New NCT rules for car imports

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Irish drivers can now import a car without needing NCT

Irish drivers can now import a car without needing to put it through an NCT.

The new European law means that Irish drivers can now import a car without having to bring it for an NCT. It means you can now swap a foreign roadworthiness certificate for an NCT disc provided the existing document is still valid and in date.

The idea is to harmonise vehicle inspection across the whole of the EU and its purpose is to reduce the, often unnecessary, cost and time associated with bringing a car that has already been deemed roadworthy by another jurisdiction, to be retested.

NCT operator Applus said while a fee of €15.50 will eventually apply, it is currently waiving this charge “until further notice”. Applus said in a statement on its website:

“From May 20th, 2018, if you import a second-hand vehicle from another EU member state which was tested after that date and the vehicle has a current EU Roadworthiness Certificate, you can have the unexpired portion of the certificate recognised by exchanging your out-of-state roadworthiness certificate for an Irish issued EU recognition certificate,”

The registered owner of the car must also present the original or a certified true copy of the out-of-state cert when applying for the switch. If it is not in English, a translation of the cert must also be provided.

There has been a mixed response to this news from drivers with some saying it was not adequately publicised. Others believe the new system could be wide open to abuse. One member said:

“Sounds like a new avenue for write-offs from the UK getting on the road here.

“Car arrives in Ireland, gets a nice NCT cert without inspection and is sold on to unsuspecting buyer.”

Another added: “Or even (a) heavily damaged car could possibly use MOT cert from before damage to get an NCT cert here for a car that has been botched back together.”

A supporter, however, said: “It was illegal under EU law for years for NCT not to recognise valid foreign roadworthiness tests on imported vehicles.”


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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