Importing Cars

This guide originally appeared on our forum page on 14th February 2012. The original can be accessed here.

Part 1

We have almost completed the procedure for importing our Nissan Xtrail into Corfu and have produced this two part guide to assist or entertain fellow Forum members and those contemplating bringing their cars with them to Corfu.  Due to the fluctuating nature of processes in Greece we cannot guarantee that your experiences will be the same as ours, but we hope it will provide a useful insight into what is required.  Our thanks go to previous Forum contributors who’s informative words assisted us in the process, particularly Jan.

In Part One we will cover the process leading up to your arrival in Corfu with your vehicle.  The visit to the Greek Embassy in London and preparing documentation.

1.  Consider the use of your car in Greece and the value of taking it with you.  We wanted to keep our car as although 7 years old it was low mileage with full service and in tip top condition.  Larger cars can be expensive on Corfu.  Think about the driving costs on the island, road tax, fuel and insurance.  So you have decided that you will be keeping your car.  You must have owned it for over 6 months and should be in possession of the V5 log book and if you have the receipt for the purchase of the car keep it with the documentation you may need it later.

2.  Contact the Greek Embassy via their website and book an appointment for the Certificate for domicile transfer exemptions.  You can only book an appointment via email.  There can be a LONG waiting list for appointments so please book this as soon as possible.  Please note that the certificate that you will obtain is valid for 12 months.

3.  Contact the main dealership for your car in order to obtain an EU certificate of conformity for the car.  We did ours through the Nissan main UK office at a cost of £125.00 (but this price varies).  In order to receive this be prepared to provide photo evidence of the car registration, the Vin or chassis plate number and the engine number.  We also provided a photocopy of the V5.  We received the certificate by post within 10 working days.  This document is essential – DO NOT ATTEMPT TO IMPORT WITHOUT THIS.  It was so useful for us at various stages of the process.

4.  To prepare for our visit to the embassy we took the following documents, each one photocopied three times

V5 – Car registration document
Receipt of purchase
Certificate of conformity
Valid UK driving licence (photo) – (also took copies of Shelley’s licence)
Valid UK passports (photocopies of all those leaving the country with you)
Council tax bills for the last 3 years
water bills for the last 3 years
Electricity/Gas bills for the last 3 years (we had a selection of these but were not looked at)
Greek Tax numbers (these were taken but are not required)
P45’s and P60 last 3 years
Any paperwork relating to your place of residence in Corfu (deeds of purchase, pre-notary contracts, rental agreements etc) Also know the address and post code of the address
Large A4 size SAE (although they prepared the certificate while we waited, if they are busy they may send you away.  It helps if you have all the paperwork and plenty of photocopies)
£15.00 cash to pay for the Certificate of permanent moving to Greece (currently £12.60 or 15 Euros)

5.  At the embassy

With the Embassy in front of you walk up the right hand side of the building and buzz for entry.  You then follow the path around to the rear where you will see an open reception with a desk to the right.  Tell them of your appointment time and confirm with them why you are here.  It is best to arrive 45 mins before your appointment as they will give you a selection of forms to complete while you wait and may mean you get seen without delay.  Be sure to have access to a pen and the car details, engine number etc.

You will be invited into a room where the paperwork will be processed.  We took everything but the kitchen sink but its better to have too much documentation than not enough.  At one point they will ask you to return to the waiting area to pay for the stamp for the certificate.  You then return directly to the room for the process to be completed.  The document is very thick by the time each photocopy is attached and they will stamp across the stapled join on every page.

About 90 mins later you should emerge with your certificate.  You will later have to hand this over to Greek customs in Corfu so although we didn’t you may wish to photocopy it.  KEEP IT SAFE

Buy yourself a nice lunch as you have now successfully completed part one of the process……

Part 2 will cover the process of importing the car and getting Greek number plates utilising the help of an import agent in Corfu.  We would not advise going it alone.

 

Part 2

This guide originally appeared on our forum page on 14th February 2012. The original can be accessed here.

In part two of this guide we will share our experiences of importing our Nissan Xtrail into Corfu in January 2012, from our arrival to the allocation of Greek plates.  On sound advice we engaged the services of an import agent located opposite the Customs building at the port.  The cost of customs importing and his services was € 350.00.  Please PM should you require his details.  We found him both pleasant to deal with and very efficient, although at times we felt like we were importing a tonne of cocaine as opposed to a car…

IMPORTANT NOTICE –

It is stated that an applicant to import a car without paying tax must be in possession of a residency permit.  We ensured that we had one before collecting the paperwork from the agent but it was not checked at this stage.  We still recommend having one as it was required at the traffic office (see stage three)

Stage One – Customs

1.  Assuming you will be using the services of the import agent you will require the following paperwork.

V5 logbook (original)
Certificate of permanently moving to Greece (the result of part one of this guide)
Certificate of conformity (we provided a photocopy – to keep original safe)
Proof of entry to Greece for the vehicle (we used the Ferry ticket from Venice to Igoumanitsa that had the car registration on it)
Details of place of residence on Corfu (contracts or house deeds etc)

2.  At the agents he will require the above paperwork to send to Athens.  He will ask you to sign a document to state the value of the car – a bit confusing this but I think there is a threshold under which there is no tax to pay?  Not saying this is lawful but I think it was the case.  Our car was valued at € 10,000.00 and we paid no tax at all.

3.  Before 12 o’clock noon You will be asked to attend the customs offices, part of the port (the arched buildings on the road from the port into town).  You will sit on a manky old vinyl chair whilst he finds and speaks to any number of officials.  Occasionally they will stop talking and look at you, just smile and stay seated.  This will go on for a while and then the agent will ask you to drive your car into the port to the rear of the customs building.  He will then appear with an official and may look at the vin/chassis plate number and engine or in our case may not!

4.  You will then return with the agent to his office where he will take a mobile number from you and say that the paperwork will be sent to Athens and will be back in 4 days.  Yes 4 days.

5.  4 days later…..He rang and we went and collected the paperwork, our receipts, the vehicle documents and the official authorisation for importing the car at ZERO tax.  We paid the agent € 350.00 and were directed to the KTEO testing station near Aqualand.  Smiling in disbelief we left for Aqualand.

Stage two – The test centre

As you drive past Aqualand (with Aqualand on your left) you will see an official gated building, do not try to drive into it as it is some kind of military establishment (that’s the brakes tested).  Instead follow the road that runs along the side of the water park, you will see a school on the right and then a single story building with no signs – that’s the KTEO Test centre.

1.  Take all the documentation (from the agent) to the main desk along with € 40.00.  A nice man will take your €40.00 and issue you with a voucher.  You hand this to a clerk at the main desk and stand and wait.  You will then be instructed to drive your car around to the testing bays.

2.  At the testing bay you will drive onto the rollers and wait,  if the man says “now it is the alpine road” you have got Spiros.  The car will go through a few checks on the rolling road for brakes etc and he will issue you with a blue KTEO technical inspection Certificate and a self adhesive disc that will eventually be stuck to the number plates.  Please put this somewhere safe unless you want to play hunt the disc each time you go to the traffic office…your next port of call.

Stage three – the Traffic Office

Drive back from Aqualand to the main road into Corfu town from the North.  On the right just before the traffic lights and the turning to the Port their is a FIAT car dealership.  On a slip road between the FIAT showroom and Star Bowling there is a building on the left about 300 yards down the slip road behind a small open car park, The Traffic Office.

Before you enter ensure you have the following documentation, have completed the following steps and they are open.  The traffic office is open from 0900 – 1330 Monday to Thursday.  We recommend visiting any official office as close to 0900 as possible and certainly before 1100.

Documentation
V5 log book (original) – make sure you keep a photocopy for your records as the original will be kept at the traffic office.
All the documentation from the import agent
Photocopy of the blue KTEO test certificate and the original (the original will be returned to you)
Passport and photocopy
Residency permit and photocopy
Certificate of conformity (original) – make sure you keep a photocopy for your records as the original will be kept at the traffic office.
In addition you will need to provide a file to put above documentation in, suitable for a two-hole punch.

Not knowing the above we visited a stationers across the road from the traffic office to get the photocopying done, they also sell the files needed.  It is to the right of the petrol station when you look across the road.

Before you return to the traffic office you must go to EUROBANK.  the nearest branch to the traffic office is on the main road towrads the airport about 100 metres before KOTSOVOLOS (the electrical store).

In Eurobank you will need to pay the cashier 75.00 Euro and tell them it is for the registration of your car.  The Cashier will ask you for car details, your passport, a mobile number and your fathers first names.  they will then issue a yellow receipt that you must put with your paperwork ready for the traffic office.

Well done you are now ready to go to the traffic office.

As you enter walk to the desks in the right hand corner of the open plan area.  They will find you an English speaking clerk to help with the registration process.  They will take the file and check all paperwork returning the originals except the V5 and certificate of compliance.  You will sign a number of forms and tell you to return in two days to collect the plates…

Two days later we returned and yes the plates were ready!!!!  They issued a stamped printout of the new registration for the car, Corfu has run out of the Blue official log books and are only issuing to cars that will be travelling outside of Greece.  If we wish to drive out of Greece we must return to the traffic office to exchange the printout for the blue logbook.

I was given a set of red plates starting with PAO and we played hunt the disc for the last time, sticking it on the plate before it went missing again.

All we need to do now is visit the tax office in Corfu town to pay for the road tax.  This is another story yet to be experienced…

Although a long winded process, we found all those we dealt with to be helpful and each stage happened when they said it would.  If you have all the paperwork, in order then no problem.

I hope we have covered everything here.  The total cost for importing the car was as follows

Train to London £80.00 return
Certificate of permanently moving to Greece £12.60
Certificate of conformity (Car) £125.00
Customs agent €350.00
KTEO Test Certificate €40.00
Traffic Office plates & Registration €75.00
Residency Permit €0.50

At the end of the day a lot cheaper than paying import tax or purchasing an equivalent car here in Corfu – and what fun!!!!

Good Luck!