Guide for short-term license plates

Ratgeber für Kurzzeitkennzeichen [2023]
  • To transfer or test drive a vehicle
  • Trips in Germany or Europe
  • Valid for a maximum of 5 days
  • Requirement:
    • Valid HU (main examination)
    • EVB (electronic insurance confirmation / liability insurance)

Navigate traffic correctly with the short-term license plate

Anyone who drives without a license plate or with a deregistered vehicle must expect penalties. It is often wrongly assumed that these are just standard vehicles, such as cars and trucks, which cannot be driven without a license plate. You also need a short-term license plate for deregistered trailers, tractors, motorcycles, mobile homes, and sometimes even small vehicles - such as electric scooters. This license plate can be used for up to 5 days and should then be replaced by a regular license plate. Multiple registrations of short-term license plates in a row for one and the same vehicle are not permitted.

What are short-term license plates used for?

  • Short-term license plates are national license plates for use within Germany.
  • You mainly use a short-term license plate to transfer an unregistered vehicle or for a test drive within Germany.
  • You can only use a short-term license plate for one vehicle.
  • The law does not allow for the use of a single short-term license plate on different vehicles.

Common misconception: Red license plates are not allowed

Contrary to common practice, it is not permitted to use red license plates (i.e. dealer license plates) as an alternative to short-term license plates. The dealer risks his approval for the license plate.

How to apply for a short-term license plate

You can obtain the short-term license plate from the registration office in your city or from the motor vehicle authority at the location of the vehicle that is to receive the short-term license plate .

If you apply for the short-term license plate , the registration authority will need the following documents from you:

  • completed application form for short-term license plates (available from vehicle authorities),
  • Proof of identity (ID card/passport),
  • valid eVB (liability) for short-term license plates,
  • Vehicle license or vehicle registration document ,
  • valid HU (main inspection / TÜV)

Where do you get the eVB number? How is the vehicle insured?

You can buy the electronic insurance confirmation (eVB) for your short-term license plate directly online from us. The eVB number serves primarily as proof that you have taken out liability insurance for the vehicle for which you need the short-term license plate . This has the highest priority when registering a vehicle.

It is important to note that this is only liability insurance via the eVB number. This means that in the event of damage, the insurance only covers the costs incurred by the other party in the accident, but not your own costs. During a test drive or transfer, you do not have any protection for your own vehicle with the short-term license plate . Do you always drive carefully? In this case, special care is required to ensure that no damage occurs in the first place and that you do not incur your own damage costs.

Difference between short-term license plate and red license plate

In the past, the 'red license plate' was often spoken of, but today we simply speak of the short-term license plate . But what makes the difference?

The common denominator of the red license plate and the short-term license plate is their suitability for vehicle transfer and test drives. The red license plate is made available to dealers and vintage car drivers; the short-term license plate is reserved exclusively for private individuals.

Difference between short-term license plate and daily registration

Daily approval is a procedure that is used exclusively by dealers. The dealer registers the vehicle for one day with the aim of subsequently selling this vehicle to its customers at a higher discount. As a customer, you benefit from daily approval from the dealer. This method is usually used for unused, new stock vehicles that remain in the dealer's temporary storage for some time. Private individuals cannot make use of the daily permit themselves. The short-term license plate is only intended for them to move a deregistered or not yet registered vehicle on the road.

6 questions about the short-term license plate

Doesn’t the car dealer do the registration?

That depends on the circumstances. If you order your vehicle online, the dealer may not deliver the vehicle to your door. You collect your vehicle yourself as it is only registered at your place of residence. You need the short-term license plate to transfer to your place of residence . Another situation would be the local car dealer who charges high fees to register your vehicle. If you do the registration yourself, you will first need a short-term license plate . Have you deregistered a vehicle for a long period of time for a plausible reason? Now it should be registered again, possibly only for short-term use of a maximum of 5 days. This is also a case for the short-term license plate .

How do you recognize a short-term license plate?

Two characteristic features identify your new license plate as a short-term license plate . Firstly, there is a yellow bar on the right side of the license plate. This bar contains the expiration date with the day, month and year written one below the other in black letters.

What does the general inspection (TÜV) look like for the short-term license plate?

Since 2015, proof of a valid general inspection for the vehicle has to be provided in order to register a short-term license plate . If this proof cannot be provided before registration, the vehicle will only be registered with restrictions by the registration authority . This restriction is recorded in the vehicle registration document. However, if the vehicle is considered completely unfit for traffic , it may no longer be moved. If the registration authority allows driving with restrictions, driving is only possible in the registration district or to the nearest district to the testing center in order to catch up on the HU and have deficiencies corrected. In addition, since 2015 there has been an obligation to report the actual vehicle that will be equipped with the short-term license plate to the registration authority in advance. To do this, describe the vehicle as specifically as in the registration papers . This is inconvenient for you as a consumer. However, this is intended to prevent misuse.

Are other people allowed to drive the vehicle with the short-term license plate?

The registration of the vehicle with the short-term license plate is strictly personal , as the eVB number. is personal. After the authority has granted approval for a maximum of 5 days and two short-term license plates (front and rear) are attached to the vehicle, other drivers are also authorized to drive the vehicle. The prerequisite is of course the express approval of the vehicle owner. Undoubtedly, the driver should have a regular driving license. Experience shows that a power of attorney to drive the vehicle with a short-term license plate from the vehicle owner to the other driver is advantageous. If there is a traffic stop, the owner and driver are on the safe side.

Is it possible to transport a vehicle abroad with the German short-term license plate?

Within the EU, there has been an obligation to recognize the 5-day license plate from Germany in other EU countries since 2007 . This makes it possible to transport a vehicle from Germany to other European countries (EU member states). Some non-EU countries now also approve the short-term license plate . This acceptance currently applies to the following 5 states:

  • Macedonia
  • Switzerland
  • Bosnia
  • Iran
  • Belarus

Since regulations of this kind can change daily, it is advisable to contact the authorities before traveling abroad with the short-term license plate.

No remote approval:

Remote registration with the short-term license plate is not permitted under any circumstances. This popular trick was once used happily and unnoticed. To do this, you would apply for a short-term license plate in Germany and travel abroad for the sole purpose of transporting a vehicle to Germany inexpensively. While this sometimes worked in the past, this approach can now result in high penalties. In addition to fines, your vehicle may be impounded. That will be really expensive, more expensive than a regular transfer from abroad to Germany. For this purpose you need an export license plate or transfer license plate.

What are the costs for the short-term license plate?

The costs for the short-term license plate are subject to constant change. However, there are guidelines with a high range that well-known insurance companies publish. The cost of a short-term license plate depends on how you use it. 2 cases for calculating costs are considered. If you no longer register the vehicle after the short-term license plate has expired or decide to use another insurer, the costs will be correspondingly high. If you register your vehicle fully with the correct license plate no later than 6 weeks after the short-term license plate expires, the costs will remain lower.

Short-term license plate: Calculate costs using 3 factors

  • Insurance costs
      • Between EUR 30.00 and EUR 130.00
    1. administrative expenses
        • Different depending on the federal state
        • Around 10.00 EUR to 15.00 EUR
      1. Cost of the signs
          • Different depending on the minting location
          • 15.00 EUR to approx. 20.00 EUR per license plate

          Other factors play a significant role in the costs for the short-term license plate. The location of the licensing authority to which you are bound is just one of them. The costs can vary from state to state . Another crucial factor is the range between minimum and maximum costs.

          Roughly speaking, insurance costs can be estimated at between EUR 30.00 and EUR 130.00 if you choose another insurer or deregister the vehicle after the expiry date on the license plate. If you do not register the vehicle again, you may incur costs of between EUR 50.00 and EUR 170.00.

          The administration costs are relatively low. Here you can budget EUR 10.00 to EUR 15.00.

          The costs for sign embossing range from EUR 15.00 to approx. EUR 20.00, depending on the sign location.

          While administration costs and plate costs are always the same due to the circumstances, you save high insurance costs if you fully register your vehicle no later than 6 weeks after the expiry date on the short-term license plate .

          Then you will not incur any additional insurance costs. These are then 0 because they have already been covered by the costs for the short-term license plate .

          The 5 simple steps to the short-term license plate in summary

          Have you gathered all the documents and set the time for registering a short-term license plate ? Then follow these 5 summarized steps:

          1. Get an eVB number from your insurance company ;
          2. go to the responsible registration office at your place of residence or at the location of the vehicle;
          3. fill out the application form there ;
          4. Have your license plate embossed by the sign service after approval by the registration authority ;
          5. make sure that the approval stamp is printed by your approval office ;
          6. then attach the license plate to the vehicle yourself .

          More tips:

          Tip 1: Short-term license plates online

          At many registration offices it is now possible to apply for the short-term license plate online .

          Above all, this saves time. If you don't have time yourself, you don't need to give someone power of attorney to take on the sometimes time-consuming task of applying for a short-term license plate from the registration authority for you.

          You only have to go to the sign service, usually in the immediate vicinity of the registration office, yourself or someone authorized by you, after the registration office clerk has issued you with the relevant document with the number of the short-term license plate . You then take the embossed sign to the registration office to have it stamped.

          Tip 2: Do not confuse short-term license plates with seasonal license plates

          Because of the large number of possible license plates, it is sometimes difficult for consumers to keep an overview. This can quickly lead to mix-ups , which are both time-consuming and costly. This error occurs more and more between the short-term license plate and the seasonal license plate . While the 5-day rule applies to short-term license plates , seasonal license plates are used for registration lasting several months . This can be the case with convertible vehicles or motorcycles, which are primarily used in the summer season. With this form of registration, the vehicle owner has the freedom to choose whether to register for several months all year round .

          Tip 3: Short-term license plate and then insure it

          Have your vehicle with the short-term license plate continue to be registered by your current insurance company. This leads to discounts and you can also get the money back for short-term license plate insurance.