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How to Move to Ireland With A Car : All You Need to Know

What's in this article?
  1. What Are The Requirements For Transporting A Car To Ireland?
  2. Making Sure Your Car Is Ready For Export In The Us
  3. What You'll Need For Customs Clearance In Ireland
  4. Can I Apply For Tax And Duty Exemptions?
  5. How You Can Ship Your Vehicle
  6. Container Shipping
  7. Roll-Off And Roll-On Shipping
  8. Shipping A Vehicle To Ireland Temporarily
  9. Shipping Costs, Time, And Which Port You Should Choose?
  10. Registering Your Car In Ireland
  11. Quick Overview Of The Process
How to Move to Ireland With A Car : All You Need to Know

Moving is stressful; taking your car halfway around the world is even worse. There are things to handle in the US before it's approved for transport, and there's a whole new set of rules for your destination.

It's an overwhelming process when you're doing everything alone, so it's good to get a head start by becoming familiar with the basics to know what you're doing. If you're moving to Ireland, here's everything you need to know to take your vehicle with you:

What Are the Requirements for Transporting a Car to Ireland?

One good news is that since Ireland is part of the European Union, transporting a car is relatively straightforward. You'll need only essential documents, and there aren't a lot of hoops to jump through.

The only major department you'll have to tackle is Customs, where you'll have to pay taxes unless exempted. Once you submit your documents to a reliable shipping company, you'll be able to relax as they handle the rest of the process for you.

The rules and regulations are standard across the European Union, so once you complete all the necessary procedures in the US, there isn't much to worry about once the car reaches Ireland.

It's also simple to ensure your car is up to fuel and emission standards because they're the same. Currently, the European Union implements Euro 6 standards, the sixth level of the EU directive.

It aims to reduce van and car pollutants from gas and diesel cars and is designed to reduce pollution across the continent. First introduced in September 2015, it forbids emissions over 80mg/km of Nitrogen Oxide gas.

If you have a European-manufactured car, it'll already be built according to these standards. You won't have trouble with others either, and simple documentation will let your car be entered into Ireland.

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Making Sure Your Car is Ready for Export in the US

Before you ship your car to Ireland, you'll need to clear the process in America. First, partner with a reliable shipping company, like A1 Auto Transport, that will take care of everything on your behalf.

Next, you'll submit the necessary documents: a manufacturer's statement of origin (MSO), certificate of title, passport, lien release documents, and export Power of Attorney, which allows them to make decisions on your behalf.

Try to pay off your car if it's financed or leased because lienholders may not allow it to be exported to another country. If an issue arises, you can take out a loan in Ireland to pay it off in the US.

Your documents need to be submitted to US Customs and Border Protection, along with a USPS form, at least 72 hours before export to be approved. They will inspect your car at the port to ensure it complies with regulations.

That's why a shipping company helps you clean your car before export; any dirt inside or outside can cause problems. You also need to ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and its tank should be almost empty.

Finally, you'll be ready to ship your vehicle to Ireland.

What You'll Need for Customs Clearance in Ireland

As mentioned, Ireland being part of the European Union means that only essential documents are required for entry. You'll need:

  • Proof of ownership: you'll need to submit its original title.
  • Proof of insurance in the US: to exempt you from taxes, you'll need to submit to prove you've had insurance for a minimum of 6 months.
  • Bill of sale or purchase invoice: this document should include when, where, and the price of the vehicle.
  • Certificate of registration.
  • Evidence of residency in Ireland.
  • Irish Customs Form
  • Documents detailing any personal effects inside the car.

Remember that if you decide to transport something with the car, e.g., a suitcase, you'll need a separate Customs form which lists all the items. It also can't contain any hazardous materials, liquids, or perishable items.

Ireland and the rest of the Union use the news Automated Import System (AIS), which lets you generate a Customs form. Every customs declaration's validation, processing, duty accounting, and clearance is done through it.

It will also give you any required information on what's prohibited or needs a license. Most of this process will be handled by your shipping company unless you need to sign any document.

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Can I Apply For Tax and Duty Exemptions?

You can get exempted from the Value Added Tax (VAT) by categorizing it as part of personal goods and household effects as long as you fulfill a few conditions.

It would help if you had bought it outside the EU, and must have driven it for a minimum of six months. Additionally, you'll need to have paid the sales tax.

To apply for exemption, you'll need:

  • Application for exemption.
  • Invoice of car.
  • Evidence of ownership.
  • Receipt to prove you've paid sales tax.
  • Certificate of insurance for a minimum of six months before entering the country.
  • Proof of residency outside the EU for at least a year before import.
  • Shipping document for belongings.

Remember that you must also retain the car for personal use for at least 12 months after arrival in Ireland. Unless you fulfill all the mentioned requirements, you won't be exempt from paying the VAT.

How You Can Ship Your Vehicle

Once you've handled all the documents, you must decide which shipping method you'll opt for. There are two standard methods, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Container Shipping

Container shipping is the most reliable method to transport your car anywhere. It means that you will rent an entire 20ft. container for your vehicle, especially a car, so it's safe. In Ireland's case, it's also faster unless it gets held up at Customs.

It's also the more expensive method. However, you can also go for a 40ft. container.

This means your car will be shipped with another, usually to the same destination. Since you are splitting costs with another person, it costs less than a 20ft. container.

If your car is on the expensive side, then a separate container will ensure it's secure. Additionally, you can also send some extra luggage, like a suitcase or two, inside the car.

Container shipping is also faster when it comes to Ireland unless issues arise once at the port.

Roll-off and Roll-on Shipping

RoRo shipping has recently gained popularity as it's more affordable than containers.

It's cheaper because instead of a separate container, the car is securely strapped to the deck of the freight ship. You also won't have to pay the transportation costs of a container (which must be carried off the ship with a crane).

The car is rolled off the deck, where you can pick it up, hence the name.

The drawback to this procedure is that because the space needs to fill up, your car is one among many; it can take longer to reach than container shipping. The arrival dates can also be inconsistent, so it might cause inconvenience if you have to pick it up from out of the city.

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Shipping a Vehicle to Ireland Temporarily

If you're a tourist or only staying for a short while, you'll be exempt from fulfilling many regulations, although you still need to submit the documents.

Like most of the EU, you can keep a foreign vehicle in the country for 12 months, after which you'll need to export it.

This exemption is only applicable if the car is registered and taxed in another country. It must also be owned by someone with permanent residency in another country and shouldn't be used for commercial purposes, lent, or hired out by an Irish resident.

Additionally, it also shouldn't be driven by a permanent resident. If you go for an exemption, remember to keep your papers with you all the time because authorities will inspect them at checkpoints.

In some instances, you might be able to apply for a more extended exemption. However, your car or motorcycle won't be eligible if you're a student in Ireland or only have to travel there frequently for work.

Shipping Costs, Time, and Which Port You Should Choose?

The average shipping prices are around $2400 to $5000. This amount includes the total costs.

This covers port to use, shipping, container storage, warehouse storage, and transportation. The costs fluctuate according to your shipping method, as it is cheaper for RoRo shipping.

Generally, expect a timeframe of 14 to 27 days. If we take Dublin, the principal port, it can take up to 43 days if the car sets out from the California port. On the other hand, it'll be around 26 to 27 days from the New York port.

Ireland's most famous shipping destinations are Dublin, Waterford, Tallaght, Limerick, Galway, Cork, and Dún Laoghaire. Dublin is the most prominent as it's located in the capital.

Most probably, your car will go to the latter. However, your destination can change depending on your new accommodation. Your shipping company can also transport your vehicle to your doorstep, so you won't have to worry about driving out.

Registering Your Car in Ireland

Finally, once your car has gone through Customs, all you need to do is register it before being able to drive it legally in Ireland.

First, you must take your car to a registration inspection station within seven days of arrival. You'll have a month to complete the registration process. Finding a station is relatively easy, as you can find your local one on any map.

You'll have to pay the Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT), calculated at 20-30% of the car's open market selling price (OMSP). It's higher in Ireland compared to other countries because it's calculated according to CO2 emissions.

Next, you'll get your new local license plates. After that, you must obtain auto insurance and pay the motor tax before completing the registration process.

After the procedure, you can legally drive your car on roads in Ireland.

Quick Overview of the Process

Now that you have all the details regarding transporting your car from the US to Ireland, here's a quick overview of the process:

  • First, partner with a reliable shipping company.
  • Gather and submit all the relevant documents, including an Irish Customs form.
  • Choose your preferred shipping method; a container or RoRo.
  • Apply for VAT exemption if you fulfill the necessary conditions.
  • Register your car at a national testing center.

Ensure you have all your documents at least a month before export from the US to guarantee a hassle-free process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Import a Left-Hand Drive Car to Ireland?


Why Does Ireland Have a Simple Import Procedure?


Why Does RoRo Shipping Take Longer Than Container Shipping?

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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