Importing my car to Greece

customs control

One of EU’s corner stones is the idea of free circulation of labour. Citizens within the EU are free to live and work in any of the EU countries, bringing their belongings without having to pay customs duties or any tax whatsoever. Because the European Union is a community without borders, moving from London to Athens should be no more difficult than moving from London to Birmingham. And when you go from London to Birmingham you just bring your stuff and your car with you without any problems at all.

Moving from Italy to Greece should be just as easy. I packed my belongings in the removal truck, stuffed my suitcases in my car, and just went. I asked for and obtained a Residence Permit and now I want to abide by the laws and change the registration of my car from Italy to Greece. To help any of you people out there having the same insane idea I shall list the documents I am asked to present in order to obtain a certificate of change of residence, essential requirement to be able to apply for Greek license plates:

  • Passport (original)
  • Vehicle Registration disc (original)
  • Certificate of ownership to the car (original)
  • Drivers License (authenticated copy)
  • Residence Permit Greece (authenticated copy)
  • Residence Permit Italy (authenticated copy)
  • Historical Certificate of Residence in Italy (stating from/till) (original)
  • Certificate of Family Situation (original)
  • Certificate of Cancellation from Register of Residence in Italy (original)
  • Copy of my Italian lease contract
  • Copies of my tax return for 2003, 2004, and copies of my monthly wage packets Jan-July 2005
  • Signed declaration to confirm that I have never asked for residence in Greece before
  • Letter addressed to the Greek Consulate in Milan asking them to issue a Certificate of Change of Residence.
  • 25 Euro in cash.

These documents are to be presented to the Greek Consulate in the country I have left (Italy)- and where I could not have applied for such a certificate before my departure – and if I do not wish to return personally to Italy to present them, it will be my responsibility whatever happens to the documents if I send them by mail or courier. After this, it will be possible for me to have the certificate consigned to me by the Foreign Ministry in Athens, where I shall have to go personally to pick it up.

With this Certificate I can now apply for my car to be registered in Greece. To this application, besides most of the above documents, I shall have to add the Certificate of Conformity, which by the way is kept by the Italian Vehicle Registration office and cannot be released untill the Italian license plates are returned to the same office.

If I find this procedure too complicated I am welcome to pay a 100% import tax on my vehicle as if I had imported any other car directly from another country without ever owning it. This, my fellow EU citizens, is the Greek concept of free circulation of labour.

Once you realize that it’s useless to fight them – the Greek authorities, I mean – then you get peace of mind by just adapting. As far as my car is concerned, I decided that I might as well forget about being Danish, even a European Citizen. I would just adapt to a system that carries the motto: Who cares about legislation? Because the cost I would have to pay by fighting them would be much more than just letting them steal my money for the registration of the car, and I don’t talk about cost in terms of money or expenses, but in health.
So, do they want to steal my money? WHO CARES, I’ll just have to work harder to be able to comply with all their requirements.

From the moment I decided to give in, everything went smoothly. A couple of weeks ago I went to the customs office in Heraklion and managed to get all the paperwork done by the customs agent who doesn’t speak one word of English. Sometimes he would call upon somebody else whom he would know capable of speaking the English language in order for them to explain to me what he wanted. And after a couple of hours, with a total check of my car to copy all the numbers on the engine, the chassis, the number plates, he got my phone number and told me that he would call whenever it was time to pay.

So, yesterday I got a phonecall – obviously in Greek – and I sort of “guessed” that it was Mr. Customs Agent telling me to come and pay. I told him “Oxi simera, avrio, endaxi?” and he said endaxi, then he passed the phone to somebody else to tell me how much I should pay. 1,150 Euro, all included.
And today I went to Heraklion to pay the customs duties on MY car as if I had just imported it from some other country. He kept me waiting for almost an hour to receive the money, but I had brought a book and I was in no hurry.

Then when I had paid he gave me one set of papers for the K.T.E.O. – where I should get my car checked – and one set for me to keep. And that was it. Well, except that they took away one of my Italian number plates, maybe as a souvenir.

Well, I thought that I might as well try my luck (16th of March has been my lucky day for a lifetime!) and went directly to the K.T.E.O. outside Heraklion, maybe I could get an appointment within not too long. What efficiency! I arrrived and presented the documents at 12.30 to an English-speaking lady and at 13.00 hrs I had the papers to prove that my car was OK and that the emissions test was fine too. Paid 44 for the revision and 10 for the emissions test.

When I asked about the number plates I was told that I would have to go and get those in Mires, at the Mechanologic Office (Michanologiko), or something like that. I’ll see to that one of these days, I guess I will have to make a market research first as for the most convenient insurance company.

See how easy it is when you don’t pretend justice to be done?

I wonder if I will get my money back WHEN Greece will loose the court proceedings against them at the European Court? I was supposed to pay something like 300 Euro to get Greek license plates according to European laws concerning the free movement of EU citizens within the member states. But if I ever get a refund, I shall probably be able to buy myself a cup of coffee with that, seeing how prices keep getting up and up.

Who cares? I’m in Crete. And there’s no tax on the sunshine. So far.

Article By Dinny. Read more by Dinny at her blog

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