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Can you use a foreign number plate in the UK?

Can you use a foreign number plate in the UK?

The United Kingdom is one of the most multicultural countries in the world and is a popular destination for people from overseas who are residents in the UK or long-term visitors. Last year, there were over 200,000 grants for worker visas [1]. For some, this might raise the question of whether you can use an overseas number plate in the UK.

The answer is yes, you are permitted to temporarily use a foreign  number plate on a vehicle in the UK. However, it is important to understand the rules and regulations around using an overseas plate. Failure to comply with these rules can result in significant fines and penalties.


Can you use a foreign number plate in the UK?

Can you use a foreign number plate in the UK?

Lets take a look at the issues.


How long are you allowed to use a foreign number plate?

The UK allows you to use a foreign number plate on your vehicle for up to six months, providing you meet the following requirements:

  • You are only visiting the UK
  • The vehicle is registered and taxed in its home country
  • You only use the vehicle for six months in total

You may be able to use your foreign number plate for longer than six months if you meet all of the criteria stated by the DVLA below:

  • You reside outside the UK
  • You’re visiting for a specified period for study or work purposes.
  • You receive VAT and duty relief


How can you receive VAT and Duty relief?

Vehicles that are temporarily imported do not have to be VAT or duty-free if all of the following apply:

  • That the car is strictly for personal use
  • You do not reside in the UK
  • You do not intend to sell or hire out the vehicle within the UK
  • Leaving the UK within six months – or longer if you’re eligible to use foreign plates


How to register your car in the UK?

If your stay exceeds the six-month period and you are unable to meet any of the above factors, you will have to register your car in the UK.  In order to do this, you can follow the following steps:

  1. Within two weeks of the vehicle’s arrival, you must notify the HMRC
  2. Pay VAT and duty if instructed so.
  3. Ensure your vehicle meets safety and environmental standards
  4. Register and tax the vehicle. You will be given a registration number by the DVLA.

Understanding the rules and regulations surrounding the use of foreign number plates in the UK is essential, especially if you want to avoid fines and penalties. Whilst your vehicle is registered, you should also ensure that you have valid insurance, road tax and that an MOT has been completed. By following these rules, you can enjoy driving in the UK with peace of mind.


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