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Motor Vehicle Registration

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.

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).

When will the changes come into force?

The proposal was adopted by the Commission on 4 April 2012 and is now making its way through the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union. 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 the European Union was not yet ready to close a deal on the proposal. Negotiations are ongoing.

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