Car registration in another EU country
Affected by Brexit?
If you are moving to another EU country with your car, specific conditions apply to car registration depending on the length of your stay and on the country, you are moving to.
Most of the rules that apply to cars, apply also to trailers.
Moving for more than 6 months
If you move to another EU country and take your car with you, you have to register it in your new country. You also have to pay car-related taxes in your new country if you have your normal residence there.
Car registration deadlines differ from one EU country to another. Check the exact deadline with the national authorities of your host country to avoid paying fines.
You usually have 12 months to bring your car to your new country after changing your normal residence.
Know the rules to avoid fines
Cristina from Spain found a job in France and moved there. In a couple of months, she decided to bring her Spanish registered car to France but didn't re-register it there. She regularly used her car to go to work, however, the traffic police who were carrying out a routine check stopped her on one occasion. As she was driving with a Spanish registration plate, she was given a large fine because Cristina didn't know that in France she needs to re-register her car within 6 months after changing her main residence to a French one.
Exception – The 6-month rule on car registration does not apply in Denmark.
What to do if you move to another EU country:
- register your car
- change your number plate
- show proof of car ownership and proof that the car has passed a roadworthiness test
- pay car registration and road taxes in your new country.
What to do when you leave:
- deregister your car
- hand in the number plate
- show proof of car ownership and a proof that the car has passed a roadworthiness test
- put in a claim for a car registration tax refund.
If you have already paid car registration taxes in your previous country of residence, you may be able to apply for a tax refund there. In some cases, however, you may end up paying double taxes depending on the country you are moving to.
Moving for less than 6 months
If you move to another EU country and you are going to stay for less than 6 months, you don't have to register your car or pay any registration taxes there. You can keep your car registered in your country of residence. You may, however, need to pay road taxes. Road taxes are due for the use of your car, in your new country. It is a good idea to always have your car registration certificate, certificate of ownership and a proof of your permanent residency with you when driving in case you are stopped by the police and need to prove where you are subject to taxation.
If you haven't registered your car in your new country, you may not lend or rent it to a resident of that country if you aren't in the car with him/her. You may, however, lend your car to visiting friends or family members as long as they do not have their permanent residence in the new country.
Check the exact rules on car taxes in another EU country that apply to students, cross-border workers and secondary residents.
Penalty points and fines
You may be fined:
- if you have to register your car but you fail to do so on time
- if you don't pay the relevant taxes
- if you drive with a number plate from another EU country without a proof of residency and a valid roadworthiness test.
You can check the exact rules that apply to car registration in the country you are moving to on the websites of the national authorities:
- Bulgaria *bg
- Croatia *hr
- France *fr
- Greece *gr
- Iceland *is
- Italy *it
- Latvia *lv
- Liechtenstein *li
- Romania *ro
- Slovenia *si
- United Kingdomgben
* Information not yet provided by national authorities