I would like to think that my posts are positive to read, maybe informative, sometimes make you smile and above all they make you want you to come back for more. There is usually an exception to any rule, and I can say I need to have a rant just to get it out of my system so I can move on and just put it all down to one of life’s little trials, if this is all I have to moan about then i am a lucky guy really.

Because I have had such a nightmare with all this registration process, I have tried to provide a user guide for importing a used car from the USA, paying the import duties, taxes and first registration here in the UK. The are screen shots, live links and examples on how to fill in the forms. Both the links are below or can be found under the “Articles” Menu above.

Importing a car from the USA – Part 1 (Tax & Duties) or click here for the link

Importing a car from the USA  – Part 2 (DVLA registration) or click here for the link

The full story:

When the wife gave me the money to purchase the car over four years ago I didn’t realise the most frustrating part of the whole restoration project was trying to get it on the road legally with all the correct paper work, which as it turned out I didn’t have. In my case the car was imported into the UK via a USAF service man while stationed over here at an Airbase. He bought over his car with him and used it for a number of years before he returned back to the USA leaving the car here which eventually ended up in the hands of the guy I bought it from. The car was on his Virginia plates when I purchased it which didn’t matter as the car was a bit of mess to put it mildly as I knew it had to be UK registered. To cut a potentially long story down the car was fully restored and an MOT issued for being road legal.


The next step is notify our Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), who in theory would issue me with UK registration plates. Part of this process involves filling in a form and supplying the insurance, MOT and ownership papers if you have them. I called them to request the appropriate paperwork and things went down hill from there. A call handler who couldn’t handle going to sleep without getting confused, said “I had to download the form from the website somewhere”. Thanks for that then, Not. I was trying not trouble Adam at Mustang Maniac and do it myself, but things were getting frustrating so I called Adam who explained I needed a few things and went on to explain it all to me. When a car is imported to the UK permanently you have to pay import duties and taxes to our government (who seem to rinse you of money no matter what you do). This confirmation of all duties paid is called a Notification Of Vehicle Arrival or NOVA. I was shown what they look like and sadly confirmed that I needed to get one. Sadly the car has never been officially imported which I was unaware of at the time, partly due to my ignorance I guess at the time of the sale.

The first step was to get this NOVA certificate and I was told to email a particular government department who responded with a form to fill in. I needed to supply import codes and details of the car. This was unbelievable task on the website as there are codes for literally everything. Eventually finding what I thought were the codes, I replied to HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue & Customs). These guys were very efficient and within a few days forwarded me another form to confirm what I had sent them and asked some additional questions. I completed the form and sent it back and within a few more days they confirmed the codes and invoice for Import Duties and the VAT owing. I paid the invoice and they send me back the critical Nova certificate. The car was now in the country, officially. So far so good and things were going well.


Back to the dregs of the gene pool where I filled in another form as before. This time I called up to say that I wanted to keep the original USA ownership certificate, just to keep with the car for provenance if you like. Now on the paperwork it does say that all paperwork must be the originals. So I wanted to see just how rigid this rule was, I was told that “a photocopy would be OK”. Two weeks later the form was rejected as I “hadn’t supplied the original ownership certificate”. So again I called up the department who told me “I should have supplied the original and nobody would have told me that a photocopy would be acceptable”. They then said that “if I supplied the original and put a covering letter in to say that wanted the original cert back it would be returned with the new registration certificate”, great I thought. So another form was filled in exactly the same as before, because I had to resubmit the application. Getting wise to these idiots i had ordered the forms in bulk from the website just in case. I wrote them a letter and sent it all back to the DVLA to the now christened “Devious Vile Losers Association”. They eventually sent me back the new registration documents and confirmation of the License plate. Brilliant, so the car is now registered in the UK and officially all paid up.

Wait, what is this in the returned pack? The original MOT, insurance certificate, NOVA form and lousy PHOTOCOPY of the ownership certificate. Not happy now. I called them up and they said “nobody would ever have said that to me, it wouldn’t have come back to me as they are sent back to the USA”. So there you have it; I have been lied to twice, and when I argued with them, they called me the liar. This is the best bit; I also received a separate letter from them posted the day before to say “they had made a mistake and sent the documents to the wrong address”. WTF? So they want me to try to track down a letter they sent to the wrong address. Now somebody else has ALL my vehicle and personal details. What a bunch of incompetent, self righteous, sellf important idiots they are. They did however send me a pre printed envelope to return the incorrect certificate, I would still have to put a stamp on it though. that makes is all OK then – I don’t think so.

Sometimes you are just better of just letting it go, but it winds me up big time. If I had told the losers that I didn’t have the ownership certificate and wrote a letter to say I own the car, I could have kept the original ownership certificate from Virginia USA. That will teach me for being honest and upfront in future with these people. I should have lied like they did to me. However, I have scanned images of their rejected forms and letters to me, so if they (DVLA) want me to prove any of this, I can. They want a perfect application from me, but they can’t even get my address correct.

So, with the new UK registration V5 form in my hand I could order the registration plates, (see previous posts). Now my car is on the road officially and I own it officially. In total all the back and forth with the DVLA it took me almost two months. The DVLA has to be the worst government department I have had the displeasure to try to deal with.

So that’s the rant over and I hope you can see why i need to get it of my chest. I feel better now, I will reread this again to see if I still feel the same in the morning. I can now put all this behind me and just get on with enjoying my car.

Next day 27th February 2016:

Yep, I still hate the department after reading all that again, I’m sad to admit that though. 🙁


On another note my car was taken on a long run yesterday, of hundred and twenty miles to be exact. Where to? Mustang Maniac of course. The journey was for two reasons, one to settle the car down on a long run, two I could have her checked over when I get there. I met up with Paul AKA “Lob Monster” just before we turned of to go to the country lanes to MM. The weekend cycle club were riding in the middle of the road, being their usual selfish selves and riding two abreast on the narrow roads. We turned up at the yard in a cool convoy, all be it only two cars making enough noise for a dozen cars. I love Flowmaster exhausts! The neutral disconnect or inhibitor switch needed a little bit of adjusting as the car would only start in the “N” neutral position sometimes, realignment was made and all is well again. Paul then checked the rear brake pads and adjusted them up for me. Now a few miles had now been put on them and should now have bedded in a bit. My car at the MM yard before the journey home. Thanks Paul (Lob Monster) for your help. Thanks to Adam for letting me pinch a ramp and move a few cars around so it could be sorted out.


The journey there and back was great, people driving past giving the thumbs up to me, lots of passengers in cars looking and somebody even taking a photo on the way home. I just love this car a no other car has ever made me feel like I do in it. Now I have an excuse to clean and polish the car again, oh well. 😀

Forgive my little rant and a long read, but next week I will make up for it as I am working on a largish post where I have all the before and after comparison photo’s. I’m enjoying putting that post together although it has taken a while to sort out the date order and trying to find similar angles before and after.

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9 thoughts on “Paperwork

  1. Having been through similar myself with the DVLA I know exactly how you feel.

    Governments seems to like privatising everything under the pretence of giving us more choice and better service but have failed to give us more choice and service on DVLA and HRMC. Both organisations are full of incompetent morons hell bent on causing as much frustration to the people who pay their wages. They should all be put up against a wall and shot. Sorry sounds harsh but I’ve had years of dealing with the inepts.

    We are threatened with fines if we fail to notify them of anything and yet they have repeatedly put the wrong information on my V5, lost my documents, sent my personal details to the wrong place and in the case of HMRC took 3 years and great legal cost to get them to pay me the money they owed me due to their incompetence in working out my tax. Yet if I fail to pay my tax on time I get fined or threatened with prison. It is about time the same rules that we have to adhere to are applied to them!

    1. Thanks for your comments and its not harsh at all, it’s true. They are just plain evil and incompetent beyond belief. They sent my v5 to god knows where and they want me to run around the neighbourhood to find it. They got another think coming, it ain’t gonna happen. I was in two minds to post this or not. But it turns out i’m not the only one to deal with these jobsworth. THe classic car section was pretty quick only because I owe them money. Like you say I want something and they can’t even get my address correct. Basics and they can’t even get that right. 🙁

  2. Reading that they won’t give you the original back hurts my hear. I wish we could claim some relation so I could get it and send it to you, but Virginia is a very strangely operated state with some of the most backward rules. I’m very happy to see you’re finally able to drive her though!

    1. Thanks Amanda, a very kind thought. But some things in life you just have to accept are not going to happen how you want them too. At least I can enjoy the car now and just move on. You know you are in for trouble if they can’t read the initial email properly at that point I just gave up unfortunately. 🙁

  3. Such a great post as usual. The stance of the car…great mirrored reflection, tires are wet, windows are spotless. Sorry, but not surprised about the mayhem of putting a lovely car on the road. There are so many aspects of life that are not connected. You would think that a system (we have it here, too) that puts cars into motion would work harder to do just that.

    1. Thank you Debbie. Post was a bit wordy, but it needs to be said. If I had of known this stuff earlier I would have done some of the paperwork at lot earlier to avoid delays. What I didn’t put in the post was that I have emailed Virginia DMV to ask if I could have the original owners cert can be sent back to me. I explained I was in the UK etc. Their response was st the same; they wanted my USA drivers licence, full name, date of birth, contact number, state zip code etc. At that response I just gave up the will to live and decided that i’m not going to get it back. A real shame. BUT, Iit’s done and all over now and I drive the car. At the end of the day, that’s all I wanted. So I am happy in the grand scheme of things. 🙂

  4. It seems like so many bureaucrats get a special kind of pleasure out making life as difficult and miserable as possible. Is it strange driving a on the left side of the car in the left lane?

    1. Hi Timothy, what a great question. I still go to get in the passenger side though and see an empty space where the wheel should be. But once I get in the car on the left side it seems natural. I’m still getting used to that long hood and how much room i need. The only thing is overtaking on narrow roads I guess where I have to check over my shoulder to make sure all is clear. The mirrors have a limited angle on the right hand side. Dual carriageway way is fine and motorways as long as I check. Funny enough that sitting in a right hand drive classic Mustang doesn’t feel right.

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