I am currently UK resident, but I will be leaving the country soon. I have quite a lot of stuff I want to move with me. Being UK resident, I am not allowed to drive foreign registered car in UK. Which is totally stupid, but whatever.

Now to my question, how should I proceed when I am actually moving out? I own a van in my home country which I want to use for that purpose. Am I supposed to rent a van in UK, drive it across the Channel with all my belongings, load them into my Schengen van, return the UK van back to UK, cross the Channel on foot and drive my Schengen van home? Well.... that just seems silly. I also don't intend to hire man and a van to move my stuff over the border.

If the police pull me over in the UK, how do they tell whether I am a tourist or a resident? I do not have UK citizenship, I only have my home country Passport, ID and Driving License.

I have already sent an email to DVLA, but I'd like to know other people opinions and hopefully even some experience.

Thanks for any advice.

  • Not totally stupid - the rule is aimed at making sure the car isn’t invisible to the authorities because without a British numberplate linked to a British address and resident owner they are virtually untraceable.It means such drivers are impervious to parking tickets, road tax and speeding fines issued as a result of being caught by speed cameras. Illegal drivers are more likely to flee the scene of a crash, knowing that their foreign plate makes it hard to trace them, and more likely not to have valid insurance. Pretty sure your own country will have a similar rule to protect its citizens.
    – Traveller
    Sep 10, 2019 at 21:21
  • 1
    @Traveller. There's an Europe wide system in place precisely for that, fines can travel across borders. And if that was the case they wouldn't allow tourist cars either. The rule clearly states that the purpose of to tackle tax evasion, simple as that. Sep 11, 2019 at 4:02

2 Answers 2


The rule is there to avoid people paying road tax in other countries while living in the UK and no, you can't drive it in the UK. In theory they would seize your vehicle if you are found doing so, but I don't know if they actually do that.

There are a couple of tricks you can use:

A friend can drive it for you from/to France. I'm not sure if you can be in the vehicle; if not you may need to take a train.

You will need to notify you local council and HMRC of your departing date. Do it beforehand and drive out the next day; you won't be a resident anymore and you'll have documented evidence.


If you have a car registered in another EU country, it means you already have a residence there. Otherwise, you wouldn't be able to register it there. As you're moving out of the UK to that particular country, I'd assume that you give up your residence in the UK. Once you do that, you're not a UK resident anymore.

In any case, I believe the rules only apply if the car stays more than 6 months anyway, and as the UK probably counts as your "second home" now, you're exempt as well: Car registration in another EU country – United Kingdom


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