it is electric—you do not have to tell the HMRC before registering it.

Passing the Inspections in the UK

Before you can register your vehicle in the UK, it must pass the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) Test. Respective governing bodies in the UK need to ensure that your car meets all the safety standards for public roads.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) imposes the IVA as part of the UK National approval scheme for imported vehicles, including JDM cars. This scheme inspects cars built for non-European markets, ensuring that they comply with all the laws in the UK. Remember that if you import a car that is not older than 10 years, you need to secure an IVA certificate. Only then will you be permitted to register your vehicle in the UK.

Documents You’ll Need for Customs Clearance

  • Bill of Lading (BOL)
  • Proof of ownership – purchasing invoice from
  • Deregistration Certificate
  • Proof of original identification
  • Trader’s Unique Reference Number (TURN) – you’ll need this if you’re a commercial importer
  • Driving license or any official document that serves as proof of identity
  • Utility bills or any official document for proof of address
  • Motor insurance from a UK-based company

Import Duties and Taxes You Need to Pay

When you import a used car from Japan, you need to pay VAT and duty through customs. The duty rate of a vehicle is 10% while the import VAT is 20%. To compute the import duty, refer to the formula below:

  • 10% x (car’s price + shipping fee) = import duty of the car
  • To calculate the import VAT, refer to this formula:
  • 20% x (car’s price + shipping fee + UK duty + admission fee) = import VAT

Keep in mind that the import duty is non-refundable. On the other hand, if you are importing under a VAT-registered company, you are free to reclaim the import VAT. Moreover, the import duty rate is lower if you are paying for a classic JDM car.

Important Details to Remember

Remember that when you import a used car from Japan, you are not allowed to sell or lend the vehicle in the UK. Moreover, the car should be for personal use only. After six months, you will be permitted to re-export the vehicle.

It is also worth noting that the test on cars depends on their age. If you are importing a used car that is below three years old, it should pass the IVA test. On the other hand, if the vehicle is between three and ten years old, it should pass the IVA test along with the MOT test. Meanwhile, for cars older than ten years, the only requirement is the MOT test.

Registering a Used Car in the UK

Once you’ve secured the prerequisites, you will be allowed to register your car in the UK. For used vehicles, you need to fill out the V55/5 form. Go to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and submit the form along with the following documents:

  • Proof of identity, including birth certificate, passport, or driving license
  • Proof of billing/address, including utility bill and council tax bill
  • Motor insurance from a UK-based provider
  • Cost of vehicle tax
  • Vehicle registration fee
  • Deregistration certificate
  • MOT certificate
  • Proof of customs clearance
  • IVA certificate

After applying for the registration, it is possible for DVLA to inspect your vehicle. Once the agency approves your application, you will receive a V5C registration certificate which will include the following information:

  • The registration number of the vehicle
  • The name and address of the vehicle owner
  • Other details about the car, including its make, and current/old vehicle identification number (VIN)

DVLA will return the documents you submitted to them. Usually, applicants get their registration certificate within six weeks after the application.

Make the Process Easier with

The process of importing used cars from Japan may be quite complicated. However, with the help of, you can get your JDM vehicle to the UK with ease. Contact one of our sales specialists today to learn how to import cars from Japan to the UK.

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6 thoughts on “How to Import Used Cars from Japan to the UK”

  1. Fantastic information there, could you please send to me the requirements for importing to Uganda. My country is Uganda.

    • Thank you sir, it would depend on the size of the vehicle, type of shipping, document handling and customs clearance. We would be happy to assist you, please send us a message at our whatsapp number at +81-70-3990-8510 or chat with us at our website at

  2. Hi, Looking to import a Toyota Prius from Japan. My first time so not sure if there is reputable company that you can recommend. I would also need some help with the paperwork and would be more than happy to pay for this service.

    • Thank you for your message. We have access to Japanese car auctions, so we can find Toyota Prius for you if you could tell us your preference. Please contact Whatsapp: 81-80-7696-4722 or e-mail us to
      Thank you


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