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Change of car owner: What is important when changing the registration of the car

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When you decide to buy a car, you have to change the ownership of the vehicle. Find out what you need to do below

Germany has a fantastic rail system. However, it is very easy to buy a car. A car will conveniently make it easier to for to have access to some of the best spots throughout Germany. Whether when buying a used car or changing the owner of the car within the family: The car must be re-registered to the new owner immediately. In both cases, the re-registration is very similar. If you don’t take care of it, you even risk a fine.

Deadlines & fines: Report a change of vehicle owner immediately

When you buy or take over a used car, it is known as a change of owner. Both the registration papers and the car insurance must always be up to date. Therefore, you have to re-register both in your name – immediately after the purchase.

The deadline for the re-registration is usually not precisely defined. Instead, the authorities handle this very individually. As a precaution, you shouldn’t take your time for more than a week. Otherwise you may have to pay a fine.

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Motor vehicle insurance: Get your eVB number before changing your registration

First, you need to take care of car insurance . Because you absolutely need it so that you can later re-register the car in your name at the vehicle registration office. You have two options to choose from:

  • You get the insurance of the previous owner if the conditions are basically suitable for you.
  • You are taking out a new car insurance policy.

As soon as the insurance has been taken out, you will receive your electronic insurance confirmation , the so-called eVB number, from the insurer .

The next path now leads you to the responsible vehicle registration office in order to also re-register the registration for you. You have to bring the vehicle documents and the eVB number of your car insurance with you.

Documents: checklist for re-registration after the change of owner

The re-registration of a vehicle after a change of owner is not that different from the initial registration of a vehicle. 

However, if you change the owner, you have to take a few additional documents with you to the registration office:

  • Old license plates : They will be canceled so that you can register the car with the new (desired) license plate in your name.
  • Registration papers : registration certificate part I and part II (previously vehicle registration document and vehicle registration document)
  • Current TÜV & HU report : The TÜV badge is not enough! It is best to get the test reports from the previous owner. Otherwise you will have to request it from the TÜV office for a fee.

However, you do not have to present the sales contract at the time of admission . Part II of the registration certificate is sufficient as proof that you are the owner of the car.

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Power of attorney for the vehicle re-registration in the event of a change of owner

Are you unable to go to the registration office and re-register the newly purchased car yourself? A few admissions offices already offer to do this online. In most cases, however, the change of registration has to be done personally on site. The good news: As the new owner, you don’t necessarily have to do it yourself – you can also give someone a written power of attorney .

Important : Your representative must be able to identify himself at the admissions office and also present a copy of your identity card. There may also be a form at the registration office for the power of attorney when changing the vehicle owner.

Fees: The cost of the change of registration

If you re-register the car immediately after changing the owner, the costs are quite manageable:

  • 20–30 euros for the fees of the admissions office
  • 10–12 euros for a custom license plate
  • 20–30 euros for the new license plates

Tip : If you live in the same rural or urban district as the previous owner, you can keep the old license plate. This will save you money on new license plates.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding car ownership change in Germany

What is a change of vehicle owner?

When the vehicle owner changes – for example when buying a used car or when the spouse or children take over the car – one speaks of a vehicle owner change or vehicle owner change.

The registration papers and the vehicle insurance must be updated if the owner changes. This means: You are obliged to re-register both the registration and the insurance in your name

When does the change of registration have to take place in the event of a change of vehicle owner?

The re-registration in the event of a change of car owner should take place immediately after purchase or takeover. There is no precise deadline for this, the responsible authorities decide on a case-by-case basis. However, if you take too long to re-register, this is considered an administrative offense and you risk a fine.

Where do I have to re-register the car when changing owners?

The change of registration in the event of a change of vehicle owner must be carried out at your responsible vehicle registration office. Which it is depends on where you live or where your main place of residence is. Your responsible licensing authority can be the city administration or the district office.

Registering a car: What documents do I need if I change owners?

If you change the owner of a vehicle, you will need certain documents, just like if you re-register the car after moving. You must also present most of these when you are first registered. Take the following documents with you to the licensing authority:

• Valid identity card or passport (with last confirmation of registration)
• Registration certificate part I (formerly vehicle registration document)
• Registration certificate part II (formerly vehicle registration document)
• Insurance confirmation (eVB number)
• Current TÜV and HU report (TÜV badge is not sufficient)
• License plates
• SEPA direct debit mandate for collecting vehicle tax

It is not necessary to present the sales contract to register the vehicle. A change of owner can also take place without changing the owner – it is crucial that you have the registration certificate Part II.

Can I keep the license plate number when changing the vehicle owner?

If the vehicle receives new license plates, the old ones will be canceled. But you are not always obliged to buy new license plates. Under certain conditions, you have the option of using the old license plates.

In the event of a change of owner, however, this is only possible if you and the previous owner live in the same rural or urban district. Anyone who decides to keep the license plate saves money when changing the owner, as there are no costs for new license plates.

Do I have to personally re-register the vehicle if the ownership changes?

As a rule, you have to appear in person at the relevant registration authority in order to re-register the car and properly change the owner.

If you don’t have the time, you can send someone else to represent you. This person needs a power of attorney for this. When changing your vehicle registration, it is important that the authorized person can identify himself and has a copy of your ID with him. Many registration offices offer appropriate forms.

However, a handwritten power of attorney is completely sufficient for a change of vehicle owner. The power of attorney must contain the following information:

• Name and address of the person to whom the vehicle is to be re-registered
• Name and address of the representative
• Purpose of the power of attorney (change of owner)
• Declaration of consent that the representative will be informed of possible arrears
• Date and signature of the principal

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Tim Gumbert
Tim is the go-to guy when it comes to finding all the gems regarding life as an Expat in Germany. His whole motto is discover Germany on your own and without a roadmap, explore new routes while climbing or mountain biking.
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