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How to bring your car to Croatia

Hello everybody,

If you exported your car to Croatia, were there any formalities that needed to be completed beforehand? What were they?

What is the best way to export your car? Is there a limit on the number of vehicles, or perhaps the age of the vehicle? Are there limits on emissions or emission controls in Croatia?

What are the expected costs of exporting a car? In your opinion, is it worth it?

Once you arrived in Croatia, what were the applicable taxes? What was the customs process like?

How do you go about registering an imported car in Croatia?

Is it best to buy a car once you have arrived or to bring your car with you, in your opinion?

We look forward to hearing from you!

Bhavna

In theory that is straightforward. The reality though it a bit convoluted, as Croatians have managed to turn bureaucracy into an art form.

First, you need to have a clear title, or get a formal ok from the lienholder (bank or a loan institution if you still owe money on the car).
Then you get with a shipper who handles the transport and customs export inspection.
Once the car arrives in Croatia you need to connect with a local freight forwarder (spediter in Croatian), who handles all the paperwork.

Option A. Most straightforward. Keep your current foreign plates, and drive the car in Croatia, just make sure you drive out of the country for a few days every 179 days (if you stay 180 you are liable for import duty, VAT, and a slew of other fees). You can buy a green card insurance from any of the participating countries (Bulgaria is the cheapest), and you will be covered.

Option B. If you bring the car from a EU country and want to get croatian plates, then be sure to have clear evidence of having paid the VAT in the country of origin, otherwise you are on the hook for croatian VAT.
After that you have to have the car inspected and registered. The fees doubled as of Jan 2017 (expect to pay anywhere from €600 and up depending of the year of the car and emissions). Also, worth noting is that the fees go up significantly if the car has less than 5000km (could be 3000, I dont remember).

Either way, expect to waste multiple days, get the runaround, pay fees on top of fees, possibly a bribe here and there (since the ascension into the EU Croatia has seen a huge drop in the import export business, and the customs agents dont have much work, so they look to eek out a few kunas from the small guys).

Or the last, easiest (and most expensive), order a car from the dealership in Croatia, and let them handle everything.

All the best

Freddie

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