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Importing a brand new Cali from Europe



T5 Beach 4Motion

I'm very close to take delivery of my brand new California Beach. Because (for several reasons) I've bought it in Spain, I'll will deal with the process of importing it to get it registered in UK.

I'm writing this post with two goals:
1) Get as much suggestion people of this forum can provide me to deal this process the smoother I can.
2) To document all the steps, tip, etc in order others can use it in a future

Below I've summarized the whole process with the steps and requirements... I'll edit this post to update it as I carry on.


1) Buy a brand new California in Europe
- Brand new vehicle (unregustered, less than 6 months old and less than 6000 kilometers)
- Not VAT paid (to be done in UK)
- Not registered (to be done in UK)

- Likely to have no righ to the 3th year UK warranty
- Ask for the Original European Certificate of Conformity (CoC) to the dealer

a) Buy a brand new Cali in Europe
b) Transport the new cali to UK

- And European brand new Cali in UK
- Original European Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

2) Inssurance for the Cali based on VIN number
- It MUST be a British inssurance

a) Suscribe an issurance based on VIN number

- Cali inssured

3) Get garage evidence that the Cali meets the United Kingdom national requirement
- This must done in a garage that is, at least, one of the following: an MOT test station / a VAT registered garage / a
garage registered with Companies House.

a) UK specification headlights
b) Dual marked speedometer
c) Suitable rear fog-light(s)

- Original, detailed, garage invoice / statement: The statement must be on full garage headed paper, giving their full contact details including their MOT test station
number / VAT number and registered address / Companies House number and registered address. It needs to quote
the 17 digit vehicle chassis (VIN) number, be dated and make clear the garage has worked on, or inspected the

4) Certificate of Mutual Recognition
- Original European Certificate of Conformity (CoC) (From step1)
- Garage evidence that the vehicle meets the United Kingdom national requirements (From step 3)

a) Fulfill and send the VCA mutual recognition form (£100 payment information in the form)

- VCA certificate

5) Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) service to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Not sure yet

a) Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA)

- Not sure yet

6) Vehicle registration
- Documents you can use to confirm your name (Passport)
- Documents you can use to confirm your address (recent utility bill - eg gas, electricity, water, landline)
- payment for the vehicle tax (From step 5)
- a certificate of newness (no idea yet about this)
- an insurance certificate (From step 2)

a) V55/4 form to register a new vehicle, including new imported vehicles and newly-built (kit) cars
b) New registration fee of £55

- Registration number which should be used to get the Cali's plates

Hi, right as this moment I'm facing steps 1 and 2: Buying my California in Spain and insuring it in UK.

I had to wait for 6 months until today, when my dealer informed me that my Cali it's already made and near to reach Santander, the point where all Spanish Californias enter into the country. I've got not yet a definitive delivery date, but it's estimated to be due about Easter.

Buy the California was nor easy from UK because most of the communication were done my email. The problem mainly is that VW dealers don't need to sell, they just dispatch Calis, so no pressures...

As a British resident, I have to register my Cali in UK, which means also pat VAT here. After very long time negotiation with several dealers (some of them in Germany, but mostly around Spain), I've found one that: a) sold me the Cali for a reasonable price, b) quoted my current car as part-ex fairly and c) willing to manage the non-VAT non-plates operation.

To transport it I've asked to get temporary Spanish plates (green plates). This ones are used for temporary purpose, like this one. I've investigated whether in UK there are some similar option, but I haven't found one. There are more European countries which provides this kind of plates, like Germany. In the worst case, you have to transport delivering it by some special transport company.

I'm also in the process of ask for insurance quotations. Don't know yet how this will go. So far it's not being easy because my Cali is not yet registered and it's LHD, so usually no "next-next-next buttons" works and I have to keep long conversations with insurance companies and waiting to tell whether they do/don't cover my Cali.

The insurance is getting a little challenging to me, because next Friday I'll drive to Spain and would like to sort all up before I leave, but it's going very slow. So far asked in Admiral, Aviva and Adrian Flux. I'm very busy, so no lot of time to call and provide again and again the same bunch of information.

I'll have a look in this forum for other suggestions.
Yesterday I was stuck in a loop:

1) Insurance company (the one contacted with me so far) doesn't allow my drive mi Cali until it's been registered
2) To start the registry process I have to bring to UK my Cali to carry on with some steps
3) To bring to UK my Cali I need an insurance
4) GO TO 1

So plan B: I'll get a temporary insurance in Spain that allow me, for 60 days, drive my Cali around Europe using Spaniards temporary plates. That cost around 140 euros today. I know that in other Europeans countries you can also get such an insurance.

I was also informed that I'll be able to take delivery of my Cali next Wednesday:bananadance
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Finally I had to get a temporary insurance in Spain because, despite its possible to get in UK an insurance based in VIN number, they don't allow me to use my Cali, which don't help to transport it from Spain. So now it wearing a nice green Spanish transit plate and temporary insurance which allow me to use the Cali during two months.
DONE!!! 5) Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) service to tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

That's very straightforward by using HMRC web page. After fulfill the form you gen an acknowledge number which you use to transfer the VAT money they calculate.Still waiting for final confirmation.
Working on step 3) Get garage evidence that the Cali meets the United Kingdom national requirement.

Just got an appointment with a VW dealer to replace the headlamp and change rear fog lights. The dual km/mph speedometer should be OK for the VCA because you can set permanently mph..... let's see
Hi Estresao,

I'm in a similar position, just a few days ahead of you, at least so far..... Currrently lodged NOVA with HMRC and applied for registration with DVLA, and wating for the go ahead to get UK plates. I am for the time being on 'permanent' Danish plates, but eligibiliy for those is actually just a short grace period as I have moved from there now, despite what my picture might sugggest. This means that I am registering the vehicle as 'Used', although it is a 'New Means of Transport' as far as HMRC is concerned.

But my good news was that the headlights the UK VW centre ordered turned out to be the same as the ones already installed. I think that may have been Hannover's interpretation of 'Right Hand Drive', depsite being licensed for the Danish market.Their local Kommune (District Councils) often get RHD as they spend a lot of time pulling into the side of the road for their work. Same in Switzerland, I believe.

Or maybe the lights are just neutrally aligned, in which case you too might be lucky.....

In any event, good luck with the process
Hi Bluevan, I'm still waiting my dealer send me the CoC from Spain to get the VCA certificate :headbang

I think, in the mean time, I should ask DVLA for the package
Hi Estresao,

I'm also just doing similar at the moment, I have just sent off my VCA.

One thing that I don't see you mention is that in order for the car to be registered as 'New' in the UK it must be registered within 14 days. As I am finding out this is pretty tough as the VCA postal application takes 5 days to process, with 1 day postage each way that's already 7 days out of the 14. The headlight I ordered didn't turn up either, took 4 days, timings are tight!

I'm not 100% certain what the implications are of not registering within 14 days - maybe the V5 simply states "Used"!?
14 days!?!?! From when??? :Nailbiting

I'm still waiting the CoC from VW, actually have no news about when I'll receive it, despite I was repeating to them how important it is, from the begining, more than 6 month ago when I placed the order :headbang
I believe it's 14 days from the tyres touching UK soil.

The other 14 day limit is here:
Only applies if you wish to register as new.

You may find you don't require the Mutual Recognition VCA application, it depends what your Cert of Conformity states. Mine states the following (its not a VW)

Hence I need to apply for Mutual Recognition....:headbang
The dealer who sold you the van really should have provided you with the CoC at time of purchase.

Definitely worth requesting your import pack if you haven't already as it takes time to arrive.
Hi Danny13,

I know they should, and they also know it because I was months insisting, but they don't so far.... I'm so frustrated!

They sent me a copy of the CoC, but it's in German. Anycase, I need the VCA certificate to get approval for the LHD modifications.

I've already asked for the import pack to DVLA by Internet, so hopefully I'll receive it soon.

I've yo register it as new, I've already paid VAT in UK anf notified the arraival to HMRC. If I don't did it, I hace to register it before in Spain, with is veeeeeeeeeeery expensive (21% VAT + 14% registration fees)
I think it is acceptable for the CoC to be in German, my manufacturer's one (Fiat) is in Italian.
Might be worth calling DVLA, they can be quite helpful. I also need to call them as I don't think my registration will be submitted within 14 days.
Yes it is, but I have to send the original document, which I have not yet. Only have an email attachement :headbang
Confirmed!! My CoC is still in Spain :headbang:headbang:headbang:headbang:headbang

They send it on Tuesday.... by regular mail rather a delivery company... it could take ages :headbang:headbang:headbang:headbang
Sent an email to DVLA to clear up the 14 days point..... We have 14 days to notify HMRC that the vehicle is i the country, but not for the whole process.

I've notified HMRC the arrival of my Cali right next day it touched British soil, so I'm done (this requirement)... PHEEEEWWWWWW!!!! :bananadance

By the way...... still waiting my CoC :headbang
Sweet! I called DVLA today and they also stated that there was no requirement to register within 14 days.
Very confusing as it states the following here:
You can drive a vehicle to the UK and register it as ‘new’ if all the following apply:
  • it’s registered within 2 weeks of collection (extended to one calendar month at peak periods, eg before 1 March and 1 September)
Also chased up my NOVA, I have to resubmit via paper now because HMRCs online system is screwed :headbang:headbang

That'll add an extra 3 weeks before I can drive on the road :headbang

At least my VCA approval arrived today :bananadance
It sound great!

I had no problems with NOVA, is was very smooth to me and no problems by Internet. It's a pity you're experiencing problems.

Finally I've received my CoC, so today it was sent to VCA. I guess I'll get some response next week..... let's see.
Finally I had to get a temporary insurance in Spain because, despite its possible to get in UK an insurance based in VIN number, they don't allow me to use my Cali, which don't help to transport it from Spain. So now it wearing a nice green Spanish transit plate and temporary insurance which allow me to use the Cali during two months.

Quick question, how did you manage to get these temporary green Spanish transit plates? Did the dealer arrange this?