How To Register A Vehicle In Europe: Process & Overview
Europe is one of the “easier” parts of the world to ship and register a vehicle from the United States, but what’s involved is slightly different from one country to another. This article will give you a general idea of what you can expect when registering a car or other vehicle in Europe, though it’s important to keep in mind that the specifics of each country should be kept in mind since any small hangup can be costly in terms of both time and money.
Those hang ups can include fees in your resident nation as well as registration requirements. Generally moving in between the EU member nations is painless as being an EU national citizen makes the process as seamless as possible.
If you plan to ship a vehicle to Europe, you should consult our online shipping guide for more information, including costs and requirements. If you have questions, our staff is available any time to answer them or provide a FREE price quote.
General Tips For Driving In Europe
Things to keep in mind when registering a vehicle:
Car registration is normally done in the country that you primarily reside in, though there is some exception as far as where the car is kept. Generally you shouldn’t and can’t register your car in a country where you have a second home that you don’t frequently use.
There is no general catch-all registration for the EU and you’re encouraged to research each nation to find their specific car registration process.
Here’s a general list of documents that will help you navigate the process
- Certificate of conformity showing the vehicle meets safety and environmental standards
- Proof of insurance (keep in mind some nations have private third-party insurance plans while others have state-issued ones)
- Proof of ownership
- Authorities in each country will likely require the vehicle to pass a physical and road test
- Proof of payment of appropriate taxes, depending on each nation
Another exception to this is if you are attending university in an EU nation. Generally university students from one EU nation studying at a site in another EU nation aren’t required to register their car, pay duties or taxes on the vehicle in the new nation.
What side of the road do you drive on?
This is tricky. Most nations in Europe have cars that drive on the right-hand side of the road, with a few larger nations that choose to drive on the left. Those left-hand nations include the United Kingdom and Ireland. Be mindful of this as you move between countries and borders.
What are the driver’s license requirements?
Typical requirements for drivers in the EU are that they reside in a member nation, meet medical fitness including vision tests and meet a general age requirement of 18 for a car.
There are also a series of practical and theoretical tests that must be passed.
Driving & Registration in the European Union
Vehicle Registration & Taxes - A brief look at registering a vehicle in Europe, whether for temporary or permanent stays.
EU Rules on Vehicle Registration - A research portal for the EU that provides statistics and reports.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.