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Bringing all your worldly goods with you!!

Hi everyone or should I say Bula,
Can any one give me information on, how and what belongings we can bring with us? Surprisingly we keep getting contradictive information, and we feel we need rock solid information before financially committing to anything.
1. Can we bring our personal vehicle duty free? (even if its more than 5 years old)
2. we want to import a bus, (yes a bus!!!) has been converted into motorhome. We want to live in it while we build.
3. What is the customs and port like when the shipping containers are received in Suva? (Is it professional or take pot luck)?
4.How old to drive motorbike on road and what size engine? ( we spent nearly a whole day trying to speak with Transport in Fiji on phone and after a dozen people, were told after 17yrs you can drive ANYTHING!!
5. Just one more question for now! Is it better to obtain visa/permit before arriving in Fiji? Or can we come on visitor visa and sort everything out on completion on land purchase?
All information is appreciated, please do not confuse me an more than I already am!!!
Have a great Day! :)

Lynne27, I don't have all your answers, but. . .

3) Port Customs is reasonably professional and organized.  If you believe you have duty concessions, have all that documentation before the goods arrive so you won't incur port storage charges while things are worked out.

4) Fiji allows visitors to use valid foreign driver licenses for either 4 or 6 months (I don't recall which) and recommend you do that and apply for the Fiji licenses when you're here.   Some use the foreign licenses longer because Land Transport Authority (LTA) doesn't know when you arrived.

5) The Fiji government prefers applicants to be overseas when they apply for residency.  Consider applying while overseas, then come to Fiji as a visitor while the permit is being processed.  In any case, I wouldn't move goods until it's approved.

Hi John,
Thanks very much for your response.
Do you have an e-mail address, that  Derry, my husband can ask you some questions,
You can e-mail him direct derry.state[at]bigpond.com as he is desperate to have contact with someone who is out there already living the dream.
Thanks

Lynn27, it's done.

My background, lived and worked here for 3 years as an expat, my wife is a local Fiji citizen.

1. Can we bring our personal vehicle duty free? (even if its more than 5 years old)
Not worth the trouble - you will have to pay customs duty @ 32% + 15% excise + another 15% VAT on top of whatever value the Customs officer wants to appraise the vehicle at. Then you have to deal with Land Transport Authority for registration, and your described telephone conversation is just a taster of that. Buy a used vehicle here, save time and stress. I can recommend Abdul's Motors in Martintar, Nadi, they sold me a solid secondhand car and even replaced the battery under warranty (warranties a rarity here).

2. we want to import a bus, (yes a bus!!!) has been converted into motorhome. We want to live in it while we build.
Possible, but again lot of customs costs. Anything out of the ordinary will spin officials' heads here, Fiji is a rather conservative place, and the typical Govt official tend to be a narrowminded jobsworth, often not competent to do their job.

3. What is the customs and port like when the shipping containers are received in Suva? (Is it professional or take pot luck)?
Pot luck. Make sure your inventory is absolutely comprehensive. Linens and household goods can attract high rate of duty. There are decent department stores in Suva, can be better just to buy here, or buy from eBay after arriving.

Use a good shipping agent and customs agent. For business I use UB Freight for shipping and AirCustoms for the paperwork. Both decent but you have to keep an eye on them. Be on site when they open the container. Bring coca-cola and plastic cups to share with everyone helping - it's a little gesture that often helps here.


4.How old to drive motorbike on road and what size engine?
At age of 17 you can drive anything. However, 2 wheels are lethal in Fiji, I briefly rode a pushbike to work after years of riding in London, one of the busiest traffic cities in the world with aggressive drivers. After a month in Nadi I gave up riding here, I knew I would soon be dead, got in fights with bus drivers, taxi drivers, people constantly cutting me off, opening doors etc. There are not many motorcycles in this country and they are not respected as 'proper' road users. Very few properly licensed drivers in Fiji, many illiterates who cannot pass 'rules of road' and simply bribe the examiner. sad but true.


5. Just one more question for now! Is it better to obtain visa/permit before arriving in Fiji? Or can we come on visitor visa and sort everything out on completion on land purchase?
Get permits for EVERYTHING before you commit. If a crook in uniform spots an opportunity to screw you, they will. Get your paperwork in order. Come as a tourist for a holiday first, meet some local expats from a similar background and talk to them about their experiences. It will be a real eye-opener. Fiji is a wonderful place, but don't believe the hype, there is plenty bullshit behind the friendly Bula smile.

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