autoDNA checks
English car

What does the registration of a English car look like in Poland?

28 August 2023

Western European markets have been for years an attractive place to look for reliable and suitable for further use cars. This also applies to the Great Britain – the country of cars with a steering wheel on the right side. For several years, the registration of a English car in Poland has not created as many formal and technical problems as in the past.


*The information given in the article concerns only the Polish regulations.


Pay attention

Nevertheless, due to the departure of England from the European Union, the entire import procedure has been extended and its costs have increased significantly – reducing profitability of the purchase.


On the other hand, a car imported from the United Kingdom usually costs half the price it would be for Poland, or even less. Among imported cars – also after Brexit – the first ones are still intended for spare parts, although some of them find their second life in their entirety.


What should you pay attention to when selecting a British car?

Importing British cars is very popular, but remember that such cars must meet additional requirements after Brexit. After importing the car, you need to make the following changes:

  • rescaling of the speedometer,
  • modification of the front headlights,
  • rear fog light relocation,
  • changing the inserts in the mirrors.

These modifications are due to the fact that in the UK the steering wheel is located on the right side of the vehicle. In addition to the possibility of changing these parameters when buying a car, you also need to take into account the characteristics of the car itself.


Pay attention

Not so long ago, in order to register a British car, for example in Poland, it was necessary to carry out far-reaching modifications. Importing the car was only the simplest part of the whole operation. The trouble-free registration of such a car in Poland, of course, required adapting the lighting of the vehicle to left-hand traffic – most often the front lamps were simply replaced with elements from a “European” version. However, that was not all. It was also necessary to do the steering relocation.


This involved a complete replacement of the vehicle interior (along with seats, door sides, dashboard, as well as a change of the pit (different location of the wiper drive, for example)). A skilled workshop would adjust the car to right-hand traffic in about two weeks. The huge difference in the purchase price made such a complicated operation profitable – the values of the vehicle on the British islands are very low.

The change took place a few years ago, when the legislator bowed to the pressure of European courts, allowing the free movement of used cars within the EU community without the necessity of changing the steering wheel. At that time, it was enough just to make changes to the lighting and mirrors, the steering wheel relocation was no longer required.



However, insurance companies which treat British cars as an element of increased risk on the road are of a different opinion – as a result, the liability insurance of a British car is clearly more expensive than a twin copy with a steering wheel on the right side.


Interestingly, in 2022 only 4.040 vehicles were imported to Poland from the UK.


Vehicle history

The seller should provide you with a VIN number from which you can learn the vehicle history of the car. You can do it without leaving your house.


MTPL insurance

If you decide to transport your car to Poland on your own, you must take into account that it should have a valid insurance. There is an option to use a temporary policy. This obligation applies to every registered vehicle. We strongly advise against bringing a vehicle without a valid policy – the possible financial consequences can be extremely severe during a routine roadside inspection, or even worse after an accident.


Legal issues

It is also necessary to verify the offer in terms of the legal status of the car. It is extremely important to check how many owners a particular car has had. It is also worth determining the issue of deregistering a vehicle in Great Britain.


Odometer and technical condition

Information on the odometer readings and technical condition can be checked via the provided VIN number. The mileage often shows the wear and tear of a given car, so it is worth analyzing this parameter carefully. It is also important to carry out technical tests allowing the car to be driven and registered in Poland. Contrary to appearances, Great Britain is not a country of wealthy people, on auction portals you can find many cheap, extremely neglected and under-invested copies that do not count for much anymore. Of course, you will also find copies for which the previous owner spared no expense, it is a country of huge contrasts. Cars slightly damaged due to very high repair costs are very cheap. When browsing ads, remember that the mileage is given in miles – after converting to the values known to you, you will only get the value you are interested in.


 Where to look for a British car?

It’s a good idea to search all groups and forums on social media when looking for a used British car, and if you have the opportunity, use the help of trusted people residing in the country on a daily basis. Before leaving for the United Kingdom, it is also worth keeping track of advertisements published, for example, in:

The offer for the persistent are websites of commissions, insurance companies, leasing companies or authorized dealers of specific brands that also sell second-hand cars.


How to import a British car?

In the case of cars from the UK, all the formalities are now becoming much more complicated. All because of Great Britain leaving the European Union.


Pay attention

For a potential importer of cars from the United Kingdom, the date of the first registration of a British car is crucial – a car that was registered before December 31, 2020 is treated as a vehicle from any Member State – here the fees are the same because they have a European certificate of conformity. Newer cars registered after January 1, 2021 come from outside the European Union, which raises a number of complications.


You are obliged to pay customs duties to the customs office in the appropriate amount, in addition, of course, to the excise duty and VAT. However, the biggest problem is the need to change the steering – you can no longer freely register such a vehicle in Poland, older vehicles will still easily be registered in the communication department without costly changes.


Importing a British car on your own

You can import British car yourself. Then, however, one should take into account the additional costs of fuel and the need to complete several formalities. The most important thing is to check whether the car has:

  • valid MTPL insurance,
  • valid technical inspection,
  • paid road tax.



There is also a need to notify the DVLA about the transaction. It is the British equivalent of the communication department in Poland.


Despite such a notification, you can still drive on the roads, which allows you to bring it to your country in a standard way. However, as soon as you arrive in Poland, you need to take care of the necessary formalities and register the car at a Polish office.

When planning to drive the car home, you must not only plan the route in advance, but also take into account any toll motorways on the route, and the form of reaching the continental Europe. You can choose between the Eurotunnel or numerous ferries – you can find more information in our article on toll roads/motorways in Europe.


Importing a car via an agent

A car with a steering wheel on the right can also be brought in through an intermediary. Then the company deals with a thorough check of its parameters and technical condition. The agent also makes the necessary transactions on the spot, acquires the relevant documents and brings the car directly to Poland. Most often it is done with the use of a tow truck. If the car is deregistered, such a step turns out to be necessary. The cost of organizing a tow truck is usually several thousand zlotys.


Going back to your country

From the moment you bring your car to Poland, you have 30 days to complete formal matters. You should start by paying excise duty. It amounts to:

  • 3.1% for cars with an engine capacity of up to 2000 cm3,
  • 18.6% for cars with an engine capacity of over 2000 cm3.

If the car has valid insurance and tests, you can use it around Europe, which allows you to enter Poland as well. In Poland, however, it is necessary to immediately proceed with the modification of the car and the translation of documents. A technical inspection will also be necessary.

However, it should be remembered that after Brexit, the steering wheel on the right is not accepted by EU standards. This applies to cars that were registered in the UK after 31 December 2021. For this reason, importing cars with a steering wheel on the right after Brexit becomes much more difficult, and sometimes even completely impossible due to the lack of profitability. On the other hand, you can buy completely new cars in the UK, and then register them for the first time directly in Poland.


Car registration in Poland – step by step

After bringing the car from the UK to Poland, it is necessary to register it. This process requires the organization of specific documents. British cars also need to be prepared for Polish conditions in terms of the arrangement of the steering wheel.


Documents needed to register a British car

After finalizing the transaction with the seller, you will receive an invoice or a purchase contract. Such a document is necessary to register a car in Poland. It is also necessary to complete a special registration certificate and send it to the DVLA. On this basis, you can temporarily move around the Great Britain.


At the beginning, an excise duty must be paid. Later, it is necessary to make modifications, because in the UK the most important elements of the vehicle are on the right side. Only after such works can you go for a technical inspection. The next step is to visit the office and present documents such as:

  • vehicle log book V5c (this document has been in color red since 2010, and the prints issued in the years 2004-2010 are in blue)
  • your ID,
  • translated purchase and sale agreement,
  • confirmation of the technical examination,
  • proof of payment of excise duty or exemption from it (in both cases AKC–4/E form), if the car previously belonged to you at least 6 months (the so-called resettlement property). The excise duty is 3.1% for engine capacity up to 2 liters and 18.6% for engine capacity above and 1.55% or 9.3% for hybrids. To register a car on the basis of a temporary vehicle registration book, all you need is proof of payment to the account of the relevant Customs Chamber. When receiving the permanent proof, i.e. the target document, you must show the confirmation generated from the system
  • exit plates,
  • confirmation of deregistration of the car in England.


english car registration certificate V5C

english car registration certificate V5C


Costs of car registration

The cost of registering a car from the UK varies from case to case. Modifications consisting in adjusting the layout of the steering wheel and mirrors usually cost up to several thousand zlotys. Excise duty and translation of documents must be added to this amount.

Other costs are as follows:

  • vehicle card – PLN 75,
  • license plates – PLN 80,
  • time permit – PLN 13.50,
  • verification marks – PLN 85.
  • vehicle registration fee – PLN 0.50,

Such fees are fixed. However, it is different in the case of excise duty, which usually amounts to several thousand zlotys. Nevertheless, its payment is necessary to complete further formalities at the office in Poland.

For vehicles registered in England after January 1, 2021, VAT needs to be paid, the basis for its calculation is: customs value of the car, customs duty, excise duty. Remember that only completing the formalities fully allows you to register a British car.


Translating the documents

In the case of cars from the UK, it is also necessary to translate more documents than in the case of purchasing cars from European Union member states. This is mainly about the vehicle registration book. Remember about such formalities immediately after bringing the car to Poland. It is mandatory to use the help of a sworn translator, because only such translations are accepted by Polish authorities.

A purchase and sale agreement should also be provided in Polish. For this reason, many people decide to prepare such a document in two versions at once. However, it sometimes happens that the office needs confirmation of the compliance of the content of both variants of the contract.


Technical review of the vehicle

Before registering a car in your country, you also need to perform a technical examination. In this case, however, there are often complications due to the fact that the steering wheel is located on the right side by default. 

As we have mentioned before, for cars registered for the first time before the end of 2020, to pass the inspection, it is enough to make changes to the lighting and mirrors – the cost of the entire operation will not be huge. The legal registration of a British car registered for the first time after 1 January 2021 looks completely different – then the new owner is obliged have the steering relocated to the left side. The cost of the entire operation will easily exceed even PLN 10.000 in cheap cars, while in premium cars the final bill will be many times larger – choosing new interior elements in accordance with the factory specification will prove to be a huge problem. Only after the steering relocation and with a positive result of the technical examination can you go to the communication department. However, the statutory 30 days you have to obtain license plates may not be enough for you to perform all the modifications – the mere collection of the necessary parts may take weeks. Then you have a temporary plates, giving you additional time to complete the entire operation as well as the necessary formalities. It will take you one visit to the office to have a temporary permit issued. Then you leave the existing registration plates in the office when attaching the proper plates.


Did you know?

Remember that the diagnostician may question the diligence and quality of the modernizations carried out. A garage-done steering relocation can be a source of a lot of problems. And the cost of the inspection itself is the same as in other cases.


Vehicle registration english car

Is it worth buying a British car?

The prices of used cars in the United Kingdom compared to the Polish reality are simply ridiculous, as they are often more than half lower than in Poland. Yes, finding a perfectly maintained copy is not a problem, as is all import logistics. The point of the whole project depends on the basic issue – the real price opportunity is the registration of a British car in Poland without changes to the steering system (it must therefore be a copy with the first registration before the end of 2020). You just need to be ready to drive on the right side every day – and to pay much more expensive liability insurance. Only in this case will you get the final savings – the downside will be, of course, the huge problem with selling the car and its negligible value on the market. When buying a copy registered after January 1, 2021, you will be forced to make a considerable expense, which is the steering relocation, such a complicated procedure can ruin all the savings generated by cheap car purchase.



A properly verified car can serve for many years, maintaining its great technical condition.


Car transport is therefore profitable, and every year thousands of cars from the United Kingdom are imported to Poland. However, they are much less popular than cars from countries where the steering wheel is on the left side.



It is good to know

Are you interested in this article? Also check out the products offered by autoDNA – a leading provider of vehicle history reports in Europe and the US. VIN check can help you guard against additional costs associated with buying a car with an unknown past. The service is available 24/7 throughout the year. You will perform a free VIN lookup by using the Internet and having the body number (VIN) of the vehicle you want to check.





Also read about import:

  1. a car from Germany
  2. a car France
  3. a car from Italy
  4. a car from the Netherlands
  5. a car from Belgium
  6. a Danish car
  7. a car from Austria
  8. a Swedish car
  9. Ukrainian car

The necessary documents, payment of excise duty and, of course, technical modifications may
easily take more than the aforementioned 30-day limit. In such a situation, you may apply for
a temporary registration book, gaining additional days for legal implementation.

It all depends on the date of first registration of the car in England. For vehicles with the date
of first registration by the end of December 2020, the registration rules and the necessary
documents are analogous to other European Community countries - proof of purchase,
deregistration, first technical examination in the country, sworn translation of specific
documents and payment of excise duty. For newer cars, import duty and VAT are to be paid in

What does the registration of a English car look like in Poland?
Article Name
What does the registration of a English car look like in Poland?
Vehicle registration of an English car in Poland may differ from that of a vehicle bought in the country. How to buy such a vehicle?
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo