American cars

Are American Cars Legal in the UK?

Driving in the UK is exciting and has its quirks. If you are planning a long trip to the UK, driving there in an American car must be your consideration, especially if you are staying for few months. But you must be thinking about how to drive an American car in the UK? In this article, you will know about the terms and conditions everyone should know, planning to import American car in the UK.

Can you Drive an American Car in the UK?

If you live in the United Kingdom and are not a resident, the period allowed for you to drive a foreign car is six months. However, if you are a resident of the United Kingdom, you are not allowed to drive a foreign car without getting register in the UK. Driving an American car in the UK is illegal can cause you a heavy fine. To ensure that every car is up to the standards of the UK and roadworthy under UK law, the Ministry of Transport MOT test conduct. The class 4 MOT, designed for four-wheel cars, is conducted every year for cars over three years of age. This test perform to inspect all problems in the car. While registration of the car, MOT  inspect. For the newer vehicles, little testing is done.

Why you Cannot Drive an American Car in the UK?

problems in the car

35% of the population drives on the left side, and the UK is one of those. The drivers who use right-hand driving find it difficult to drive in the UK as it is not an easy transition. It can cause difficulty for the driver. In the UK, you can register a right-hand traffic car if you need it.

What are the Requirements to Drive an American Car Legally in the UK?

There are certain requirements that an owner and a vehicle must meet to get able to drive the American car on the roads of the UK. These are easy requirements:

  1. The car must register with the owner, and the owner must have proof. This will help in preventing theft.
  2. The registration number should be on the back and front of the car.
  3. The car must have passed the MOT test.

What is the Difference Between American and UK Cars?

UK cars and American cars are a lot more different than each other. There are several dissimilarities to simply filling with gas or petrol. The terms used for the names of parts of the car are different such as the bonnet is called the hood. The American cars are bigger and louder than the UK cars. UK cars are known for being more fuel-efficient and quieter problems in the car. However, the trends are now changing. American cars are now being manufactured more fuel-efficient. Both UK and the US are known for the sports car they produce, such as Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Rolls Royce. The American sports car tend to be throatier than UK cars because of the limited speed limit in the UK.

How to Import the American Car to the UK?

As per the requirement from Driver and Standards Agency DVSA, the American cars brought into the UK must modify to ensure that they are roadworthy and safe for the roads of the UK. The rules are now strict, and the Single Vehicle Approval test is now replace the Individual Vehicle Approval. If any car does not go through the IVA test, it will not be able to get registered. Therefore, you cannot drive an American car on the public roads of the UK. So, it’s important to get it. The test performed is to look for the following:

  • Rear indicators
  • Front indicators
  • Parking lights
  • Tyres matching with the advertised top speed.
  • Speedometer has kilometre as well as mile reading
  • Brake fluid level indicator on the dashboard
  • Number plate that must meet the UK standards according to size, shape and lettering.


If you are planning a short trip to the UK that is less than six months, you do not need to worry about anything, as the UK has facilitated the visitors to drive the foreign car for six months and own their cars on the roads. However, if you are a resident, you not allow to drive it without registration. Driving American cars in the UK is illegal and can cost you a heavy penalty and problems in the car.

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