How does one buy a in a foreign country car to drive to Mongolia?
First you call up a friend who is living in the country (in this case Romania) where you wish to buy the car from. Then you sweet-talk this unsuspecting friend into helping you.
Your very kind, generous, loving, really an all around superior human of a friend looks around on the Internet and finds you the car that fits within your criteria.
Your awesome friend then talk his friends (Irina and Company) into calling the seller because his language skills is not sufficient for what is to come. Your friend test drive the car, have it look at by a mechanic, strikes a deal with the seller (a dear Mr Ion Dumitru, a school teacher in a town called Focsani) and you wire the money over.
Oh but then now the real fun begins.
You make a lot of calls to the authority, in this case, the Police, about how to register the car. You think you have all the information you need and are under the impression that this should be easy peasy. Except when you arrive in Romania, thinking that you will be there for … oh say, 2 days, maybe 3 on the far side… how wrong you are. Better learn another Romanian word other than Thank You!
With Romania being a member nation of the EU, new registration rules are now in place. Instead of being able to have a three-month temporary registration (for which you don’t need a government inspection of the vehicle) now you can only have a temporary registration for 30 days. Yeah that is not gonna work so well for us.
Did you know that you can’t register a car in most countries unless you have residency there? Which means now my very awesome friend who just happens to have a temporary residency in Romania will have to register the car in his name.
Hey Earl! I think I just bought you a car! I know you always wanted a 2005 Dacia Logan.
What does it take for a foreigner to buy a car and then have it registered? Why I am glad you asked….
A list of paper work involved includes:
- A technical inspection of the car to make sure its in good condition.
- A bill of sales. Drafted first by a paralegal operation on the side of the road, then make official at the local government building where the car came from, in this case Focsani.
- A notarized letter from me, authorizing Earl to register the car in his name only.
- An official government inspection of the car (which you need an appointment for).
- A certificate stating that the car is not stolen and it has been inspected.
- A form with a shinny sticker on it that notifies the office of finance that Earl now has a car and they can tax him accordingly (heh!).
- An application for the registration and new plate for the car.
- Insurance for the car.
- A notarized letter from Earl giving me power of attorney to drive, sell and export the car.
- A translation of the power of attorney letter into English and Russian.
- A notarized letter from Earl giving our friends permission to drive the car to Prague for us.
There is an ever growing folder with lots of official looking documents in it. The list above is just the paper work we’ve gotten in the last 10 days I’ve been in Bucharest.
Our days were peppered with conversation like,
“My mom first called the police station to ask and then went down there herself. When she got to the station, everyone at the Police Station was talking about The Mongol Rally and you guys buying the car!”
“She’s called all of the police stations. They all know her by now.”
Thank god for kind hearted, good humored friends.
The comment that was perhaps the most poignant for me was “You guys have to make it to Mongolia now! You have an entire town rooting for you!”
10 days, lots of help from a lot of really wonderful friends, Irina, Diana, their mom, Earl, and a forged signature later (shhh…) and a ton of patience, SM Stowaway finally has a car for The Mongol Rally.
Thank You Thank You Thank You!
And through it all, this is what I learned….
These last ten days were frustrating because we didn’t know how long the uncertainty would last. We didn’t know if we could get the inspection on time, if all of the paper work we need can be gotten, if any one of the officials in all the different lines we stood in would give us a hard time or need another piece of paper with a sticker, stamp, signature on it that we didn’t’ know about. I came to realize it was never really about IF it could be done, but how long it would take. Not knowing how long the uncertainly will last was worst than the uncertainly itself.
Romanian bureaucratic system is in place and without any obvious corruptions. I never once had to bribe anyone to obtain a form, be extorted so the inspection would be problem free or any such things. There might be a lot of redundancy in place but for the most part, there is a system and the system seems to work. However, with that said, after having gone through the process of buying a car in Romania, I would never complain about the DMV again!
Follow us on these next 10,000 epic miles ahead and see what ensues! SM Stowaway now has an entire Romanian town cheering us on, not arriving in Ulaan Baator is not an option! Join us.
My wonderful darling patient overall incredible human being of a friend Earl is the one and only WanderingEarl.com. He has been traveling the world for 12 years and has great insights for all of those with wanderlust.