Temporary Exemptions for Foreign Registered Vehicles

1. Introduction

This leaflet provides information on the scope, requirements and procedures associated with Temporary Exemption from Registration. It does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the relevant legislation which is contained in Section 135 of the Finance Act, 1992 (as amended) and the Temporary Exemption from Registration of Vehicles Regulations, 1993 (S.I. No. 60 of 1993).

This information leaflet outlines the circumstances in which a foreign registered motor vehicle may be brought into the Republic of Ireland (the State) on a temporary basis.

These circumstances vary depending on whether the vehicle is intended for private or commercial use.

Private Use

2. What Conditions Apply

Any imported vehicle which is owned by or registered in the name of a non-resident person is not required to be registered in Ireland subject to the following conditions:

  • The vehicle must have been acquired with all the appropriate taxes paid and these must not have been exempted or refunded in any way. The standard registration plates in use in the domestic market of a country are normally accepted as evidence of this.
  • The vehicle may not in any circumstances be driven by a State resident.
  • The vehicle may not be disposed of or hired out in the State or lent to a State resident.
  • The period of time that the vehicle is in the State does not exceed 12 months.
  • A longer period may apply where a person is on a task of definite duration in the State.

3. What is meant by "State resident" and "non-resident"?

A "State resident" is a person whose normal residence is in the Republic of Ireland and a "non-resident" is anyone whose normal residence is outside the State.

Normal Residence means:

  • the place where you usually live, for at least 185 days in the year, because of occupational and personal ties
  • if you have no occupational ties, the place where you usually live for at least 185 days in the year, because of personal ties.
  • if your occupational ties are in a different country from your personal ties then the country of your personal ties is taken as your normal residence if you return there regularly (i.e. for most of your non-working days).
  • A person who is normally resident in the State but who lives outside the State primarily for the purpose of attending a school or university is regarded as a State resident.
  • The rules regarding normal residency are in line with the EU Directives in this regard, especially Directive 83/182/EEC.

4. What If I am a foreign student?

If you reside temporarily in the State primarily for the purpose of pursuing a course of studies you may bring a foreign registered Category A vehicle (e.g. a saloon, estate, hatchback, convertible, coupé, MPV, Jeep, etc. a minibus (with less than 13 permanently fitted seats including the driver's seat)) or a motor-cycle into the State provided it is registered in the country of your normal residence. The same conditions mentioned in paragraph 2 above apply and the 12 month time limit will be extended until you have completed your course of studies.

5. What must I do if the vehicle ceases to meet the conditions for temporary exemption?

You must immediately either

  • permanently remove the vehicle from the State; or
  • apply to register the vehicle in the State and pay any tax due.

If you transfer residence to the State while your vehicle is temporarily in the State, you should immediately contact any Revenue Office and apply for exemption from payment of tax.

Before making your application, you should read the information leaflet Transfer of Residence carefully and then complete the Transfer of Residence application form.

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Commercial Use

6. What conditions apply?

A motor vehicle which is owned by or registered in the name of a person established outside the State may be brought into the State for commercial purposes for a period not exceeding 12 months. The information contained in paragraphs 2, 3 and 5 above apply to commercial use. However, certain specific rules also apply.

7. What are the rules governing the carriage of passengers?

A vehicle brought temporarily into the State may not be used for the carriage of passengers for reward between places within the State unless duly authorised.

Enquiries in relation to the required authorisations and any other transport regulations should be made to the Department of Transport External linkwhose head office is located at Transport House, 44 Kildare St., Dublin 2. Telephone 01- 6707444.

8. What is the position regarding professional equipment?

A vehicle which has been designed or specially adapted as professional equipment may be used by a non-resident provided it is for that person’s use or for use under that person’s supervision. An example of such a vehicle is a mobile TV broadcast unit.

9. Are there any circumstances where a foreign registered vehicle can be hired?

Yes. If a hired Category A vehicle has been brought into the State by a non-resident under a hire contract which expired in the State, then the car-hire firm is allowed to re-hire it once to another non-resident in order to remove it from the State.

10. Can a State resident drive a foreign registered vehicle for business use?

A State resident can not normally drive a foreign registered vehicle for business use. However, there are a number of exceptional circumstances in which this rule does not apply. Those exceptional circumstances are:-

  • A State resident who is employed by an employer established in another Member State may, on application to the Revenue Commissioners, be approved to use a Category A vehicle or a motor-cycle registered in another Member State (either owned or leased by the employer) for business/private use in the State provided
    1. the vehicle is provided as part of the contract of the employment, and
    2. it is used principally for business use outside the State.

Application forms for this temporary exemption are available from any Revenue Office.

  • A State resident who is employed by an employer established in another Member State is eligible to use Category B & C vehicles registered in another Member State (either owned or leased by the employer) for business/private use in the State.
  • A State resident who is an employee of a car-hire firm established outside the State is allowed to drive a vehicle for the purpose of returning it to the firm after the vehicle was left in the State on expiry of a hire contract.
  • In other circumstances where authorised in writing by the Revenue Commissioners.

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11. Are there formalities on arrival?

No. Once the conditions outlined in paragraph 2 above are met there are no formalities when you arrive in the State.

12. What must I do if challenged by a Revenue officer or a Garda?

You are required to stop your vehicle and allow it to be examined if requested by an Officer of the Revenue Commissioners or An Garda Síochána. You must co-operate in answering questions for the purpose of verifying your status and produce on request all documents relating to the bringing into the State, ownership and registration of the vehicle.

13. Further information and appeals

For further information in relation to the importation of foreign registered vehicles please see our information leaflet Before you Purchase a Car Abroad.

The appeals procedure in relation to any decision made with which you are aggrieved is available from any Revenue Office.

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