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28 February 2008

English cars in Poland

Last year (2007) I already tried to register my English van over here, but after spending a lot of time having friends check with local garages and having my wife call various government offices I discovered that I can't. You can't register right-hand-drive (RHD) vehicles in Poland. Don't let anyone tell you different - you will not be able to get the technical examination certificate (badanie techniczne) which you will require.

Now you might see right-hand-drive vehicles over here or know someone who knows someone who's got one. This is perfectly possible because a number of years ago you could do it if you were able to demonstrate that you had experience of driving RHD vehicles on the right of the road. But that was stopped a number of years ago (I don't know when exactly).
This seems unfair to me given that you can register LHD vehicles in the UK, or register English RHD vehicles in France, but that's the rules I'm afraid.

So if you have a car here from England you have 3 choices (to stay legal):
  1. Continue to pay your UK insurance, return once a year to do your MOT, renew your tax disc on the internet. This is the simplest solution but with two catches - the first is that insurance in the UK costs a lot. The 2nd is that technically you are not allowed to have your car here for more than 12 months. But if you return every 12 months for the MOT then the clock starts again.
  2. Convert your car from RHD to LHD. I don't know anyone who's done that because the cost of it probably isn't justifiable. Labour is cheap in Poland but I am sure that would still be a big garage bill, not to mention that cost of new parts (dashboard, steering rack etc..)
  3. Sell your car. Buy a local one.
If you don't stay legal (i.e. your insurance runs out while your here) then if you are stopped by the police and can't produce your documents there and then (you do always carry them with your right?) there is a chance your car will be impounded. Also I don't think it's worth the risk of driving without insurance anyway. It's one of those things that you don't need when you have, and always need when you don't.


Shaunj said...

Hey , yeah I feel your pain. Drove my Irish Polo over here 2 years ago and after much pulling of hair realised I'd never be able to register or insure it so had to drive it back home and buy a Polish car. Misery. And I think of all the Poles driving their cars in my country .....:/ but I'm not bitter...:)

BritInPoland said...

sounds like your pain was worse than mine - luckily for me one day a passing Irishman knocked on the door having seen the van parked outside from the road and bought it in cash. I just wrote a letter to the DVLA to say I wasn't the owner anymore and that was the end of it. Since then I bought a car locally - which reminds me, I must blog about how to buy a car here!

Shaunj said...

That's interesting- perhaps you can advise me the best way. I would like to buy an old van. Any ideas?

Kostas said...


I understand your frustration as the same and worse happens in greece. I wanted your opinion if u could help me.
I am leaving in NL and i want to buy a used BMW 735.It is about 20K.Importing this car to greece is impossible...taxes are huge.So i wanted to sell this car to my fiance for let's say 2K euros. Could that reduce the amount of taxes you have to pay?
I say that because in greece they look at the factory price(the customs have their own lists) and they dont care how much you bought the car.
I dont know whether i will move permanently in poland but i just wondered maybe you had an opinion on this question.


BritInPoland said...

Hi Kostas

As you are not Polish and you owned the car before moving to Poland then it sounds like you are in the same position as me and will only need to pay the same fees that I paid.
Just write a declaration that you bought the car 6 months ago, used it abroad, and now have brought it to Poland.

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