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Why Republic of Ireland car buyers should import from Northern Ireland and NOT Mainland UK.

Things you need to know…

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Republic of Ireland car buyers could save thousands and without sacrificing specification or manufacturer’s warranty.

At John Mulholland Motors we have exported vehicles to hundreds of happy customers in the Republic of Ireland and we can help guide you through the entire process.

The entire buying process can be completed within a single visit and we accept all part exchanges.


So how do you import a car from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland and what costs are involved?

The main thing to consider is VRT (Vehicle Registration Tax). You will be required to pay this and have the vehicle inspected at a NCT test centre. The rate of tax due is different for every vehicle and based largely on market value and emissions. A VRT calculator can be found on the Irish Tax and Customs website and will allow you to find out how much would be due on any given vehicle.

The VRT Calculator can be found here 

You should also be aware of the differences between considering New and Used vehicles...


Importing a New vehicle

When buying a brand-new vehicle from Northern Ireland the UK VAT amount (20%) will be refunded to you once the vehicle has been registered in the Republic of Ireland.  You will then be required to pay Irish VAT at 23% plus the VRT. 

The most significant new car savings are when buying a vehicle with lower CO2 emissions (see examples further down). 

For the purposes of Importing a vehicle into the Republic of Ireland, a car is still considered to be “a NEW means of transport” if it is less than 6 months old or covered less than 6,000 km’s.  The majority of our cars in this category will be treated exactly the same as a brand-new cars (above), since they are “VAT Qualifying”.  This is the same for both private individuals and VAT registered businesses in the Republic of Ireland.


Importing a Used vehicle

For any cars that are over 6 months old and have more than 6,000 km’s on the clock, these will all be treated as USED cars when importing to the Republic of Ireland. 

For private individuals you won’t need to worry about VAT whatsoever.  This is actually ideal in most cases as you can pick up a nearly-new car and save on the majority of the initial depreciation.  VRT would then be paid at the point of import.

For VAT registered businesses, the only difference is when the car is “VAT Qualifying”.  In this case the VAT is treated the same as with a brand-new car above.  Irish VAT @ 23% plus VRT would then be paid at the point of import.

You also need to consider where and when the vehicle was first registered...


Importing a car from the UK to Ireland after Brexit

As of January 1st 2021 the UK has left the EU. This has resulted in changes to the process of importing a car from the UK to Ireland. There are also changes to the costs of importing a car from the UK to Ireland.

The importation of a vehicle from the UK is now treated as an import from a non-European Union (EU) country.

When importing a vehicle you will now be required to:

  • Complete a customs declaration
  • Pay or account for customs duty, if applicable
  • Pay VAT at 23%, if applicable

You must enter the VIN of the vehicle on the customs declaration in the appropriate field.

When registering the vehicle at the NCT Centre, a check will be performed with Revenue that the VIN is associated with a customs declaration. If a customer declaration is not completed or the vehicle is not registered within 30 days of its arrival in the State, then it is liable to be seized by the authorities.

For more information regarding customs declarations go to CustomsDeclaration.ie


Customs Duty

If you import a vehicle from Great Britain into Ireland you must complete a customs declaration.

If you import a vehicle from UK to Ireland, Customs Duty is 0% if the vehicle originated in the UK.

If you import a vehicle from UK to Ireland, Customs Duty is 10% if the vehicle originated outside the UK, e.g. a EU country or a third country like USA, Japan.

You can calculate customs duty and VAT at CustomsDeclaration.ie


Difference between importing from the UK and importing from Northern Ireland

Vehicles registered in Northern Ireland before January 1st 2021 are not subject to customs duty or VAT

Vehicles first registered in Northern Ireland after January 1st 2021 are not subject to customs duty or VAT

Vehicles first registered in Northern Ireland after January 1st 2021 and considered new for VAT purposed are not subject to customs duty but are subject to VAT

Vehicles first registered in the UK and then registered in Northern after January 1st 2021 are not subject to customs duty or VAT, provided there is proof the vehicle was properly imported to Northern Ireland. The proof required is a copy of the customs declaration showing the importation of the vehicle into Northern Ireland or a T2L document issued by HMRC.

Vehicles first registered in the UK and then registered in Northern after January 1st 2021 are subject to customs duty or VAT, if proof cannot be provided that the vehicle was properly imported to Northern Ireland.


What happens next and are there any other costs?

When your vehicle has been processed by the NCT test centre you will need to pay your annual Motor Tax. This is no different to any other vehicle registered in the Republic of Ireland.

After you've paid the Motor Tax your registration certificate will be posted to you. The last step is to buy a set of Irish Number Plates.  These typically cost about €20


Will the manufactures warranty still be valid?

Yes, the remaining warranty from new will still be valid after exporting into the Republic of Ireland however the rules differ between manufacturer. 

Hyundai – 5 Year Unlimited Mileage Pan-European warranty. This means the warranty is equally valid on both sides of the border.

Ford – 3 Year 60,000 mile warranty. Interestingly Republic of Ireland Ford dealers only offer a 2 Year Warranty so if something goes wrong in the 3rd year just bring it back over the border to a Ford Service Centre and take advantage of that extra year’s cover.

Skoda – 3 Year Warranty. Unlimited mileage for the first 2 years and then up to 60,000 miles for the 3rd year.

All other brands including any vehicles out of manufacturer warranty come with a universal 12 Month Warranty which starts from the date of delivery. This warranty is equally valid both North and South of the border.


Why choose John Mulholland Motors?

We are an independent family run business with years of experience selling cars to southern customers and can guide you through the export process.  This leaves you to concentrate on finding the right car whilst safe in the knowledge you're getting a great deal.

Our commitment to customer service is second-to-none having recently be awarded; Irish Family Business of the Year, Irish News: Team of the Year and 3 times UK Skoda Retailer of the Year.


Finding Us & Collection Service

John Mulholland Motors are located in Randalstown County Antrim (just 20 mins north of Belfast).

If you need any help on how best to get to either of our showrooms via public transport or if you need directions just give us a call and we will guide you in.

If you are intending to drive your new car home, we can arrange to collect you from any of our local train or bus stations.


Contact Us

If you are still unsure about the import process or want to find out more about any of our vehicles please get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to assist.

John Mulholland Randalstown +44 (0) 28 9447 3903


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