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FAQs Car registration documents and formalities

  • Can I keep my car registered in France even though I now live in Belgium?  

    NO — You can't, unless you plan to leave Belgium within 6 months of arriving. You are generally obliged to register in the country where you live.

  • I spend every week-end in Germany where I live with my family, and working days in Luxembourg, commuting by car. Where should I register my car?  

    If you are commuting regularly like this as a "cross-border worker", you can keep the car registered in Germany (where you live).

  • I use a company car registered in Luxembourg and I live in Belgium, where I also do part of my work. Can I use the car in Belgium?  

    YES — If your job takes you to Belgium, you can also use your company car for private purposes in Belgium. The same applies if you are self-employed (i.e. you provide yourself with a company car), provided that you are legally established in Luxembourg.

  • I am Italian and every year I take a 3-month holiday in my second home in the French Alps, travelling by car. Can I register my car in France?  

    NO — You can only register your car in the country where you are permanently resident.

  • I keep a car in Greece, at my summer house there, but I live in the UK. Can the Greek authorities oblige me to register it in Greece?  

    NO — They can't, since you are not permanently resident in Greece. But they can stop you from renting out your car or even lending it to Greek residents. Your car can be driven by you, visiting relatives or friends — but by Greek residents only if you are on board. You may find it difficult to insure a UK registered car in Greece, but you should explain the special circumstances.

  • I am a Polish student, enrolled on a 2-year Master's course in the UK. Must I register my car there?  

    NO — You don't have to, if the sole purpose of your stay is to study.  But if you also start working during your stay, or if you stay in the UK after your studies, then you will have to register the car in the UK.

  • I am working in Sweden on a 10-month temporary contract, after which I will return to Slovakia. Do I have to register my car in Sweden?  

    YES — Because your stay is longer than 6 months and — presumably — you will not be commuting between the two countries.

  • I plan to buy a car in Germany and drive it back to France, where I live. How should I register it?  

    Although the car will eventually have to be registered in France, you still need to get German licence plates to drive it back to France. If the car is new, you should get transit licence plates — then you can avoid paying VAT in Germany. If it is a used car, you will probably have to get ordinary German registration, even for a short period. Consider having the car shipped to you in France, so you don't need to register it in Germany, and compare the costs.

  • To register my trailer in Spain I apparently have to go through a type-approval procedure, even though it has an EU certificate of conformity. Why?  

    The EU type-approval procedure is intended to ensure that trailers and caravans meet the EU's technical safety requirements. If your trailer or caravan has a valid EU certificate of conformity, it means that the prototype of your trailer (or caravan) has already been checked by the relevant authority in the country that has granted the type-approval. Therefore the Spanish authorities cannot impose an additional type-approval or request any additional technical documentation for the purposes of registration or putting into service. They could, however, require a technical inspection to ensure that the trailer (or caravan) has not been modified after delivery to you.

  • I am required by the Italian authorities to produce an EU certificate of conformity for my vehicle now registered in France, as I intend to register it in Italy. Where can I find that?  

    Manufacturers are required to provide an EU certificate of conformity when a vehicle is purchased. Since you do not have the certificate you will need to get the original or a duplicate from the vehicle manufacturer (possibly through your dealer - you will probably have to pay for the issuing and delivery). In most cases, the official importer of the brand in Italy should be able to help you.

  • Will the EU certificate of conformity be recognised even though my car has been customised?  

    NO — the EU certificate of conformity is a manufacturer's declaration that the vehicle described has been assembled on the production line under their responsibility and meets the requirements of EU law. A customised vehicle would have to undergo an individual approval under the national law in the EU country of registration. Where a customised vehicle is exported, the relevant authorities in the host country will require specific technical checks or certificates to be provided, or they may even conduct tests under their own national legislation before agreeing to register it.

  • I am bringing a vintage car from the UK to Portugal, where I am retiring. Will I have difficulty getting it registered in Portugal?  

    Registration may be more complicated if your car was made before 1996, because it is unlikely to have an EU certificate of conformity. Your UK documents are valid only in the UK and the Portuguese authorities may well require some technical adjustments to the car. The modifications will have to be strictly proportional to the safety and environmental standards which they are meant to guarantee. Many EU countries have put in place specific national laws including simplified procedures for vintage vehicles intended for restricted road use.

  • My car passed a road-worthiness test in Portugal less than a year ago. Will I have to go through the same test in Spain now that I am registering it there?  

    Possibly — The Spanish authorities may require a roadworthiness test before you can register it there. But they can only do so if:.

    • the test is also obligatory for Spanish residents when the holder of the registration certificate changes
    • the test does not duplicate any tests your car has already had in Portugal
    • the mandatory periodic test in Portugal is due.

    The time between mandatory roadworthiness tests varies from country to country. However, even if your last test in Portugal is still valid under Portuguese legislation, you will have to comply with the frequency of testing required in Spain.

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