We imported a Frankia I 740, new from Germany, for the second time in 7 years. This time the rules and regulations had changed, and the process is a bit more complicated, but don’t let it put you off. Just follow a step by step approach and be patient. The steps you need to take may vary if you are importing from a different country or if it is second-hand. The steps we took were: 1. Find a dealer convenient to the UK, Munich is a long way, Aachen is about 4 hours from the channel ports. 2. Negotiate a Euro price net of VAT. (The Caravan Salon at Düsseldorf is best for good discounts). 3. Insure the vehicle on a VIN – Vehicle ID Number (Safeguard, Saga and Comfort will do this in theory, but see below) from arrival at the UK channel port. 4. Book a ferry advising that you will let them know the registration number on arrival. When the motorhome is ready for collection at the dealer: 5. Fly or take a train/coach to the dealer. 6. Register the motorhome for export, obtain insurance and obtain an export plate. Export plates ("Ausfuhrkennzeichen") are for vehicles being exported. The month/year on the right side indicates their maximum validity in Germany. Insurance is a separate matter - you can simply sign up for a short term insurance with the company of your choice, or have the dealer arrange it for you as most do. You do need the insurance cover and certificate before you can get the plates. As the insurance is 3rd party only we obtained 15 day insurance cover, enough to get us home. 7. Pay for the motorhome without VAT. The dealer may require you to deposit the VAT amount in their bank or in our case provide them with a Euro cheque, which they will return when you provide proof that you have paid the VAT to HM Customs and Excise in the UK (see below). Our bank would provide a Euro cheque but the amount would have been taken from our sterling bank account and credited back when the cheque is cancelled. It proved cheaper to open a Euro account, with a cheque book, depositing a nominal amount and close it again when the transaction was finished. This account also came in handy for buying Euros when the rate was good and using them to pay for the van by bank transfer. 8. Drive the motorhome or arrange for the motorhome to be transported back to the UK. When the vehicle is home: 9. Modify the speedometer to show MPH. Our Mercedes had the ability to show a digital output in MPH but the Fiat did not so we obtained a replacement dial from Lockwood (www.lockwoodinternational.co.uk) and had it fitted by a local MOT garage. 10. Modify or replace the headlights to dip to the left. Ours are Hella low beam lights that can be adjusted by releasing 3 bolts, twisting the assembly and screwing bolts back, one in a different hole. Temporary solutions such as beam benders are not acceptable. 11. Modify the rear light clusters so that rear fog light is on the right. If not possible add an extra fog light in the centre or on the right and run a wire from the fog light on left. We had the dealer switch the position of the reversing and fog lights, rewiring appropriately. 12. A local MOT station needs to check that the work has been done and write a statement or an invoice (on headed paper giving their full contact details including their MOT test station number and VAT number and registered address or Companies House number and registered address. It needs to quote the 17 digit vehicle chassis (VIN) number, be dated and make clear the garage has worked on, or inspected the vehicle for conformity. 13. It is necessary to obtain a ‘proof of ‘Mutual Recognition’ certificate from the VCA/Department of Transport (http://www.direct.gov.uk/pdfs/apply-commission-notice-motorhomes.pdf) this will require you to complete a self certification form and send it with the Original European Certificate of Conformity (with 52 numbered items confirming that the vehicle is a motorhome), the above garage evidence that the vehicle meets the United Kingdom national requirements (UK specification headlights, dual marked speedometer, suitable rear fog-light(s)) and £100 payment. 14. While waiting for the VCA to send you a certificate you can deal with the VAT payment. You must send a Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) form to HMCE within 14 days of the import or you may be fined. You can do this online or ask the VAT helpline for a VAT NOVA1 form. You’ll need a Government Gateway account to use the online service. Vehicles can only be registered with the DVLA after you have confirmation that HMCE has processed the NOVA form. All notifications on progress are found online by checking the Nova progress periodically. The VAT receipt, sent by post, takes some time to arrive although an acknowledgement of payment received will be posted online immediately. 15. Send a copy of the confirmation to the dealer to return cheque or funds. 16. Now you can process the registration: 17. You will need to send the following by special delivery to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BE. • completed form V55/5(registering a used vehicle for the 1st time, not V55/4 (new vehicle)as the vehicle was 1st registered in Germany) • proof of ‘Mutual Recognition’ • foreign registration documents or any papers relating to the vehicle • evidence showing the date the vehicle was collected (normally the invoice from the supplier) • the appropriate HM Revenue and Customs forms, showing you’ve paid VAT and/or duty (if applicable) • a copy of driving license (photocard and paper) • a current British motor insurance certificate • the cost of the vehicle tax • the new registration fee of £55.00. • an addressed special delivery envelope All being well you should receive a Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C), commonly known as a logbook, the vehicle tax disc and your identity documents by post without too much delay. 18. Get your plates made up and away you go. Easy wasn’t it. Now for the problems: Some Insurance companies that insure on a VIN will not provide cover for driving the vehicle from the port; they will only cover whilst the vehicle is at your home. Only Safeguard would provide cover for us, others may on cheaper motorhomes. All insurers want a Thatcham approved alarm system, German dealer fitted systems are usually not approved. All insurers want the alarm fitted within 14 days but no insurer was initially prepared to cover us to drive to have an alarm fitted (safeguard eventually did agree to cover this after Vanbitz intervened with a telephone call to their contact) We had to drive on the German plates to Vanbitz as registration takes longer than 14 days. All insurers require a registration number within 30 days even though the VCA quote 5 days and the DVLA quote 4-6 weeks. Safeguard allowed us an extension but it proved unnecessary as the registration finally occurred 32 days after the German registration and 26 days into the UK insurance. The process may have been quicker, but thinking we were registering a new vehicle, we first used form V55/4. This was returned to us with a form V55/5 which we completed and resent. Our registration when it arrived, logged the vehicle as new with no previous owners! We found out that the German 3rd party insurance was good for the entire EU (including the UK) and allowed us to drive from Germany to home and to the local MOT station and back. Further details on request, Frankia or other German manufacturers.