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28 February 2008

Importing a motorbike

I already blogged about my attempt at importing my van - basically I couldn't. Well now having been here a bit longer and with a better grasp of Polish I am ready to tackle importing my motorbike.

Here's what I did and how long it took. I have written everything down in detail as I did it. The only thing I haven't mentioned is that the MOMENT YOU GET YOUR TEMPORARY BIKE REGISTRATION YOU ARE OBLIGED TO BUY INSURANCE THE SAME DAY. I found out the hard way - I thought that like in the UK and I presume other countries where logic and commen sense apply, you only need insurance if you want ot use the vehicle. I presumed you don't need insurance if your vehicle is just sat in the garage. NOT IN POLAND - IF YOU OWN A VEHICLE IT MUST BE INSURED even if it's off the road for 6 months. I will do another post at some time about insurance because that isn't so straight forward either...


The first thing I did was go to the local office for the department of transport (wydział transportu i komunikacji). I explained to the guy there what I wanted to do, which is basically register my English bike which I bought many years ago in Poland where I am now living and temporarily registered. He told me that I need:

  1. Technical inspection (Badanie techniczne)
  2. Translation of my registration certificate into Polish (tłumaczenie dowodu rejestracyjnego)
  3. VAT declaration from the treasury department (zaświadcienie o zwolnienie z vatu)
  4. Certificate that I am registered in Poland (tymczasowe zameldowanie)
Now they might ask where you are permanently registered to live. If so you will have to explain/argue to them that you aren't permanently registered in Poland because as a foreigner you can't be, and that we don't have such a system/requirement in England.

Also now is a good time to ask where the local translator is. You will have to use an approved translator, so they should either have a list or be able to point you in the right direction. They will definitely know where the German translators are because lots of Poles import cars from Germany. Luckily for me I found an English translator was in the same street.

STEP 2 - TRANSLATION - TIME TAKEN: 45 minutes. Cost 60 zl.

Next I found the English translator to get my registration certificate translated. Had to wait 2 days to collect it and paid 60 złoty. I was charged for 1 and a half pages to do a standard V5C UK registration certificate.


Next I went to the treasury department (urząd skarbowy). Unfortunately in Poland you have to report to them everytime you borrow money, lend money, buy a car or fart. I found the department responsible for VAT and explained to them that I want to import my English bike.
They asked for my receipt from when I bought it - documents like this are extremely important in Poland, unlike the UK, where you don't need to report all financial transactions. This was my first major problem. I had to explain that I bought the bike many years ago from a friend and don't have a receipt. After a lot of head scratching and phone calls she decided that I had to return with:
  • form VAT-24 - this is a form about importing a vehicle from abroad and paying VAT on it (yes that's right - unlike the UK in Poland you pay VAT on second hand vehicles)
  • form NIP-3 - this is a form so that I can get a Polish NIP number so that the treasury department can then keep tabs on me
  • a declaration (oświadczenie) signed by me, in Polish, that I bought the bike 4 years ago in the UK where I was living, I used the bike in Poland and I brought the bike to Poland when I moved here.

Time to find a garage where I can get my technical inspection done. I did ask at the transport department but they said that almost all garages do these inspections. I asked at a local tyre shop where I know the owner and he told me about a local garage where they do technical inspections - stacja kontroli pojazdów. I went there and after scratching their heads for a bit, looking at the headlights and looking at my polish translation of my registration certificate they decided they couldn't do it because 'they don't have the data for this motorbike'. What that means exactly I don't know - maybe they don't usually do motorbikes or maybe they weren't confident about doing a foreign vehicle. They suggested another (bigger) garage locally.

So a month later with the weather having warmed up a bit more I went to the second garage. I asked the bloke if he could do an inspection on an English bike and he said sure no problem. He spent about 5 seconds looking at the bike, asked me to show him that all the lights worked and then asked me to follow him inside. To my suprise he sat there for a few minutes and then gave me two certificates:
  1. "Dokument Identyfikacyjny Pojazdu zarejestrowanego po raz pierwszy za granicą", meaning something along the lines of "ID document for foreign vehicle registered for the first time in Poland". It has a list of 40 technical points on it such as country of production, country of previous registration etc..
  2. Zaświadczenie o przeprowadzonym badaniu technicznym pojazdu which is basically the MOT certificate.
So it appears that if you can find a garage happy to do the paperwork then as long as your vehicle looks like it doesn't have any wheels missing and has got lights then this step isn't a problem. Cost 116 zloty.


Went back to the treasury department with my forms filled out as best as I could. The woman at the VAT window was expecting me following my first visit there, so had been informed by her colleagues about the English guy with his motorbike and thankfully I didn't have to explain everything all over again. She was very helpful and helped me correct my forms. I had to go to a 2nd window to hand in my NIP form, then to the till window to pay a flat fee of 160 złoty. I haven't quite worked out what that fee was for, I guess for the priviledge of importing a vehicle to Poland. Also for some reason the first till window sent me to the 2nd till window (more queuing), and she did something on the computer then sent me back to the 1st till window to pay (more queuing). Where the logic is in that I don't know...
After paying I went back the the VAT window, showed her my payment receipt and she told me to come back in 2 days to collect my declaration (oświadczenie) to show I have taken care of the VAT for this vehicle.


As instructed I went back to collect my confirmation that they are happy with the VAT for this bike and they gave me a form called a VAT-25 which they had typed up and put official looking stamps and signatures on. Suprisingly it was there waiting for me and there was no queue. Brilliant.


Went back to the transport department with all of my documents. Was told that I couldn't register the bike today because I hadn't made an appointment. Gave him a sob-story about having a little baby at home and sick wife. Was told to fill out the registration form (wniosek), go to the till and pay 188 zloty. After 15 minutes he emerged with:
  • Temporary vehicle permit (pozwolenie czasowe)
  • My VAT-25 form with a stamp on it that it has been used to register the vehicle
  • A photocopy of my UK registration certificate again with stamps on it
  • A shiny new number plate!
Unfortunately because my temporary residence registration runs out in 2 weeks time I have to go back again then to collect the regular vehicle permit.


Got my new temporary residence certificate so returned to the transport department. I was pleasently surprised to find no queue and a helpful attendant. After just a few minutes I got my karta pojazdu and permit no problem. FINISHED!

TOTAL COST: 524 zloty and 6 hours of time


Chris said...

Hey - I'm interested to know how you got on with the bike registration. I might find myself in a similar situation in a few weeks time. Any more news?

BritInPoland said...

Hi Chris. Actually I finished this yesterday so just updated the blog now. Let me know how you get on and if your experience differs from mine at all.
I just realised I forgot to mention too that after you take the vehicle out of the UK you need to tell the DVLA that it will be permanently exported. There's a section on the log book somewhere for it.
Cheers. Ben

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