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Last checked: 01/03/2017

Buying a car in Croatia

Can I pay for a car in cash?

Yes, for amounts of up to EUR 15 000. When entering or leaving Croatia, you must declare any sum of money of or equivalent to EUR 10 000 and above to customs using a specific form.

What about payment of VAT?

Within an intra-EU transaction new cars should be sold without VAT. A car is considered new if no more than 6 months have passed since the date on which it was first registered or if its mileage does not exceed 6 000 km. In practice, some sellers may require payment of VAT as a deposit, to be refunded once the car is registered in the buyer's country. Check in advance with the seller how to claim the VAT refund, i.e. what documentation the seller needs from you. Be aware that you have no direct claim against the fiscal authorities, only against the seller, so you should claim any refund quickly. All other cars are considered second hand (more than 6 months since the date of first registration and mileage of more than 6 000 km). They are generally sold inclusive of VAT (25 %) if the supplier is a commercial seller (the supply is not liable to VAT if the supplier is a private person). You don't have to pay VAT in your country of residence.

Is the seller obliged to provide a vehicle inspection?

No. Every car registered in Croatia needs to pass a technical inspection 2 years after it is first registered and then every year (average cost: EUR 20 + VAT).

Is the Croatian vehicle inspection recognised in my home country?

Some countries recognise it. Check in advance with your national authority to avoid unnecessary costs.

Can I have an expert carry out a check on the car at the seller's premises?

Yes, on agreement with the seller you can ask an independent expert for a check. You will usually have to pay about EUR 20 + VAT.

What should I look out for in the contract of sale?

Read the contract carefully and only sign contracts you understand. Some traders try to exclude legal guarantee rights by claiming that the contract is a business-to-business contract or that the car is sold "without  warranties" (only in business-to-consumer contracts would such a clause be considered null and void). Make sure that the name of the seller is the same as the name given in the registration  document, or that the seller has power of attorney to sell the car in the registered owner's name. If you buy from a trader, make sure that the name of the company is mentioned in the contract and that there is an indication regarding VAT.

Can I cancel a signed contract?


What documents should the seller provide?

Check if other documents are needed in the country where you intend to register the car.

Should I apply for temporary plates to drive the car home?

You should apply for temporary plates to drive the car back to your home country. Competent authority: Ministry of the Interior – Ulica grada Vukovara 33, 10 000 Zagreb, Tel: +385 1 6122 111, e-mail: pitanja@mup.hr, policija@mup.hr:  Price: HRK 188 (+/- EUR 25) + HRK 1 000 (+/- EUR 130) deposit, refundable after return of the plates: Timeframe: issued immediately Validity: 30 days maximum.
You may also be able to apply for transit plates from your home country. Check with your relevant national authority.

Regular national plates

If you wish to drive home with the national plates still on the car, are you obliged to return them to the competent registration offices, either in the country of previous registration or in the registration country?
Only temporary plates can be used for the way back.

Do I need temporary insurance?

When driving the car home, you must be covered by insurance allowing you to drive on public roads. You will have to show a proof of insurance to obtain the temporary plates.

If I have a complaint about a cross-border purchase, whom do I contact?

Contact your local ECChr

What out of court dispute resolution body is available in Croatia?

There are no specific out-of-court bodies for car purchase claims.

To whom do I report cases of fraud?

You should report them to the Department for High-tech Criminality of the Ministry of the Interior.


Information provided by ECC-Net in March 2016 - see our legal notice.

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