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Updated : 30/04/2013

vehicles

Car registration and taxes

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Common rights across EU countries


* Information not yet provided by national authorities

Temporary stays

If you keep your normal residence from your Member State but you stay in another EU country for less than 6 months, you do not have to register your car or pay any taxes there - it will remain registered in your country of residence.

If you are staying in another EU country for less than 6 months and have not registered your car there, you may not legally lend or rent your car to a resident of that country, who may only drive your car if you are in the car with him/her.

You may, however, lend your car to visiting friends or family - provided they are not resident in your new country.

If you are staying in another country for more than 6 months, you should normally change your residence to this country and you must register your car there.

Stays over 6 months

If you move to another EU country and take your car with you, you will need to register it and pay any relevant taxes in the new country.

You must register your car normally within 6 months. Before leaving, you should check with the authorities of your new country when the period starts - from the moment you leave your home country or from the moment you arrive in your new country. You should also ask what documents will be requested as evidence.

Some Member States require you to re-register your car within less than 6 months of taking up residence in that country. Before you move to another country, please check with the authorities of this country whether shorter periods apply there.

In some countries you may be eligible for a tax exemption on your vehicle registration when you move from another EU country, if you meet the relevant conditions and deadlines. Before moving to your new country, contact the national authorities.

Sample story

Save money by knowing the rules in advance!

Cristina from Spain found a job in Portugal and moved there. Unaware of the 6‑month deadline, she went to register her car after 8 months in Portugal.

She was then informed that, had she registered the car earlier, she wouldn't have had to pay any registration taxes. Also, in Portugal the 6‑month deadline is counted from the moment you leave your home country, not from the moment you arrive.

Exceptions to compulsory registration after 6 months

Students

If you are staying in another country only in order to study, you can drive your car without having to register it or pay taxes there - for as long as you are enrolled in an educational establishment in that country.

Sample story

Mathieu is French and living in Belgium where he is doing a 2‑year post-graduate course. Mathieu's car was damaged, so he went to the police to get a report for his insurer. When the police discovered that Mathieu had been living in Belgium for over a year without registering his car there, they told him that he was in an irregular situation and would be fined.

Mathieu could prove that he was registered at Antwerp University and therefore, as a student from another EU country, he didn't have to pay car or road taxes in Belgium.

Cross-border workers

You are a cross-border worker (employed or self-employed) if you work on one side of a national border but live on the other, and return home at least once a week.

If you use your own car to commute regularly from the country where you live to the country where you work, you have to register it and pay the relevant taxes in the country where you live - but not in the country where you work.

If you drive a company car (registered in the country where you work), you may use it for private purposes in the country where you live without having to register it there. You would then be driving with foreign plates in the country where you live. This may cause concern for the local police, who have to check that people under their jurisdiction have paid national vehicle registration taxes.

If you have problems, you can always contact our assistance services.

Sample story

Kiril lives in Bulgaria and works in Greece for a Greek company. He drives a company car - registered in Greece - which he also uses privately in Bulgaria.

He was once stopped by the Bulgarian police and fined for not having registered the car in Bulgaria. Kiril explained that cross-border workers are entitled to use their company cars for private purposes in their home country, but the police were unaware of that right and issued the fine anyway. Kiril challenged the decision and the fine was eventually cancelled.

Self-employed cross-border workers

If you are self-employed, living in country A and working in country B, you may use your company car in country A without having to register it there only if:

  • the car was bought in your company's name;
  • you use it in country A mainly for your work and only occasionally for private purposes;
  • your company is legally based in another country.

Please note that a company car must be bought in your company's name. If you drive a car bought in your own name, you must register it in the country where you live.

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