What do you need to do to make sure you are roadworthy and legal if you are living here permanently (or longer than 3-6 months)
You will need to transfer your car onto Bulgarian plates. This is a simple process, but do be prepared to allocate a full day to it (sometimes if you are really lucky you can get it all done in 2-3 hours but that is often the exception.)
How does it work?
Vehicle registration is dealt with at KAT (the traffic offices)
Although there are standard processes for registering your car here in Bulgaria, you may find that your own KAT office has interpreted them a little differently to other regions, so be prepared for a little difference in your experience. This post has been written with the full requirements and processes that are undertaken in the Vratsa KAT office.
If you do not speak Bulgarian, it is advisable to take someone with you who can, as staff do not necessarily speak English and it will be very frustrating if you are trying to complete forms in Bulgarian and get the information you need, and know where to go, if you cannot confidently speak to the people you are dealing with.
If you don’t know anyone who speaks Bulgarian, you will often find there are translators in and around your KAT office who will approach you and offer to help – they will of course make a charge, and whilst you may be thinking you want to save money where you can, it really is worth having someone with you to translate and help.
There are also people in different regions in Bulgaria who offer vehicle registration help as a service that you can arrange t take with you if you prefer not to accept help from someone you have never met or spoken to before. (I personally would advise this as you have no idea if someone will be at KAT and offer to help or who they are and if they will do the job properly for you)
If you are in the Vratsa region looking for help with KAT, please do use the contact form and we can organise this for you.
So what do you need to take with you to KAT?
- Full V5 document
- Residence permit (or company documents)
- Bill of sale if the V5 is not in your/your companies name
- Cash for the insurance/MOT/Eco taxes/KAT fees
FULL V5 document
Make sure the V5 is the complete document (do not send anything off to DVLA before you leave the Uk or before you register your car here in Bulgaria, as this can invalidate your Uk insurance and also create problems for you to register the car here.
If the V5 is NOT in your name, you will also need a document of sale to say you have bought it and are the owner.
If the V5 is in your name but you are registering the car in your Bulgarian company name, then you will also need to create a bill of sale to show that you have sold the car to the company.
You may be required to have any bill of sale translated in to Bulgarian (best to check with the KAT office before arriving to register your car)
You MUST make sure that the engine number is clearly visible (on the engine, not on a plate or on the V5 document) and also the chassis number is clearly visible and readable on the chassis (again, not on a plate somewhere)
We have experienced vehicles where the engine or chassis number were not clearly visible, and watched the owners desperately rubbing away with sandpaper to make it visible! Best is to check this before you go to KAT – take it to a garage if you don’t know where to find the numbers or they are not readable and get them to help clean them off for you.
It is also good to know WHERE the numbers are, so if for example, the engine number is under the engine – you can indicate this to the inspectors at KAT (they have mirrors to use to access engine numbers placed like this)
In some areas they don’t seem to care about this but others are very strict about checking you have fitted LHD lights
Different offices will have different desks to go to for each of the following, but the process is:
1. Arrange insurance and pay your eco tax if required
At the Vratsa KAT office, there is an office just outside the gates that deals with all of this for you and they also look at your paperwork for you to check all is as it should be too….
2. Complete the registration forms
You will also be asked to show your documents at this stage and the forms you will complete will all be in Bulgarian
3. Take your car for inspection
The inspection is the time they will check the engine and chassis numbers against your V5 – if there are any discrepancies, you will be asked to come back to KAT on a day when the senior inspectors/police are there to see if it is possible to register the car for you. (another reason to check everything matches and is clearly visible BEFORE you visit KAT)
They should also complete an MOT inspection. When you first register your car onto Bulgarian plates the initial 12 month BG MOT (preglet) is done at the time of registration – the following year you will go to any garage for your MOT
4. Get your number plate allocation and pay your KAT taxes
You will now go to have your plates removed and then take the paperwork you have been given, to the desk for them to allocate your number plates and tell you how much tax you need to pay for KAT
5. Get your new plates fitted
6. Collect your new Bulgarian car documentation
This may be the same desk you have already visited or another desk
You will be given an A4 laminated yellow Talon (vehicle ownership document) that you shoudl keep safely at home. And also a small yellow Talon (this should be carried with you at all times you are in the car)
Please be aware that there may be an expiry date at the bottom of the Talon (this usually matches the expiry date on your residence permit)….. So when you renew your residence permit you must also remember to go back to KAT and update your Talon too.
This is so that you can have your number plate details added to the insurance documents and the car sticker
8. Pop your insurance and MOT (Preglet) stickers onto your car….
Please make sure they are affixed in the right place and on the correct side of the windscreen
You now have a legally registered car to drive in Bulgaria, please though don’t forget that you will also have to pay two car taxes each year – local car tax and road tax – this article explains those for you