Because Poland is part of the European Union, there are certain laws and regulations you should know before shipping a vehicle there. In the following article, you will learn what requirements you’ll need to fulfill to safely and legally transport a car to Poland, as well as how to prepare your vehicle for the trip.
Before you can register your car in Poland, you’ll have to subject it to a road worthiness test. There are exceptions to this rule, such as:
- New automobiles which have an EC conformity certificate or a car approval certificate.
- If the car is registered with documents/certificates issued by a regulatory body in Poland which include a roadworthiness test. The test will have a validity period which should be checked.
- Automobiles registered using an EC approval certificate. It will only be valid between the time the vehicle was first registered abroad and the time when the roadworthiness test is scheduled.
Emergency cars and taxis cannot benefit from these exceptions. Similarly, cars that were equipped or adapted to transport dangerous items, cars that have devices onboard which need to be supervised from a technical perspective, as well as cars designed for left hand drives cannot use these exceptions.
After registering a passenger vehicle, it must pass a road worthiness test in at most 3 years. Within 5 years of registration, it must be tested again. Similarly, after it is tested the first time, it must be tested again at most 2 years later, and then go through periodic testing every year.
You’ll need to pay PLN 98 for the roadworthiness test. It will reveal:
- The tires’ technical condition.
- The external lights’ correct adjustment and operation.
- The breaks’ technical performance and condition.
- The suspension’s technical condition.
- The chassis, bodywork, and various accessories’ technical condition.
- The exhaust system’s technical condition.
- Smoke opacity and the level of gaseous pollutant emissions.
Car inspection centers conduct roadworthiness tests while supervised by the district authority head in the zone where they’re located. Speak to the town council or to the district authority in the city you’re moving to if you have questions about these tests.
Registering your automobile can be done at the city council or district authority in the zone you’re moving to. Several papers must be presented if your automobile is imported. In case of new automobiles, these are:
- The car’s ownership proof or a paper that confirms the automobile was transferred, in case it was sent by a foreign person to a Polish organization or citizen.
- A conformity certificate, as well as a statement containing the information and data of the automobile.
- If your motor vehicle or passenger car was classified as “other” (ex. quad bikes), you’ll need a paper confirming that you’ve paid the Poland excise duty, or one stating you don’t have to pay this duty.
- If you’ve imported the car from the US or from another country outside of the EU, then you’ll need to provide customs clearance proof.
If you’re shipping a used vehicle to Poland, then you should prepare the following paperwork to register it:
- Ownership proof or a paper that confirms the car was transferred (same as with a new vehicle).
- If the car was registered, you’ll need to provide registration proof.
- You’ll need a document proving that the car is road worthy. The registration proof may be used in this case.
- You’ll need a paper confirming you’ve paid the Polish excise duty if your car falls under the “other” category. Either this or you must provide a duty exemption document.
- If you’re importing the car from the US, you’ll have to provide customs clearance proof.
- A document confirming you’ve paid the recycling fee. This applies to passenger autos with a maximum carrying capacity of 8 passengers, to L2e 3 wheel mopeds, and to cars meant for carrying goods with a maximum capacity of 3.5 tones.
To get past Poland’s customs authorities, the following paperwork will be needed:
- The car’s original paperwork which proves your ownership of it.
- The registration paperwork.
- An owner submitted signed valuation, sale bill, or invoice.
- Insurance proof.
- The necessary documents for importing household goods.
Going further in-depth, here’re some more specific regulations you should be aware of:
- The name on the car’s registration must belong to the present owner.
- You can import only one motorcycle, trailer, and/or vehicle.
- You must have been living outside of the EU continuously and legally for 1 year or more.
- You must have used the automobile for more than half a year in the origin place.
- You must keep using the automobile after importing it.
- The exemption does not cover company cars or utility vehicles.
- To import an automobile without paying taxes or duty, someone getting back to Poland from abroad must prove that he owned and used the automobile for at least 6 months before deciding to ship it over.
- Furthermore, you cannot give a car you’ve imported into the country to another person for a year after you’ve imported it. You also cannot rent or sell it. If you cross these rules, you’ll incur a customs debt. The amount will be calculated according to the vehicle’s value, condition, as well as the tariff rates and duties you should have paid when you imported it.
- Currently, if you import a car from an EU state, you won’t have to pay tariffs or duty taxes. However, the excise tax will still be enforced.
- If you import a vehicle from outside the European Union, you’ll have to pay taxes and duty.
- An origin certificate will be necessary to get better treatment when the duty is assessed by customs.
- The shipper will need a power of attorney from a notary to take the vehicle into Poland. Otherwise, he will have to deal with customs in person.
US vehicle modifications
For US vehicles to comply with Polish laws, certain modifications must be made such as:
- Modifying the external lights.
- Adjusting the exhaust pipes to make them compatible with EU and Polish standards.
- Changing the turn signal. They must be orange according to Polish traffic regulations.
- Substituting the speedometer.
You can also make these adjustments after your car reaches the Polish port. However, they must be handled so as to avoid additional fees and delays.
Preparing your car for its shipment to Poland
The following tips will ensure your car enters Poland without problems. Similar to not modifying it to meet Polish regulations, not preparing it properly can also get it detained.
- Wash it thoroughly. It will help the shipper examine it easier, prevent transporting bugs and soil to Poland, and avoid Customs delays. To protect the local environment, border authorities can and will refuse access of vehicles that haven’t been cleaned of soil and foreign animals.
- Note the car’s present condition. In case it gets damaged during the transport, you’ll need a comparison to seek compensation. The shipper will do the same, but it’s advisable you also check.
- Remove custom or loose items. GPS systems, removable stereos, spoilers, bicycle racks, luggage, etc. must be removed before any auto transport, be it local or international. The shipper may refuse to transport your car if you leave them in, and they may damage the vehicle during transport.
- If you’re shipping the car inside a container, you may add personal belongings alongside it. Keep in mind that since the car will be driven inside a container, the driver will need space to do so. A breaking system will also be needed.
- Remove passes and toll tags. To avoid incurring potential charges, it’s best you deactivate and remove them.
- Ensure your battery is charged.
- Check the tires.
- Disable the security/alarm system.
- Keep only a quarter of the fuel tank fuel. There should be enough to operate the car during the loading/unloading processes, but not enough to pose a serious fire hazard.
- Provide documentation regarding any mechanical problems. The shipper must know if a special procedure is needed to start/drive the automobile.
- Report or resolve leaks. These may damage other vehicles or objects carried alongside it. If you cannot repair a leak, you must inform the company, so they’ll take it into consideration.
- Deal with convertible tops. You’ll have to secure them properly while taking into consideration sudden movement, bad weather, and other factors which may play a part during the move.
- Take into consideration the climate. The weather in Poland may differ from what you’re experiencing currently in the US. Check the weather forecast and prepare coolant, oil, and any other fluids the vehicle may need at its destination.
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.