Registering & Importing a Vehicle
Before registering a vehicle on the base, the member needs to have record with Pass and Registration.
To obtain one of these, they need to go through the newcomer's briefing and pass the associated test. Once this is done, they must attend Pass and Registration with their valid US driving license. This will allow a base driving permit/fuel card to be issued.
There are circumstances where a member could have a record and will not have passed the newcomers test, but these are very few and far between. In any case, no permit will be issued until the test has been passed.
Contact the Pass & Registration Office
Commercial +44 (0)1638-54-5501 / 6093
DSN 238-5501 / 6093
Email [email protected]
Location Bldg 438, Washington Square, RAF Mildenhall.
Allowed Registered Vehicles
Members can only have two vehicles at a time, per household, on their permit unless a Third Vehicle Authorization MFR has been signed by the member’s First Sergeant. Motorcycles count as a vehicle for the household.
Read details in the section below to clarify Vehicle Ownership and things to know if you plan to own or ride Motorcycles. Either of which requires Road Tax.
Any motorized vehicle being imported into the United Kingdom, including motorcycles shipped in household goods, are considered to be Custom Concession (tax free) vehicles. Customs Concession vehicles are any vehicles imported or purchased free of VAT (value added tax, car tax, and duty/excise tax), which include vehicles purchased from AAFES car sales or any military tax free dealerships.
Only active duty military members and DOD civilian components are authorized to own a concession vehicle and there's a limit on how many concession vehicles a person may own. Single, unaccompanied personnel without dependent spouse are authorized to own and operate one concession vehicle. Personnel who are married and accompanied by their dependent spouse, irrespective of command sponsorship may own and operate two concession vehicles. (The government will only pay to ship one vehicle.) Dependents are not entitled to concession vehicles and are therefore not authorized to be issued or sign for 941 customs forms to pick up your vehicle from the port, purchase a used tax free vehicle from a military member here or buy a brand new vehicle from AAFES unless they are in a situation of extreme hardship. Any hardship request must go through the legal office prior to being granted. Any member shipping over more than their given amount of Concessions Vehicles should contact the Pass & Registration Office as soon as possible.
You must complete 3 pink copies of Customs and Excise Form 941 at Pass and Registration before your vehicle will be cleared into the United Kingdom by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise. Once the Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) (shipping unit) receives the customs forms, they will hold your vehicle for 24 hrs prior to being released.
If you are a motorcyclist or think you might be interested in motorcycling while stationed in Europe, there are a few things you should know first before making any riding plans or financial obligations. You must complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) approved safety course in order to get the required motorcycle endorsement on your 3AF driver's license before you can ride your motorcycle in Europe. A refresher MSF course is required every five years. Additionally, if it's more than five years since the last training, you will not be able to operate a motorcycle until the new training is completed.
The frequency and availability of student slots are limited. You are highly encouraged to attend one of the MSF safety courses offered at your stateside location prior to PCSing here to avoid any unnecessary delays in licensing. Contact the Wing Safety office for details by calling DSN 314-238-2255, or commercial 011-44-1638-54-2255.
Members are also required to have a motorcycle endorsement on their current driver's license. If you do not have the endorsement you will not be allowed to operate a motorcycle in the U.K. Many states allow adding the endorsement via mail however you will have to contact your DMV for more information.
Enforcement of Motorcycle Operating Requirements -- To reduce motorcycle related casualties, United States Air Force (USAF) implemented new motorcycle training standards. However, realizing the full benefit of these and existing safety standards requires a concerted effort by all RAF Mildenhall personnel. Commanders, at RAF Mildenhall have implemented a three-phased plan that consists of Education, Enforcement and Engagement.
All military personnel who operate a motorcycle on or off base are required to adhere to the following criteria:
- Regardless of country assigned, all personnel who operate or ride as a passenger on a motorcycle must wear a protective helmet which, at a minimum, meets certification requirements of ECE 22.05. Department of Transportation (DOT), SNELL, and ANSI helmets do not meet host nation requirements.
- Eye Protection. Goggles, wrap around glasses, or a full-face shield (properly attached to helmet) designed to meet or exceed American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z87.1 for impact and shatter resistance will be worn. Host nation equivalent is acceptable if it meets or exceeds ANSI Standard Z87.1 for impact and shatter resistance.
- Protective Clothing. Wear of long sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves are required. Gloves should be sturdy, non-slip type to permit a firm grip on the controls. Wear of a motorcycle jacket and pants constructed of abrasion resistant materials such as leather, Kevlar®, and/or Cordura® containing impact absorbing padding are strongly encouraged.
- Foot Protection. Riders will wear sturdy over the ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles (durable athletic shoes that cover the ankles may be worn).
- Garment and Motorcycle Visibility. Motorcycle riders should wear a brightly colored outer upper garment during the day and a reflective upper garment during the night.
Road tax is a yearly tax paid to the UK government on motor vehicles using public roads. When you buy a vehicle, the vehicle tax will not be transferred with the vehicle. You will need to get a new vehicle road tax before you can use the vehicle. You can tax the vehicle using the New Keeper Supplement (V5C/2) part of the vehicle registration certificate (V5C) online, by using the automated phone service - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or visiting a Post Office branch.
If you bring a vehicle with you to the UK and do not plan on driving it for an extended period of time, you can make a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) if you don't use or keep your vehicle on a public road (eg you keep it in a garage, on a drive or on private land). You don't have to pay road tax. To apply for a SORN you can do so by applying online, by phone, or post.
Registering a Vehicle
You will apply for your UK registration via Pass and Registration to obtain your UK plates. Review this checklist for specific details on registering a vehicle.
Vehicles imported into the country must be registered with the British authorities through the Pass and Registration office within 72 hours of being driven into the U.K or after being picked up from the port.
A minimum of one stateside license plate must be attached to the vehicle when picking it up at the port. (Don't forget to hand carry your front and rear license plates with you) all cars in Britain have front and rear plates. Upon arrival of your POV your plates will be put back on your car until your vehicle is fully registered in the U.K System and the British license plates can be made. Personnel without any plates on their vehicles are not authorized to drive the vehicle in the U.K. until the U.K. registration has been completed.
U.K. light conversions are mandatory for every vehicle imported into the U.K. There is no exception to this regulation.
Members are only allowed to drive their imported vehicles in Suffolk County, with plate(s), for 30 days prior to the completion of the full U.K. registration. If your vehicle is not fully registered in the U.K. with British plates affixed to the front and rear of your imported vehicle within 30 days, your vehicle must be parked and may no longer be driven. There are no exceptions to this policy. It is a standing policy with Suffolk Constabulary.
Once you have completed your vehicle registration your first year of road tax is paid for by the military.
When your road tax comes up for renewal you will need to come through Pass and Registration and this process takes around 10-14 days.
Once your vehicle is registered under the tax-free scheme it will remain tax-free and hold Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (customs) restrictions, and hold import taxes regardless of how many times the road tax is paid, until it leaves the country.
Vehicles three years or older must have a Ministry of Transport (MOT) certificate completed. A new requirement for vehicles less than three years old is the Single Vehicle Approval (SVA). The MOT and SVA are similar safety inspections. However, the MOT is an annual requirement for all vehicles over three years old being operated in the United Kingdom; and the SVA is a one-time requirement on concession vehicles imported into the United Kingdom less than three years old. Once the vehicle is greater than three years old a standard MOT will be required annually.
All Civilians, Active Duty, and their dependents must acquire UK insurance to operate a motor vehicle in the UK
There is a local Geico office located on RAF Lakenheath and also a local USAA insurance branch located in London.
The USAA International Auto Insurance number is (Toll Free) 1-800-531-8722 / 0800 28 9192 (local).
Geico overseas insurance can be reached at (Toll-Free) 1-800-248-4998 / 01638 53 3400.
Preparing to Import a Vehicle
Under current legislation, each military member can import a single concession/tax-free vehicle, the shipping of which is paid for by the US Government. A married member, who has a non-military spouse in the country, is also entitled to import two vehicles. However, in this circumstance, the government will only fund the shipping of one of the two vehicles.
An imported vehicle can be one that is shipped to the UK from another country or one that is driven into the UK by the owner.
A motorcycle is a vehicle and counts towards the number of tax-free vehicles that a member can have. This is regardless of how the motorcycle enters the country, even if it is transported and imported with the member’s household goods.
It is possible to import more vehicles than is allowed under the legislation through the Transfer of Residence Scheme (ToR). This is done by the member not by Pass and Registration. The ToR must be completed and approved prior to the vehicle being imported into the UK.
Full details of how to apply for a ToR can be found on the gov.uk website.
Drop Off / Pick Up from Vehicle Processing Center (VPC)
You must show the US port or Vehicle Processing Center your Title (if you own your car) or a letter from the Lien Holder (Bank Credit Union, etc) authorizing you to ship the Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) Overseas. If you don't have one of those documents, the port or VPC will not accept your car for shipment overseas.
Please take the following documents when picking up your POV: (Customs Forms should be delivered to the Port no less than 24hrs prior to pick-up.)
- Valid ID card
- Vehicle Inspection Form
- PCS orders
- Dependents can only pick up POV for the sponsor if they are noted on the Original Inspection form or have SPOA. **Note, dependents are not authorized to sign for the required 941 Customs forms needed to pick up your vehicle. Please contact Pass & Registration for questions**
Please note any damages to your POV while still at the port, on form DD788 during inspection and take to the legal office-claims section. All inquiries on inbound POV's should be routed through TMO Inbound Section.
If you are impacted by a missed delivery date or experienced damage to your vehicle, please contact International Auto Logistics (IAL).
If you require a rental vehicle due to a missed delivery date, members may make a request for a direct bill rental vehicle arranged by IAL to be considered on a case-by-case basis dependent on the individual need of the service member. Requests for direct bill rental cars should be directed to Mr. Mike Todd or Ms. Karen Olsen (contact information below) and should include the entitled member's first and last name, shipping instruction number, and the zip code where the rental car is being requested for pick up.
International Auto Logistics
1-855-389-9499, option 3
Claims Control Department
International Auto Logistics, LLC
1 Joe Frank Harris Blvd
Brunswick, GA 31523
Requests for Inconvenience Claims should be sent to IAL at [email protected]
If you have any questions or concerns, you can also contact:
Mildenhall SDDC Office Contract Office Responsibility
Once the Vehicle has Arrived
- Step 1
Collect 941’s from Pass & Registration office and take them to the VPC.
What Pass & Registration needs from you to issue your 941’s: Title or Registration, showing the make, model, type of vehicle and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Step 2
Pick up vehicle from Vehicle Processing Center (VPC)
- Step 3
Get the vehicle either an IVA or MOT (described below)
- Step 4
Schedule an appointment with Pass & Registration for British Registration application (V55 package) The required documents are:
- Pink 941 from the VPC
- MOT or IVA Certificate
- Original Title or Registration
- Step 5
DVLA will then send the registration document (V5) direct to the applicant at the address given to Pass and Registration at the time that the V55 package was completed. The V5 will show the registration number allocated to the vehicle and the member can then get the plates made and attached to the vehicle. At this stage, the member will need bring in proof of insurance to Pass and Registration so that the new details can be added to their gas card. They will also need to update their insurance company with details of the number allocated to the vehicle.
DVLA will also return the members’ documents to Pass & Registration and they will send an email to the member to collect them from their office.
Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA), previously known as Single Vehicle Approval (SVA).
This test ensures your imported vehicle conforms to UK requirements, including a light conversion. The IVA is for vehicles under 3 years old.
Pass & Registration Office can provide details of some garages that offer the IVA conversion and inspection or talk to your co-workers for their suggestions.
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) test is an annual safety inspection required on all vehicles over 3 years old. The MOT certificate is good for 12 months and then must be retested. You must have a valid MOT test certificate in order to drive on British roads. You may incur additional costs if the vehicle does not meet or pass MOT requirements and requires maintenance or repairs.
If your vehicle is over 3 years old, the first test will include the aspects of the IVA test as well as the more general safety inspection.
However, it is of note that not all MOT testing stations can issue the IVA stamp. So for vehicles over 3 years old, the MOT at import must be done at a testing station that can issue the IVA stamp.
- All vehicles built after 1 April 1981 must have a fog light, mounted at the rear of the vehicle, centered to the right hand side of the vehicle. Also, the light control switch must light up when the fog light is on and must be seen from the driver's seat.
- Parking lights must be white, not amber.
- The headlights in the UK are angled differently than in the States because of driving on the other side of the road. It is suggested that the re-aiming of your lights be done when you arrive in the UK.
- All vehicles built after 1 April 1986 must have a side repeater. A side repeater is a separate turn signal in the fender that can be seen from the driver side door. In most cases this means drilling holes in the fender of approximately 3/4 inch. Wraparound lights may substitute for the side repeater in some models.
- All rear turn signals must flash amber, and must not adversely affect any other light (brake light, parking light).
- Very few American vehicles meet the standards for light requirements in the UK. The price for a light conversion can be very high depending on the vehicle.
Note: Only the entitled individuals can receive and sign customs forms! Not dependents.
Important Notes Regarding Imported Vehicles
Any car imported into the UK by a member without paying import and value added tax is known as a customs concession vehicle. It can be imported from the US or another country; if the taxes aren't paid, it's a customs concession vehicle.
The rules governing concession vehicles are made via Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Anything to do with a concession vehicle must go through HMRC via Pass and Registration, including importing, exporting, selling or scrapping etc.
To sell a concession vehicle to another member, the buyer must have below their tax-free allocation limit for it to proceed. If this is the case, both the seller and the buyer must visit the seller's Pass and Registration together to make the transfer.
A concession vehicle cannot be sold to a British national without the relevant taxes being paid to the UK Customs BEFORE the sale takes place. To receive the assessment of the amount to be paid, the member needs to visit Pass and Registration, who will start the process on the member’s behalf.
If the vehicle is involved in a collision and deemed by its insurance company as a total loss, to remove the vehicle from the members record Pass and Registration require notice from the insurance company that they will, as well as the vehicle payout, pay all necessary taxes in relation to the vehicle. The details from the insurance company will be sent to HMRC and when they have received the funds it can be cleared from the member's record.
Upon Arrival Topics
- Start 100th PCS
- Transport from the Airport
- RAF Mildenhall Welcome & In-Processing
- Travel Allowance
- Child & Youth Programs Registration
- School Registration
- Pet Registration
- Driving Overseas
- Buying & Renting a Car
- Vehicle Registration
- Fuel Card
- Medical, Dental & Eye Care
- Mental Health, Family Advocacy, & Health Promotions
- Pregnancy in the UK
- Finding a Home
- Overseas Electricity
- Bills Banks & Exchange Rates