If you plan to do a an extensive road-trip through Europe, which will last multiple months, could you do the required annual technical control in another EU country than your country of residence?

Required car documents from any EU country are accepted EU-wide. This implies that each EU country recognizes the administrative bodies in charge of performing the technical control.

Does this also imply that you can present your car for technical inspection in any EU country?

So can I just start a trip, or should I prepare to return to my country of residence once I need to get the paper work in order?

  • 1
    Is this for a car, truck, bike etc, and a business vehicle or personal vehicle?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:24
  • It is for a car. Bikes don't have license plates in Europe so you don't need paperwork.
    – user141
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:33
  • @Andra are you serious? no paperwork for bikes? you just pick up one and buy it and thats it? Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:35
  • By bike, I meant motorbike/scooter, which presumably DO have license plates?
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Aug 24, 2012 at 18:36
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    I’m sure any motor vehicle test centre in any country will be more than happy to take your money to perform the test according to that country’s rules. But I doubt your own country would recognise a foreign test certificate. Your safest bet may be to get the car tested just before you leave (even if the test isn’t due for a while), and make sure you return within a year. That way you won’t have to worry about it expiring while you’re away (which might also affect your insurance). Commented Aug 25, 2012 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


No, you can't. But you can:

  • do it in your home country before you leave, as you'll just 'lose' the few months between your departure and the expiry date, and it's valid for maximum 2 years anyway,
  • or hope you won't get controlled (beware!),
  • or perform the registration in one of the countries you'll cross, change the plate numbers and get the car checked there (of course you'll need to establish residency in this country to do this, but even in a few months travel you might have to do this if you stay for some time at a place anyway – more than 3 months in many cases).

There are no import restrictions on passenger cars anymore inside Europe. Probably the best, easiest and cheapest option would be to do the technical control a few months before its expiration date in your home country (if I understand it correctly it will expire during your trip), as you're travelling 'only' for a few months and won't get any advantage of registering in another country and then back to yours (and it will be a hassle and cost you more than you would save).

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    -1 since part of the question in not completely true. The controle is not valid for 2 years. Maybe in your country, but certainly not in all EU countries. It is currently under discussion, but not implented EU wide. You can't easily switch plates. You need to reside in the country of the license plate you are using. Plus, some importation procedures still remain.
    – user141
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 10:23
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    @Andra On the certificate duration: Council Directive 96/96/EC of 20 December 1996 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers and for passenger cars requires that all Member States shall inspect their vehicles at least when the car is four years old and then every two years thereafter. Agreed, it might be less than four years (in Sweden, it is/used to be three) before the first. I'll modify accordingly. My intent was to say: it will be valid for more than the few months you'll be travelling.
    – tricasse
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 9:15
  • That is the thing with directives. They are not all implemented in national laws in all EU states. I still have to present my car for an annual check. Furthermore, your suggestion to register in another member state is wrong. I am living in another EU state, where I am not a citizen. I am not allowed to drive a car with the license plate of the country where I am a citizen. This has to do with customs and national road taxes. Otherwise everybody would register in the country with the lowest road taxes
    – user141
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 15:28
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    @Frietjeoorlog “Home country” should simply be understood as the country you reside in since you are apparently planning not to establish residence elsewhere. This answer might not cover every corner case but it generally seems like sound advice and does not deserve a minus vote in its present state IMO…
    – Relaxed
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 20:56

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