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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Motor vehicle registration

As greater numbers of Europeans travel, live, and work abroad, the question "where do I have to register my car?" has become more difficult to answer. People who buy a car in another country and want to take it back to their home country usually face complex and burdensome registration procedures. The obligation to register a motor vehicle in another country when it is already registered in the country of origin has been a source of complaints and court cases for many years. In response, the European Commission has proposed simpler car re-registration rules.

Current status

The proposal was adopted by the Commission on 4 April 2012. As no agreement was reached with the European Parliament and with the Council of the European Union, the Commission withdrew the proposal on 3 July 2018. The Commission will reassess the issue.

Who would be affected?

  • people who buy or sell a second-hand car in another EU country would not have to undergo additional technical controls and administrative problems
  • people who spend part of the year in a holiday residence in another EU country would not have to re-register their car there
  • people who move permanently to another EU country would have 6 months to re-register their car
  • people who work in another EU country and use a car registered by their employer would no longer have to register it in their home country
  • car-rental companies would be able to transfer cars to another EU country during holiday periods without re-registration. This could lower the price of car rentals

What would change?

  • the formalities of re-registering a car in another EU country would be reduced to a minimum
  • many controls would be abolished altogether, with authorities getting the technical information they need directly from their colleagues in the country it's registered
  • registration authorities would cooperate more, making it easier to track stolen cars
  • it would become impossible to register a stolen car in another EU country

IMPORTANT – this proposal would not change:

  • vehicle and registration taxes
  • vehicles that are re-registered in the same EU country (for example, after being sold)

More information