- How to get temporary plates for your car -
People from USA, Australia and Canada have asked me how to register a car in Europe and use it for a holiday trip and later sell it or shipp it home. Some buy a van or campervan, travel Europe and sell it again right after the Octoberfest...
German sellers always de-register a car before handing it to a new owner. The buyer has to take care of insurance and registration in his name.
If you don’t have a permanent address in Germany you can’t register a car in your name – but you can get temporary plates. I’ll show you how:
You can get “Export Plates” or “5 Days Temporary Plates”-
- Ask the seller if he can assist you with the plates, some dealers even provide 5 day plates for small money (they get them in their name and hand them to you)
- You go to a registration office next door to where you bought the car. It is called “Kraftfahrzeug-Zulassungsstelle” or “Verkehrsamt”. Most are open in the morning only, Monday to Friday. Bring some money, your passport, the car documents, a valid roadworthy test certificate (called Tüv Test or HU) and about three hours time. If you want “export plates” you have to bring the car as well.
- You will need insurance as well to get the plates. You will find an insurance office next to every registration office they also sell insurance at the number plate printing shop which is always there.
How to get “Export Plates”:
These plates allow you to drive the car in every country. To enter some countries outside Europe you might need to buy insurance.
Before you apply for the plates you have to buy insurance. That cost approx. Euro 160 per month for a passenger car or a small van. They want cash in advance for the complete validity period of the plates. You can get them for 14 days, one month or even longer. Some insurance companies only provide insurance for up to 90 days. Close to every registration office you will find a shop or an office where you can buy the insurance. Or ask at the number plate printing shop. If you don’t see it just ask the people in the reg.office. You can also buy the insurance from the German automobil asociation: ADAC
- The insurance you can get is a kind of 3rd party liability insurance. Your car is not fully insured (no full or part collision insurance).
- Go to the registration office. There is one in every major district town. It is called “Kraftfahrzeug-Zulassungsstelle” or Verkehrsamt”.
- You have to show your passport, the car documents (the title: “Kraftfahrzeugbrief” or “Zulassungsbescheinigung”) and a document which proves a valid roadworthy test (HU or Tüv test).
- The car will be visiually inspected at the registration office and the vehicle identification number (VIN) will be checked. For that you have to bring the car to the registration office (use dealers plates or put your car on a trailer, or buy 5 day temporary plates first, or ask the seller to bring it).
- The registration fee, car tax, and the plates will cost you approx. Euro 150,- for a period of 14 days. The car tax is always related to the engine capacity and emission rate, I can’t tell you the exact amout here. It will vary on every make and model. The car tax can be a problem. Some registration offices want to debit that amount from a German bank accout. They don't accept cash for the car tax. Ask the seller of your car for assistance.
- The “export lates” have a red badge at the right end which show the expiering date. Every policeman can see if you drive with valied plates or not. Keep that in mind. Don’t drive with this plates after they are expiered!
- If you purchase your car in an other European country better try to get Export plates there. To get German Export plates for a car it would need a German title document and a valid roadworthy test certificate.
Sample of an export plate: At the red part it show the expiry date
How to get
“5 Days Temporary Plates”:
There is another kind of temporary plates, the 5 day plates “Überführungskennzeichen or Kurzzeitkennzeichen”. Meaning a set of provisional plates that are valid for five days, allowing you to transfer the car to its destination over public roads during this period.
- You get them at the sellers nearest registration office (“Kraftfahrzeug-Zulassungsstelle” or “Verkehrsamt”.)These plates are originally designed for use in Germany only, but you can see them all over Europe. If you plan o leave Germany with these “5 day plates” on your car make sure to have insurance for other countries.
- Close to every registration office you will find a shop or an office where you can buy the insurance. Or ask at the number plate printing shop, they often sell insurance policies. If you don’t see it just ask the people in the reg.office. You can also buy the insurance from the German automobil association: ADAC
- You can buy insurance which covers Germany only, you can get Europe wide insurance as well.
- It will cost about 150 Euro for to cover the registration fee and insurance premium. No need to bring the car to the registration office, no inspection. Just make sure the car has a valid roadworthy test certificate.
-The “5day plates” have a yellow badge at the right end which show the expiering date. Every policeman can see if you drive with valied plates or not. Keep that in mind. Don’t drive with this plates after they are expiered!
Picture, sample 5 days plate:
(At the right is a black on yellow band with the day, month and year of validity
Do not, under any circumstances, drive a car here without a valid registration! You´ll be in a hell of a trouble if you do!