A Guide To Buying A Car From Japan

Many people choose to import cars from Japan because of their efficiency and technology, but it can seem daunting when trying to buy and import a vehicle from Japan for the first time.

Fear not, as we have broken down everything you need to know about buying and importing a car from Japan, so you can have a stress-free experience!

Here at Advance Insurance, we offer specialist Japanese Import Car Insurance, so you can be sure that your car will clear customs without any issues. Get in touch today to find out more!


Why Should You Import a Car From Japan?

There are a number of advantages to importing a car rather than buying one in the United Kingdom.

Lower Costs

Although it may not sound true, importing a car from Japan can actually be cheaper than buying a new car in the UK. Used cars are kept in great condition in Japan, and are sold at a great value, and new cars are generally a lot cheaper than they are in the UK. You may also find higher-spec models available for a lower price.

Wide Range of Cars

In Japan, there are cars on the market that you are not able to get in the UK, so if you are looking for a specific model you may find that it is only available in Japan.


How To Buy and Import a Car From Japan

In most cases, the car is bought using a company that specialises in selling cars and shipping them to the UK, or through an online auction. Both methods will more than likely include shipping at an added cost, so you won’t have to worry about finding a shipping company yourself.

Once you’ve chosen your car, make sure to research whether there are any restrictions on its use in the UK. This could be due to its age, model or any added specifications.

If everything looks good, you can make your payment to the seller and arrange the shipping to your nearest port. Commonly, the price of shipping is given before it is shipped, so you do not need to worry about unexpected costs when it arrives.

You may want to take out shipping insurance for its journey.


What To Do When Your Car Arrives

Once you have received your car, there are a number of procedures that you need to follow.

Inform HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

You have 14 days from your car’s arrival to let HMRC know that you have imported the car from Japan, before registering the car in the UK. If your car has an engine below 49cc, or 7.2kw if it is electric, you do not need to inform HMRC before registering it. If you fail to inform them within 14 days, you will have to pay late fines.

Pay Import Duties and Taxes

Cars that are imported from Japan are subject to VAT and duty. Import VAT is 20% and duty is 10%. HMRC will inform you how much you owe after you have declared the car.

Get Your Car Tested

Before you can register your car within the UK, it must pass the Individual Vehicle Approval Test (IVA). This test is imposed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and tests cars build for the non-European market to ensure they comply with all UK laws.

If the car you are importing is older than 10 years old, it does not need an IVA certificate.

Register the Car

Finally, you will need to register your new car and pay the £55 fee to tax it.


What Documents Do I Need To Clear Customs?

  • Bill of Lading
  • Deregistration certificate
  • Proof of original identification
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of address
  • Motor insurance from a UK company
  • If you’re importing for commercial reasons you will also need the Trader’s Unique Reference Number


How To Register a Used Car Imported From Japan

To register a used car in the UK, provided you have reached all the other prerequisites, you must then fill out the V55/5 form from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Once you have filled this out and it is approved you will receive the V5C registration certificate.

Share blog post


advance insurance

New Business
8 Avon Reach
SN15 1EE

Advance insurance

16 High Street
BA13 3BW

Advance insurance

Imperial House,
College Court,
Regent Circus,

Advance insurance

16 Fore Street
BA14 8HA