Tuesday, 30 August 2011

How to import a non-EU motorbike into the UK

I arrived back in the UK on 9th June. My bike finally arrived on 14th July. As of today (30th August) I'm STILL not on the road. However, I've sent everything off to the DVLA and hopefully in the next day or two I should get a new vehicle registration number. It's taken two months and has driven me mad.

Below is a summary of what I have had to do. Of little interest to you unless you're going to do the same thing.

I'm off, with Tracy, on Thursday to a HU motorbike meeting (on the bike) and then it's back to work for me. I've managed to find myself a temporary teaching post - until Christmas, so I'll be gainfully employed again for a while. If it turns into a full time job, which I hope it will, it'll be short motorbike trips for the foreseable future. I've had an absolutely fantastic year and don't for a minute regret giving up my job and doing this.

I've been trying to put into words what a great time I've had on this blog and am curently trying to extend that into some sort of book. I don't know if anything will come of it but if it does I'll post something here in the future.

Thnaks for reading and ride safe :)


I've just been through the process of importing my bike into the UK and thought it might be useful to highlight the process here.

Go to this website http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/BuyingAndSellingAVehicle/ImportingAndExportingAVehicle/DG_4022583 Scroll down to the section “Previously used vehicle” and click on “Order and import pack” You will then want to click the box that says “Import Pack - Application to register an imported vehicle for use in Great Britain.”
You should then get, through the post a V55/5 form and a leaflet telling you what to do. Obviously it's all explained there but I'll summarise.

You will need to send all of the following to your local DVLA.

  1. The V55/5 form.
  2. A cheque to cover the registration fee (£55) and fee for tax disc (currently £74). You can write one cheque to cover both.
  3. A copy of a current insurance policy. It can be difficult to get insurance cover as most companies require a UK registration number which, of course, you don't yet have. I went through http://www.bikesure.co.uk/. They got me insurance for my bike with Equity Red star. You use the VIN number on your bike.
  4. A current MOT certificate. To get this you have to take your bike to a MOT test centre but you're not legally allowed to ride on the road until you have a new registration number. Catch-22.
  5. Enclose all and any documents/certificates you have showing original registration of the bike in the country you bought it. I had these so I don't know how serious it is if you no longer have these documents.
  6. Original documents confirming your name and address (ie passport. Driving license, bank statements, it tells you in the leaflet what you need)
  7. Evidence of type approval. This is a certificate showing that the bike passes EU road standards. I didn't have this (and I'm sure you won't either) so I had to get what's called a MSVA (Motorbike Single Vehicle Approval). Basically it's like an MOT test. I had to get in touch with the DVLA and find my nearest VOSA office (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency). I then booked the bike in for a half hour test. They measure distances between things, whether the lights work, emissions test etc. Costs about £70 I think. There is a link to it on the page I mentioned earlier. The link will take you here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring/BuyingAndSellingAVehicle/ImportingAndExportingAVehicle/DG_4022105 If you scroll down you will find a section called “Motorcycle Single Vehicle Approval Scheme (MSVA)”
  8. Finally you need to enclose the appropriate HM Revenue and Customs form. Mine was called a C and E 389 form. This proves that I had paid 20% VAT and 6% sales tax on the current value of the bike when importing it.(Note it's the current value, I had to go to my local bike shop and get them to print a short letter saying what they valued the bike at, scan it and email to DLVA. Again I had to get my bike to the bike shop without riding it on the road!) Hopefully, for you, this will be sorted out quickly by your importing agent. Mine wasn't and was a real hassle but eventually I got it done.

In all this took me over 2 months to complete. I took everything to my local DVLA office. A week later I got a registration number and road tax certificate.

The frustrating thing is you CAN'T ride your bike while this is going on. Except, that is, when you are taking it to VOSA for the MSVA. Then (as long as you have insurance) you're allowed on the road.

All of this IS explained in the information you get but I thought it might be useful to know this in advance. I wasn't aware that I'd have to pay 20% VAT, for example, not that it would have have made any difference to what I did and how I did it :)


  1. Thanks looking to do same as you your post helped

  2. Thanks looking to do same as you your post helped

  3. Could you not have used it with foreign Reg as I think this is allowed for six months and would have saved all that bloody hassle.

  4. Could you not have used it with foreign Reg as I think this is allowed for six months and would have saved all that bloody hassle.

  5. Could you not have used it with foreign Reg as I think this is allowed for six months and would have saved all that bloody hassle.

  6. Hi, thank you for all that information, I'm about to relocate to the UK and import my motorcycle at the same time, very useful information!
    Did you have to use a broker to clear customs when you received your bike or could you do it yourself?
    some says I need to use a broker to clear customs for my motorcycle at Heathrow but I thought I could it myself.


  7. Great summary, I'm also trying to go through this process currently, as the bike was manufactured in the EU but registered in Switzerland I'm hoping I can get a Certificate of Conformity which means I'll just need a partial MSVA.

    However, 1 question I have, did you need to apply for a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) before you could do the MSVA? and if so, did you then have to have this stamped on the bike? Is the chassis / engine number not enough?



  8. Hi I want to buy a new Kawasaki z125 pro but Kawasaki is only supplying the USA and Asia with them how can I get one to the uk and who can I get it from I'm just hitting a brick wall all the time ??? Any advice would be great