Buying a car in Ireland


To be able to move in Ireland, a lot of expatriates think of buying a car, whether new or second-hand.

What are the formalities to buy a vehicle in Ireland: car registration, insurance, etc.?

What are the relevant authorities or organizations to contact?

How long does it take and what are the associated costs?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience,


I'm going through this right now, so this is just what I know (so far…)

What you need:
- Car registration - Register the change of ownership with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

- NCT Certificates - The National Car Test (NCT) tests cars for roadworthiness…. all cars over 4 years of age need to be tested, they then need to be tested every 2 years after that. Cars over 10 years old are tested each year. (If buying used it's good to see when the NCT expires, it's nice to get a few months before having to renew!)

- Tax (yearly) - The amount of motor tax you pay for a vehicle registered before July 2008 is proportionate to the size of your vehicle's engine - in other words, the more powerful your vehicle, the higher the cost of your motor tax. For new cars registered since July 2008, motor tax charges are determined on the basis of CO2 emission bands with lower emissions resulting in lower charges.

- Insurance (yearly) - If you find a car that you like you can use the registration number and ring insurance companies to see how much it will be to insure… anything that is "sporty" is going to cost you

How long does it take and what are the associated costs?
-- Timewise… I'm not sure yet, just bought a used car, will keep you posted on how long it takes…
-- Costs depend on the type of car you get (size of engine, how old it is etc…)

To be able to drive the car in a public place the following is required:

(besides a license of course..)

- Legal vehicle registration plates
- Current motor tax disc displayed on the windscreen
- Current motor insurance disc displayed on the windscreen
- Current NCT certificate (if car is over 4 years old) displayed on the windscreen

If you're going for second hand: I also found this really good post in a forum that is worth checking out to make sure you're getting a legit second-hand car...

Something else you should know if you buy a car in Northern Ireland/UK (or is registered there) you'll have to pay import fees to register it in the republic.

Hope this helps a bit!