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Buying a used car in Russia by German citizens (and other European countries)

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The rapid changes have occurred in car bying! Five years ago, it was impossible to imagine the Germans purchasing cars in Russia and then transporting them to Germany. However, the reality is that the weak Rouble makes buying a car in Russia 40% cheaper than buying in Germany, for example.

Thus, there has never been a better time to buy a car in Russia! Today, the European Union citizens have the luxury of being able to come to Russia in search for a good value for money cars. Buying expensive cars by foreigners in Russia is no longer a problem.

In Russia, private individuals don’t have to register a car in a customs office, all they have to do is de-register the used car in the State Inspection for Road Traffic Safety and state it to be «for export from Russian Federation». The documents that will be needed:

  • car documentation
  • sale-and-purchase documents
  • passport of a foreign citizen

Having a notarially certified translation of the passport of a foreign citizen may be an advantage, though it is not usually required in Moscow.

Import duties are pretty much the same in all EU countries, however, it is preferable to address your country’s customs office to enquire about the import duties. In Germany, for instance, registration processes in Zoll might be slightly different in different regions.

In order to buy a car in Russia customers from abroad, similarly to local customers, visit auto.ru, avito.ru, drom.ru web services and seem not to have problems with purchasing the cars.

We, however, would like to provide you with clear steps you will need to make so that to successfully buy a car in Russia and export it to Europe (Germany is an example here):

So, let’s get started.

First step. Car searching

You need to find an appropriate car in Russia. You should be very attentive here, not only because you would like to make a profit out of the purchase, but also because not every single car might suit you. The cars you might consider for purchasing must have been exported from Europe. This means that the car should have been previously bought or driven in Europe.

New cars, bought in Russia via an official dealer may not suit you because in most cases, those cars are not registered in German TÜV and therefore you will not be able to undergo the technical inspection and get a Fahrzeugbrief. You will have to undergo the «Full TÜV» which may not guarantee getting a European certificate unless you make certain modifications in the car that will minimize your profit on buying a car in Russia. Cars without a European code of regulations will not pass certain aspects when inspected: CO CH emission rate (you will have to alter the exhaust system); settings and characteristics of the headlights; passenger safety requirements (settings or availability of safety requirements). This may cost you another 1000 euros in addition to the alteration fees.

However, there is an exception. In case the seller provides you with the original documents on a car which are given by the factory and correspond with European code of regulations and standards (there will be a European certification code), the car can be regarded as an acceptable variant to purchase. You can also find the car in the TÜV database and check if this car corresponds with all European regulations prior to the purchase. A special number allows to find out whether the car can be bought and used in Europe or not. However, it is only an exception and we have not heard about such cases so far. There are examples of a document and a marking plate on the body of a car with and without European certification code.

Number of European certification code.

And on this plate there is no European certification code.

Step two. Preparation of the documents

If the car which you have found in Russian Federation is acceptable to you in terms of its technical condition and price and if it meets all European regulations and needs no compulsory certification in the European Union (this has to be checked in the TÜV database using a special certification code which the car has), you can book the car and prepare all the documents needed for the export of the car from Russian Federation and for the transfer of it through the countries of the European Union to the destination point in Germany.

To get such a document (transit declaration) you have to go to the local customs office where you will be going to get it through the customs. You will have to hand in the copy of your Russian vehicles’ passport and get this passport translated into German. You will also have to hand in the sale-and-purchase documentation (Kaufwertag). Based on these documents you will be given a bill to pay a fee at the Customs.

Fee consists of these components: 10% of value of the car (based on the value, written in the Kaufwertag) + value-added tax (VAT) of the country of destination (in this case Germany – 19%). The value in the Kaufwetag is a starting point to the process of customs clearance. So, the cheaper the car is, the cheaper its customs clearance. After the customs fee is paid, you will be given a transit declaration in which there will be information about places of departure and arrival of the car and about the customs office through which the car is going to be transferred to European Union. There will also be a EORI number. It will help the customs officers to identify you and let you pass the border without any objections.

If you do not get such a document, you will be obliged to pay a security deposit at the customs when going into European Union. The deposit consists of 10% of the value of the car (according to the Kaufwertag) + VAT of the country you are entering. It will be returned to your personal account, which you will mention, but only after you reach your customs office without customs clearance of your car. In order not to pay twice, it’s better to pay the price for customs clearance of your car in your customs office and go to Russian Federation to get your car with all the documents ready.

Step three. Registration in Russia

In order to register the export of the car as a private individual, you have to be a citizen of foreign country or have a residence permit. Using a passport of a foreign citizen or an ID, you can register the export of your car from the territory Russian Federation in the Russian State Inspection for Road Traffic Safety. However, firstly, you ought to have a notarized translation of your passport. It is not difficult to make. You can easily solve the problem asking some Internet services that will do all the work for you. All you need to do is to send them a scan of your passport and pay via Western Union, Webmoney, Yandex money or by credit card. The translation will be ready on the arranged day. Moreover, it can be delivered to an arranged place at the arranged time. For instance, in the hotel, where you are going to stay or to the house of your friends or relatives. It is important to mention that all the documents in Russia will be in Russian language and you have to make German copies of sell-and-purchase documents yourself. You can ask our help also. You can learn more information on the registration the car for export in State Inspection for Road Traffic Safety in this article.

Step four. Green-card

After you have registered your vehicle in Russian Road Inspection, you will get transit license plates and a document with your name in it. When having these documents you can travel to Europe. At the Russian border you will need to make insurance (green-card) for travelling across European Union and other countries.

Step five. Crossing the EU border

At the border with the European Union you will show the customs officers your transit declaration, which you have got in Zoll. You will be identified  by the EORI number and you will be allowed to enter Europe. We strongly recommend you to have a copy of your transit declaration in case the customs officers will take the original copy. You can ask the customs officers to put a stamp on your copy, which confirms that you crossed the border. This will help you to avoid problems with the police, border guards and customs officers on your way back home through the countries of the European Union.

Step six. Customs clearance

When you are back, you should go to the customs office first and make the customs clearance of your car. You have to do it within the period of time you were given for delivery at the border. Customs officers will kindly help you to do that.

Step seven. TÜV

In order to get German car documentation (Fahrzeugbrief), you have to pass the technical inspection of the vehicle (TÜV). As it was already mentioned, it is not easy to do if the car has not been registered in the European Union. In this case, you will have to pass a rather expensive process of certification and standardization. That is why it is important to remember that it is better not to buy such cars. However, in case you bought a car, which had once been registered in the European Union and was returned there after a while, then the car has to be in an acceptable condition for using. It needs to have a catalytic converter (which is often cut out by the Russians) or not to have xenon lights or any other “made in Russia” tuning parts. If you are sure that the condition of the car is good enough and it has a catalytic converter or a soot filter, or that the CO CH emission rate meets the standards, you may go and pass the technical inspection (TÜV). After that you may go to Zulassung.

Step eight. Zulassung

Having all the documents (customs documents, passed TÜV, registration of the vehicle (received in Russia + translated into German) and your passport) and the car, you can register your car and get German documentation and license plates. At this point your adventure is over and you can celebrate it with your nearest and dearest.

And we almost forgot about the most important thing! The profit of a purchase of a car in Russia considering all the expenses is from 20% to 30% off the lowest prices in the European Union. However you must remember that not every car, brought from Russia can be a profitable purchase. And this is what you have to count at home, in Germany.

If you are not self-confident enough, let the specialists from “AMB Motors” do the work concerning the registration of the vehicle. This will help you to save your nerves, time and money.

This article was prepared by "AMB Motors".
Telephone: +7(495) 724-10-44