I've been considering the idea of buying a European registered van later this year for use in the UK as well as for regular travel in mainland Europe. I'm wondering if there is a time limit until it would need to be registered (in this case the UK), or could I just pop back with it when I needed to? And which countries would be best to buy one? I was thinking Baltic/Balkan areas. Not sure which van yet. Something common like a Ford Transit maybe. Cheap too.
It's early days and I'm just floating the idea without too much research as yet - just fishing. Maybe someone here has personal experiences, but all ideas welcome. Thanks for reading.
Quick research indicates that, as a UK citizen, I can't bring in an 'EU' vehicle unless I'm employed/self-employed where the car was registered in Europe.
Would appreciate any thoughts/workarounds on this. Thanks.
You will have a messy time with the insurance, very little else.
Firstly, trying to insure it on the mainland for use in the UK will prove a struggle.
Insuring it for use in the UK, with a UK insurer will also be excessive, as it will be left hand drive.
A R/H/D conversion is possible, but it's costly and still the insurance proposal form will ask if it's R/H/D/ and has it been converted from L/H/D. If you don't declare this and you're either stopped or involved in an incident and it is discovered that you haven't put it down on the paperwork, the vehicle will in effect be uninsured and the police can impound it on the spot. You will need to provide an insurance certificate that is valid before you can re-claim it. The costs for seizing and impounding are not cheap either.
Many Europeans that have come to the UK for full time work have had problems insuring their vehicles. It used to be easy to just drive around in the UK with a L/H/D vehicle with foreign plates, thus avoiding the tax etc. Now there are VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Service Agency) vehicles everywhere that have a camera fitted in the front that is able to instantly indicate whether or not the vehicle has the correct paperwork for use on UK roads. If they stop you and your vehicle papers are not in order, it will be seized.
Saying all that - and you're still up for it, then I would suggest Poland or Ukraine to buy one. It doesn't come much cheaper that those two countries to buy a S/H motor of any description.
You'll also need the right documentation to get it out of certain countries. There's a bit of homework involved, but it can be done.
[ Edit: Edited on 04-Apr-2010, at 14:20 by flyingbob ]