Registering a New or Used Car? in Russia

Details of how to negotiate the procedures involved in registering a car, either new or used, in Russia…

Registering a new or used car can involve a lot of time and paperwork, especially if the registration is to be done without the help of an agency (see Registration Services below). Knowledge of Russian is vital as applications are carried out only in Russian.

The general rules for buying and selling cars for Russian citizens or foreign nationals living in Russia are basically the same. For a foreign national buying a car, registration can be valid for as long as the term of validity of the visa or the residence permit, and it must be renewed when the residence and/or visa papers are renewed. Holders of a residence permit usually have their papers in Russian, so no translation is necessary.

Prior to the deal, the seller (whether a private individual or a dealer) needs to de-register the car in local offices of the State Road Traffic Safety Inspectorate (GIBDD) called MOTOTRER (????????; Mezrayony Otdel Gasudarstvenovo Tehnicheskovo Osmotra Registracy e Exzaminaciony Raboty / ??????????? ????? ???????????????? ???????????? ??????? ??????????? ? ??????????????? ??????).

  • For the separate site of MOTOTRER: Click here (in Russian)

Details of the main office in Moscow offering vehicle registration services for foreign nationals are below, although it is rare to find anyone speaking English.

  • GIBDD (?????????? ??. 20)
    At:  ul Lobnenskaya, Dom 20, Moscow
    Tel: (495) 483 3311

The Registration Process

The procedure can take up to two working days. The first step is to present all the required papers at the desk for accepting registration applications. After processing, all the documents are returned, as well as a completed application for the registration and a request for payment. Payment should be made at the bank mentioned in the payment request. The fees are currently R.2,000 for registering and R.300 for de-registering.

Following this is a check of the car, where an inspector checks all the numbers and fills in the respective fields in the application for registration. Afterwards all the documents are again presented to the registration desk to be processed. When registration is complete, new licence plates are issued to be fixed to the vehicle. The owner must then inform the insurance company about the new registration number.

Documents required for registration:

  • ID of the owner, including address registration plus a visa or residence permit
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof of liability insurance (polis OSAGO / ????? ?????)
  • Record card of the car (PTS, ???; Pasport Transportnogo Sredstva / ??????? ????????????? ????????)

For a vehicle being imported into Russia, the following are also required:

  • Custom documents (in case of imported foreign car; for first time registration)
  • Transit plates (2)

In case of a private sale, both buyer and seller need to be present during de-registration as the mechanics compare the numbers of the engine and the chassis with those written in the car’s record card or passport, the PTS (???, Pasport Transportnogo Sredstva / ??????? ????????????? ????????), which holds all the information about a car and its owner.

After the car has been checked it is de-registered and a ‘For Sale’ (Dlya Prodazhi / ??? ???????) notice is entered on the PTS card. The car receives transit licence plates valid for a certain period and this fact is entered in the front of the PTS, together with the number of the transit plates, the date of receiving them and the term of validity. All this must be signed and stamped by the traffic police officer.

It is possible that this procedure may be carried out by the seller in advance and the car already has transit plates. In this case, the buyer should request from the seller the completed PTS card and will need to carefully check the numbers on the plates and in the paper.

Also, if buying from a private individual, it is usual to ask for proof of identity and check the name of the seller against the name in the PTS. If the seller is not the owner of the car, they should have a notarised General Power of Attorney certifying the right to sell the car.

The next step is to make an agreement for selling and buying the car, the DKP (???; Dogovor kupli-prodazhi / ??????? ?????-???????). For this, the completed PTS is needed as well as ID for both seller and buyer. For foreign nationals, a notarised translated copy of the passport is also required, along with a visa and/or residence permit (and the Power of Attorney, if applicable).

The agreement can be made by the buyer and seller themselves or by a commission auto-shop or desk, a service offered by most car dealers (komissionnyi avtomagazin / ???????????? ???????????) where the agreement will be drawn and certified against a commission. Both the seller and the buyer should be present. After this, the PTS card is updated with information about the new owner, the date of sale and the information about the DKP, and the PTS is signed by both seller and buyer.

Following all these procedures, money can be exchanged and the car given to the buyer. The car has transit numbers with a certain period of validity and even for the transit period, immediate civil liability insurance (polis OSAGO / ????? ?????) with a term of validity of one year is necessary in order to drive the car. This can be obtained in the building of the registration office MOTOTRER. Before the transit term expires, the car has to be registered by the buyer and permanent Russian registration plates need to be obtained so the car can be driven legally.

Registration Services

There are several companies offering help with the registration process, for a fee. These include the following:

Standard fees for registering or de-registering a car through an agency are around R.7,000, plus the relevant state fees, which are currently R.2,000 for registering and R.300 for de-registering. Fees and rules are liable to change, so check all the costs and requirements before signing up a company to handle the registration. When an agreement is signed with a company, power of attorney will need to be made and a deposit should be paid against receipt for the service. This is usually done in cash, but is also sometimes possible with a credit or debit card.