FTO Ireland
FTO parts listing
Pics of Irish FTO Meets
Facelift bumper upgrade guide
Contact us
Help keep FTO Ireland up and running!
Pics of Irish owned cars FTO services and parts suppliers Visit the www.fto-ireland.com forum FTO downloads FTO buying guide



Mitsubishi sign

Japanese car import guide

Revision 1.1, 01/11/2006
Compiled by Kevin O'Donovan (kevinod)

This is a guide for importing a car from Japan to Ireland. The car I imported was a 95 Mitsubishi FTO GR with a manual gearbox, but the information here applies to any car being imported into Ireland.

First step is of course to find a car you want to import. It's a good idea to know what you would pay for the model car you want if you bought it locally, and weigh that up against the full costs that come with importing a car. Every car you import from outside the EU is subject to government taxes - customs, VAT and VRT (discussed later on) so the price you pay for the car abroad is only the start of the total cost. Not to mention port charges, payments to any agents you use and of course road tax & getting the car NCT'd.

Once you've bought the car it'll need to be shipped to Dublin. Unfortunately this seems to be the only port in Ireland that used Japanese cars are shipped to.

When the ship arrives in Ireland you'll need a number of documents to take delivery of the car and to register it. Firstly to accept delivery, i.e. for the car to be taken off the ship, you'll need the original bill of lading document. This should be sent by mail from Japan once the ship leaves. There is a pre-designated company that will unload the car that you will need to provide the bill of lading to. Note that they'll only take the car off the ship and park it on the dock though, and take no responsibility for the security of the car thereafter!

When the car has arrived and has been taken off the ship, it'll be kept on the dock for customs to inspect the car. For this they'll need an invoice, which includes the cost of the car and the shipment cost to get the car to Dublin. They will also need the certificate of deregistration. At this point they'll collect the customs and VAT charges, and you will be given an RF-100 form. This form is used for registering the car and paying for road tax.

The customs and VAT charges are calculated as follows:
- they start with the cost of the car + the cost of shipping the car, I'll call it X
- customs charge is 10% of the cost of X, so running total is X * 1.1
- VAT is charged on the running total at 21%,
=> overall total is X * 1.1 * 1.21

Once the car is on the dock, you have 7 running days before they start charging a fee for keeping the car on the dock. This should be ample time to have customs and VAT sorted out. They will usually inspect the car within 2-3 days of its arrival.

For the purposes of ensuring the security of the car (doors locked and car securely parked) once it has been unloaded from the ship, and for payment of the customs and VAT charges, there are a number of agents available to do this for you. Personally I think it is well worth it, as these guys are experienced at doing this, your car is safe, and you can just collect it once the customs and VAT has been organized. The charge for this was €60 when did it in August '04 which I think was excellent value. The local agent for the shipping company will be able to recommend agents to use, but the one I used was Avant Shipping and can happily recommend them:

Avant Shipping
Unit Q2
North Ring Business Park
Santry, Dublin 9
Ph: 01-8425844
Fax: 01-8425883

The next step in the process is to register the car. This means bringing the car to a Vehicle Registration office (VRO) for it to be inspected, and the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) to be paid. VRT is a percentage of the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP), the percentage depending on the size of the car engine:

For up to 1400c its 22.5%, 1401-1900cc its 25% and >1900cc its 30%.

The OMSP is determined by the VRO. To find what the cost of VRT is, see the online VRT calculator on the Revenue Online Service here. There is also VRT FAQ on the Revenue website thats worth checking out. If you know the OSMP value, you can use the FTO-Ireland VRT Calculator (available fromthe Downloads page) to work out the landed value of the car.

I'm unsure of the legality of driving the car to the VRO, as at that stage it has no insurance\tax discs and no number plates. You may need to arrange for the car to be brought on the back of a car recovery truck. I think the shipping agents can organize registering the car & paying VRT for you for an additional charge.

For registering the car, you'll need to have the original certificate of deregistration, which will be in Japanese of course so you will also require an English translated version. This is usually sent from Japan with the certificate itself. They will also want to see the RF-100 form provided by customs. They will hold onto the certificate of registration, so if you want to keep a copy then photocopy it beforehand! The inspection seems to verify that the car being presented is the car that was deregistered, so they match the chassis number on the documents with the chassis number on the car itself. On an FTO this is (as you face the car with the bonnet open) at the back wall of the engine bay, below the wiper arms. Note: up to August last year the VRT did not accept cheques or credit cards, only cash and bank drafts.

At this point you will be issued with a car registration number (year/county/number) and you can then get your number plates. You can now insure the car as you have a registration number to give them. Note that your insurance company *may* accept the chassis number as a unique identification of the car, but again I'm unsure about the legality of driving with no number plates.

Next pay for the road tax at the motor tax office. Bring the RF-100 form, they will then issue your tax disc. Once the road tax has been paid you will be issued with a registration certificate, which will take a couple of weeks to arrive in the post. It may take a while for the car details to be registered in the NCT system, and may require a phone call to them to get them to add it in.

Once the car details have been added to the NCT system you can book the NCT and get the car tested. For imported cars however, they do not take into account the date of registration in Irelans, they take the initial date of registration in Japan as their basis. This means that your test will be backdated to whenever the last test was due for your car. In my case (1995) the NCT certification was backdated to 2003 so I was given a cert for 3.5 months. However, once you do the NCT test within 3 months of the registration date you will get it for the full 2 years + the time you did the test in advance.

This is from my own importing experience back in August 2004. It is intended as an informative guide to give an idea of what is involved in importing a car, and may not be completely accurate due to errors in recalling exact details and/or updates in regulations/legislation. No responsibility is taken for any liability incurred in any related transactions/etc. undertaken howsoever caused.

Japanese Export and Auction sites











©www.fto-ireland.com 2005
Import guide