Buying a car in Slovakia
Can I pay for a car in cash?
Yes, for amounts of up to EUR 5 000. If you travel within the EU, you don't need to declare money you take with you to customs. When entering or leaving the EU, you must declare any sum of money of or equivalent to EUR 10 000 and above to customs using a sk.
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. In practice, the seller will require proof that the car has been registered in another EU Member State and sometimes proof of payment of VAT.
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 (20 %) 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. The first periodic inspection has to take place 4 years after the vehicle is first registered, then every 2 years. (average cost: EUR 50).
Is the Slovak 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, but you have to find your own expert. No list of experts is available and the minimum price is EUR 20.
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?
- If the contract is signed on the seller's premises, you have no legal right to withdraw (unless the contract includes the possibility of withdrawal).
- If the contract is a distance sale contract and you have not yet collected the car from the seller's premises, you can withdraw from the contract before delivery. You can also withdraw up to 14 days from delivery of the car to your address. If you collect the car at the seller's premises, the contract is usually signed there and either will not foresee or will exclude the right to a cooling off period.
What documents should the seller provide?
- The contract of sale or an invoice
- The two parts of the registration certificate (Osvedčenie o evidencii časť 1 and Osvedčenie o evidencii časť 2)
- The European Certificate of Conformity (COC). If no COC is available from the seller, you can contact the manufacturer in your home country. If the manufacturer cannot provide a COC, ask a technical service organisation in Slovakia or in your country of residence
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?
Competent authority: Okresný Dopravný Inšpektorát (District Traffic Inspectorate)
Price: EUR 33 per plate
Timeframe: issued immediately
Validity: limited to the time needed for export, cannot exceed 1 year.
You may 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?
If a vehicle registered in Slovakia is sold to a foreign buyer, deregistration of the vehicle for export from Slovakia is required. This includes return of the registration plates of the vehicle to the Regional Traffic Inspectorate (okresný dopravný inšpektorát).
Do I need temporary insurance?
When driving the car home, you must be covered by insurance allowing you to drive on public roads. Ask your insurer or their representative in Slovakia if they can provide you with a short-term policy. In any case, when applying for transit plates,you need to show proof of (temporary) insurance cover.
If I have a complaint about a cross-border purchase, whom do I contact?
Contact your local ECC: www.esc-sr.sk
What out of court dispute resolution body is available in Slovakia?
There is no out-of-court body available.
To whom do I report cases of fraud?
To the nearest police station or to the prosecutor's office. You can contact your embassy beforehand in order to get accurate information on the procedure in your native language.