Buying a Used Car in Colombia

Information on the paperwork and processes involved when buying and registering a used car in Colombia...

Used cars are available for sale through dealerships, websites or magazines such as:

When buying a used car directly from a private seller, it is advisable to have the car checked by a mechanic (peritaje). This ensures that the car is in good condition and may prevent future problems.

Both the buyer and seller must be registered on the RUNT website, which is the National Transport Registry (Registro Unico Nacional de Transito).

Documents Required

The seller should provide the following documents:

  • Certificado de tradición of the vehicle, which is issued at the transport office where the vehicle is registered
  • Vehicle tax payment receipts for up to five previous years (depending on the age of the vehicle)
  • Registration documents of the vehicle
  • Photocopy of ID (cédula)
  • Photocopy of the compulsory insurance (SOAT)
  • Paz y Salvo – this can be obtained from the RUNT and is a document stating that the driver does not have any outstanding debts or tickets with the transport authorities

Registering the Vehicle

All vehicles must be registered on the National Automobile Registry (Registro Nacional Automotor), which is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Transport within 15 days of purchase.

Before registering the vehicle (Registro inicial), the buyer must check that there are no outstanding fines for the vehicle. This can be done at one of the following:

Both seller and buyer must go to a local transport office to carry out the formalities to transfer the ownership of the vehicle (Traspaso de propiedad de un vehículo automotor).

In Bogotá, this can be carried out at a SIM office (Servicios Integrales para la Movilidad), in other towns go to the Transport office where the vehicle is registered. The costs are generally divided equally between the seller and the buyer.

The buyer must fill out a form and provide the following documents:

  • Vehicle tax payment receipts for the previous five years
  • Photocopy of ID (cédula) of both the buyer and seller; a foreigner will need a cédula de extranjeria, without this it is not possible to register the vehicle
  • Photocopy of the compulsory insurance (SOAT) and receipt of payment
  • Copy of the sale contract or invoice, or a declaration stating the transfer of ownership rights
  • Photocopy of the driving licenses of both the buyer and seller
  • Up-to-date certificate of technical check-up if applicable (certificado vigente de la revisión técnico - mecánica)
  • Paz y Salvo – this can be obtained from the RUNT and is a document stating that the driver does not have any outstanding debts or tickets with the transport authorities

There is a fee to be paid for the transfer of ownership.