A Guide to Buying a Car in Poland as a Foreigner

written by Maciek Bogdanski

Buying a car in a foreign country can be a daunting task, but with the right information and preparation, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. Poland, with its picturesque landscapes and vibrant cities, is an excellent place to explore by car. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of purchasing a car in Poland as a foreigner, providing you with valuable insights and tips to make your car-buying journey a success. Whether you’re a resident, expatriate, or just visiting, we hope you will benefit from our walk through the process of purchasing a car in Poland as a foreigner.

Residence Status Matters

If you are an EU citizen or from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, you have the same rights as Polish citizens when it comes to buying a car. You can do so without any special permits or restrictions. Just make sure you have a valid address in Poland.

For non-EU foreigners, the process is a bit more complex. You’ll typically need a residence permit that allows you to stay in Poland for an extended period, usually at least a year. Check with the Polish authorities or a legal expert to ensure you meet the requirements.

To keep it short, the most you’ll need to buy a car in Poland are:

  • Polish ID or residence permit: You’ll need a valid Polish ID or a residence permit to purchase and register a vehicle.
  • Tax identification number (NIP): Obtaining a NIP is essential for all financial transactions, including buying a car.
  • Proof of address: Ensure you have a valid Polish address to register the vehicle.
  • Passport and visa: These documents are needed for identification purposes.
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Temporary Registration

All vehicles in Poland must be registered with the appropriate authorities. As a foreigner, you can register your car temporarily if you’re not a permanent resident. Temporary registration is usually valid for up to six months, but it can be extended if necessary.

Finding the Right Car

Understand Your Needs and Budget

Before embarking on your car-buying journey in Poland, it’s essential to assess your needs and set a budget. Consider factors such as:

  • The purpose of the vehicle (e.g., daily commute, weekend trips, or long-distance travel).
  • The size of the car (compact, sedan, SUV, etc.).
  • Fuel efficiency and environmental concerns.
  • Your budget for purchasing, insurance, and maintenance.

Having a clear understanding of your requirements will help you make an informed decision when browsing for cars.

New or used car?

Decide whether you want to buy a new or used car. New cars come with warranties and are typically more reliable, but they are more expensive, and you’ll wait for the car – even a couple of months. Used cars can be more budget-friendly and you may buy them immediately but may come with a lot more uncertainty regarding their condition.

Research and Inspections

Unfortunately, the used car market is full of fraud. What should you pay special attention to?

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Origin of the car

Most of the cars you will find, come from Germany. They are brought to Poland, refurbished and sold. Although now they are rarely stolen, their condition on the day they were bought in Germany is unknown, Sellers will tell you that they drove the car from Germany, but they usually bring them on a car transporter. Although it is a serious crime now in Poland, some people tend to reduce the mileage by thousands of kilometres.

Mileage

Since 2020 when the car is inspected every year, or when it is stopped by the Police, they take note of the actual mileage. Check it before you buy the car – you can do it for free on this website. You will check some other important data – insurance paid to the owner and when the car changed hands in the past. Check the typical report here.

Paint

When the car is damaged, it is usually repainted, which makes the paint layer thicker. Some tools can identify those areas. If they exist, but the seller claims the car was never damaged, at least double-check it. I would never buy such a car.

Every car undergoes a yearly inspection in a certified “Stacja diagnostyki pojazdów”, where some basic parameters are checked. Ask the seller if he agreed to have the car checked – it’ll only cost you about 100 PLN. Some workshops (Dekra for instance) offer a more thorough inspection, if you don’t know a trusted mechanic, it’s a good option.

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Test Drive

It is essential to take the car for a test drive – perfectly on your way to Stacja Diagnostyczna. If the owner doesn’t agree with that, choose another car.

Research the Polish Car Market

We will skip the new cars market, as it is easy to find and explore. But where to look for a second-hand car in Poland?

Allegro

This is the biggest web-based source of advertisement. You will find there lots of offers, mainly the cars that were brought to Poland. Allegro offer some extra service, like checking the basic information about the car (autoDNA)

Otomoto

Otomoto is dedicated to cars. They recently introduced a similar website – Otomotoklik.pl, which awards cars with Digital Passports. It is supposed to prove that the car is in good condition.

Buying a car in Poland as a foreigner
Olx

Olx is the place where we would expect to find private offers (although there are a lot of commercials, too). It is very basic, but I consider it to be the most direct, as it is easy to contact the seller.

Komis

There are a lot of places called “Komis Samochodowy”. They buy cars, keep them for a while ad then sell them. Or they just let the owner place the car in their place and act as a broker – taking no responsibility for the car. I would avoid buying car in Komis.

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Negotiating the Price

Don’t hesitate to negotiate the price, especially when buying from a private seller. Polish sellers often expect some bargaining. Research the market value of the car you’re interested in, and be prepared to make a reasonable offer.

Signing the contract

After you negotiate the price, it’s time to sign a contract. It may be freely negotiated, but it usually claims you know the condition of the car and accept it. After that, it is difficult, though not impossible to regain the money. After signing the contract, you have to pay 2% tax based on the value of the car. If you agree to a lower price and the tax office suspects you have done this to lower your tax., the will charge you 2% of what they think the car is worth.

l requirements, you can make an informed decision and enjoy your new car with confidence. Happy driving in Poland!

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