Taking a motor vehicle temporarily or permanently to another Member State

Information about Rights & Duties

Taking a motor vehicle temporarily or permanently to another Member State

Documents and formalities for registering a motor vehicle

Technical investigation

If you buy a new car (private car or motor vehicle in class M1) in Germany, you must have another technical investigation carried out on it 36 months after the date of its first technical investigation and its registration.

If you are driving a used car of 3 or more years old in Germany, you must have a regular technical inspection carried out on it, and this must be 24 months after the date of each last technical check.

A technical check is not always mandatory every time that a vehicle changes owner.

If you, as a new citizen, are registering your car in Germany after you have moved from another EU Member State, you do not have to have any technical check carried out if a 'Roadworthiness test for motor vehicles and their trailers' as per Directive 2014/45/EU was carried out in the country of origin in the EU within the period that is mandatory in Germany.

In order to ensure that your vehicle and its equipment are in perfect working order and comply with the safety standards, a technical investigation must be carried out regularly, which will normally consist of the following tests:

  • braking system,
  • steering system and steering wheel,
  • Illumination and light signal systems,
  • wheels and tyres - tread depth > or = 1.6 mm,
  • rear-view mirror and features for indirect vision,
  • restraint systems (including safety belts),
  • all other parts and devices of the vehicle that ensure a high level of safety and environmental protection.

Procedure for first registration

You can register your vehicle with the registration authorities in the town/city in which you are registered as a resident (competent local registration authorities).

The following information and documents are required in order to register an imported vehicle (new or used):

In general:

  • Natural persons: surname, birth name, first name, date and place of birth, gender and address of the holder,
  • In the case of legal persons as the holder: company name or trade name and address,
  • The vehicle registration document, part II. If this is not yet available, an application must be made for an official copy.
  • The following data about the liability insurance:
    • name and address or code number of the insurance provider,
    • number of the policy or the insurance certificate and
    • start of the insurance protection or
    • the statement that the holder is exempt from the statutory insurance obligation,
  • The following vehicle data (can be found in the certificate of conformity or vehicle registration document, part II):
    • vehicle class and type of configuration,
    • brand name, type, variant, version and trade description of the vehicle as well as, if an EU type-approval or a national type-approval has been issued for the vehicle, the number and the date of issue of the approval, if this information is identifiable,
    • vehicle identification number,
    • for private cars: the colour of the vehicle as applied by the manufacturer,
    • date of first registration or first commissioning of the vehicle,
    • in the event of issuing a new number plate following the cancellation or loss of the previous number plate, the previous number plate,
    • further information on the physical condition and equipment of the vehicle, which can mainly be found in the CoC.

In addition in the case of:

New vehicles

  • evidence that the vehicle corresponds to a type for which there is an EU type-approval (by presentation of the certificate of conformity) or
  • evidence that the vehicle corresponds to a type for which there is a national type-approval (by presentation of the vehicle registration document, part II, in which a type and variant/version code number is entered, or via the data confirmation mandatory as per Article 20(3a) sentence 1 of the Straßenverkehrs-Zulassungs-Ordnung [Road Traffic Type Approval Law]) or
  • evidence that there is an individual approval for the vehicle (by presentation of the appropriate certificate).

Used vehicles

  • the foreign vehicle registration document.
  • evidence of testing as per Directive 2014/45/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers (consolidation) (OJ L 127, 29.4.2014, p. 51) as amended,
  • in relation to the period of time for the next roadworthiness test in Germany, point 2 of Annex VIII of the Road Traffic Type Approval Law will apply,
  • evidence of when the vehicle was first put into operation in an EU or EEA Member State.

If this evidence cannot be provided, before registration an investigation as per Article 29 of the Road Traffic Type Approval Law must be carried out.


There is no provision for the renewal of the registration under German law.

Fine for exceeding the deadline for the next roadworthiness test

  • exceeding the deadline by up to 2 months: EUR 15,
  • exceeding the deadline by more than 2 months and less than 4 months: EUR 25,
  • exceeding the deadline by more than 4 months and less than 8 months: EUR 60,
  • exceeding the deadline by more than 8 months: Euro 75

Vehicle registration in another EU Member State and motor vehicle tax in another EU Member State

Registration conditions

If you, as an EU citizen, move to Germany, you must register your car there if its established location is in Germany.

Exemptions from the registration obligation

If you, as an EU citizen, move to Germany, you may use your vehicle there while it is still registered in your previous country of residence.

You can use it for a year as long as its established location is not in Germany. The regular location is, in principle, determined by the use of a vehicle. It is the location from which the vehicle is mainly used to directly access public road traffic and at which it is left after it is used. If a regular location has been established in Germany, then the vehicle must be registered in Germany.


There are no special provisions or exemption regulations for students in terms of vehicle registration.

Pensioners, second home owners and cross-border workers

As an EU citizen with a second home in Germany, you must register your vehicle there if its established location is in Germany.

Period for new registration of a vehicle

If you move to Germany, you must re-register a vehicle previously registered in another EU Member State as soon as your move is complete.

If the location of the vehicle has already moved to Germany in advance, then the vehicle must already be registered in Germany from this time.

The district or municipal registration authorities are responsible for the new registration of a vehicle previously registered in another EU Member State.

Export plates

If you, as a foreign national, buy a car in Germany then you may drive it back to your country of residence with export plates. Refer to 'General rules and regulations' for the requirements that a vehicle must fulfil.

You can obtain the export plate from the responsible district or municipal authorities and the number plates at special points of sale for around EUR 10-40.

Motor vehicle tax

If you, as an EU citizen, have registered your car in Germany then you as the holder must pay motor vehicle tax annually in advance.

Tax relief is granted for the following vehicles:

  • pure electric vehicles registered for the first time in the period from 18 May 2011 to 31 December 2020: Complete tax exemption for 10 years from the date of first registration.

Vehicles of severely disabled vehicle owners: depending on the type and degree of the disability, a complete tax exemption or tax relief amounting to 50% will be granted. A vehicle owner entitled to tax relief of 50% can choose between this or using public transport free of charge. Evidence of the severe disability must be provided. It must be considered that the tax-advantaged vehicle must only be used for the transportation or household management of the beneficiary.

Further information

Responsible for the content
Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Last update or date of publication