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Taking a vehicle out of the UK

Many people emigrating from the UK decide that the country’s low resale value on second hand cars does not warrant them selling their prize possession for a pittance and many decide to take their motor with them to their new life abroad. Here we investigate the rules and regulations, which will affect you when you take your car out of the country. If driving your much loved jalopy to Bulgaria and leaving it there permanently is an option for you then you must notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about the vehicle's export. Permanent export is deemed as a period where the vehicle is out of the country for over 12 months. The first thing to do is to fill out and send off section C on your vehicle’s registration document (V5) noting the intended date of export. On receipt of the registration document, the DVLA will send you a certificate of permanent export (V561) as confirmation of your vehicle's registration.


If your registration certificate is the type known as V5C then you have to fill out the purple section known as V5C/4. When you leave you have to take your registration certificate with you because you may have to give it to the relevant authority when the vehicle is registered abroad.

The DVLA produce a leaflet numbered V526 and entitled 'Taking your vehicle out of the country,' which provides in depth detail on this subject.

If you are coming to Bulgaria on a semi permanent basis e.g. for six months of the year, then you must take your registration document (V5) or certificate (V5C) with you. If you do not have one, you have to apply to a DVLA local office using form V62, which you can pick up at any branch of the post office or online at the DVLA website. Make sure that you apply for this certificate well before your journey because it takes around 14 days to issue this document if you are not already recorded as the vehicle keeper. There is also a small charge for this service.

If your car is a leased, hired or rented vehicle the registration certificate is likely to be held by the company that supplied the vehicle. To overcome problems of proof of ownership or authorisation whilst abroad, the driver needs to get a vehicle on-hire certificate (VE 103) from the AA, RAC, Green Flag, Road Haulage Association, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association or the FTA - Fleet Transport Association.

If you adhere to these rules you will avoid complications further down the line. The Bulgarian authorities and traffic police are sticklers for documentation. You will not see many speed cameras here, but you be asked to produce your car ownership documents, most definitely at the border and en-route by the many traffic cops who lurk behind bushes with their lollipop in hand ready to flag you down and utter those immortal words, “Dokumenti.”