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Registering a car in another country – smoother ride ahead - 10/04/2012

Car headlight and road © iStock/Olaru Radian-Alexandru

Standard EU registration rules would make it easier and cheaper to relocate vehicles to another EU country.

It can be a hassle getting new registration plates for a car when you move it to a new country. Drivers often face costly and cumbersome national registration procedures, but it shouldn't be that hard.

The problem was identified as one of the main concerns of Europeans going to another EU country to live, work, travel or shop.

In response, the Commission is proposing a common set of registration rules for vehicles moved permanently across national borders within the EU. These would simplify registration procedures, cut red tape and reduce costs.

The Commission estimates businesses, drivers and registration authorities would save around €1.45 billion a year if the measure becomes law. It would:

  • reduce the formalities for re-registering cars, vans, buses and trucks when drivers go to live in another EU country – they would also have 6 months to re-register their cars
  • eliminate requirements for additional roadworthiness tests, and procedures for people who buy or sell a second-hand car in another EU country
  • mean that people who work in another EU country and use a company car registered there by their employer would no longer have to register it in their home country as well
  • abolish any re-registration requirements for drivers who spend part of the year at a holiday residence in another EU country
  • allow car-rental companies to transfer cars during holiday periods to another EU country without having to re-register them.

Next steps

The measure must be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament before becoming law.

Later this year, the Commission plans to clarify EU rules on car registration and road taxes. It will also make recommendations on ways to avoid double taxation on transferred cars and to remove obstacles to cross-border car rentals.

These are all part of a series of proposals the Commission has been making to help people exercise their EU citizenship rights more fully.

For example, the Commission has made a proposal to strengthen the right to consular protection abroad Another recommends ways to resolve cross-border inheritance tax problems

More on your rights as an EU citizen

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