Import / Exports

What is actually required when importing / exporting vehicles.

Importing a Vehicle into Ireland:

In general, all vehicles brought into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered with Revenue. If you are moving to Ireland or are already living here and you are importing a car or other vehicle, you will need to do 4 things before you can drive your vehicle in Ireland;

  • Pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) (unless you are exempt)
  • Get new vehicle registration plates
  • Get motor insurance
  • Pay Road Tax

All motorists are required to carry a valid driving licence with them at all times when driving in Ireland. Driving Licences include Full Licence, International Driving Licence and / or an Irish leaner permit.

Vehicle Registration Tax:

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) is a tax you must pay when you first register a motor vehicle in Ireland. If you have imported a vehicle, you must pay VRT and receive the vehicle’s registration certificate showing that you have paid VRT. Any delay in registering your vehicle or paying Vehicle Registration Tax will make you liable to substantial penalties – including forfeiture of your vehicle and prosecution.

You must register the car and pay the VRT at a National Car Testing Service (NCTS) centre – see ‘How to apply’ below. Your car will be examined to ensure that you are paying the correct VRT. In the case of cars and small vans, the amount of VRT payable is based on a percentage of the recommended retail price, which includes all taxes. This price is known as the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP). You can get an estimate of the VRT due from the Revenue Vehicle Registration Online Enquiry System.

When enquiring about VRT rates, you need to provide detailed information regarding your vehicle. The Revenue Commissioners have also produced two guides pertaining to – “ Frequently asked questions (VRT)” and a “Guide to the CO2-based VRT for cars”.


There are different reliefs and exemptions from VRT. Even if you are not required to pay VRT, you must still register your vehicle when you come to Ireland. You can find information and forms for VRT reliefs and exemptions on the website.

Transferring Residence:

If you are moving to live in Ireland, when you apply for a VRT exemption, you must meet certain requirements as regards your vehicle and your residency both here and abroad. You can find information about when to apply for exemption, the evidence you need and the application forms on the website.

Temporary Exemptions:

In some cases foreign-registered vehicles may be imported into Ireland temporarily by a non-resident without the requirement to pay VRT or re-registration of the vehicle. You can find information about foreign registered vehicles – temporary exemptions on the website.

If you are moving to Ireland and are among those exempt from paying VRT you cannot sell your vehicle for more than 12 months after the vehicle is registered. If you are required to pay VRT, then you can sell your vehicle here in Ireland when you wish, once it has been registered.

VAT (Value Added Tax):

If you are importing a new car from another EU country you have to pay VAT, usually when registering the car. A new car means a car that has been in service for 6 months or less, or has been driven for 6,000 kilometers or less. The VAT is payable even where you have paid VAT in the other country.

If you are importing a new or second hand car from outside the EU, VAT (and customs duty) is payable. Customs duty is paid when the vehicle first enters the EU, at the Point Of Entry (POE). You must have proof of payment of this when you are registering the car in Ireland.

Vehicle Registration Plates:

When you register and pay the VRT, a registration number will be assigned to your car. You must display the registration number within 3 days after registration. Failure to display the new registration number is an offence and you can be fined by An Garda Síochána. You can purchase registration plates from the NCTS centre or any Motor Factor (copy of – Vehicle Registration Certificate should be produced at the time of ordering registration plates).

Motor Insurance:

It is a legal requirement in Ireland to have motor insurance if you want to drive a vehicle in a public place. You will need to have motor insurance before you can pay road tax.

Road Tax:

Road tax in Ireland is a charge imposed by the Irish Government on vehicles. Some vehicles are exempt but must display a current tax disc if used in a public place. Your Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC) will be issued to you by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport when you pay your Road Tax.

National Car Test:

If your vehicle is 4 years old or more it will have to go through the National Car Test (NCT). This applies even if the vehicle has previously received an MOT or any other vehicle test abroad. The NCT test certificate will be valid until the next test due date. After that if the vehicle is still in Ireland it must be tested again.


Disposing Of A Car (End Of Life –ELV):

If you want to dispose of your car either due to age, or because of heavy damage following an accident, it must be deposited at an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF).

The owner must receive a Certificate Of Destruction (COD) from the ATF and retain a copy as proof that the vehicle has been-

A). Disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner and in accordance with both National and European requirements.

B). Removed from the National Driver File – Department of Transport Shannon.

It is vitally important for the registered owner to ensure that both points above are completed in full.

VRT Rates:

Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) is based on the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP) of the vehicle. The OMSP depends on the market value, engine size, year, model and roadworthiness condition of the vehicle.

After the vehicle has been inspected the rate of VRT is calculated by Revenue. The VRT is collected by the NCTS on behalf of Revenue.

Since July 2008 VRT for cars (Category A) is no longer based on engine size but on the level of CO2 emissions from the car.

A revised rates structure for Category A vehicles was announced in Budget 2013.

VRT rates for “Category A” vehicles:

CO2 emissions levels VRT rates
Band A1 0 – 80 grams per kilometre 14% of OMSP (minimum €280)
Band A2 81 – 100 grams per kilometre 15% of OMSP (minimum €300)
Band A3 101 – 110 grams per kilometre 16% of OMSP (minimum €320)
Band A4 111 – 120 grams per kilometre 17% of OMSP (minimum €340)
Band B1 121 – 130 grams per kilometre 18% of OMSP (minimum €360)
Band B2 131 – 140 grams per kilometre 19% of OMSP (minimum €380)
Band C 141 – 155 grams per kilometre 23% of OMSP (minimum €460)
Band D 156 – 170 grams per kilometre 27% of OMSP (minimum €540)
Band E 171 – 190 grams per kilometre 30% of OMSP (minimum €600)
Band F 191 – 225 grams per kilometre 34% of OMSP (minimum €680)
Band G over 225 grams per kilometre 36% of OMSP (minimum €720)


Vehicle Registration Tax rates for all other categories:

Category Vehicle VRT rate
B Car derived and jeep derived vans 13.3% of OMSP (subject to a minimum tax of €125)
C Other vehicles such as tractors, large vans, lorries, vintage cars (over 30 years old), minibuses (minimum 12 passenger seats) Flat rate of €200
Motor caravans/motor homes 13.3% of OMSP
Motorcycles (new) €2 per cc up to 350cc and €1 per cc thereafter
Motorcycles (used) As for new. Total amount is then reduced by percentage depending on age (over 30 years 100% reduction)
Hybrid electric vehicles and flexible fuel vehicles* VRT relief of up to €1,500 depending on the age of the car in respect of certain series production vehicles until 31 December 2016
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles** VRT relief of up to €2,500 depending on the age of the car in respect of certain series production vehicles until 31 December 2016
Electric vehicles*** VRT relief of up to €5,000 depending on the age of the car in respect of certain series production vehicles until 31 December 2016
Electric motorcycles*** Exempt from VRT until 31 December 2016



*A hybrid electric vehicle derives its power from a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine and is capable of being driven on electronic propulsion alone for a material part of its normal driving cycle. A flexible fuel vehicle has an engine capable of using a blend of ethanol (minimum 80%) and petrol.

**A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle derives its motive power from a combination of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine, where the electric motor derives its power from a battery that may be charged from the internal combustion engine and an alternating current (AC) electric mains supply and is capable of being driven on electric propulsion alone for a material part of its normal driving cycle.

***An electric vehicle/motorcycle is propelled by an electric motor only.

How to Apply:

In order to register and pay the VRT you must bring your car for an inspection to your local NCT Centre. You must book an appointment within 7 days of your car’s arrival into Ireland and you must complete the registration process within 30 days of your arrival.

You must have a Personal Public Service Number (PPSN), proof of identity (for example your passport or driving licence) and other specified documents in order to register and pay the VRT.

You must also be able to locate the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the vehicle inspector when presenting the vehicle for inspection. At the inspection the vehicle will be examined to ensure its characteristics match those recorded in the registration documentation.

When the vehicle has been registered and the VRT paid, you will receive:

  • A receipt for the VRT paid showing the registration number assigned to your car.
  • An RF100 Form – for use when you are applying to pay Road Tax. After you have paid the Road Tax, the Vehicle Registration Certificate (VRC) will be issued to you by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.