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Colombia/Buying Car in Cartagena



How complex is the procedure to buy a car in colombia as a foreigner?

Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

ANSWER: It is very easy to buy a car in Colombia as a foreigner or local.

You ask for the documents of the car and see if all of the paperwork is correct and that the fees are paid up to date. Once you pay for the car the seller signs the ownership document over to you. You can then take the document to the transit office and register it to your name. To play safe both of you should go to the transit office and do the paperwork. That way you can check if there are any issues with the car, to make sure everything is alright, if there are any debts for registration fees and road fees (the fees for driving the car on the streets), etc. He may have shown you old documents and there might be some fees that have not been paid yet. If everything is fine you can then go ahead and pay the seller and register the car or have the person pay the fees to bring the car up to date. It is the seller who is suppose to sell the car in a situation where the fees are all paid up, but sometimes the seller tell the buyer that is giving the person a lower price and that the fees will be paid by the seller. Make sure that the fees are not more than what you are willing to pay. You could buy an antique car for 3 million pesos and the fees could be 5 million (since the fees were never paid).

If you buy from a dealer then they will normally handle quite a bit of the paperwork for you, but if it is a little place where most things are informal then you could be at risk that the paperwork is incomplete and that there are fees still unpaid.

Since you are a foreigner you probably want to move the car to another country. Then a new set of things need to be done. You will need to get permits, pay fees, etc. including in your home country (to import the car). You will need to contact a company that does the exporting, etc.

Best wishes,


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello Cesar,

Many thanks for your quick and sounds reply.

I'm a traveller who will be in Colombia for 3 weeks.  I do want to leave the car in Colombia and come back next year for some more travelling.

I'm looking to buy a old used car for about 3.000.000pesos.  But only being there 3 weeks, i want to arrange all upfront.  Do i have to register the car in person in colombia or could a friend of mine do it when i provide him all necessary documents...

Please keep me posted.

Kind regards,


3 million pesos is little money to buy a car in Colombia. Most likely you would need at least 4 million. That would buy you a very old Dodge Dart, but there are few of those left. Most very old cars sell for at least 6 to 7 million. You could negotiate a 4 million pesos car for 3 or 3.5 million or so. There is a website I know where you can look at prices of old and new cars and choose which one you want to buy:

You can have somebody else do the paperwork for you and do things upfront for you, but you need someone you can trust.

There are other websites where you can search for old cars to buy. You could also rent a car.

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