Register and insure your car in Poland from the EU and outside the EU

Getting around Poland with your car is convenient and many of us do. But once you get to Poland, a series of questions arise: is it worth changing license plates? Can I continue driving with a French license plate as well as the original documents and for how long? The real question to ask, in fact, is insurance!

The question of insurance: temporary stay or resident in Poland?

Of course, it is possible to travel abroad for a short time (eg on holiday), car insurance is still valid, in case something happens to you, especially if you stay in the EU (most countries non-EU Europeans are also covered).

In EU member states, your third party insurance policy or liability insurance will normally cover you for up to 90 days.

It is best to contact your insurance company in France before you leave. The latter will be able to advise you according to your destination. Also remember to indicate the list of countries you will cross to get to Poland, your car insurance will not cover you in the same way …

However, the definition of temporary stay abroad remains inaccurate and is subject to interpretation by different insurance companies.

Even if during a classic police check no one questions you about the validity of your insurance, this does not necessarily mean that you are in a normal situation with respect to it.

Please note that if you are involved in an accident involving your car, regardless of the severity, the insurance companies may ask you to prove that you are still resident in the country where you officially live (France), or that prove that your stay (in Poland) was only temporary. Failure to do so may result in no coverage and large sums of money must be returned.

If your stay in Poland is not expected to exceed a certain number of months, or even a year or two, you can legitimately ask yourself about the need to change your registration twice, once on arrival in Poland and then on your return to France. Talk to your insurance company to see how you can expand coverage in your temporary expatriation country and whether the additional costs that inevitably result from it make it a good option.

How to register your car in Poland

Registering a personal car in Poland is not the easiest thing to do, but it can be done with a minimum of willpower, even for someone who does not speak Polish fluently. This involves fees that may vary depending on the type of vehicle you have.

Some additional details and no less important …

The gray card

Note that what is grouped in France in the document commonly referred to as the “gray card” is divided into two separate documents in Poland:

– Pojazdu card (vehicle card). This first document contains all the vehicle’s own information and follows it throughout its useful life.

– Dowód Rejestracyjny (certificate of registration). This second document is specific to the owner, and goes hand in hand with the license plates. It contains in particular the dates of the technical inspections and their deadlines.

At the end of the procedure, you will hand in your vehicle registration document and you will obtain these two separate documents.

The contract of sale

The purchase agreement is derived from the purchase of your personal car. Depending on how many years you have it in your possession, it can be more or less difficult to get it …

Also pay attention to the definition of “contract”: in Poland, it must be a document that contains several specific details, such as the identity data of each party (buyer and seller).

In some western countries, it is customary, especially for used cars, to establish a “certificate of sale“, which is a kind of abbreviated version, without all these details. Please note that the Polish administration will not accept it.

If you need it, go to the prefecture, (Urzad Miejski), there are usually ready-to-fill purchase document forms, all in Polish (which can save the need for translation). If you are still in contact with the seller, you can ask them to fill it out and sign it. This will save you problems with the translation or the validity of the purchase agreement.

Technical control

The technical inspection should not be confused with the periodic mechanical inspection carried out by private distributors. It has to be done by an official station. “Stacja control pajazdów“, the list of which can be found here.

The initial check-up, right after entering Poland, is different from the usual check-ups that you will have to repeat each year (cost around EUR 100). This first one is more advanced. Make sure everything is in order, at the risk of having to pay for each new visit.

Excise duties

The excise tax is a vast issue, evolving regularly. Until July 2021 there were exceptions, from 2022 it is mandatory in all cases, unless the car was previously registered in Poland (in the case of a Polish or French citizen returning to Poland, for example).

The amount is proportional to the purchase price: 3.1% for cars under 2000 cc, 18.6% for higher cars (that is, registering a powerful car can be very expensive!)

Until recently, this value was taken from the contract of sale, but this period is over, the value of the vehicle is systematically taken from the ARGUS standards for used vehicles, depending on the model, age, type of engine, etc. .

Ask your prefecture (urząd Miejski) where the special tax procedure is carried out.

It’s usually a fairly quick thing to do, recently you can pay online. It is highly recommended for this step to get help from someone who speaks Polish!

Excise duties only apply to EU countries. Other countries (UK, Norway, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA, Canada, etc.) have to go through customs. Contact your prefecture to find out where and how to do this.

license plates

Once you have completed all these steps, you will need to go back to the prefecture (urząd Miejski).

The cost of producing the license plates and the sticker that accompanies it is about 250 EUR.

Plate breaking: a black frame in Poland against riveting in France

Also note that in some countries the way the plates are attached to vehicles is different. In Poland, the plates usually fit in a black plastic frame. In France, they are riveted to the bumper itself, which can make it difficult to disassemble. Take advantage of the technical control to ask them to place this black plastic frame (often free of charge) and put the plates back on. The day you receive the Polish plates, you must return the plates from the country of origin.

Insurance

Once you have obtained your Polish license plates and car documents, you are not ready to drive until you have taken out car insurance:

  • OC, civil insurance, is mandatory.
  • AC, damage insurance, is optional.

It is now a fairly quick process, you can do it in a few minutes on the internet on the website of most insurance companies.

There is a period of about two weeks during which it is necessary to complete the procedure, and return for the last time to the prefecture to complete the documentation.

Driving license

– For holders of a driving license from any EU state: you do not need to change it, but you can do so if you wish. Instructions here.

– For holders of a driving license from a European state outside the EU, such as the United Kingdom, – Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, see the specific rules in force by clicking here.

– For holders of a non-European driving license, you will have to retake the theoretical driving license in order to change it. To do this, ask your prefecture for information on the procedure to follow.

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