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Importing your car from South Africa to the United Kingdom

Why choose My Car Import?

Shipping and importing a car from South Africa is often very cost effective.

We have a large amount of imports meaning you can benefit from shared container rates for shipping. Our quotes are fully inclusive and are tailored to your needs for importing a car from South Africa to the UK.

You can find out more about the process of importing your car from South Africa on this page, but don’t hesitate to get in touch and speak with a member of staff.


We can manage the process of shipping your car from South Africa to the UK


We take care of any customs clearance or export requirements


We can store your South African vehicle at our premises until it is registered


Any required modifications are conducted at our premises


We can IVA test and MOT test your vehicle onsite


Everything is handled for you up until the point your car is registered

What is the process for importing a car from South Africa?

My Car Import is one of the most trusted and efficient importers in the United Kingdom. On your behalf we take care of the intricate process of importing cars from South Africa to the United Kingdom with decades of experience. We are here to alleviate the complexities of international car importation, ensuring a seamless experience for you.

The process begins with a quote form which provides us with the details of your car or motorbike that you would like to import from South Africa to the United Kingdom. Every quote we provide to import your car from South Africa to the United Kingdom is bespoke to you.

From dealing with paperwork, customs regulations, and compliance procedures, to arranging shipping and transportation, My Car Import is here to handle every detail.

Navigating the legal intricacies of cross-border car importation demands an in-depth understanding of both the origin and destination country’s regulations. My Car Import’s experienced team , ensuring that every aspect, from emission standards to car modifications, adheres to UK standards. By overseeing the necessary modifications and testing procedures, we guarantee the imported cars meet the stringent criteria laid out by the UK authorities.

In terms of logistics, My Car Import handles the entire shipping process, utilising our network of trusted partners to transport cars securely from South Africa to the UK. We are also adept at the handling of documentation and customs clearance procedures to avoid any issues during the importation of your car.

What truly sets My Car Import apart is our commitment to transparency. Throughout the process you will be kept informed about each milestone, and any queries you have will be promptly addressed. This open communication fosters trust and peace of mind, enabling our clients to have peace of mind when it comes to importing their cars to the United Kingdom.

Get a quote to import your car or read on for more information about the import process from South Africa to the United Kingdom.


We ship your car from Cape Town and can organise inland trucking to the port for very competitive rates.

We operate from cape Town due to healthy relationships with reliable and experienced shipping agents who ship the cars using shared containers, meaning you benefit from a reduced rate for moving your car to the UK due to sharing the cost of the container with other cars we are importing on behalf of our other clients.

Container shipment is a safe and secure way to import your car into the UK and is often the most cost effective.


Customs clearance

The customs clearance process and paperwork required to clear your car are handled by ourselves to ensure your car does not incur any additional storage fees.

Once the car has cleared customs we make sure it is transported to the correct location in the United Kingdom. Most cars from South Africa will come straight to our premises for further modifications or storage.

Sometimes we can deliver the car straight to you if it is something like a Classic car.

Once your car has cleared customs and is delivered to our premises we modify the car

The car is modified and tested by ourselves for compliance in the United Kingdom.

After which all relevant testing is undertaken onsite at our privately owned IVA testing lane.

  • We modify your car at our premises
  • We test your car at our premises
  • We take care of the entire process

Moving back to the United Kingdom?

A large number of individuals decide to bring their cars back from South Africa taking advantage of the tax-free incentives offered when relocating.

We can assist in taking care of the car whilst you are in the process of moving. If you have chosen to ship your personal belongings along with your car in the same container we are also on hand to collect the car on your behalf.

Frequently asked Questions

What is the process for importing cars under ten years old?

We do this using an IVA test. We have the only privately operated IVA testing facility in the UK, meaning your car will not be waiting for a testing slot at a government testing centre, which can take weeks, if not months to obtain. We IVA test every week on-site and therefore have the fastest turnaround to get your car registered and on UK roads.

Every car is different and every manufacturer has different support standards for assisting their clients through the import process, so please get a quote so we can discuss the optimum speed and cost option for your circumstances.

We manage the whole process on your behalf, whether that is dealing with the homologation team of your car’s manufacturer or the Department for Transport, so you can relax in the knowledge that you will be legally registered with the DVLA in the shortest time possible.

Australian cars may require some modifications, including the speedo to display an MPH reading and the rear fog light positioning if it is not already universally compliant.

We have built an extensive catalogue of the makes and models of cars we have imported so can give you an accurate estimate of what your car will require to be ready for its IVA test.

What is the process for importing cars over ten years old?

Cars over 10 years old are type approval exempt but still require a safety test, called an MOT, and similar modifications to an IVA test prior to registration. The modifications depend on the age but are generally to the rear fog light.

If your car is over 40 years old it does not need an MOT test and can be delivered directly to your UK address ahead of it being registered.

How long does it take to transport a car from South Africa to the United Kingdom?

The duration it takes to transport a car from South Africa to the United Kingdom can vary based on several factors, including the mode of transportation, the specific route, customs procedures, and any unforeseen delays. Here are some general estimates for different modes of transportation:

Shipping by Sea: Shipping a car from South Africa to the United Kingdom by sea is a common method. The duration can vary depending on the shipping route, the shipping company, and the port of departure and arrival. On average, it can take around 4 to 6 weeks for the sea journey. However, this is a rough estimate, and actual transit times can be influenced by factors like weather conditions, customs clearance, and the specific shipping schedule.

Customs Clearance: Clearing customs at both the departure and arrival ports can take time. Proper documentation, import permits, and compliance with customs regulations are crucial to avoid delays. Customs clearance might take a few days to a week or more, depending on the efficiency of the processes and any potential issues that arise.

Unforeseen Delays: Various unforeseen factors can impact the transportation process, such as adverse weather conditions, port congestion, or logistical challenges. These delays can add extra time to the overall journey.

Choice of Shipping Service: There are different types of shipping services available, such as roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) and container shipping. RoRo is generally faster and involves driving the car onto a specialized ship, while container shipping provides more protection but might take slightly longer due to handling and securing procedures.

Mode of Transport within the UK: Once the car arrives in the UK, you’ll need to consider the time it takes to transport the car from the port of arrival to your desired location within the UK. This could involve road transport, which may take a few days.

Documentation and Preparation: Proper documentation and preparation before shipping are essential. This includes providing accurate information about the car, obtaining necessary export and import permits, and ensuring the car meets the UK’s safety and emission standards.

It’s important to note that these estimates are general guidelines and actual transit times can vary. Additionally, regulations and procedures may change over time, so it’s recommended to work with experienced international shipping and logistics companies that can provide you with accurate information, assist with the process, and help you navigate any challenges that may arise during the transportation of your car from South Africa to the United Kingdom.

Can you export cars from the United Kingdom to South Africa?

We do not often offer export as a service, but here is a brief overview of what is involved in the process:

It is possible to export cars from the United Kingdom to South Africa. However, there are several important steps, regulations, and considerations you need to be aware of before exporting a car from the UK to South Africa:

Customs and Import Regulations: South Africa has specific customs and import regulations governing the importation of cars. You will need to comply with these regulations, which might include duties, taxes, and other fees. Importing a car into South Africa can be complex, and it’s recommended to work with a knowledgeable shipping agent or customs broker who can guide you through the process.

Vehicle Compliance: Before exporting a car from the UK, ensure that the car meets South Africa’s safety, emissions, and technical standards. Vehicles not compliant with South African regulations may require modifications or approvals before they can be imported.

Export Documentation: You’ll need to provide the necessary documentation when exporting a car, including the car’s title, bill of sale, and any relevant certificates or permits. The documentation required can vary, so it’s important to check with relevant authorities and shipping agents.

Shipping Options: You can choose between various shipping methods, such as container shipping or roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) shipping. Container shipping provides greater protection but can be more expensive. RoRo shipping involves driving the car onto a specialized vessel.

Vehicle History: South African authorities may require information about the car’s history, including any previous accidents, repairs, and modifications. It’s important to provide accurate information to avoid any issues during the import process.

Customs Clearance: Clearing customs in South Africa is a crucial step. Properly completing all necessary customs documentation is essential to prevent delays. Customs clearance can take some time and might involve inspections.

Shipping Logistics: The transit time for shipping a car from the UK to South Africa can vary based on the shipping route, chosen shipping company, and any potential delays due to weather or other factors.

Insurance and Tracking: It’s advisable to insure your car during transit. Some shipping companies provide tracking services so you can monitor the progress of your car.

Local Regulations: Once the car arrives in South Africa, you will need to adhere to local registration and licensing procedures to legally drive the car on South African roads.

Given the complexity of international car shipping and the specific regulations involved, it’s highly recommended to work with experienced shipping agents, customs brokers, and logistics professionals who have expertise in exporting cars from the UK to South Africa. They can guide you through the entire process and ensure that you meet all legal requirements.

Can we import your classic car from South Africa to the United Kingdom

We can assist with importing virtually any car from South Africa to the United Kingdom, including classic cars.

What ports are in South Africa that you can ship cars from?

South Africa has several major ports that are commonly used for shipping cars and other cargo. These ports are strategically located along the country’s coastline and serve as key hubs for international trade and shipping. Here are some of the major ports in South Africa where you can potentially ship cars from:

Durban Port: Located on the eastern coast of South Africa, Durban is one of the busiest ports in the country. It serves as a major gateway for trade with countries in the Indian Ocean region and beyond. Durban Port has facilities for both containerized and roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) cargo, making it a common choice for shipping cars.

Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha) Port: Situated in the Eastern Cape province, Port Elizabeth is another important port in South Africa. It handles various types of cargo and offers facilities for both containerized and RoRo shipments.

Cape Town Port: Cape Town is a major city on the southwestern coast of South Africa. Its port handles a wide range of cargo, including cars. Cape Town Port provides container and RoRo services.

East London Port: Located in the Eastern Cape province, East London Port is known for its bulk cargo operations. However, it also has facilities for car shipments.

Richards Bay Port: Situated in the KwaZulu-Natal province, Richards Bay is a significant port primarily known for bulk cargo, particularly coal. While it’s not as commonly associated with car shipments as some other ports, it may still have facilities for car exports.

When shipping a car from South Africa, you would typically work with shipping companies or logistics providers that operate out of these ports. They can help you with the details of arranging transportation, handling documentation, customs clearance, and other aspects of the shipping process.

Please note that port availability, services, and shipping routes can change over time. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, I recommend contacting shipping companies that specialize in international car transportation and inquiring about the current options for shipping cars from South Africa.

Can you import a car from South Africa to UK?

Yes, you can import a car from South Africa to the UK, but there are certain procedures and requirements you need to follow. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Research and Prepare: Before importing a car, it’s important to research and understand the regulations, taxes, and procedures involved in the UK. Make sure the car you’re importing meets UK safety and environmental standards.
  2. Vehicle Eligibility: Check if the car you want to import is eligible for importation into the UK. Some cars might not be allowed due to safety or emissions regulations.
  3. Customs and VAT: When importing a car into the UK, you’ll need to pay customs duties and Value Added Tax (VAT) on the car’s value. The rates can vary, so check with the UK HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the most up-to-date information.
  4. Notification to HMRC: You need to notify HMRC about the car’s arrival in the UK using the Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) system. This needs to be done within 14 days of the car’s arrival.
  5. Vehicle Registration: You’ll need to register the car with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) in the UK. This involves obtaining a UK registration number, updating the car’s details, and paying the necessary fees.
  6. Testing and Modifications: Depending on the car’s specifications, you might need to carry out necessary modifications or testing to ensure the car complies with UK standards. This might include things like changing headlights to meet UK road regulations.
  7. Documentation: Gather all necessary documentation, including the car’s title, bill of sale, customs declaration, NOVA reference number, and any other relevant paperwork.
  8. Transportation: Arrange for the transportation of the car from South Africa to the UK. Choose a shipping method that suits your needs, whether it’s container shipping or roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) shipping.
  9. Customs Clearance: The car will go through customs clearance upon arrival in the UK. Make sure you have all the required documentation ready for inspection.
  10. Pay Taxes and Fees: Pay any customs duties, VAT, and other fees as required. Keep records of these payments.
  11. DVLA Registration: Once the car is in the UK and meets all requirements, register it with the DVLA. You’ll need to provide the necessary documents and pay registration fees.
  12. Insurance: Get insurance coverage for the imported car before driving it on UK roads.

It’s important to note that regulations and procedures can change, and importing a car can be a complex process. Consider seeking assistance from customs agents, import specialists, or professional import services if you’re unfamiliar with the process or if you want to ensure a smooth transition. Always check the latest regulations and guidance from the UK government’s official sources.


How much does it cost to import a car from South Africa to UK?

The cost of importing a car from South Africa to the UK can vary widely depending on several factors. These factors include the type and value of the car, the shipping method, import duties, taxes, and various other fees. Here are some of the key costs to consider:

Shipping Costs: The cost of shipping a car from South Africa to the UK will depend on the shipping method chosen (e.g., container shipping or roll-on/roll-off), the size of the vehicle, and the shipping company. Shipping costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand pounds.

Import Duty: Import duty is based on the value of the car and is typically calculated as a percentage of the car’s value. Rates can vary, so you should check the current rates with the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or a customs broker.

Value Added Tax (VAT): You will likely need to pay VAT on the car’s value and shipping costs. The standard VAT rate in the UK was 20%. VAT is calculated on the combined value of the car and shipping.

Customs Clearance and Brokerage Fees: You may need to hire a customs broker or freight forwarder to assist with the customs clearance process. They will charge a fee for their services.

Vehicle Testing and Modifications: Depending on the age and specifications of the car, you might need to make modifications to meet UK safety and environmental standards. This could include testing and certification costs.

Registration and Licensing: You will need to register the imported vehicle in the UK and obtain UK license plates. There will be fees associated with this process.

Insurance: You’ll need to arrange insurance for the car while it’s being transported and once it’s in the UK.

Storage and Handling: If your car arrives before you’re ready to collect it, there may be storage fees at the port or storage facility.

Currency Exchange and Bank Fees: Consider exchange rate fluctuations and potential fees associated with currency conversion if you’re paying in a foreign currency.

Documentation: There will be fees for obtaining the necessary documentation, including the vehicle’s title, bill of sale, and any required export/import permits.

Local Taxes and Fees in South Africa: Don’t forget to account for any taxes or fees you might incur in South Africa when exporting the car.

It’s crucial to contact the relevant authorities and seek advice from a customs broker or shipping company to get accurate and up-to-date cost estimates for your specific situation. Import regulations and fees can change over time, so it’s important to check with the relevant authorities and professionals to ensure compliance with current regulations and accurate cost estimates.

Can you buy a car from South Africa and import to the UK?

Yes, it is possible to buy a car in South Africa and import it to the UK. However, there are specific steps and requirements you need to follow to do so legally. Here are the general steps involved:

Choose a Car: Start by selecting the car you want to purchase in South Africa. Make sure the vehicle meets the UK’s safety and emissions standards, as modifications may be required to comply with UK regulations.

Purchase the Car: Buy the car in South Africa and make sure you receive all the necessary documentation, including the title, bill of sale, and any export-related paperwork.

Shipping: Arrange for the transportation of the vehicle from South Africa to the UK. You can choose between container shipping or roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping, depending on your preferences and budget.

Customs Clearance: When the car arrives in the UK, it will need to go through customs clearance. You will need to complete customs declarations and pay any import duties and taxes, such as import duty and VAT.You may want to hire us to deal with the customs and freight forwarding on your behalf.

Vehicle Modifications and Testing: Depending on the car’s specifications, it may need modifications or testing to meet UK safety and emissions standards. This could include adjustments to headlights, speedometers, or emissions systems. You may need to have the vehicle tested and certified by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) in the UK.

Register the Car: Once the car has cleared customs and any necessary modifications are complete, you will need to register it in the UK. This involves obtaining UK license plates, paying registration fees, and arranging for an MOT (Ministry of Transport) test if required.

Insurance: Ensure you have the necessary insurance coverage for your imported vehicle.

Road Tax: Pay any road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) that applies to your imported car.

Ongoing Maintenance and Compliance: After importing the car, you must continue to maintain it in accordance with UK regulations, including regular MOT tests and compliance with safety and emissions standards.

Please note that the process can be complex and costly, and the specific requirements and fees can change over time. It’s essential to stay up-to-date with current regulations and consult with customs authorities, shipping companies, and customs brokers to ensure a smooth and legal import process. Additionally, consider the costs involved, such as import duties, taxes, shipping fees, and potential vehicle modifications, when budgeting for the importation of a car from South Africa to the UK.

How long does a ship take from South Africa to UK?

The duration of a sea voyage from South Africa to the UK can vary depending on several factors, including the specific ports of departure and arrival, the route taken, the type of vessel, and weather conditions. However, as a general guideline, the typical transit time for a cargo ship to travel from major ports in South Africa (such as Durban or Cape Town) to the UK (ports like Southampton or London) is approximately 15 to 25 days.

Here are a few factors that can influence the duration of the voyage:

Route: The chosen shipping route can affect the travel time. Direct routes tend to be faster, but some ships may make stops at other ports along the way, which can extend the journey.

Type of Ship: The type and size of the vessel can impact the speed of the voyage. Larger container ships may have faster transit times, while smaller vessels or those carrying specialized cargo may take longer.

Weather Conditions: Weather, including rough seas and storms, can cause delays in shipping schedules. While modern vessels are designed to handle various weather conditions, unexpected weather events can still affect travel times.

Port Congestion: Delays can occur if there is congestion or a backlog at either the South African or UK ports, which may lead to waiting times for docking and unloading.

Transshipment: In some cases, cargo may be transshipped or transferred to another vessel at a intermediate port, which can add time to the journey.

It’s important to keep in mind that these are general estimates, and actual transit times may vary. If you are shipping a specific item or planning an import/export operation, it’s advisable to consult with the shipping company or freight forwarder you are working with, as they can provide more precise information regarding the expected transit time for your cargo. Additionally, you should consider potential delays and plan accordingly when scheduling the arrival of your goods or making travel arrangements.

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