Paper work…

Hooray, the deal for the purchase of the Riley was sealed… but how was the old lady supposed to move from England to her new home in Germany?
When cowardly mentioning the option of transporting the car on a trailer, the seller was not amused…. after all, the Riley had just passed the MOT test with flying flags and has always been reliable. And then trailering it like a lame basket case? Very shocking indeed…. Well, why not trust his word and drive the lady home under her own power? But alas, we are not that far yet…

Before facing the challenge of driving an old car over hundreds of miles, the bureaucratic hurdles have to be mastered. Despite all the blessings of the EU (I know, many Brits will disagree) – there is no simple way for a non-resident to buy a car in the UK, hop in it and drive it to Germany:

A German temporary license plate is not valid in the UK; the export plate is only applicable for exports from Germany to other countries and not vice-versa. There is also no such thing as a UK temporary or export license plate.

Luckily the british vehicle licensing authority DVLA advised me that it is possible for non-residents to export a car using the existing UK license plates – as long as certain requirements are met (below example for exports to Germany):

  • The vehicle has to be taxed and has to display a valid tax disc. This also applies to vintage cars built before 1973, which are exempted from paying taxes in the UK (“£ NIL” on the tax disc). When buying a younger car, the tax disc has to be sent back to the seller after arrival so that he can claim back the remaining amounts.
  • The seller hands the complete V5C logbook to the buyer. The latter enters his details into section 6 of the document (“New keeper or new name/new address details”) and both seller and buyer complete and sign section 8 (“Declaration“) to confirm the date of the sale. In contrast to a domestic sale it is not sufficient to hand out only section 10 (“New keeper supplement“) to the seller as the German licensing authority requires the purchase contract as well as the complete V5C to register the car!
  • The seller informs the DVLA in writing about the sale, indicating the registration number, make and model, date of sale and name/address of the non-resident buyer. He should receive a confirmation letter from the DVLA within 4 weeks.
  • The car is MOT tested.
  • The driver is in possession of a licence that entitles him to drive the vehicle.
  • The driver has valid insurance cover. For exports to Germany, the german automobile Association ADAC offers a so-called “Grenzversicherung” (border insurance?), which covers a transfer period of up to 30 days. This insurance is available from local ADAC offices who require a copy of the V5C document.
    Normally this insurance only applies to foreign-registered cars that are already in Germany. However, the ADAC head office confirmed that it can also be used for imports from the UK to Germany.
  • The driver will be covered for the use of thie vehicle if they are travelling directly to a different country. Detours and longer holidays enroute are thus not possible.

It took a few days to sort out all the administrative paper work, Then we were ready to pick up the old lady and take her home…

By way of precaution, the author would like to point out that – despite correspondence in writing with the DVLA and ADAC – the procedures described above only reflect our own experiences and assumptions based on the status of 2007. The author does not accept any liability for the correctness, validity and currentness of the information! To be used at one’s own risk….

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