Buying a car

by Damon

I’m moving to Australia from Greece.

I am an Australian citizen by decent from my mother’s side. Things in Greece are not going good. I’m coming over with my wife and 2 children.

I would like to know how I can buy a second hand car over there having just my passport. What else do I need to get?

Thanking you in advance.


Thank you for your interesting question.

Your passport shows your identity and buying a second hand car based on it should be no problem. However you need more than just your passport to register the newly bought car and be able to drive it.

You can buy a second hand car from a dealer (the safer option), from a private seller (usually the cheaper option) or at an auction. No matter from whom or where you buy it, there are various checks that you should make to ensure the car is road worthy and free from any financial encumbrances. For example a previous owner might have bought the car on credit and not repaid the debt yet. This means the car is linked to that debt and the creditor can repossess it from the person owning the car. Ensure that you do not take over the debt when you buy the car. Do a REVS check to get confirmation that there is no debt on the vehicle and that it was not stolen.

Test drive the car and preferably ask an expert to do a pre-purchase inspection and give you a report. The inspection can highlight any faults or possible maintenance issues.
We offer more hints on used cars. There is an entire section dedicated to cars so browse it.

Once you bought the car you need to register it. You cannot drive without registration. For this you need to book a safety check with an authorised mechanic. You also need to buy a green slip, which is third party car insurance.

Once you have done all this, if you are in New South Wales, head to Roads and Maritime Services (RMS). Your passport will not be enough to provide proof of identity. You need a second document for example a utility bill (phone, energy, water), a Medicare card, a bank account statement. Check the RMS website for all the information.

If you are in another Australian state, find out which is the state's road authority and see what their requirements are.

RMS offers various tips about buying and registering cars.

In addition you will get all the details about when and how to apply for your Australian driving licence, as you cannot drive on an overseas licence past a certain period of time, if you intend to live in Australia.

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