Buying a car in Latvia


To be able to move in Latvia, a lot of expatriates think of buying a car, whether new or second-hand.

What are the formalities to buy a vehicle in Latvia: car registration, insurance, etc.?

What are the relevant authorities or organizations to contact?

How long does it take and what are the associated costs?

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience,


When I bought my car, I bought it used off of  After negotiation, all we did was go into the Dep. of Motor Vehicles together.

1. they checked to see if there were any tickets open on the car (he had a couple of parking tickets that he had to pay first)
2. I paid the change of owner fee (<50 Euros)
3. I paid a fee for new license plates (previous owner had custom plates and wanted to keep them
4. I paid the mandatory OCTA insurance for 3 monthts (< 30 Euros)  The insurance I bought from an ATM style machine in the lobby, but you can pay in cash at one of the kiosks in the parking lot.  I bought the insurance after getting my lciense plates, and did not have to show it to anyone before driving away.  You can also get the more expensive KASKO insurance on top of the OCTA, in order to get more converage for repair expenses etc.

I drove off out of the parking lot, about 30 minutes after arriving.

Some note:
- they registered the car under my persons kods, which I got from my residence permit.  Maybe you need some residence status here to buy a car?
- they checked my drivers license to make sure that I was allowed to drive
- they registerd me as both the owner of the car, AND the primary driver of the car;  this is two different things here.

I am trying to remember if there was anything else, but I don't think that there was.

Here is the government approved OCTA site:

When buying a car in Latvia you must be very careful.
It is an normal practice here to turn back the speedometer. So the number you see is usually not the real mileage.
There are many used cars that are patched together of parts of lots of other cars and usually cheap parts..
Do not buy a car on Maskavas iela at any of the used car lots out there. Most of those guys are crooks. Even the inspection stickers are not real.
I bought a car out there, before I knew not to, and paid euro 4500 for the car and euro 7000 to repair it. They had put heavy oil in the transmission to make it seem ok and then it burned out. I had to replace the transmission as well as most of the engine.
Many of the used cars that come here are junk that the Germans no longer want. Sometimes they are 'fixed up' in Lithuania before ending up here.
If you can, I would suggest finding a few cars you are interested in on and then flying to Germany to buy it. Then drive it home and register it here.

Yes i see what you mean many second hand cars are clocked backwards on mileage.This is now against even lawless Latvian laws.As from now any clocked miles can be reported to the police and at least we are moving forward with laws to assist the innocent in car buying.We still are one hell of a long way off perfection. To buy a car new is a big risk also maybe car hire from Germany on month by month deal may be practical and no risk at all. Depends what you need a car for? I need one just for the shopping as I live rural and you try carting a months food supplies back on a bus. The nearest bus is two miles across fields away. i do not cry out with out cause but my English car sits in the shed whilst I have to walk. i did go and look at some second hand cars around 2000 euro.Not happy with any I saw and my mechanic only laughed and called them junk. New is the only way and maybe I will when summer comes back.

Anyone can suggest me "Where I should go to buy a used car in Germany and the process to bring it in Latvia?