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Dodgydago 11 Jan 2007 12:46

renewing UK road tax while abroad
Has anyone experience about renewing road tax abroad?

(My bike doesn't need MOT until 2008).



Tony P 11 Jan 2007 13:16

The UK authorities only require Road Tax if the vehicle is used on UK roads. If it is abroad (even in the EU) there is no requirement that the vehicle be taxed. There is information confirming this on the DVLA website.
But don't forget to submit an SORN or they will start adding up the penalties. Also to renew the SORN a year later if out on a long trip.

The MOT is also only a UK thing and other countries do not require foreign registered vehicles to have their own similar local equivalent - but it might be an idea if you are confident about it's condition.

Phil Flanagan 11 Jan 2007 13:19

you can now renew road tax over the internet. But only if you have had 'new style' MOT (i.e. one which is logged on the computer database).

The problems come about when your MOT has also expired.

I left UK well over 12 months ago now. MOT ran out July of last year and TAX ran out August.
Consequently I assume my insurance is now invalid.
Though insurance is absolute pain also if you need/want to be out of country for over 6 months and/or you plan to travel outside of European Union. (both of which i am doing !)

It's a strange thing the TAX issue, technically speaking I believe to drive legally in European Union your vehicle should be insured/taxed/MOTd from your home country.
But, if your tax has expired while you are trouping around say Austria, who is going to prosecute you ? i.e. UK system or Austrian ?
In my experience whenever police or customs checks arise they have only (ONLY) ever been interested in seeing : Passport > Ownership papers > Insurance > Drivers licence. Never has TAX been an issue.


Dodgydago 11 Jan 2007 13:54

Thanks Phil and Tony,

I suppopse while I remain in Asia no one is going to say anything about my road tax.
But, it may be an insurance issue regarding travel and medical insurance that states the bike should be legal on the country of registration. The same applies, I think although I'm not sure, if you want to take to Australia.
Also there is the coming back. I will turn up in a year's time or so at Folkestone and, frankly it is easier to pay 90 quid now that having to pay fines and license penalties for riding a vehicle that should be out of the road. Or riding across Europe Uninsured to reach the UK, now that I think of it!
I may need to call the DVLA. I hate just the though of it!


backofbeyond 11 Jan 2007 14:48

I don't know if you've done a search on the archives but there was a thread on this a year or two back. It wasn't good news though. I seem to remember the conversation with the DVLA went something along the lines of:
(explains problem to DVLA official) "are you permanently exporting the vehicle"?,
"No, I want to keep it UK registered but it'll be out of the uk for more than a year"
"If you're not permanently exporting the vehicle then you must either SORN it or MOT /tax it"
"How can I MOT it if its out of the country?"
"Sorry, not our problem"

Somebody suggested that when you're returning you phone ahead and book an MOT appointment near home so that you can ride from the port.

Dodgydago 11 Jan 2007 15:28

Thanks all.

I just talked to the DVLA. And yes they don't have good news for you.
To renew your tax disc you need to fill in and send a form called the V10. With it include the original log book, a valid MOT and the certificate of insurance. about this one they said a print out its not valid, so I wonder what do I do because I'm insure by e-bike and its all done through the internet.

Surrendering the log book it's also a problem because it leaves you without papers for the bike. That means a lot of trouble if you are stopped and no crossing borders! They take tow weeks but warn that there can be delays. Add to that the time for the documents in the post.

If the vehicle is more than 12 moths out of the country the DVLA considers you have exported it and there is no way around it.

I asked if the vehicle can be declared off the road and I was told the bike have to be in the UK.

They even get patronising and tell you that you should have your documentation and tax sorted out for the duration of your trip... but this has to be what they think your trip should last, that is less than a year.

I'm annoyed, really.

Still if you had an experience like this, please, let me know what did you do or if you found a way around it.

Thank you.


Phil Flanagan 11 Jan 2007 15:45

here's what i'd do.
1) when tax runs out find internet cafe go online and declare bike SORN (which technically it is as you are not using on UK roads).

2) remove expired tax disc from bike and enjoy rest of your holiday.

3) couple days before returning either get a friend in UK or pick up 'phone yourself and book bike in for MOT at nearest garage to ferry port (probably easiest to find telephone number before leaving).

4) come home. MOT bike. If it passes go to nearest post office and re-tax (this will cancel the SORN automatically). If it fails. Ride home, if you get stopped you have a legitimate failure certificate allowing you to ride and if cops get funny coz of distance just explain exactly what you've done and they'll let you ride on home no worries.


Dodgydago 11 Jan 2007 15:56

Thanks a lot Phil!
I suppose I loose my sense of humor sometimes. Yo needed with DVLAs, carnet issuers and so on!


Tony P 11 Jan 2007 15:58

continuing from Phil above..

5) it still away a year later remember to again renew the SORN online.

andyb43 11 Jan 2007 16:51

I have looked in to this and when we start on the rtw trip that will last for about 3-4 years we have a reminder in the diary to get to an internet cafe to declair SORN. then worry about it when we get back. the only inconveniance is you have a 2 week window to declair it SORN online as it wont accept it before the 15th of the month of expire.

Tony P 11 Jan 2007 17:02

I suppose another way would be to leave completed SORN declarations (in the forms rack in UK Post Offices last time I looked) in envelopes for whoever remains behind in charge of your affairs to post at the appropriate time.

mustaphapint 11 Jan 2007 17:13

I was wondering if it would be practical to export it (ie fill in the tear off strip from the V5 and post it) as you leave the UK. Then you've got no UK worries about SORN or Road Tax while you are away. When you get back, book in for an MOT in your home town, drive there from the ferry and once MOT'd restart the procedures to import back into the UK. I know of one rider who's done this and he has been re-assigned his original registration number without a problem. I also met a car driver on the ferry recently who was bringing a car back from France. It had been exported 16 years ago and still had its UK plates as the import routine to France had never been completed. It was insured and he had arranged an MOT back in its home town of Cardiff. You would have to be very unlucky to be prosecuted when you can show you have done everything reasonable to comply with the regs.

Dodgydago 11 Jan 2007 17:25

I do wonder...
But, what sort of status you have while not registered in the UK?
And what papers of the bike do you keep? Do they make you send the DVLA log book back?
I dont think will be a good idea totrying to cross national borders with a bike that only have export papers!
Also, do you think they will charge you to re-import it?



mustaphapint 11 Jan 2007 17:36


Originally Posted by Dodgydago
I do wonder...
But, what sort of status you have while not registered in the UK?
And what papers of the bike do you keep? Do they make you send the DVLA log book back?
I dont think will be a good idea totrying to cross national borders with a bike that only have export papers!
Also, do you think they will charge you to re-import it?



You don't have to hand in the V5 when you export it, it's just a small tear off strip. I would make a couple of photocopies first anyway, but if you want to be absolutely sure you could always order a duplicate first.
You won't be charged to re-import it, but I guess there will be a registration fee (I think it's about £35)
My preferred option is to take a French registered bike. They don't have road tax in France and bikes don't need MOTs.

Dodgydago 11 Jan 2007 17:44

Thanks Paul,

its a bit too late for me. I'm in Central Asia already!


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