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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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:
North Ring Business Park
Santry, Dublin 9
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:
up to 1400c its 22.5%, 1401-1900cc its 25% and >1900cc its 30%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.