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help- purchasing motorhome+ licensing+annual test-certificate for foreigners


eyal

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hi

 

im new here...we are family from israel (2+1) about 32 yrs old and we are intend to make a very long travel-2-3 years in a motorhome or caravan (hadnt decide yet)

we plan mainly to wildcamp so we have to be self sustain (solar and so)

my wife have slovakian passport (european union)+ israeli passport ' i have only israeli passport

we both intend "to do" c class driver license (up to 12 ton+ 3.5 ton trailer)

so far i found mobile.de to be nice place to look for ads .however,

we have few question:

 

1. can we buy vehicle in foreign country ( i guess to "write it under my wife be easier)

2. if we are abroad when the vehicle have to pass its annual test- can we make it in other country ? (lets say german car licensed under slovakian citizen in spain....)

3. the same for insurance, although as far as i know here in israel you can do it online...

 

4. from my research im not quite sure what will be better for us, on the one hand caravan will be cheaper to buy and bigger in living space, but , correct me if i wrong, cant carry enough load as motorhame (water, cloths, packed refrigirator

on the other hand motorhaome can load more but is more expensive to buy and maintain

5.we are both surfers so i guess our main countries be spain/ portugal+ france do you have any reccomandations for online second hand sites in this countries

6. does a 1800 euros for month while mainly wildcamp and traveilng slow is realistic budget?

7. any more information/reccomandation for us will be highly appreciated

 

thank you very much in advance

 

 

:-D

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Hello Eyal, and welcome.

 

Q1 I'm not aware that there is a restriction that would prevent you buying a vehicle anywhere in the EU. However, it is possible that there are restrictions I'm unaware of. Nevertheless, New Zealanders and Australians manage to do this in UK quite frequently, so I assume it won't be a problem.

 

Q2 In short, no. The vehicle will have to be registered to an address in an EU state, and will then gain a "nationality". Once registered, it must be tested in the country in which it is registered. Test stations in other countries may be willing to carry out the test as applicable to vehicles registered in their country, but the test will be legally invalid. This might lead to problems with the authorities, and with your insurer, for example were you involved in an accident. The regulations on what has to be tested, and the frequency of the tests, varies from country to country within the EU, although to the best of my knowledge all EU countries will have a test regime.

 

Q3 I think insurance will be your largest problem. The general rule in the EU is that the vehicle must be insured in the country in which it is registered, and that, as for registration, the person insuring must have an address in that country. It may be possible for your wife to use an address in Slovakia, for example if she has relatives there. However, that would mean registering the vehicle in Slovakia, and having it tested in Slovakia. It might, therefore, be easiest to also buy and insure in Slovakia. Doubtless your Slovak wife's relatives or contacts could advise.

 

Be aware that where the vehicle is insured will have some bearing on where you can take it. The different states have their own insurance arrangements, and it is not possible to visit all European countries (i.e. countries that are geographically in Europe, but are not in the EU). This applies, for example, to the Balkan states. Insurance sold in some countries will provide full cover for all Balkan countries except (generally) Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), whereas insurances sold in other countries will restrict the time that can be spent in certain Balkan countries, or restrict the cover they provide in those countries, or not cover them at all. Something else to check, I'm afraid. :-)

 

Don't assume that you can buy in one country, and take the vehicle to another to register it. The rules on this vary considerably, and some countries impose specific taxes on such vehicles, while others merely have complex administrative procedures! EU nationals can generally do this, but they have to pay VAT in the country in which the vehicle is registered (which will be their home country) and claim back the VAT paid in the country in which the vehicle was bought. This may sound simple, but each state has its own rules. I suspect (but I don't know) that this may be more difficult for a non-EU national to do.

 

If the vehicle is registered and insured in Slovakia, there may be some difficulty over who will be insured to drive, depending on where you both hold your driving licences. One, or both of you may need to obtain an International Driving Licence. I would suggest you check whether (for example) Slovak insurers will accept a Slovakian address against an Israeli issued driving licence. If your wife has a valid Slovak licence she should be OK, but you may not.

 

As a general rule, vehicles with a maximum permitted weight of 3.5 tonnes or less can be driven on a car licence in (AFAIK) all EU states. Once over 3.5 tonnes however, the rules governing what you can drive vary from state to state. A driving licence issued by an EU state will permit the holder to drive the categories of vehicles for which his licence is valid in all other EU states. I don't know whether this would apply to an Israeli issued licence. I note you are thinking of going for (presumably Israeli) licences for up to 12 tonnes with up to 3.5 tonne trailer. I would also suggest you check the acceptability of this licence for driving outside Israel.

 

If the vehicle is correctly registered, has a legally valid test certificate, and is properly insured, it will be legal in all EU states irrespective of the EU country in which it is registered. The same will apply to a car as to a motorhome. Be aware that trailer caravans have to be individually registered in some EU states, while in others (for example UK) they use the same registration number as the towing vehicle. This won't affect your ability to tow the caravan from one EU state to another, just its initial registration.

 

Some countries (e.g. UK and France) allocate a registration number to the vehicle, which it (broadly) then retains for life. Other countries (e.g. Germany) allocate the number to the driver, who will transfer the number from one vehicle to the next. Thus, vehicles are sold in Germany (possibly other countries) with no registration plate. As a non-German you can obtain export plates that will provide third party only insurance valid in all EU states for a limited period. This is not the standard situation, and you must make clear to the seller (I'm assuming a dealer) that you need this. Reportedly some dealers can obtain full comprehensive insurance in lieu of third party only, but it seems the majority cannot.

 

Finally, I have heard of an arrangement made with a German dealer by a frequent visitor to Europe to register, tax, and insure, the vehicle on his behalf, and to keep it on his premises and service and maintain it for him when not being used. The vehicle was thus registered to the dealer, and a contract made to legally confer ownership to the buyer. Then, when the owner no longer wished to use the vehicle, or wished to change it for a different one, the dealer would pay the owner its market value less reasonable profit. It sounded a bit like a leasing arrangement, and that may be how it was actually arranged. Obviously, to do the former you'd need to be very confident of the dealer. To enter into a leasing arrangement, however - if you can understand the documentation involved - would seem less risky, and may possibly offer a way around any complications regarding addresses for registration and insurance.

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wow, thank you very much for your comprehensive answer.

 

1. israel authorities reform the driving licensed to match EU category (old B is up to 4 ton, new B is up to 3.5, etc)

 

2.i didnt thought about the address issue... we dont have any living relatives in slovakia....however we have family in london but as i see Motorhome prices are much higher in UK rather than germany, so i think its not worth it.

 

3. leasing might be a very good option which solve all of our problems, however we dont intend (budget restriction) to buy new Motorhome but a 5 years+- old one...(we have about 30k euros+- for motorhome purchasing+ beaurocracy)

 

do you know if a leasing option is possible to second hand vehicle??

 

thank you again

 

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eyal - 2015-10-26 8:00 AM

 

2.i didnt thought about the address issue... we dont have any living relatives in slovakia....however we have family in london but as i see Motorhome prices are much higher in UK rather than germany, so i think its not worth it.

That actually makes it quite easy you could buy in Germany or Belgium and import & register it in the UK. Like many in the UK we do this as it saves a lot of money.

If you search this forum and others (Motorhome Fun) there are lots of threads about importing.

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I met a new Zealand couple last time I was in Venice and they had researched this in some depth and bought a MH in the Czech Republik. This allowed them to tour the whole of the EU (and perhaps Balkan states too) without restriction, using insurance obtained in Czech Republic. Things were cheaper in the Czech Republik too and there was less bureaucracy. They toured for several months and then took the MH back to Czech Repuiblic for storage while they went back to NZ.

 

If you want to stay for 2-3 years continuously you will have to take the MH back to the country of registration annually for its roadworthiness test because there is no cross-border recognition of tests. Having said that the chances of being stopped by police wanting to see your annual roadworthiness test certificate is probably very small so maybe you just get it tested locally and plead ignorance. Probably best to avoid France and UK as base countries, both are bureaucratic and France can also be mindfully obstructive. Some countries have registration for trailer caravans but others don't; that might be a significant factor.

 

Good luck.

 

You will perhaps get best advice on forums in countries from which people have done this - so New Zealand and Australia for example.

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Unless you speak their language dealing with authorities or in business is always difficult. However most continental dealers catering for UK customers will hopefully speak English.

 

 

While Continental prices on new vehicles may be significantly lower as prices drop with age any savings compared with the UK become smaller.

 

The advantage of being able to use your UK relatives as a working base for insurance and Road Tax is considerable but the down side is the cost and trouble of travel back the UK once a year for testing.

 

Above 3.5 tons GVW restrictions begin to apply to speed and access to roads in both built up and rural areas but you may find more space is needed that is only found in larger vehicles. Remember all vehicles and houses are a compromise and putting one on top of the other makes it worse.

 

Caravans cannot use the cheap or free aires in France and at least in the UK many surfing beaches have tight access access road that are impractical for a caravan.

 

 

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"we both intend "to do" c class driver license (up to 12 ton+ 3.5 ton trailer) " indicates that you may be looking at a large European "A" Class or American RV style motorhome. So previous posters comment regarding access to surfing beaches with a caravan would equally apply to the above motorhomes, especially in the UK.
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flicka - 2015-10-26 4:38 PM

 

"we both intend "to do" c class driver license (up to 12 ton+ 3.5 ton trailer) " indicates that you may be looking at a large European "A" Class or American RV style motorhome. So previous posters comment regarding access to surfing beaches with a caravan would equally apply to the above motorhomes, especially in the UK.

 

 

i dont know exactly which model or size its be, but from searchs and reviews i like ALCOVES shape about 7.2-7.4 meter long..

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eyal - 2015-10-27 6:18 AM..........................i dont know exactly which model or size its be, but from searchs and reviews i like ALCOVES shape about 7.2-7.4 meter long..

Then I would suggest it will need a maximum weight of over 3.5 tonnes. You will find vans at this size plated at 3.5 tonnes, but the payloads will be so restricted I don't think they would work for you as a permanent home for the period you are intending. I think, at that size, to get a sensible payload plus a reasonably robust and reliable vehicle you'd need to look at vans based on the Iveco Daily, or Mercedes Sprinter. Since your budget is a bit limited, and since you'll inevitably need some reserve for the unexpected, I think I'd favour the Iveco base, as the Mercedes carries a premium that will mean you get less van, or an older van, for your money. There is great division of opinion over whether the extra cost brings a commensurate gain in quality and reliability. I don't know, but these are all commercial vehicles, and commercial vehicles that are continually unreliable quickly get bad reputations, so don't sell well, so don't survive for long.

I have in mind something like the Hobby Sphinx, but all those I can find are in the region of €50K, so outside your budget. Oddly, the newest (2009) is also the cheapest with the lowest mileage. See here: http://tinyurl.com/portmph Just to give an idea. The advantage is that it is RWD rather than the FWD Fiat based vans, so I think less liable to encounter traction problems at that size and weight. Concorde seem to have built on the Iveco base for a number of years, and there are examples well within your budget but quite a bit older. However, I don't know about the reliability of the older Ivecos, or the build quality of the older Concordes.

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Brian Kirby - 2015-10-27 5:39 PM

 

eyal - 2015-10-27 6:18 AM..........................i dont know exactly which model or size its be, but from searchs and reviews i like ALCOVES shape about 7.2-7.4 meter long..

Then I would suggest it will need a maximum weight of over 3.5 tonnes. You will find vans at this size plated at 3.5 tonnes, but the payloads will be so restricted I don't think they would work for you as a permanent home for the period you are intending. I think, at that size, to get a sensible payload plus a reasonably robust and reliable vehicle you'd need to look at vans based on the Iveco Daily, or Mercedes Sprinter. Since your budget is a bit limited, and since you'll inevitably need some reserve for the unexpected, I think I'd favour the Iveco base, as the Mercedes carries a premium that will mean you get less van, or an older van, for your money. There is great division of opinion over whether the extra cost brings a commensurate gain in quality and reliability. I don't know, but these are all commercial vehicles, and commercial vehicles that are continually unreliable quickly get bad reputations, so don't sell well, so don't survive for long.

I have in mind something like the Hobby Sphinx, but all those I can find are in the region of €50K, so outside your budget. Oddly, the newest (2009) is also the cheapest with the lowest mileage. See here: http://tinyurl.com/portmph Just to give an idea. The advantage is that it is RWD rather than the FWD Fiat based vans, so I think less liable to encounter traction problems at that size and weight. Concorde seem to have built on the Iveco base for a number of years, and there are examples well within your budget but quite a bit older. However, I don't know about the reliability of the older Ivecos, or the build quality of the older Concordes.

 

 

thank you brian,

does higher weight doesnt mean higher class? ?

for instance, double axis vehicle or double wheel on one axis or weight above 4 tons classified as a truck and as such the annual fee + insurance is much higher than private car

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Almost all vehicles legislation in the EU catagorizes them solely by their a maximum designed weight.

 

One factor to bear in mind if caravanning is that many sites in France ban twin axle towed units on the official grounds the pitches are too small. However by some coincidence this is the main type seen on the sites operated by larger municipalities for the itinerant travelling community.

 

The commercial vehicles most motorcaravans are based on a can be expected to cover 300.000 before worn out so do not worry too much about how far they have travelled it is the general condition that is important. Standing idle for long periods is bad so beware of five year olds that have covered very low milege.

 

Tax rises with weight but the laws are a mess and vary from country to country.

 

Motorcaravan insurance is based on claims experience and is by car standards very cheap and mainly based on vehicle value with a loading if full timing. At one time in the UK the address the vehicle is based at could have a major impact but some companies now ignore that on the basis most mileage is away from home. its a very complex area and varies from EU state to state but normally insurance cover is in effect international.

 

Even in the UK you should be able to find something to suit your needs and budget. Low emission zones are beginning to be enforced in many major cities restricting access to older diesel engined vehicles.London is probably the worst. If you stray inside the M25 orbital motorway its a fine of £100 a day.

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