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Importing a Motorhome from the EU is a piece of cake

Jan 27, 2020
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I'm new to this hobby but would like to share my experience in importing a motorhome in to the UK from EU. I understand things will change from the 31st Dec 2020 and it may be more difficult but for the time being its OK.

I picked up a Frankia 700i BD from Germany. Its left hand drive, speedo in KM's, continental highlights etc. Judging by other people importing cars etc I was very daunted and thought I would get lost in the paperwork and a bureaucratic nightmare. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After driving in off the ferry. I logged in online using the VOSA import declaration This took 15 mins. I was given a reference number and confirmed no VAT was due. I drove it straight in to a MOT station and they did a standard MOT check using my VIN chassis number. I was surprised that they were OK with the KM speedo and fog lights and headlight but a beam bender £4.99 was stuck on and off I went. The form from the DVLA which I printed out V55 was a bit technical. However I just put the VIN, Engine details age and colour, age and vehicle make and left out the rest. It was £55 + £265 for the road tax 12 months. It took less than a week and they sent me a new V5C and have now made up new plates etc. They never asked for purchase receipt, import docs or letter of conformity. Just the German logbook. No agency fees, no speedo overlays and no hassle

The whole process was very easy. I would recommend any thinking about this to go ahead. Its a piece of cake. Don't listen to the doom mongers saying its hard and expensive
 

Parksy

Moderator
Nov 12, 2009
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Thanks for the information Martin.
Did you save money by importingyour motorhome rather than buying in the UK?
 
Jan 27, 2020
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Thanks for the information Martin.
Did you save money by importingyour motorhome rather than buying in the UK?
Yes definitely. The same model would be £5k more. However saying that it depends what make your after. Drawbacks are left hand drive but I intend to use it on the continent.
 
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Jan 28, 2020
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It is clear from Martin’s original posting that he has imported a motorhome more than 3 years old, but it might be useful to know when the Frankia was built.

The DVLA publishes leaflet INF106 that deals with how to import a vehicle into the UK

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/860938/inf106-how-to-import-a-vehicle-into-the-united-kingdom.pdf

and this leaflet contains a number of caveats (for example)

  • after notifying HMRC about the vehicle you must register, tax and insure it before using it on the road. A UK resident must not drive a vehicle displaying foreign registration number plates in the UK.
To avoid difficulties, we advise you to:
  • transport, rather than drive, your vehicle from the port to your home or its first destination
  • keep the vehicle off the road until it has been properly registered, taxed and insured.
if the DVLA recognises that a motorhome being imported is left-hand-drive and has Type Approval, it is quite common for the vehicle’s headlamps to require replacement, for the speedometer to be adapted or replaced in order to provide a mph scale, and for the rear fog-lamp arrangement to need modifying. For some motorhome models this can prove an expensive exercise.

The UK MOT test procedure permits right-dipping headlamps to have masks or beam adapters temporarily attached to them. As long as a speedometer is fully functional it can have a km/h-only scale. A rear fog-lamp can be centrally located or on the vehicle’s UK offside, or there can be a fog-amp on each side. But the MOT test is only intended to examine safety-related aspects of a vehicle and does not override the DVLA’s UK registration requirements relating to headlamps, speedometer and fog-lamps as listed here

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/757186/motorhomes-mutual-recognition.pdf

Over the years importing of motorhomes from Continental Europe by private individuals has been discussed regularly and in depth on forums and a perennial challenge relates to legally insuring the vehicle if it to be driven back to the UK and, once it is in the UK, obtaining insurance prior to the motorhome being UK-registered. It would be worth knowing how Martin dealt with this.
 
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Jan 27, 2020
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Thanks Underwood for your reply. When I was researching this I found all sorts of barriers, from agency doing expensive type approval, conformity and all the technical euro partical readings, import docs and sale receipt. When I called DVLA at the start of the process they were very relaxed about it and told me if I wasn't sure about something to leave it blank on the V55. I actually got more info in filling out the form by a youtuber getting his bike imported (
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jvTn1SMM6s
). I copied exactly what he put. I think I only filled in 15-20 boxes including my name and address. I was told the process would take up to 6 weeks when in fact it took less than 10 days.

The DVLA never asked for proof of insurance even though I had temporary cover on the continent to bring it in. Because the age of vehicle (2003) I have a feeling the DVLA didn't want the hassle in all the technical data. Incidentally I got both plates made up using amazon seller called ALL PLATES for £12.50. They thankfully never requested my V5c or proof of ownership.

The MOT station who was very through and checked everything with a fine tooth comb had no issues with my Km/H speedo even though it had no MP/H markings or overlays. He was even helpful enough to stick on the beam benders. I was a bit worried about the weight as these rigs are 4.5 tons with a double axle but it was all good MOT type 7

In all I would not hesitate to doing it all again. Brexit date is the 31/01/20 but nothing will change until 31/12/20 so plenty of time and lets be optimistic it won't change much. I want to debunk all the red tape nonsense and reassure anyone who want to do this to go right ahead. I would be happy to answer any questions from people who are thinking about this in the future,
 
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Jan 28, 2020
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I have no practical experience of importing a used motorhome - new motorhome Yes, used motorhome No - but I think you were fortunate with the DVLA taking such a relaxed stance.

If you now contacted the DVLA and asked if they are OK that your recently-UK-registered imported Frankia motorhome still has its original right-dipping headlamps, km/h-only speedometer and (presumably) a rear foglamp on the UK nearside, you might find they would not be too happy about that.

(Incidentally, all vehicles registered as ‘motor caravans’ - irrespective of their size or weight - should be Class 4 for MOT test purposes. Class 7 relates to "Goods vehicles over 3,000kg up to 3,500kg design gross weight”.)
 
Jan 27, 2020
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I did everything by the book. I had all the right insurance and filled in the V55 in good faith. I cannot comment on the DVLA being happy or not. I answered all the questions truthfully and correctly. They must have a checklist and authorised it according to the law.

My point is people should not be scared of all the paperwork and its easier than my wildest expectations. I can only share my own experience and give advice to anyone who wants to do this route.
 
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Jan 28, 2020
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The following links relate to importing new and used motorhomes from Germany

https://www.motorhomevoyager.co.uk/know-how/how-to/importing-a-motorhome-from-germany/

http://tincanfamily.com/12-steps-to-importing-our-van/

http://tincanfamily.com/get-that-imported-motorhome-a-uk-registration/

I’m not sure how off-putting the paperwork and bureaucracy really is for a potential buyer, but a disincentive for many people is the thought of driving an expensive vehicle in Continental Europe with just the basic 3rd-party insurance cover that is provided as part of the German temporary registration procedure. It is also a lot more difficult nowadays than it used to be to obtain ‘comprehensive’ insurance that will cover the motorhome in the UK until the vehicle has been UK registered.

Going back to your original posting, if you have paid an annual ’road tax’ fee of £265 for your Frankia (example in photo below) it has been incorrectly UK-registered.

As you’ve said, a 2003 Frankia I700 BD has a maximum gross weight of 4500kg and consequently should be UK-registered in Tax Class 10 (Private HGV - vehicle weighing more than 3500kg) at an annual cost of £165.

An annual charge of £265 indicates that your motorhome has been registered in Tax Class 11 (Private/light goods vehicle weighing no more than 3500kg).

If you tell the DVLA about this ASAP, they should be prepared to correct the error and give you a refund. Otherwise you will unnecessarily be paying £100 too much every year.



frankia i700 bd.png
 
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Jan 27, 2020
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The following links relate to importing new and used motorhomes from Germany

https://www.motorhomevoyager.co.uk/know-how/how-to/importing-a-motorhome-from-germany/

http://tincanfamily.com/12-steps-to-importing-our-van/

http://tincanfamily.com/get-that-imported-motorhome-a-uk-registration/

I’m not sure how off-putting the paperwork and bureaucracy really is for a potential buyer, but a disincentive for many people is the thought of driving an expensive vehicle in Continental Europe with just the basic 3rd-party insurance cover that is provided as part of the German temporary registration procedure. It is also a lot more difficult nowadays than it used to be to obtain ‘comprehensive’ insurance that will cover the motorhome in the UK until the vehicle has been UK registered.

Going back to your original posting, if you have paid an annual ’road tax’ fee of £265 for your Frankia (example in photo below) it has been incorrectly UK-registered.

As you’ve said, a 2003 Frankia I700 BD has a maximum gross weight of 4500kg and consequently should be UK-registered in Tax Class 10 (Private HGV - vehicle weighing more than 3500kg) at an annual cost of £165.

An annual charge of £265 indicates that your motorhome has been registered in Tax Class 11 (Private/light goods vehicle weighing no more than 3500kg).

If you tell the DVLA about this ASAP, they should be prepared to correct the error and give you a refund. Otherwise you will unnecessarily be paying £100 too much every year.



View attachment 74
Thank you for the advice
 

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