FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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CAN I SCRAP MY CAR IN GREECE?

Brilliant website - thanks so much. We're heading off in August and will buy an old car in Germany and travel through Croatia and Albania into Greece, where we plan to scrap the car before flying out. Does anyone have experience with this? Will Greek customs expect some type of paperwork - such as a certificate of destruction - when we fly out and would something like this be difficult to organise? All thoughts appreciated :) - Jodie

You shouldn't have a problem Jodie - from memory there is nothing in your passport to say you have brought the vehicle into Greece and you can do what you like with it (I recommend trying to sell the car unregistered... you never know who may want it?). If you are coming in from another Shengen country you wont ever meet a border official, and even if you do they wont care about the vehicle.

 

DID YOU SAVE MONEY TRAVELLING BY CAR?

Thank you SOOOO much.. Great INFO..My GF and I are heading to Germany next month, we have the same idea.. we want our own wagon with a mattress in the back of it and camp out and plan to go only for 60 days but we want our own car.. As we are Aussies too.. Were the Germans a lil iffy about that whole Aussie passport thing? Just pretend to export? Sounds like you had a magic time.. Did you actually save quite a bit of money with tolls/fuel compared to hostels/trains/buses?? cheers in advanc for ur help!!  - Brayds

Thanks for the comment! Glad we could help.  We did the camper thing too - a mattress in the back and nothing ahead but the open road. You will save a bucketload v's the train/bus/hostel system - even with a few tolls here and there (they are not expensive). We spent about 100 euro a week on fuel, but we moved a lot! 22,000km in 6 months.  German's didn't care about how you use the plates at all, and they will love that you are Aussie. You won't regret a second - have a great trip!

 

DO I HAVE TO PAY VAT?

Good stuff, really helpful and clear.I am going to buy a car in Germany and then drive it to Italy where i will register it once I have an address (I do not yet have that). cannot see why that would not work.Do you pay VAT or equivalent if it is for export? - Terry

Hi Terry,If you only get the German export plates for 90 days you won't pay VAT, but you do pay if you extend past that point.  There are some notes about it in the 're-registration' page because we did have to pay it.

 

CAN I KEEP EXPORT PLATES FOR MORE THAN ONE YEAR?

Hi,Great site. Thanks for the effort you did to share your experience.My question is about going for few years trip. I understood that the the export licence can be extended up to one year. What happens after this year if you are abroad. Is it possible to continue this extension.Thanks a lot - Israel

Hi Israel, sorry I have no idea what would happen after a year. You would need to check with the Transport department.  I think you may encounter problems, because it is not the purpose of the plates to be used for so long.

 

CAN I RE-ENTER GERMANY?

Hi, my name is mezzi i'm from vancouver canada. i'm planning ot go to germany buy a car drive in europe and north africa, i'm wondering if i can drive back the car to germany after my trip is finished.thanks for yourr help in advance .- Mezzi

Hi Mezzi, yes you can go back to Germany as much as you want as long as the vehicle is registered.  You can choose to sell it there, but it would be hard because the vehicle will have been 'deleted' from the system and the new owner would have to re-register it as an imported car (which is expensive). 

 

DID YOU KEEP REREGISTRING YOUR EXPORT PLATES?

Hi! Just a quick question, did you just keep re-registering on export plates the whole time? it looks like you did a very big trip...did you come back to Germany every 90 days to re-register? We are Aussies looking to do the same thing as you but I was considering buying on export plates in germany, then driving it to the UK to register it properly for a 9 month campervan trip across Europe... is what you did easier/cheaper? Any advice would be appreciated, thank you! - Olive

Hi Olive - If you can change over the registration to the UK it would be cheaper for sure - but there are issues you will face if you buy a left-hand drive (as the UK only registers right-hand or modified vehicles).  We did return every 90 days, but if you bought your insurance online you could get 180 days in a row of rego on your export plates.   It is good to remember the Shengen rule for Aussies though - you can only stay 90 days anyway. (we got around this because my hubby is a dual national)

 

DO YOU PAY VAT WHEN YOU FIRST BUY THE VEHICLE?

Thanks for sharing. Much needed info that I have been googling for a couple of months now. One question, what about VAT? are you required to pay VAT if you are going for export plates? Car I am looking for could be about 10K euros and the VAT can be big - Sam

Hi Sam. If you pay VAT in Germany (you will if you have the export plates over 90 days) you can probably claim it back from Germany when you register in the new country, but then of course need to pay the equivilant tax in the new country of registration.  Personally it wasn't something we considered or noticed (our van was cheap), and we basically disposed of our vehicle so it was never reregistered anyway.

 

UPDATES, AND ADDITIONAL ADVICE FROM OTHER TRAVELLERS

When authorising a local Rego Agents in Germany to act on your behalf for registering a car, please make sure you ask and receive receipt for money paid and specifying services included. I paid cash (euros) with witnesses present and everything seemed OK however no receipt was provided by Rego Agent. Upon return to Australia I received a letter from German Tax Office for unpaid vehile tax of about 40 euros. It turned out I had to spend A$120 overall as I did not have receipt from German Rego Agent.

 

Hi there,Thanks for the info - it was a good primer in buying a car in Germany. However, I noticed that a few laws have changed on, for example paying Kfz-Steuer, and wanted to provide an update.The whole buy-insurance-before-you-go bit still holds, and nondos.com now charges €460 for 90 day insurance. However, when I ordered the insurance online, Nondos contacted me, saying I may have purchased the wrong item. I called back (luckily I speak German), and the man at the other end explained that not all Zulassungsstellen accept 90-day export insurance (i.e. Wiesbaden doesn't but Frankfurt does). He said rather to wait until I got to Germany to stop in a pick up the insurance documents. Second, the responsibility for Kfz-Steuer has been shifted away from Finanzämter to the federal Zollamt. You may need to look up the nearest Zollamt to the Zulassungsstelle you visit. In the case of Frankfurt, it was in Höchst. You can set up a SEPA payment if you have a European bank account rather than going to the bank they designate. Otherwise, you will have to visit a bank. As well, ALL cars are now subjected to Kfz-Steuer rather than those registered for longer than 90 days. This has been the case since 2010. Finally, you will need to return to the Zulassungstelle with proof of tax payment and then they will give you the slip to take to the nearest Autoschilder shop, normally next door. Then the Zulassungstelle will make one final check and add a circular seal to the license plates and you're off!

Has this information changed? Please let us know in the comments section below.

8 thoughts on “

  1. Hi,
    Your blog is very interesting and useful.
    I’m planning to buy a car in Germany for export and I would like to get a full comprehensive insurance but I’m not able to find any insurance name/contact online that could do it.
    Would you know any insurance that could provide it for export plates?
    Thank you.
    Regards.

    1. Unfortunately I don’t think many insurers would exist in Europe that would cover export plates – have you spoken to a provider in your home country?

  2. There are some attention-grabbing time limits in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish extra! Added to FeedBurner as properly

  3. Hello

    Please add the thing that you can only extend the export once the old plate expires. As I went to the KFZ office today they told me to come back on the date the plate has expired so they could make new ones. Thanx a lot

  4. Hi Andrew and Anita,
    Thank you for your information, that is very useful for me. Currently, I have a question, could you help me out? Like you mentioned, if I bought a car with a export plant traveling in Europe, after finish travel, is that possible to export the car back my country? Do you have any official websites to apply that?

    //BR Cangjin

    1. Hi. That would totally depend on the requirements of your country. Each one has different laws governing import of foreign vehicles and many charge high taxes to do so. But from the perspective of Germany/Europe there is no restriction on removing the car permanently and registering it somewhere else – this is of course the purpose of the export plates :) happy travels.

  5. Hi! Thanks for all the information! I am from Argentina and with my boyfriend are in Europe starting an world trip. We want to buy a van in Germany, but in a few months taking it out of Europe and travel I to others continents, do you if it possible?

  6. Hi! Thank you so much for the article, it was very helpful! I am going to buy a vehicle privately, do you know how the Zulassungbescheinigung should be done in this case?

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