Import charges for cars and vans from Northern Ireland and Great Britain

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VRT & NOx Charges on cars and vans imported from Northern Ireland and UK Mainland

Thinking of importing a used car from the UK or Northern Ireland? 

Before you start your search for a used car import, it is essential to familarise yourself with the following essential steps and obligatory VRT and NOx charges. Make sure you are fully prepared for the final cost by making use of available resources and online tools such as a Car History Check and online VRT & NOx Calculator  and Customs Duty & VAT Calculator from

What is VRT?

First introduced in 1993, VRT or Vehicle Registration Tax is a charge payable on all new and used vehicles being registered in Ireland for the first time. VRT forms part of the process of registering the vehicle and obtaining a registration number, hence the name. 

What is a NOX Charge?

NOx (Nitrogen Oxide) Emissions charges became effective on December 31st 2019 and are chargeable on all vehicles registered after this date. NOx refers to all emissions from fossil fueled vehicles and was introduced as a means to discourage the use of vehicles with higher emissions and help to reduce motoring related pollution.

What vehicles are Subject to VRT and NOx Charges?

All vehicles, both private and commercial, using petrol and diesel engines, first registered in Ireland after December 31st 2019 are subject to NOx charges. This includes hybrid vehicles, i.e. those using a combination of electric and fossil fueled propulsion, but not fully electric vehicles.

How are VRT and NOx Charges Calculated?

VRT is calculated on the estimated open market value of the vehicle as determined by the NCT centre during a vehicle inspection. This figure is multiplied by the appropriate rate based on the vehicles carbon dioxide emissions (C02). As the value is based on an estimated open market selling price, consideration will be given to the make and model of the vehicle, the overall condition and any additional features or added extras.

NOx charges are calculated separately to CO2 and are based on the certified Nitrogen Oxide emissions of the vehicle as stated on the certificate of conformity. These emissions are expressed, in most cases, as g/km (grams per Kilometer) and the appropriate rate is multiplied by this figure. The final amount is then added to the VRT calculation to arrive at the total VRT and NOx charge payable to register the vehicle.

Approximate costs for VRT and NOx can be obtained by using an online VRT & NOx calculator such as the one available from

When Do I Pay VRT and NOX Charges?

In the case of new vehicles, the motor dealer will have made all necessary payments for VRT and NOx charges as part of the vehicle registration process.  These charges will be reflected in the final purchase price of your vehicle and there is no further obligation on you as the end user. 

However, should you decide to import a used vehicle which has not already been registered in Ireland, you are required to make the relevant payment with regard to VRT and NOx in order to obtain a registration number and Vehicle licensing certificate, or log book. This process must be completed and all charges paid within 30 days of the vehicle first arriving in the country.

Where Do I pay my VRT and NOx Charge?

The vehicle registration process can be undertaken at any NCT (National Car Test) centre. You must make an appointment for inspection at an NCT centre within 7 days of the vehicle arriving in the country and the entire process must be completed and all charges paid, within 30 days. 

An appointment can be booked online at and you will be required to provide such details as:

  • Name and address

  • Phone number

  • Email address

  • Vehicle make and model

  • Chassis or VIN number

  • Existing registration number

You may also be asked to provide additional information such as a receipt for purchase and evidence of NOx emissions.

Once the process is complete, you will receive your new VLC (Vehicle Licensing Certificate) and a new, Irish registration number reflecting the year of original registration.

Before you Import a Used Car

As always, buying a used car carries risk and additional caution is advised when importing a used car from the UK or Northern Ireland.

You may have limited recourse should anything go wrong and to minimise your risk, it’s good practice to purchase a Car History Check and a VRT & NOx Check before committing to purchase.  


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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