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Car registration documents and formalities

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As a general rule, in the EU you are required to register your car in the country where you have your normal residence (In most EU countries, normal residence means the place where you live for at least 6 months a year.).

There is no EU wide law on vehicle registration. The following information reflects the practices in many EU countries.

You can check the rules which apply in your country and the country you are moving to.

Choose country
  • Greece *gr
  • Hungaryhuenhu
  • Iceland *is
  • Irelandieen
  • Italyitenit
  • Latvia *lv
  • Liechtenstein *li
  • Lithuania *lt
  • Luxembourgludeenfr
  • Maltamtenmt
  • Netherlandsnlennl

* Information not yet provided by national authorities

To register your car, you will have to submit a number of documents.

Roadworthiness certificate and proof of roadworthiness

As a car owner, you are responsible for keeping your car in roadworthy condition as well as presenting it for roadworthiness testing 4 years after the first time it has been registered and every 2 years thereafter.

If you move to another EU country and want to re-register your car there, you will have to provide proof to the authorities that your car has passed a roadworthiness test in your former country of residence.

The testing frequency may differ significantly from one EU country to another.

The proof of roadworthiness should be displayed visibly in your car and include the test results, the identity of the vehicle and the date of the next test. The validity of the roadworthiness certificate should be recognised even if the ownership of the car changes.

Registration certificate

When you register your car in the EU, the authorities will issue you with a registration certificate. The registration certificate will have one or two parts, this varies according to national rules in your country. Your car registration certificate has to be recognised by other EU countries when you travel or move to another EU country. If you need to re-register your car in another EU country, you will have to submit the original car registration certificate to the registration authorities in your new country. If your certificate consists of two parts, you have to submit both parts. Some EU countries may require additional documents before re-registering your car, so you should check the exact requirements in your new country.

You should have your car registration certificate with you when travelling by car or when moving abroad. Part I is sufficient if the document has two parts.

Proof of ownership

You may be asked to prove that you are the legal owner of the vehicle. Invoices used as proof of purchase should clearly state the VAT number of the car dealer.

Proof of value-added tax (VAT) payment

When you register your vehicle, national authorities are entitled to check whether VAT has been correctly paid. VAT rules vary depending on whether your car is new or used and whether you buy it from a professional dealer or from a private individual.

For VAT purposes, a new car has done no more than 6 000 km OR has been in use for no more than 6 months. Check where you have to pay VAT for a car bought in another EU country.

Proof of insurance cover

When you register your car, you will have to present proof that you have insurance cover. The authorities should accept insurance cover from any insurance company:

Certificate of conformity for new cars

The certificate of conformity is issued by the manufacturer and shows that the technical characteristics of the vehicle meet safety and environmental standards. It can be either a European (EC) or a national certificate.

EC certificate of conformity

The EC certificate of conformity is valid in all EU countries. If your car has a valid EC certificate, national authorities cannot request any additional technical documentation - unless your car has been modified since leaving the factory, they can then require it to undergo a new approval.

National certificate of conformity

The national certificate of conformity is valid only in the country of issue. It is usually issued for buses, trucks, vans, trailers and custom-built vehicles produced before May 2009 or vintage cars.

If your car is already registered and you move it to another EU country, the authorities in your new country will often require additional technical checks or certificates before re-registering your vehicle.


EU legislation

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