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Updated : 01/03/2017

Car registration and taxes – Ireland

Registration rules

As an EU national moving to Ireland, you must register your car if you are the holder of the registration certificate / owner of the vehicle / user of a vehicle you do not own (e.g. a family members).

Exemptions from the obligation to register a vehicle

As an EU national moving to Ireland, you can use your vehicle here while it is still registered in your previous home country.

You can only use it for 30 days under the following conditions:

  • You must make an appointment with the NCTS within 7 days of its entry into the State to have a pre-registration examination of the vehicle carried out.
  • You must complete the registration process and pay VRT at the NCTS Centre within 30 days of the arrival of the vehicle in the State.


If you are a student in Ireland from another EU country you:

  • do not have to register your own car with the authorities here for your period of study. This also applies if the car is owned by your parents, who are not resident in Ireland.
  • This is for a Temporary Importation only where the student is not transferring their residence permanently. Vehicles brought in on a permanent basis must be registered within 30 days as outlined above.

A student can use it for the period of their study under 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.
  • When a student residing temporarily in the State to study, uses a passenger vehicle registered in the country of their normal residence, the limit applied is for the duration of time that the student pursues such study here.
  • There is ordinarily no requirement to make a formal application.
  • Where a formal application is required, evidence of eligibility, as necessary, must be produced.
  • You do not have to pay registration or road taxes on it in Ireland - a vehicle must be registered to be able to pay motor tax.
  • You do not have to buy additional car insurance for your period of study here but you should inform your insurer in advance of travelling.

To qualify for exemption from the requirement to register vehicles, you don't have to get a certificate of enrolment at the university (or other school/college)

  • However, proof of study and other supporting documentation should be kept in the vehicle in case of checks by the authorities.

If, as a student, you are also working in Ireland, you don't have to register the vehicle and pay related taxes.

Pensioners, second home owners, cross-border commuters, self-employed cross-border commuters (company cars

As EU nationals with a second home in Ireland (that you use for no more than 6 months a year), you must register your vehicles here, if the vehicle remains in Ireland permanently.

  • An EU National is not exempt from compulsory car registration if they have transferred their residence to Ireland.

An Irish State Resident (including an EU National who has transferred their Residence to Ireland), may be exempt from compulsory car registration, if they are:

  • employed by an employer established in another Member State who provides a vehicle as part of their contract of employment, where such vehicle is owned or leased by the employer, or
  • self-employed and has an established legally accountable undertaking in another member state, where his business is solely or principally carried on.
  • If the foreign registered vehicle is a passenger vehicle it must be used principally for business use in the other Member state.

This relief is not available where an application for exemption is requested from a legal undertaking established outside the State:

  • which is not trading in the jurisdiction in which it is established, or
  • which provides a vehicle as part of a contract of employment to an employee who is a State resident where the vehicle is to be used solely/principally for business/pleasure purposes in the State.

To qualify the vehicle must:

  • be owned or registered in the name of the person established outside the State.
  • not be disposed of, hired out or lent to a person established in the State.
  • not be used for the carriage of passengers for reward or for the transport of goods commercially between places in the State.

These procedures permit Category M1 vehicles to be approved for use in the State by State
residents subject to the requirements and procedures listed.

Note – Categories M2,M3,N1,N2,N3 vehicles

  • Category M2, M3, N1, N2, N3 vehicles brought into the State on behalf of a person established outside the State for his/her private or business use are not subject to the restrictions imposed on the use of Category M1 vehicles by State residents in the State.

Time allowed for re-registering a vehicle

If you change your country of residence to Ireland, you have 30 days to re-register a vehicle previously registered in another EU country – measured from the date the vehicle entered Ireland.

To re-register a vehicle previously registered in another EU country, go to a National Car Testing Service Centre, operated by Applus, on behalf of the Revenue Commissioners.
National Car Testing Service
Lakedrive 3026,
Citywest Business Campus,
Naas Road,
Dublin 24
Phone: +353 1 4135975

  • You must make an appointment with the NCTS within 7 days of its entry into the State to have a pre-registration examination of the vehicle carried out.
  • You must complete the registration process and pay VRT(if applicable) at the NCTS Centre within 30 days of the arrival of the vehicle in the State.

Temporary registration plates

If you buy a car abroad, transit registration plates issued in another EU country will not be recognised in Ireland for the purposes of driving your car back to your place of residence.

Car tax

As an EU national, if you want to register and use your car in Ireland, you must pay the following taxes:

  • These vehicles must still be registered in Ireland.
  • These exemptions must be applied for from a Local Revenue Office before registering at an NCTS Centre.

The following categories of vehicles are exempt from road tax:

  • State-owned vehicles,
  • Diplomatic vehicles,
  • vehicles exempted under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations, 1994 (S.I. No. 353 of 1994),
  • vehicles (including any cycle with an attachment for propelling it by mechanical power) not exceeding 400 kilograms in weight unladen adapted and used for invalids,
  • vehicles which are used exclusively for the transport (whether by carriage or traction) of lifeboats and their gear or any equipment for affording assistance towards the preservation of life and property in cases of ship-wreck and distress at sea,
  • vehicles which are used exclusively for mountain and cave rescue purposes,
  • vehicles which are used exclusively for underwater search and recovery purposes,
  • vehicles which are used exclusively for the transport (whether by carriage or traction) of road construction machinery which is built in as part of such vehicle or otherwise permanently attached thereto, carries no load except articles or materials used for the purpose of the road construction machinery and is used for no purpose other than the construction or repair of roads,
  • refuse carts, sweeping machines or watering machines used exclusively for cleansing public streets and roads,
  • ambulances, road-rollers or fire engines,
  • vehicles kept by a local authority and used exclusively for the purpose of their fire brigade service.

If you do not register your vehicle in Ireland,and it is required to be registered in Ireland, it is:

  • still subject to these taxes and associated penalties for late payment and evasion of said taxes.
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