There are already two questions (How long can a student drive an EU registered car in the UK? and How long can I drive a EU-registered car in the UK?) on site site regarding using an EU registered car in the UK, however, I think my case is somewhat different.

I am an EU citizen (German nationality) and I am currently doing my Ph.D. in the UK. In order to be exempt from paying the German health care system, I have unregistered my residency in Germany (and subsequently registered residency in the UK).

I have brought a German-registered car to the UK. This car is insured (and taxed) in Germany. It is owned by my parents, who are still living in germany.

My question boils down to:

Am I required to register, tax, and/or insure this car in the UK assuming that I will keep it there no longer than the period of my Ph.D. ?

I have found varying information online regarding this matter. Specifically, on europa.eu there is an exemption clause listed for students (link below):

Exceptions to compulsory registration after 6 months

If you are staying in another country only in order to study, you can drive your car without having to register it or pay taxes there - for as long as you are enrolled in an educational establishment in that country.

This seems to be derived from Council directive of 28 March 1983 Article 5 1b, a rule which is quoted by other sources.

The way I see it, there are three pieces:

  • taxation (road tax)
  • registration (license plates)
  • insurance

However, none of the sources which I have found online give a clear picture for either one of those pieces. Event more troubling is that the gouvernment website gov.uk does not list an exemption for EU students. I have not found any specific information on how the situation changes if the car owner is not a UK resident and not the person driving the car.

  • What do you mean with “registered residency in the UK”?
    – Gala
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 12:17
  • Did you ask your German insurance company whether they will cover the cost of accidents if you drive the car while being a resident in the UK?
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 23:20
  • Do you know what are the new rules since Brexit. It is not clear if student from the EU are still exempt for registration or not.
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 20, 2021 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


I tried to find a proper reference on either the EU-Lex site or the Gov.UK sites but couldn't find anything definitive, so this might be speculation, but I think if you are not registered in Germany anymore (and you are a UK resident) you cannot drive a German car, even if you are only a student in the UK.

I think the original EU law allows students to use their cars abroad, is because students (similarly to cross border workers) are not considered as a resident in the new country. This unclearness can also lead to other types of confusions for students, for example check my answer on whether you are allowed to get an EHIC or not as a student. There the problem is the same: as a student your residency status between your home and host country is not clear inside the EU (as by default as a student you are still considered as a resident in your home country).

But in your case this is also not true, as you have already said you have de-registered from Germany and you are an (ordinary) resident in the UK. Based on my interpretation this means you are not allowed to drive a non-UK registered car in the UK.

While as I've said this is mostly speculation as neither the EU-Lex site nor the Gov.UK site has anything concrete to say about this issue, some universities in the UK think similarly: after 6 months you are probably a resident, and you should re-register your car in the UK (source 1) (source 2).

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