Now this is a subject I actually know something about.
Having attempted to register a road-legal British Ford Focus in France and a road legal French registered Fiat in the UK I have been through those hoops.
And as such I have to say I hold the EU responsible.
The two systems for registering a UK car abroad and an EU registered car in the UK are very similar.
You can find all of these hoops here.
The Department of Transport have helpfully issued a 12 page booklet on how to do it.
A few of them are pretty straightforward but if you’re trying to register a car that’s MOT age or more you end up in a hamster’s wheel of form filling; you can’t get such and such a form until you’ve submitted this one and you can’t get this one cos you haven’t got that one.
DVLA will happily supply you with an epic pack of forms to serve as a ‘kit’ for registering your vehicle here, but each Form you have to get from the manufacturer etc is likely to cost in excess of £100 each, just to prove that you’re Ford Focus, or whatever, is indeed a Ford Focus.
Headlights are less of a problem with modern generation cars as a lot of them just point straight ahead now and not to the left, but if you’re unfortunate enough to have an oldish banger, look at £300 or so to change the headlamps and align them.
Reversing Lights and Rear Fog Lamps are on the wrong side, an MOT failure till you get them swapped over.
Every time I thought I had the system cracked and turned up with my car and its paperwork I was presented with another piece of paper that I had to buy.
In both countries I gave up and bought a local car, and that by itself caused me immense problems in France. When I turned up ay t my bank asking to pay the proceeds of the sale of my UK Ford Focus into my bank account I was then accused of Money Laundering, and had to endure all that grief in a foreign country.
I completely accept that’s it’s wrong, no argument, but I absolutely get why foreign registered cars are not reregistered here or elsewhere in EU. If I had been less law-abiding I know what I would have done.
Next time you fly into into an airport in southern France or Spain just take a look at the number of British registered cars that are parked in the airport car parks, and that will give you an idea of the scale of the problem for ex-pat Brits. Exactly the same problem exists for ex-pats returning to the UK.
The problem is relatively simple, just make the system for registering more simple, easier to understand and less bureaucratic, and I’m sure the majority of people will then comply with it.
Here endeth Saturday’s rant.