How To Buy a Car in Germany for Export?

Jul 16, 2021Car in Germany, Insurances, Living in Germany

Germany is by far one of the most popular countries to buy a car for export. Many foreign nationals come to the country every year to purchase a vehicle and drive it to another EU or non-EU state. And no wonder, Germany is the world’s biggest car producer and offers by the far the best prices for vehicles!

The process of buying and export car in Germany contains following steps:

  • Car selection
  • Car purchase
  • Car insurance purchase
  • Obtaining of export car plates
  • Export and customs

Are you traveling to Germany to buy a car for export? In this article, you will learn all about purchasing & exporting a car from Germany, and all steps you need to take.

Export procedures for the car in Germany

The process of car purchasing and exporting in Germany can be defined in particular steps which are:

  • Find a suitable car
  • Purchase the car
  • Purchase car insurance
  • Obtain export car plates
  • Go through export and customs

Therefore, this process starts with buying a car in Germany.

Buy a car in Germany for export

Any foreigner can buy a car in Germany. In fact, many people just travel to the country to make a purchase and go back to the home country. You can buy either a new/used car from the dealer or a used car from a private seller in Germany and export it to another EU or non-EU state.

The disadvantage of the dealership that buyer must pay VAT taxes, you don’t have to do it when purchasing a used car from a private seller in Germany. However, the advantage of a car dealership is a 2 years warranty for a new car and a 1-year warranty for a used car.

Private seller on another hand, won’t give you any warranty.

Also read: Can a foreigner buy a car in Germany and how to do it correctly.

Where to find a car for export in Germany?

As mentioned you can either go with a car dealership or a private seller. On the following websites, you will find listings from both, but in general, there are more private offers.

New cars can be purchased at various car dealership stores across the country.

Best websites to buy a used car in Germany include:

  • AutoScout24
  • Mobile.de
  • eBay Kleinanzeigen
  • Gebrauchtwagen.de
  • 12Gebrauctwagen.de

The most popular websites for finding car dealerships in Germany are mobile.de and autoscout24.de. They both have English versions and offer used as well as new cars.

Firstly you need to register on a web platform by setting up a profile. After you will be able to search for the best deals depending on the criteria you are selecting.

Things to pay attention to when buying a used car for export:

  • Mileage – age of the car
  • First registration (EZ – Erstzulassung)
  • Number of owners
  • Diesel fuel or Petrol (Diesel or Benzin)
  • Date of the next roadworthiness check (HU/AU/TÜV)
  • Engine power
  • Known issues

Regardless of whether a vehicle is purchased from a dealer or a private individual, a written sale contract should be concluded. You must present it when exporting a car.

Also read: Can a foreigner buy a car in Germany and how to do it correctly.

Which documents you should receive from the car seller

  1. Sales contract or an invoice
  2. A valid vehicle inspection certificate, however, it’s not a legal requirement. Such test must be performed 3 years after the purchase and later every 2 years. The average cost is 85 EUR.
  3. Registration certificate, part 1 
  4. Registration certificate, part 2
  5. The European Certificate of Conformity (DoC) is needed for registering the car in another country. If not provided by the seller, a copy can be requested from the manufacturer.
  6. Maintenance records
  7. Owner’s manual

What’s next?

Right after the car purchase, a buyer isn’t allowed to drive it yet. It must be registered and insured first. Since the car is intended for export, registration can be skipped, and export car plates must be obtained instead.

For this, you should make an online appointment at the local vehicle registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle) and purchase car insurance (can be done online).

Export Places for a German Car

By far the most important step of the car export from Germany is to obtain the right car plates. Generally, there are two main types of them:

  1. Temporary registration number (Kurzzeitkennzeichen)
  2. Export registration number (Ausfuhrkennzeichen)

Where the temporary registration number (Kurzzeitkennzeichen) is intended for transport within Germany and export within the EU.

When exporting a car from Germany to a Non-EU country one should obtain an export number thus export plates (Ausfuhrkennzeichen). Both are available at the local registration office (Kfz-Zulassungsstelle).

If you are not a German resident, you must name a representative who lives in the municipality in which you apply for the export plates. This representative must be present when you apply. It might be easier to let the seller handle this. 

The prerequisite for these plates is that the vehicle isn’t registered to any owner and the car is insured.

Looking for the cheapest car to buy in Germany in 2021? Check out this article, we have picked the most affordable new and used cars on the German market.

Temporary registration number (Kurzzeitkennzeichen)

Temporary registration number (Kurzzeitkennzeichen) for the export cars will only be valid in Germany as well as in other EU countries and just for 5 days. In addition to the number and new plate, you will need a green card for export within the EU. However, such a card isn’t necessary for transport within Germany.

A green card will be given to you together with the car insurance. Hence, a green card proves that the vehicle has insurance coverage within the EU.

Costs of getting a temporary registration number

The cost of the temporary registration number (Kurzzeitkennzeichen) is:

  • Plates 25 EUR
  • Administrative fee 13 EUR
  • Car insurance depends on the coverage: 30 – 130 EUR

Total: 55 – 165 EUR for 5 days

The CosmosDirekt cost varies a lot in Germany depending on the provider and the coverage. There are three different coverage options: liability, partial or comprehensive insurance. For car export, the liability policy should be enough.

Documents you will need to get a temporary registration number

  • Passport or ID
  • Electronic car liability insurance confirmation (eVB number)
  • Proof of a valid general car inspection (Dekra, KÜS, TÜV)
  • Confirmation of the car registration – Part 1 (vehicle registration certificate) and Part 2 (letter)

What is eVB number? It is an electronic insurance confirmation, which serves as proof of car liability insurance. You will get it from your insurance provider.

Export registration number (Ausfuhrkennzeichen)

An export registration number (and export plates) is required to export a vehicle outside of the EU (non-EU country). In contrast to the short-term plates, the validity of the export number is up to 12 months.

Documents you will need to get an export registration number

  • Passport or ID
  • Confirmation of the car liability insurance, which can be obtained at the vehicle registration office (eVB number)
  • Confirmation of the car registration – Part 1 (vehicle registration certificate) and Part 2 (letter)
  • Proof of a valid general car inspection (Dekra, KÜS, TÜV)
  • For deregistered vehicles: decommissioning (decommissioning, conformation of deregistration)
  • When available – the old number plate

The previous registration certificate won’t be valid anymore, while, the previous vehicle letter (Kfz-Brief) will be updated. In addition to the new, temporary registration certificate, the International Registration Certificate might be issued upon request. It will cost only 12 EUR.

A used car must be brought to the vehicle registration office for identification if you want to get export plates for it. Whereas, it’s not necessary for new cars.

Costs of getting an export registration number

  • Plates 20 – 40 EUR
  • Administrative fee 15 EUR
  • Car insurance depends on the coverage: 60 – 70 EUR for 15 days

Total: 125 Euro for 15 days

There are also taxes involved when getting export car plates. The exact amount you can see on the responsible website: www.zoll.de. The tax is usually paid per bank transfer, however, you can pay cash when not having a German banking account.

How to get a new number and plates for car export?

You can obtain plates for export (EU, non-EU) in a few steps:

  • Contact the car registration office
  • Apply for an eVB number at your insurance company
  • Go to the responsible registration office or send a representative
  • Attach the transfer license plate to your vehicle

You or a representative person must have a residence in Germany and receive a power of attorney from you.

Get insurance for export car

Car insurance is a required document for getting export plates, thus for export. You also must obtain an eVB number (electronic insurance number) of the insurance. You can usually do this online.

Also, when driving the car to the final destination, you must be covered by the insurance. One can ask the insurance company if they can provide short-term insurance since you don’t need it for a normal contract duration – a year.

The following car insurance coverages are available in Germany: 

  1. partially comprehensive insurance (Teil-Kaskoversicherung)
  2. comprehensive insurance (Voll-Kaskoversicherung)
  3. liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung)

For export plates, you will need insurance with a validity of a minimum of 15 days and for a maximum of 1 year. For 15-day insurance coverage, you will pay between 60 and 70 EUR.

If the export license plate is valid for several months, the insurance premiums will also increase accordingly: for 30 days you pay around 75 EUR, for 3 months around 500 EUR, for a year between 1,800 EUR and 2,000 EUR.

For temporary plates, basic liability insurance should be enough. It might cost between 30 EUR and 130 EUR. You will get the required eVB number free of charge.

For export within the EU, you can simply present an electronic insurance confirmation (eVB number). But cars with export registration plates will require you to have a yellow insurance card, also called a double card.

We recommend:

AXA – one of the biggest insurance brokers in Germany and Europe. AXA has inexpensive and extensive coverages for your car. You can create your personal insurance plan by adding the services you want.

CosmosDirekt is the most most popular car insurance provider in Germany. It’s known for low prices and good quality.

The company offers all types of coverage from liability to the full package. Furthermore, all of them are divided into Basic and Comfort, meaning you have more choice.

Customers can create their personal insurance plans by adding the services they want. All policies have coverage of 100 million EUR.

Also read: The cheapest car insurance in Germany.

You can find all information related to car insurance and the cheapest one in this article.

Car export and customs

If you have bought a vehicle in Germany and wish to export it to a non-EU country for private use, you must make a customs declaration.

If the vehicle is exported on its own wheels (you are driving it) the export declaration may be lodged directly with the German customs office at the border through which you are leaving the EU.

Otherwise, you must lodge a declaration via the electronic ATLAS export procedure. Your chosen shipping company can help you with this.

The obligation to submit electronic export declarations applies to all ways of export including road, air, sea, and rail.

Be aware that your destination country will have its own process for testing and registering imported cars. You may also be required to pay import duties. Check with the car registration authority in your home country to make sure you are complying with all necessary regulations.

Further documents may be required from the customs office to verify the declaration or to prove the legitimate purchase of the vehicle (e.g. sales contract or invoice of the EU-resident seller).

Therefore, export declaration – is an important document to export a car from the EU to the non-EU country for private use.

Taxes for exported cars in Germany

When buying a car for export you will pay VAT taxes, in Germany, it’s 19% of the car’s price. It happens if you buy a car for export from a dealer or business.

When you buy a car from another individual in any EU country, you do not pay VAT.

When do you pay VAT?

VAT is due when you bring in a new car to your country on a permanent basis and this car is:

  • Purchased in an EU country other than your own
  • Purchased with the intention of export to your own EU country

Thus, a buyer pays VAT on the value of the car in the EU country of residency where the VAT rate of this country will apply. However, if you already paid VAT in Germany it will be refunded to you.

Therefore, when bringing a car to another EU country you must pay a VAT there anyway, but it’s only applying for new cars.

A new car is described as:

  • It has been in use for no more than 6 months or
  • It has been driven for no more than 6,000 kilometers

What if you paid VAT at the dealership in Germany?

Some sellers may require paying VAT upon purchase and refund that amount when they get satisfactory evidence that the car was transported to and registered in another EU country.

However, if you explain your intention to buy a car for future export you shouldn’t pay a VAT at the dealership. This applies to all EU countries.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

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