Importing a car to Poland means registering a foreign car in Poland. Why is it so popular among the Polish drivers, who focus mainly on intra-continental imports? Except a few percent of US vehicles, the list of imported vehicle sources includes mainly Western European countries. It is influenced by both, the extensive market functioning there and the more prosaic matter, which is a distance. Therfore today, I would like to present an article whcih describes proceses of Importing a vehicle to Poland but also Exporting it abroad.

3 basic options for importing a car to Poland

After all, the cost of importing a vehicle from abroad depends mainly on the distance, which, when added to the price of the vehicle, can significantly affect the overall cost to the purchaser. So, in the end, the purchaser must decide whether the entire operation will be profitable. And if so, it’s no wonder that buyers are looking for ways to save as much as possible on transport. If you are one of them, you should first consider how you want to bring the purchased vehicle into the country. There are three basic options to choose from:

  • independent transport of a de-registered vehicle,
  • independent transport of a vehicle still registered abroad,
  • entrusting the transport to an intermediary or a tow truck.
Importing a car to Poland -  tow truck
Importing a car to Poland – tow truck

What is the difference?

In the first case, you can both sit behind the wheel yourself and use the services of a tow truck. However, remember, that you can only drive if the vehicle is registered and has a valid liability insurance policy. Because it is rare that the vehicle is not deregistered at the time of purchase, you will be responsible for completing all formalities related to the deregistration of the vehicle in the country from which you exported it. Driving without regulated formalities may result in a fine or even seizure of the vehicle.

If the vehicle has not been de-registered in the home country, and has a valid inspection and liability insurance, you can drive it in Poland for 30 days as per the Road Traffic Act Regulations. Here you can read more about current Road traffic law in Poland. Usually, the vehicle is already deregistered at the time of purchase, especially if you are buying a vehicle from a foreign used vehicle dealership. Also in this case, you will be responsible for all formalities related to the de-registration of the vehicle in the country from which you export it from.

If you don’t have time or don’t know how to get temporary registration and short-term vehicle insurance abroad, you can use a tow truck. Using this option is undoubtedly more convenient, because it eliminates the need to run around offices abroad. The vehicle transported in this way does not need export plates or temporary civil liability. However, there is also the question of price and this is where it gets a little wild.

How much will you pay for importing a car to Poland from different countries in Europe?

There is no doubt that transporting the purchased vehicle to Poland on your own is the cheapest option. Even if we consider the cost of handling various types of official matters, tolls for motorways or possible accommodation, if the trip gets longer, it will still be cheaper than the alternative.

However, not every person chooses this solution. For some of you, distance may be a problem, while for others, formal obstacles will scare you. Sometimes, the deciding factor is simply convenience. Because, why would you bother when you can arrange transport and let the carrier arrange everything?

Of course, such a luxury will cost a little more. According to data from the Clicktrans website, the average cost of transporting a vehicle from abroad is about PLN 1-2 per kilometre of the traveled route. The exact price depends on various factors, including:

  • the country from which you want to transport the vehicle;
  • length and complexity of the route that the tow truck will have to travel;
  • type and condition of the transported vehicle;
  • selected transport company.

Is ther a chance for a good bargain?

The cost can be reduced if you manage to find a transport company that plans a journey on the route you are interested in and has a free place on a tow truck. You can organize such transport, among others, through Clicktrans. I have already described this portal on my blog in this article:

ClickTrans

So how much will we spend when bringing a vehicle from the selected country? As you can easily guess, the lowest transport costs will be incurred when importing the vehicle from Germany. The average cost of the entire trip is about PLN 1,200. We will pay about PLN 1.38 per kilometer. In this case, prices are influenced by fuel prices, relatively small distances to be covered, and the popularity of transport to Poland from this direction.

Transport from countries such as Austria (PLN 1,231 on average, despite the high rate per kilometer – PLN 1.65), the Netherlands (PLN 1,391 and PLN 1.23 / km on average) or Belgium (PLN 1,439 and PLN 1.19 on average) is also not much more expensive. You have to be prepared for a bigger expense by importing a vehicle from France (around PLN 2,000 and PLN 1.24 / km on average) or Great Britain (PLN 1,950 on average, but the lowest rate per kilometer – PLN 1.11). On the other hand, transport from Spain will be the most expensive (on average PLN 3205 and PLN 1.20 / km).

What documents do I need to receive when buying a vehicle from abroad?

Importing a car to Poland - documents
Importing a car to Poland – documents

When you buy a vehicle from a dealership, you will receive a bill or invoice. When you decide to buy from a private individual, you sign a contract for the sale and purchase of the vehicle. The seller should also issue:

  • vehicle card,
  • proof of registration,
  • certificate of de-registration of the vehicle.

Before buying, it is worth checking whether it is possible to prepare documents (including a bill or contract/sale) in both languages. Thanks to this, you will not have to incur further costs related to sworn translation.

Transport is not the end – rest of the costs

What costs will you incur after importing the vehicle? Surely you are aware that buying a vehicle from abroad is associated with the need to complete various formalities. You have to pay for all of them, which will increase the total cost of purchasing the vehicle even more. However, do not underestimate your responsibilities, because you can only cause yourself unnecessary trouble.

Excise in case of importing a car to Poland

A scary sounding name is nothing more than a tax that applies to all passenger vehicles purchased abroad, which are registered for the first time in Poland. The current excise duty rates are as follows:

  • for vehicles with engines up to 2000 cm3 – 3.1%,
  • for vehicles with engines of more than 2000 cm3 – 18.6%.

You will pay less for hybrid and electric vehicles. For vehicles with an engine capacity of more than 2,000 cm3, the rates are 9.3% of the tax base. The excise duty must be paid within 30 days of the emergence of the tax obligation.

Registration

Of course, you need to register imported vehicle in Poland. The total cost that you will incur, incl. the insurance of the registration certificate and plates are PLN 256. However, you need to take in to account the expense of a sworn translator, because Polish law requires that the documents presented be in Polish! Process for regiastration in case of importing a car to Poland does not change for the part in local district office (Starostwo Powiatowe). If you want to read more about the vehicle registration process in Poland, I encourage you to read this article:

How to buy used car in Poland

Custom duty in case of Importing a car to Poland

You must take into account additional costs when importing a vehicle from outside the EU. In addition to the excise duty, you will also have to pay 10% customs duty and VAT. The rate in Poland can be as high as 23%. In order to slightly lower this cost, you can check with a vehicle bought outside the EU in Germany, where we will pay only 19% VAT. In the case of importing a vehicle from a European country, but not belonging to the EU (i.e. Switzerland or Norway), you do not have to pay the duty, but you still need to pay VAT.

Insurance

You still have to purchase compulsory third party liability insurance. Remember to do it, on the day you register your vehicle at the latest! Before that, you can take advantage of the short-term civil liability, which will give you a month to complete all formalities… You can read more about the OC insurance here (click).

That’s it when it comes to the registration process itself from a formality side. Now let’s move on to export, in which case you would like to export the vehicle from your home country or sell it to a foreign client.

Vehicle export from Poland

Importing a car to Poland - export
Exporting a car from Poland

At the beginning, it is worth noting that the nationality of the buyer of the vehicle is not important to the process of selling the car. The important part is, where the vehicle will be used. If a Czech who permanently lives and works in Poland is interested in buying your vehicle, selling the vehicle in terms of formalities will be the same as a transaction with a man who has lived in an apartment next door since he was born.

However, the situation will be different, if you sell the vehicle to a Lithuanian who drives it back to his country right away. It is also worth remembering about these additional formalities, when a Pole living permanently abroad becomes interested in a vehicle. So, what are the methods of selling a vehicle abroad (export a vehicle from Poland)? There are basically two ways.

First way

The first one seems more convenient, but it puts you at potential risk. So, what is it? You can sell a vehicle abroad in the same way as you would sell a vehicle to a person permanently residing in Poland:

  • prepare the sales contract in two identical copies (in the case of sale to a foreigner, the contract should be bilingual),
  • provide the vehicle buyer with the registration certificate, vehicle card and confirmation of the current third-party liability insurance (OC),
  • the sale of the vehicle should be reported to the Communication Department competent for the place of registration of the vehicle.

The buyer can then go to his country by the vehicle on the existing registration plates. When the vehicle is registered abroad, the foreign office should inform the Polish Department of Communications about it. On this basis, the vehicle will be de-registered in Poland.

What are the risks? The vehicle buyer sets off on a long journey to his country on the old license plates. If he breaks the rules of the road, causes a collision or accident, and then escapes from the scene, the police will hold you accountable first. Of course, you can correct the whole situation and present a document proving that at the time of the event you had nothing to do with this vehicle. However, it will cost a lot of time and nerves. Sometimes the proceedings even go to court. Can you avoid such problems? Yes. It is enough that you decide to de-register the vehicle in Poland immediately at the time of concluding the transaction with the buyer.

How to de-register a vehicle at the time of sale?

De-registering a vehicle at the Polish Department of Communications (Wydział Komunikacji) immediately at the time of selling the vehicle is less convenient for the vehicle buyer. However, you do not have to worry about what will happen if the buyer breaks the rules of the road while driving or causes an accident and leaves the scene. It is best to go to the Communication Department together with the buyer right after signing the sales contract.

In order to de-register a vehicle in connection with the sale of a vehicle abroad, you supposed to:

  • hand over the completed application for de-registration of the vehicle (the template can be found on the office website. You can also get it at the Communication Department itself),
  • show the identity document,
  • return the registration plates,
  • show the registration certificate and the vehicle card, which the official will cancel,
  • show the contract confirming the sale of the vehicle abroad.

What next?

Foreigners will receive export plates (temporary registration plates) and a temporary registration document from the Department of Communications. Thanks to this, he will be able to drive home with the purchased vehicle. Such plates are valid for 30 days from the date they are received. However, if the vehicle will be transported to the destination country on a trailer or tow truck, registration plates and OC will not be needed.

Remember that once a vehicle is de-registered, you will not be able to register it again in Poland. If this is the case, the vehicle buyer must take out short-term insurance for the time of return to his country. The current third-party liability insurance will cease to function when the vehicle is de-registered.

The fee cost you PLN 10 and you need to pay it in district office. De-registering the vehicle immediately after selling the vehicle abroad means a bit of hassle, but it allows you to avoid many potential problems. So, if you don’t want to get stressed about potential “what if’s…” situations, take this path.

Summary of Importing a car to Poland

Why do Poles choose imported vehicles? What attracts the attention of Polish drivers? Contrary to appearances, these are not the prices of vehicles imported from abroad. These do not differ significantly from those offered on the domestic market. The decisive factor is the good technical condition of vehicles, thanks to which you can find real gems even among older vehicles that are several year old, although it is still a trivial art. It does not change the fact that without proper experience, you can put yourself in trouble just like with anything else.

As for the export itself – it happens less often than with imports, but it is worth knowing what to do when we find a buyer/seller from abroad, or when we want to return to our home country with our “unique pearl”.

Would you like to read more publications about “Transport” on my blog? Click here. You may also get to main “Table of content“, which is available here. Do you want to stay in touch and get updates about new posts? Subscribe now.

Special thanks to Eamon Gosney, who has helped with proofreading of this article.

https://www.pzpm.org.pl/en/Automotive-market/Used-Passenger-Car-Import-to-Poland2/First-Registrations-of-Used-PC-imported-to-Poland; https://mubi.pl/poradniki/zakup-auta-z-zagranicy/; https://www.bik-transport.pl/blog/39-przygotowanie-auta-do-eksportu-krok-po-kroku

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