Buying Car in Poland

Buying Car in Poland – key facts

Deadline to register new car
  • after the purchase – 30 days to register the new car
Where to register a car in Poland?
  • in small cities – Starosta Office, or
  • in bigger cities – City Hall Office (Urząd Miasta)
  • in Warsaw – in District Office
Documents required to register a car
  • Application to register a vehicle filed by the vehicle owner
  • An ownership title document (e.g. purchase contract)
  • Vehicle registration card
  • Current car plates (if you have one)
  • Import documents (if the car was imported)
  • ID / passport + residence document (a visa or a residence card) – in case of foreigner
What documents you should get form the seller?
  • Vehicle Card (karta pojazdu) – not required since 2022
  • Vehicle registration card
  • Insurance policy (OC)
  • Keys to the car
Usual types of car insurance
  • Mandatory
    • OC – third party liability insurance
  • Optional
    • Personal Accident Insurance (Accident Insurance)
    • AC (Autocasco) – Motor Hull Insurance
    • Assistance
  • You can keep you Car Registration Documents, AC Insurance and Drivers License in the governmental mobile app – mPojazd and and you not need to carry you hardcopy license, registration and insurance.
Key legislation
Tax – car purchase
  • If buying new car – you will pay 23 % of VAT within the price
  • If buying used car you will pay:
    • 2 % of transaction tax (private seller) on the top of the price, or
    • 23 % of VAT (professional seller) within the price
Tax for importing car to Poland
  • Excise tax for importing car to Poland:
    • 18,6% for cars with engine greater than 2000 cm3
    • 3,1% for cars with engine smaller than 2000 cm3
Fees for registration
  • approx. 160 zł, – unless you want individual car plates

Buying a car involves many emotions. Right from the start, we consider the model, the colour and all the equipment. However, before receiving your car keys, it is worth to lean into the important law issues and procedures involved.

Purchase of a car – formalities

The level of formalities related to car purchase in Poland depends whether you are:

  1. buying a new car from professional dealer located in Poland, or
  2. buying used car for dealer or private individual, or
  3. buying a car with lease options (leasing).

New car

If you are buying a new car from a professional dealer you must remember to:

  • acquire mandatory insurance (OC) (you can continue previous owners insurance until expiry or terminate and acquire a new one),
  • consider optional insurance options incl. AC,
  • register the vehicle in the competent authority – however it is possible that the professional dealer will do that for you.

Used car

If you are buying a second hand car / used car from a dealer or private seller you must remember to:

  • pay import taxes (excise tax) if you are brining a car to Poland for other country,
  • pay the transaction tax (PCC) unless the car is sold with VAT,
  • check if the car has a valid technical inspection,
  • acquire mandatory insurance (OC) (you can continue previous owners insurance until expiry or terminate and acquire a new one),
  • consider optional insurance options incl. AC,
  • register the vehicle in the competent authority.

Car leasing

If you are buying a car with lease options (leasing), regardless if this is a new or used car, most of the formalities will be dealt by your leasing provider.

Buying a car in Poland - Introduction

Car Purchase Agreement

From strictly legal perspective – you do not need a written contract to purchase a car in Poland. Invoice / bill is good enough to successfully purchase a car. However it is highly recommended to conclude a contract which will include sellers representations about the car, and define buyers rights in case of any defects.

Car purchase contract will prove that you are the new owner of the car. You can use the contract in the car registration process before the competent authority.

It is recommended, but not required, that the car sale contract:

  • is drawn up in two counterparts, one for seller, other for buyer
  • is signed with wet signatures of the buyer and seller.

The agreement should include, inter alia:

  • date and place of conclusion,
  • personal data of the seller and the buyer,
  • car identification details (incl. VIN number),
  • the exact mileage of the vehicle,
  • the agreed price and method of payment,
  • manner and date and time of transfer of the vehicle to the purchaser,
  • the legible signatures of both parties.


In Poland, we distinguish:

  • Mandatory car insurance:
    • i.e. OC – third party liability insurance
  • Optional car insurance insurance:
    • Accident Insurance,
    • AC – autocasco i.e. motor hull insurance,
    • Assistance.

Mandatory Car Insurance – OC

OC (i.e. third party insurance) is the only mandatory car insurance in Poland. OC covers damages resulting from traffic accidents. It covers both personal injury and material damage. In Poland OC insurance is tight with the specific car and not with the car owner – therefore – i.e. it protects anyone who drives the vehicle. It is worth mentioning that the scope of OC insurance is regulated by Polish insurance law and is the same in every insurance company.

When you buy a used car OC insurance is automatically transferred to you. However it is important to remember that relying on OC insurance of previous owner has certain disadvantages.

  • Firstly – such insurance will be valid only until the end of insurance contract signed by the previous owner. Such an insurance will not automatically renew for another year. Nevertheless, we actually have to buy new insurance sooner or later.
  • Secondly – you must remember that the insurance premium is calculated for the previous owner, therefore the insurance company will recalculate it after the car purchase and the new amount of the premium might come as a surprise for you. This is because the insurance company has right to reassess the risks associated with the new owner.

As a result it is recommended to terminate the insurance policy of the previous owner and purchase a new one, rather than relay on insurance of the previous owner.

Personal accident insurance

This is an additional and voluntary insurance that the owner can purchase. It is not compulsory. It covers medical expenses associated with the car accident or provides compensation in the event of death. Personal accident insurance most usually covers bodily injury and disorder of health or death caused by an accident. The extent of personal accident insurance depends on the specific insurance company. Most usually it covers, for example, medical assistance, rehabilitation, reimbursement for medicines or hospital stays.

AC (Autocasco) – motor hull insurance

AC – autocasco is a voluntary insurance that usually covers damage caused both on and off the accidents and events regardless of reasons and fault. Most usually it covers events of fire, hail, collision, parking breakage, parking paint damages, thefts or vandalism. Depending on the option chosen, the insurance may include cover against the consequences of total loss or partial damage, related to the loss or destruction of individual vehicle components.

Accident Insurance in optional insurance in Poland. When you buy a car you are obliged to purchase a OC - third party liability insurance p the only mandatory car insurance in Poland

How to choose an insurance company in Poland

Choosing the right insurance company is very important. Differences between the insurers are not only about the price but also about the scope and quality of services. It is important to be aware that in Poland financial offers of the insurers can be drastically different. Insurance companies use complete different rates and final cost of a quite similar insurance product can be different even by 30-50%.

There are tens of insurance companies in Poland. Therefore it is worth to use an insurance broker that will compare the insurance option for you. Brokers in Poland usually do not charge the customers but the insurance companies, therefore the broker service will be free of charge for you.

Most popular online car insurance brokers:

When choosing an insurer, our advice it to pay attention to such elements as: price, scope of protection, exclusions of liability or additional benefits.

Car registration

Car registration is mandatory. It must be done within 30 days from moment of purchasing the car.

Depending on the size of your city of residence you will be able to register the car in the transport department run by:

  • starosta (small cities) or
  • City Hall (big cities) or
  • District Office (Warsaw).

Documents – registration of used car

If it is a used car purchased in Poland, the following documents must be submitted for registration:

  • car registration application,
  • proof of vehicle ownership (e.g. sales contract, VAT invoice),
  • vehicle registration document,
  • vehicle card (if issued),
  • OC insurance,
  • certificate of valid technical inspection,
  • registration plates,
  • proof of payment of the PCC – transaction tax,
  • confirmation of payment of registration fees,
  • ID document.

Documents – registration of new car

For new car we suggest you to use the service of seller / professional dealer who will be able to take care of whole registration process for you. If you want to do that alone you will need almost the case documents as stated above for the used car + confirmation of payment of excise/duty by the dealer.

Documents – registration of the imported car

Additional documents that are required to register a car that was imported from abroad are:

  • translation of all documents by a sworn translator or consul,
  • proof of payment of excise duty (also for cars imported from the EU) or proof of payment of customs duty (for cars imported from outside the EU).

Registration of a car by a foreigner

Temporary stay in Poland with your car

Foreign citizens arriving in Poland with their foreign registered cars for less than 6 months, e.g. during a temporary stay in an EU country, do not have to register their cars in Poland.

Residing in Poland with your car

However, if you stay in Poland for more than 6 months – your car registration is compulsory. You must register your car before the expiry of 6 months from the date of your arrival on the territory of the Republic of Poland or from the date of your departure from the country of residence.

Failure to register a car within the specified timeframe can result in a fine of up to PLN 1000.

When registering a vehicle, the foreigner’s permanent place of residence is crucial. The foreigner will also have to present residence document – e.g. visa or a residence card.

required documents to register a car in Poland by foreigner (such as - vehicle card, valid oc insurance, residence card or visa

I have registered my car – what is next?

Once you fill the application in the transport department and pay the registration fee, you will recieve a temporary registration certificate and you will be notified when the permanent registration certificate will be ready.

Then you will have to call the insurance company (or do it online) that you are the new owner so that they can transfer the insurance. Remember that yearly technical check-ups are mandatory and for every of them the date will be in your registration certificate.

After registration, you will receive the registration plates and a temporary permit on the same day, which is valid for 30 days. During this time, the office should prepare a permanent registration certificate. If this does not happen, you can apply for an extension of the temporary permit for another 14 days.

Car leasing

Car leasing is a very cost-effective option which, for many entrepreneurs, proves to be much more financially advantageous than a loan or buying a new car.

Leasing is a type of civil law relationship between a provider and a car user. The user, on the basis of a contract, may use the leased object for a certain period of time in exchange for regular payment of installments.

Car leasing is currently one of the most popular ways to acquire a car. Car leasing is nothing more than the leasing of movable property. However, it should also be seen as a specific form of financing, possible through one of two types of contract:

  • operating leases,
  • finance leases.

Depending on the number of parties involved in the transaction, leasing for a car can be either direct (where the manufacturer contracts with the user) or indirect, where a minimum of three parties are involved in the transaction – most commonly the user (lessee), the manufacturer and the leasing company (lessor).

In addition, there are two other types of car leasing – sale-leaseback and consumer lease. The first one is used by companies to quickly obtain cash for any needs. Thus, the company hands over its fixed assets, such as a car, to a leasing company and then signs a contract with it to lease this vehicle. Thus, it has both the cash, for example for specific investments in the company, and the car, which, since the application of leaseback, entails payments, in the form of lease instalments.

Lease instalments

The amount of the leasing instalment is influenced by factors such as the term of the contract, the own contribution, the make and model of the car, the value of the car, the buy-back value of the car, the annual mileage limit, the price of motor insurance, the status of the customer, the level of interest rates, among others.

Advantages of leasing:

Main advantages are: simplified formalities, flexible financial conditions, e.g. lower monthly instalments, the possibility of replacing the vehicle after a few years of use, predictable vehicle running costs.

Entrepreneurs can additionally count on tax advantages by, among other things, including leasing instalments and the initial payment as tax deductible costs.

Tax savings are one of the main advantages of leasing. You can include both the initial payment and the monthly instalments in your deductible costs – this is the case with operating leases. In the case of finance leases, the cost is the interest, but you can additionally depreciate the financed asset.


Is it possible in Poland to register a car online?

Yes, however it depends on the authority. You can find out whether the local road traffic department allows you to register your car online in the Public Information Bulletin (BIP) of the district or town hall. You will also find there instructions on details, such as which enclosures or documents should be submitted.

Can a car dealer in Poland register a new car on behalf of a customer?

Yes, this has been possible since 2021. From now on, a car buyer can take advantage of the dealership’s assistance when registering a new car.

How long does it take to register a car in Poland?

30 days. From the date of application for car registration, the communications department has 30 days to prepare, among other things, a permanent registration certificate, plates. During this time, a temporary permit is issued so that the car can be used.

After how long I need to register a car in Poland?

Prior to lapse of 6 months in Poland you need to register you car in Poland.

What is the mandatory car insurance in Poland?

Only – OC – third party liability is a mandatory car insurance in Poland.

What is AC car insurance in Poland?

AC is autocasco – i.e. very popular type of insurance – equivalent of motor hull insurance.

What tax I pay for buying a car in Poland?

If you buy new car – you will pay 23 % of VAT within the price. If you buy used car you will pay: 2 % of transaction tax (private seller) on the top of the price, or 23 % of VAT (professional seller) within the price.

What is the tax for importing a car to Poland?

Importing car to Poland is associated with 18,6% of excise tax for cars with engine greater than 2000 cm3 or 3,1% for cars with engine smaller than 2000 cm3.

How much time do I have to register a car in Poland?

You have 30 days to register a car after purchase in Poland.

Do I need insurance for my car in Poland?

Yes, you need OC insurance which is mandatory.

Do I need a residence to register car in Poland?

You will need some kind of legal residence in Poland, e.g. visa or residence card to register a car in Poland.

Where do I register a car in Poland?

Depending on your residence address: in small cities – Starosta Office, or in bigger cities – City Hall Office (Urząd Miasta) in Warsaw – in District Office.

Expert team leader DKP Legal
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