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Taking your car abroad in Europe – fewer registration formalities

© Skynesher - iStock photo

The EU is proposing simpler car registration rules – whether you spend part of the year in another country or drive a company car registered outside your home country.

What's the issue?

  • As more and more Europeans travel, live and work abroad, the question "Where do I have to register my car?" has become more difficult to answer.
  • National governments do not always make it easy, requiring re-registration for short or work-related stays, or lengthy procedures for people who move permanently.

What exactly would change?

  • Formalities for re-registering a car in another EU country would be reduced to a minimum.
    Many controls would be abolished altogether, with authorities getting any technical information they need about the car directly from their colleagues in the country where it's already registered.
  • Registration authorities would cooperate more with each other, making it easier to track stolen cars. It would become impossible to register a stolen car in another EU country.
  • IMPORTANT – this proposal would change nothing as regards:
    • vehicle and registration taxes;
    • vehicles that are re-registered in the same EU country (for example, after being sold).

Who would benefit and how?

  • 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 there.
  • People who work in another EU country and use a car registered by their employer there would no longer have to register it in their home country.
  • Car-rental companies – during holiday periods, they would be able to transfer cars to another EU country without re-registration. This could lower the price of car rentals.

When is the proposal likely to come into effect?

Since  the adoption by the Commission on 4 April 2012, the proposal is under the legislative process in the European Parliament and the Council. At the European Parliament plenary meeting on 16 April 2014, MEPs referred the proposal back to the Internal market Committee for further discussion because the Council of Ministers was not yet ready to close a deal on the proposal.


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