I found it really difficult to find all of the right information about how to register imported bikes, so I thought it would be a good idea to write up how I went about it, filling in some of the parts that I struggled to get information on and showing how to fill in a V55/5 Form. The DVLA V355/5 help document is useful, but it contains so much information it is easy to get confused.
I know that when I was trying to find out how to register my old imported Triumph Bonneville, it would have helped.
While I am importing an old motorcycle, this guide should also be helpful for anyone tackling the V55 form, it’d even help you work out how to fill in v55/5 form for mobility scooter for example.
It always seems very daunting getting in touch with the DVLA, other than just sending in your change of owner forms, or paying your road tax. In my experience, which although not extensive, has covered a number of different things over the years, they have always been really helpful. I’ve always managed to get a good outcome.
The strangest one was for a Yamaha TTR600 I sold that was collected by a lovely bloke from Czechoslovakia, Ludwig, he picked it up himself. The number stamped on the frame included the model number at the start, whereas on the registration document it didn’t! The Czech authorities would not register the bike without them matching.
So it turns out, they do try to stop stolen bikes from here being registered abroad. This came up a month or so after the bike had left the country, so when they DVLA asked to inspect the bike before changing the registration document there was a problem. A few phone calls, some pictures, copies of emails and receipts sent in with a polite letter and they accepted them and changed the V5 so that Ludwig could get it registered .
Anyway, let’s tackle the question of “How to fill in a V55/5 Form”. Remember this is my experience so forgive me if I have missed something that relates to your vehicle or circumstance. The bikes I have experience of were bought as non-runners, with NOVA letters etc, and both were registered in 2019.
How to complete the V55/5 Form
I found information about this on a few owners club websites which were very helpful in different ways. It may be helpful though if you see how I completed the form and other documents. I have erased any real identifiable information for my own privacy, and that of the future owners of the bikes, but you can see what needs to be filled in.
When you first see the form your heart sinks. There are a lot of boxes, luckily for me and perhaps you, they are not all necessarily needed. If you look at the image of V55/5 page 1 you will see how I have completed the forms, and these have been completely acceptable.
The numbers are the ones for the boxes that I entered information into, it is all pretty self-explanatory, unlike some of the other boxes 🙂 Page 2 has even less, strangely they want your date of birth, doesn’t really seem relevant
V55/5 Form Example – Page 1
V55/5 Form Example – Page 2
DVLA V55/5 Form Online Download to Print
If you don’t already have a the V55 form in front of you, previously you would have had to request the forms from the DVLA or head down to your local post office to get copies of it. In this digital age however, the DVLA are now allowing you to download the form to print at home.
You can now download the V55/5 form PDF from the DVLA to print and complete at home. Here’s a link to save you from searching for it: Download Link
Once you’ve downloaded the form you can print it out and fill it in using the V55/5 form example above. You can see what the V55 PDF looks like below for reference. Maybe someday the DVLA will host the V55/5 form online so you can fill it in and submit it directly on your computer and upload any supporting images or documents.
The form is 2 pages so please ensure you print out both sides when you follow my example as they won’t accept anything less than the complete document. As it states at the top, incomplete forms will be rejected.
Road Tax for an old imported vehicle
If your vehicle is over 40 years old then you set the class as Historic and don’t need to pay any road tax. For this purpose I think that the V112 form, see the next section, is used.
MOT or Not, and the V112 Form
At the point you are registering the vehicle has to be complete(ish) and look roadworthy. As the bikes, I have registered were over 40 years old they did not need an MOT. Instead, I completed downloaded and completed the V112 form, which is a much easier form to deal with than the v55/5 form, check out our guide.
If you need to get an MOT, the centre can do it based on the VIN number. So apart from the hassle of getting it done this is quite straightforward. The code R on the form was the one on the list for vehicles over 40 years old.
There is a strange thing that although the vehicle has to be over 40 years old by January 7th of the year after it is 40, the exemption doesn’t actually kick in until some time in April when the new tax year starts. I think it is when it is published in Parliament.
Insurance for an imported vehicle
I was tipped off by a reply on somebody’s Facebook post that you might not require insurance to register your vehicle. The post was about a delay with the registration so the person’s insurance had run out when they were applying again. So I checked through the DVLA literature carefully and found that unless you are in Northern Ireland you do not need to have the vehicle insured.
I had asked about insurance on unregistered bikes at a Carole Nash Stand at a Classic Show. I was told that they will insure on the VIN, for what seemed quite a cheap rate, probably because you aren’t riding it so they are only covering fire and theft, then upgrade it to full cover once it is registered. How this works out I don’t know because I didn’t do it, but you might find this useful to know.
Dating Certificate as proof
There are lots of different ways of getting a dating certificate, from owners clubs, general clubs, bike registers and no doubt businesses that also do it. I joined the Triumph Owners Club for £20, and each Triumph dating certificate now costs me £5.
The TOMCC membership is a real bargain as they send a very professional magazine out every month, and there is quite a big social scene at many branches of the club. If you look at the picture you can see that this bike had originally gone to Holland, and looking at the dates was probably a way of Triumph offloading a job lot of bikes.
I imagine it was bought by an American soldier posted to Europe, and then was imported to the USA, before being repatriated back to the home of its birth! No wonder it was so knackered 🙂
Images of the bike for the application to register
I put together a page of relevant images of the bike. How it looks, frame and engine number, speedo reading and I would include anything else relevant. I don’t know if this is necessary but I felt from my Czech experience that sending images of things they might ask about would make sense. For the T140 E this didn’t seem to make any difference. When you read about having it inspected you will see why.
NOVA Certificate – Import Database supporting document
This is a system of recording that the taxes have been paid on vehicles as they enter the country. When registering your bike, they match it up on the NOVA database using the VIN number. I had to contact NOVA for one bike because the VIN number on my NOVA letter, it had one digit wrong. After a lovely conversation with a lady in Belfast, she resolved the issue and when I came to register there was no problem with the NOVA certificate.
Receipt of purchase supporting document
If you bought the bike complete, then you should include the receipt showing that you own the bike. If you have bought the major parts separately you may need to go through a different process than the V55/5 form. I think it is called Reconstructed Classic Vehicles. If I get around to building a Triton or something I will have to delve into that then.
Foreign Registration or Title to support
I think they really like to have a foreign registration document. When you send this in you will not get it back, so make a copy if you want to keep the information. With one of the bikes, I did not have a title, so I included a letter that basically said the original title had been lost during the decades the bike had been off the road. This wasn’t questioned so must have been acceptable.
Sending it all off
I strongly recommend making copies of everything that you send. This only needs to be photos on your phone, but if something goes wrong they might be the only copies of some documents. I would also use signed-for mail so that you can show that it did arrive with the DVLA. To be fair the DVLA is a big organisation with lots of different functions, if mail gets misdirected there it could disappear for a while.
Here is the list of what I sent:
- Fill in a V55/5 Form
- Completed V112 MOT Exemption
- NOVA Certificate Letter (I don’t think this is strictly necessary)
- Purchase Receipt for the bike
- Title document (or letter explaining why it’s missing)
- Dating certificate
What happens next?
Well if all goes well, you get a V5 through the post. Then you will get most of your documents back, not the Title document though, these come with a V948, Number Plate Authorisation Certificate. The cheque might not go through for a number of weeks, so it could catch you out if you don’t keep a positive bank balance.
Register the bike, ride off into the sunset! 🙂
DVLA Vehicle Inspection
Or, if you are unlucky enough to get picked for an inspection, you get a letter informing you and giving contact details of the inspection company. This is relatively pain-free, apart from the time it takes.
The inspection is to make sure that it is not a stolen vehicle. I believe they will not pass a pile of parts, but as long as it is a mostly assembled vehicle that looks like it could be on the road, I don’t think there is an issue.
When you contact the company they promise to get back to you to arrange an appointment within 7 days. Then the appointment should be within 4 weeks. When I had to do this, they rang me back in around 4 days, and the appointment for them to come and inspect was a further 3 weeks.
The inspection was not a problem, the inspector was knowledgeable and interested in old vehicles, he spent more time chatting than inspecting. In the end, he took quite a few pictures, but mainly the engine and frame number, and the mileage reading!
If you look at the images I sent you will see that I could be a tad irritated!! It then took 10 days before the V5 arrived, so a 6-week delay during lovely sunny weather. 🙁
Eventually, I even got my imported bike going. I hope your experiences are as good as mine.
Update: We recently went through this process again to register our latest imported bike, a Honda CB750 Restoration project. Check out our video below which covers NOVA certificate, V112 and of course, talks through the process of how to fill in a V55/5 Form.
61 thoughts on “How to fill in a V55/5 Form, Registering an imported old vehicle in the UK”
This is the most useful guide out there for completing the V55 forms, thanks so much for sharing!
Hi Dawid, thank you for the kind words, we’re glad to have helped!
Very useful great easy information to understand thanks for taking the time to share with us
It’s our pleasure, hope it’s helpful for you, Grant!
I bought a car recently from a dealer in Bury he dropped the car off to me in Liverpool free of charge & give me the new keeper slip so I could tax it through DVLA website which I did & insured it the Dealer had it M.oT the day before he delivered it to me also had to ball joint work done & a calipher replaced this was mid December 2020 then I get the bombshell it’s has a export marker on the DVLA database apparently came to light in September 2020, strange this as no export or import marker on Autotrader experian hpi check or the AA approved as the Dealer was part of that also the Dealer purchased the car on 16th July 2020 he has the last log book issued from that date which is on the DVLA car check also he actually rang DVLA himself as he is saying it’s never been down as export since he had it only 5 months, I have rang DVLA fuming as I taxed the car £565 also insured it cost me a few quid on 13th December 2020 so I could have been prosecuted due to not being legal down to it be not registered in the U.K , I only found this out due to the DVLA letter on 13th January 2021 a full month later the Dealer has been co-operative throughout but I am unsure where the blame lies? Either he is up to no good or it’s a typo admin error either from the Dealer or DVLA? Either way it’s put me under severe stress as I am currently going through a seperation from my wife & 5 kids so it’s the last thing I need , just sent the HMRC NOVA forms off hoping for someone to sort this mess out for me? Hope I don’t have to pay any more money? & I have all the forms & my documents ready for the DVLA if HMRC NOVA give it the all clear? Spoke to a DVLA rep on the phone he said I won’t need to pay a £55 fee due to the car being already registered in the U.K does anyone else have a similar story put me off buying a car for life now .
Thank you very much for your help! I thought I need to fill in everything. 😅
Hi, really helpful guide. Do I send my imported Guzzi application to the usual DVLA address?
Does it matter when you register? So I have a 76 US Cb550 that needs restoring. Am I right in thinking to wait until its finished incase it needs an inspection. All they will see at the moment is a stripped frame. Great info and I enjoy your videos.
Hi Rob, it needs to look like a bike. Not necessarily a running bike, but an engine in a frame, with wheels. If you do get inspected it is just to check the frame and engine numbers really. Hope that helps!
Awesome guide – thank you very much for sharing!! Paperwork all pulled together now, and am much more confident it will go through. Thanks!!
Good luck, Ben! Glad to have helped 🙂
Great video, so helpful – went from dispair to easy enough
Hi Mark, we’re really pleased it helped with your V55 submission, thanks for the positive feedback. Cheers!
Thank you so much for sharing this information ! I have been struglling to register my Honda Forza 125cc for almost 6 months !! I tried to write to DVLA but their answer was so confusing … I will try again now , here i s the message that I sent to DVLA and their answer was pretty bad..
“Dear DVLA Team
I need your help to register and to make sure that I can drive my scooter Honda Forza 125cc in UK ( London) I bought that scooter in Spain in May 2018, I have a an English driving licence since 2013 and I know that I need to pass the CBT
My request is regarding the registation and official document that I Need to drive this scooter in UK as This scooter has Spanish licence plate and spanish documentation and spanish insurance.
WHat Do I need to do in term of documentation to drive it legally in UK
Can you please send me list of requirement/document that I need to fullfill to drive my Vehicile in UK ;
I am planning to bring it on 1 June2020
I understant that I need to pass a MOT, pay a road tax, get an insurance, put new licence plate… But I am bit confused with the process
Thank you in advance for your help
Kind Regards Julien “
Hi Julien, yeah the DVLA aren’t always the most helpful when it comes to explaining these things. Glad our V55/5 form guide has helped you out, enjoy zipping around on your imported 125. Cheers!
Hi guys need a bit of help and/or advice, so about 2 years ago I bought a CBR RRK 400 also known as a grey import. The bike was manufactured in 1989 and was imported by Owen Bros Belfast and registered in 1995 with UK reg. Now the guy I bought it of didn’t have any documentation for it as it was a future project that sat for years and was never going to be done so sold it to me ok so far so good I’ve spent the time bringing it back to being road worthy ready for the MOT now the fun begins I’ve applied for the V5 DVLA say they’ve no records of the reg number YET I can get all the details from an HPI company with an engine and VIN match and verified make CC colour. So phoned the DVLA and it’s seems like they want me to re-register it as an import and pay again for the paper work etc. Would any of you good people know if I can still get info from the DVA (as I don’t think all of our info migrated to DVLA) or would it even be possible to get info from Owen Bros (I know that they are not there) to verify that the DVLA/DVA had records once upon a time. I had an email from the DVLA with info on what to do and one was to contact a vehicle dating site so I sent all the info to them and they are stumped as to what the DVLA are playing at (case not closed yet) like I said any help information input is very much appreciated TIA😊
Excellent explanation of something that has been
Worrying me a bit.i have two honda cb350 to do
More than happy now to register them.
We’re glad to have helped, Mark! Hope you get both of your Honda CB350s on the road soon. 🙂 Cheers!
Thanks for the guide which is very informative and useful. I’m just getting ready to register a 45 year old Z1 and wasnt sure whether it needed MOT’d or not, so you have clarified that one for me. On a side note something that may interest people, I tried to apply for a V5 for an old Honda XL185 (UK bike) that I was given and the DVLA swore they had no record of it on their system which was strange as I knew it had been on the road in its early years. It turned out that the VIN number on their records starts with JHML (Japan Honda Motors Ltd) and its only the subsequent characters that are stamped on the frame!
All resolved now, but they would have had me apply for a first registration which would have meant MOT, Insurance, Date Cert etc…
Thanks for the positive feedback, Richard! 🙂 That sounds like a very peculiar situation with your XL185 VIN number, I’ve not encountered that one before. Doesn’t surprise me that it baffled the DVLA though… Hope you get your Z1 registered and on the road very soon. Cheers!
Thanks for popping up this guide, it make more sense than the help sheets.
Surprising how much you don’t fill in.
Thanks for the positive feedback, pleased it was useful for you. 🙂
Did you need to send proof of insurance when you sent your documents off?
Great guide by the way
Hi Rob, you only need to send off proof of insurance if you’re in Northern Ireland. I didn’t send it with my docs and no problem so unless you’re in NI, don’t bother. Hope this helps!
Super hrlpful ta!
I’ve just got a Honda 1982 FT500 through it’s first MOT, drove it there on its Minnesota reg plate. Sat down to fill in V55, and panicked at the form asking all about Type Approval and Certificate of Conformity, so your form with all its blank spaces was i credibly reassuring.
Used to have that exact colour scheme on my UK tank of my T140 – normally had smaller export tank, but for Euro hols, I used the UK one as a tank bag fits nicer (and it was very rough so scratches weren’t a worr!).
Cheers Brendan! Glad it’s been helpful for you, enjoy riding your Honda FT500!
Hi, this article and video are brilliant, really useful. I am just wondering though if you think I need to apply for type approval for my 1981 Suzuki GS650 imported from the USA? I can’t quite understand if it is exempt, and if so why. I notice you didn’t fill out the type approval box or the reason for exemption from type approval box. Is this because your bikes were MOT/Tax/etc exempt due to their age?
Thanks again for the article!
Thanks Lewis, you don’t need Type Approval, I’m not certain but I think that might just be for new vehicles. But that’s nothing to do with the MOT. Hope that helps!
Great help with the forms and documents required. I have a 1976 Omer Giramondo Italian moped to register so fingers crossed!
Thanks Robert, best of luck getting your moped registered too! Cheers
One of the best articles and videos I’ve found, thanks for taking the time to do this.
Are you planning to do a video on the importing process? I’m planning to ride an old 40 year Russian bike to England and import it. It’s a little confusing though on the HMRC site as some places say it’s VAT exempt as it’s over 30 years old and from outside the EU and other places say I still need to pay 20% VAT and then the mandatory 6% duty. Do you know which is correct? Thanks again for a really helpful article.
Thanks for a great article, it’s been really useful so far putting the paperwork together to register my Suzuki TS75. One question though, the VIN plate that was the TS frame has a MFD IN: 12/74 proving the bike was manufactured in December 1974. Would this be enough to prove the age of the bike or would I still need a dating certificate for DVLA?
Cheers Kieran, unfortunately the DVLA seem to only deal in paper. If they send out an inspector it is only to check that the numbers match the paperwork! So sadly the answer is no.
you are a gent, this example of yours is first class, well done to you..not forgetting my big thank you.
Thanks Malcolm, hope it helped with your V55/5 forms! 🙂
Thanks. This was so helpful. I imported my 1978 XT500, followed the advice here and got it registered no problem. Cheers! PaulE
Cheers Paul, very glad our V55 guide helped with your motorbike import. Enjoy your XT500! 🙂
THANK YOU. Quite correct in your description of complicating, as I perused the form I had no idea what half of it meant. I was quite relieved to discover the date of birth and address section, at least I knew them!!!
Found you after a Google search and will sleep tonight thank you. You made it very easy to understand, DVLA, should employ you to make user guides, you are a whole lot easier to understand. Many thanks also for the heads up for the extra information regarding photographs, got them ready to send also.
Much appreciated. Will hopefully get the Yamaha TZR 250 YSP 1KT on the roads for summer thanks.
Great advice, brought my Harley over just before the pandemic and did not bother until recently, panicked when I saw all the boxes on the V55/5, filled it in according to advice here and sent everything in a couple of weeks ago, just waiting for a response now, fingers crossed.
Got the V5C today, thanks for your advice.
Many thanks for excellent information: I returned from Texas a few years ago, but got so bogged down by all the boxes on the V55/5 that I gave up until I found your video.
My initial application was returned after almost five weeks because I had not included the cost of road tax in the cheque. Doh.
I sent it straight back with the correct amount, hoping for a quick turnaround, but apparently because all the documents were sent back it meant the whole process started from the beginning.
But today, another seven weeks later, the V5 came through the post. Woo hoo.
p.s. note to anyone with a newer bike: BE SURE TO INCLUDE ROAD TAX ON YOUR CHEQUE!
Congrats Bert, thanks for sharing your experience and the helpful tip!
Hi, I’m walking the same way now was wondering how to pay road tax if my plate is foreign? No V5 or V11 i’ve got foreign papers that r not accepted by GOV.UK
This was really useful. I’ve just been staring at the V55/5 form in bafflement. I’m phobic about forms anyway and this seemed especially complicated and fraught. I would’ve made lots of mistakes and failed to include vital things if I hadn’t read this post – causing a lot of delay and hassle. Thankyou so much for your help!
Hi Jon, Thanks so much for the kind words, we’re really glad our V55/5 guide post helped you out.
Thanks to you and your guide/video I managed to get my 1979 Yamaha TY175 road registered with ease. Without your help I would still be staring the the application form !
Glad to have helped you get your bike road registered. Hope the Yamaha is good to you!
This is a very informative and helpful guide. After a slight panic on seeing how many questions there were my heart sank. After a Google search and your help I am confidant of doing this now and getting my Italian imported Piaggio Ape on the road. Thank you!
By chance can someone explain how to complete the payment, I’m totally dumb meant have never been through this kind of payments, its bit unclear for the foreigner I am. Thanks in advance!
And thanks for the detailed info, ur better than GOV.UK in explaining
Sorry if asking an obvious question, but if the bike is under 40 years old and therefore needs an MOT to be on the road, does it require an MOT before it can be registered? Or can you register it and declare it SORN all at once?
I’ve brought a bike back with me to the country and it’s currently in storage with the shipping company. I’ve got the NOVA sorted etc., just trying to work out if I need to go and get the bike out to be MOT’d and then returned to storage or not. Love how the government website completely fails to layout the process in full.
Hi Matt, if it’s under 40 years old you will need an MOT. You’ll need the MOT before you register it, the MOT centre will use the VIN frame number to do that, shouldn’t be a problem. Hope that helps!
Hi i purchased a 1978 range rover 3 dr a company in London in lockdown there was new sills to be fitted so i asked them to do it for me they showed photos of the car with the no plate coved they said it is a UK car but when they sent it it was from southern Ireland
when i asked about it they said they thought it would have had the uk docs in time but waiting for them two months later no docs and they stopped answering my calls so
the way you did it for your bike is it the same for car i have just got my nova back which is ok
they also did a lot of damage to the car when fitting new sills the company is the e-type restoration ltd con men
Thanks for a clearly understood video. Acting for a friend I am about to send off the V55/5 etc. in the hope his 1953 car that has never been registered will be assigned an age related registration number. However I am not clear of the DVLA postal address (your video omits to give this information).
Hi David, once you’ve filled in your V55 form, you need to send it via post to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BE which I believe is the DVLA’s HQ. I hope that helps!
That is a great piece of advice and very well explained! Also, your import process seemed quite smooth. Thank you very much!
I’m importing a 1974 South African assembled car, which was imported to Portugal in 1979. However, the Portuguese documents only have 1979 as the first registration, not 1974. Also, the documents don’t mention engine number, neither the VIN plate, but although the engine isn’t the one that came from factory, is exactly the same specification as the original.
I contacted the factory in SA and they haven’t got the records from the 1970’s as they were on paper or microfilm and never computerised. I also contacted the maker’s headquarters in Europe and they said that the CKD (completely knocked down) kit was made in 1974 and then shipped to SA, but don’t have information as to when the car was fully assembled in South Africa. There is no related car club on the DVLA list that could certify the year of manufacture either!
I’m a bit anxious because the car is on route to the UK as I write this and I’m concerned that the car will end up with Q plates. I’ve read a few scary stories about this happening to some people importing cars.
Have you had or know anyone who had a similar situation with bikes?
This is great! I’m trying to get a Bonneville registered too, imagine my joy when I found someone documented the perfect example!
This is such a useful site, thank you!!
Wondered if you might offer some advise. I am halfway through a custom bike build and I have already cut the rear frame, ready for a hoop to be welded. the bike came from the USA and I have the NOVA certificate etc. I’m also halfway through the V55/5 process and I have just been told i need an inspection in person. Do you think they will find this a problem as i have made ‘mods’ to the original frame. should i wait until i have finished the project to get the inspection?
I cant be the first person to do some frame fabrication! haha
Thank you once again for your incredible videos on youtube!!
Thanks Alex, the inspection is of the frame and engine number to make sure it isn’t a stolen vehicle. As long as it is mostly together, and has the right numbers, they won’t be worried about modifications. Hope that helps!
Great guide, and like others I panicked when I saw the number of boxes and requirements for a COC and all of the details that it contains.
But as my imported bike (2008 Triumph Tiger) has no UK Number plate or registration or UK history, it cannot be insured, so can’t be ridden to a workshop to get an MOT ?
What would the solution be for this ?
I have another problem now, having found a workshop that will collect and return my bike for the MOT.
The speedo is set to KM / KMH, there is a process to change from KM > MIles and Vice versa, and that involves holding down the 3 buttons on the dash, and then selecting option, 1,2 or 3, and this switches between KM, Miles and USA.
These are the same 3 buttons that are used to scroll through display options, set the clock and trip meter etc etc etc.
Problem is, 2 of the switches don’t appear to be working and I am therefore unable to switch from KM > Miles.
But the V55 form states that the mileage must be recorded in miles, and I presume that the MOT station will record the speedo value in KM, and this will mean that the converted value from KM > Miles written on the V55 form will not match the KM value written in the MOT certificate, probably resulting in DVLA rejecting the application.
I have no idea how to resolve this, unfortunately the mileage / km distance is stored in the speedo and not the ECU, and even if I can find a used speedo, the mileage cannot be adjusted and the bike would have to inherit whatever mileage the used speedo came off of.
Having been through so much with the importing and NOVA application, it’s so frustrating to now be caught out with what should be a simple 5 second process switch between KM and Miles.
This is brilliant! My dad (who lived in the Netherlands) passed away many years ago, halfway through restoring an old Ducati 900 and it’s just been collecting dust in my uncle’s garage for years. I’ve been considering arranging to import it to the UK so your guide may very well come in handy for me!