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FAQs: Motoring

Q1:  I’m thinking of importing a second-hand car from NI , but am confused about the rules. Can you clarify please?

A:  In general, all new motor vehicles and vehicles brought into Ireland are subject to Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) and must be registered with the Revenue Commissioners. If you are moving to Ireland or are already living here and you are importing a car or other vehicle, you will need to do 3 things before you can drive your vehicle in Ireland:

  1. Pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) (unless you are exempt)
  2. Have motor insurance
  3. Pay motor tax

For further information please visit Citizens Information – Importing a vehicle into Ireland.

Q2: I own a car in NI and travel over and back to Ireland a lot.  Do I need to pay car tax in both NI and Ireland?

A: No, not if your main residence is in NI and that your car is registered and taxed in NI.   You will only need to re-register and tax the car in Ireland if your main residence is there.

Q3:  Can I drive in Northern Ireland using an Irish learner’s permit?

A:  No, you cannot drive in N. Ireland on an Irish provisional licence/learner’s permit.

Q4:  I live in the Republic and have just taken over my parent’s farm in N. Ireland and have also acquired a N. Ireland registered car that is used for the farm work.  If I take this car home at nights and at the weekends will I have to pay the VRT and register it as a southern car

A:  As your main residence is the Republic it is very likely that you will have to re-register the car in the Republic and pay any motor tax and VRT. However it would be advisable to discuss your specific situation with your local tax office and take advice on whether or not a ‘business use’ exemption can be made.

Q5:  I am based in Mallow, Co. Cork and I work for a company based in Northern Ireland in sales covering the area from Dublin south to Cork.  Is it permissible for me to drive a Northern Ireland registered company car?

A: A State resident cannot normally drive a foreign registered vehicle for business use. However, there are a number of exceptional circumstances in which this rule does not apply. For further information please visit the Revenue webbpage – Temporary Exemptions  It would be advisable to contact your local tax office to discuss your specific case.

Q6:  My permanent address is in the Republic, however I work in N. Ireland and also reside there for several nights every week, paying rates, electricity etc. for my previous home.  What are the requirements for the purchase and registration of a vehicle in N. Ireland?

A: If you buy a new vehicle the dealer will usually apply on your behalf for the first vehicle licence at the same time as applying for the Registration Certificate. If you buy a used vehicle with a registration certificate the seller will add your details to the document and send it to the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA).

Every vehicle registered in the North must be taxed if used or kept on a public road. Before you can tax your vehicle you must have suitable insurance cover in place and if needed, the vehicle must be MOT tested. For further information please visit NI Direct – motoring

However you should note that if your permanent residence is in the South and you wish to take the vehicle across the border you will generally have to re-register the vehicle in the South and pay the appropriate Irish motor tax and any Vehicle Registration Tax due.