Having a car can be an essential asset for everyday life in Luxembourg. You can either purchase in the country, or import from abroad.
There are differences between importing a car from within the EU, or a vehicle from a third country. However, most steps remain similar.
First things first: If you move to Luxembourg, make sure you register your car within six months of your arrival/registration with the commune.
Before your car is legally registered with the authorities, you will have to make quite a few trips to different locations for signatures, stamps and papers. There are a few administrative procedures that must be carried out with various bodies, all in a specific order:
- applying for a license registration number (if necessary - more on this later)
- taking out an insurance policy
- paying the tax stamp
- customs clearance of the vehicle
- filing the administrative record with the SNCA
Yes, the process can be a tad tedious and involves lots of back and forth, but if you know where to look (and this guide should help clarify things) things will hopefully go smoothly.
Let’s break each step down individually.
Applying for a license registration number
Before you begin registering your car, you must first acquire a licence plate number. Having your plate registered does not mean your car is registered; you merely own the number.
A license plate number can be reserved free of charge by using the MyGuichet.lu assistant, or by contacting the National Society of Automotive Traffic (SNCA). It is composed of two letters and two digits for light quadricycles, and two letters and four digits for all other vehicles. You can get a four-digit registration number, but as none are currently available, you will have to be placed on a waiting list (getting 1234 may take more than a lifetime, if ever, but one lucky person owns it).
The number remains assigned to its holder for 36 months after the vehicle is unregistered and taken off the road, and can of course be reused for another vehicle. (This is why we mentioned "if necessary" above - you could import your vehicle but receive a license plate from friends or family, for example. You will still have to register it in your name.)
As soon as your number is reserved and accepted, you will receive a letter that will be sent to your home. The letter will provide you with information on several officially-recognised companies that can press your plates. Pick one, pop by the shop and press two plates (front and back). Voila, step one sorted.
Taking out a civil liability insurance policy
Once you’ve got your licence plate number sorted, now is the time for insurance to cover your vehicle. There are numerous insurance companies in Luxembourg, and it is smart to compare offers online. Some providers include LaLux, Baloise, AXA, Foyer and Allianz.
Insurance companies will provide you with a green card and proof of insurance, establishing that the owner has an insurance policy. You will need this to proceed with the following steps.
Paying the tax stamp
With license plates and insurance in hand, the owner must purchase a so-called tax stamp for €50. See this more as an administrative fee.
When a vehicle is registered with a personalised registration number, an additional €50 is payable on top of the standard tax stamp (so €100). In the event of the transfer of a personalised number from one vehicle to another vehicle the duty payable is €24.
The stamp may be purchased from one of the competent offices of the Registration Duties, Estates and VAT Authority (AED), or the tax can be paid by bank transfer.
Tax stamps are also available from the SNCA Registration department when registering the car. An additional €3 is payable on top of the standard tax stamp, but it does save you another trip to the local competent office.
Clearing customs and paying possible VAT
Ok, you’ve made it this far. Congratulations! Your car is nearly ready to be registered. The following step is more complicated, and this covers the big difference between importing a car from within the union or a third country.
Within the EU
If you import a car to Luxembourg from within the EU, the vehicle has to be cleared through customs in Luxembourg to obtain a 705 tax disc (vignette), which is required for the final registration of the vehicle.
To obtain the sticker, the purchaser must produce the following documents at one of the Customs offices.
- the previous registration certificate (if the vehicle has already been operated);
- the original certificate of conformity (when importing a used vehicle, the certificate of conformity is not required);
- the original invoice for the purchase of the vehicle, or the sales contract, or possibly proof of payment (to show you are the new owner)
- licence registration number;
- insurance certificate;
- national identification number (matricule - 13-digit social security number), or tax registration number for companies;
The applicable VAT regime differs depending on whether the purchaser is a person who is not subject to VAT (such as a private individual) or an entity which is subject to VAT (such as a self-employed worker or a limited liability company).
Persons subject to VAT must pay Luxembourg VAT of 17%, regardless of whether the vehicle is new or used. Persons who are not subject to VAT must pay Luxembourg VAT only if the vehicle is new or used and cleared in Luxembourg.
Tip: You can book an appointment with the agency online.
Outside the EU
For vehicles purchased outside the EU, customs duties and VAT are normally payable in the EU Member State of first entry.
However, by filing a transit declaration using the T1 form (you can get one from the Customs office), it is possible to suspend payment of such taxes in the Member State of entry and pay them in the Member State of destination (in this case Luxembourg). If that is the case, the VAT rate is 17%.
Customs duties are set at 10% of the vehicle's value price.
So, to briefly summarise here: if you import a car from outside the EU, you'll pay 10% customs duties in Luxembourg and possibly VAT (if you're a VAT-registered company or individual) if you declare the T1 transit form. If you import from within the EU, you may only pay VAT.
Once all of this is completed, Customs will issue that wonderful, much-awaited 705 sticker. As part of the registration procedure, you must take it to the technical inspection to verify it is in good working order.
If you have any doubts or questions, just call Customs, sit down with them in person at their office and have an agent explain the process to you, or read through it again on MyGuichet.
Registration with SNCA
Time to register your car! Book an appointment online with the SNCA, bring along your whole stack of papers and with a bit of luck, it will be your last step.
Congratulations, your car is now fully registered.
For all this information, and in more detail with relevant links, visit this website.