Importing a car when moving as a permanent residence to Greece (Zakynthos)

This article is based on a UK citizen moving to Greece but should be the same for any EU national moving to Greece. Secondhand cars in Greece are expensive, especially compared to UK prices. This is mainly caused by lack of supply. New cars are a lot more expensive when buying large and/or expensive cars but small cars are similar to UK prices. To import a car is expensive unless you use this method when first moving permanently to Greece. 
All the information given below relates to the writers own experience. Other stories are different because each government office (or maybe even each government official) in Greece has it’s own set of rules or interprets the same set of rules differently.

This car was imported in September 2005. The writer first came to Zakynthos in March 2005, found somewhere to live, got a tax number, residence permit and then returned to UK to organise shipping our household effects and visit the Greek Embassy.

The car was a year old and had been purchased in Belgium and first imported into the UK. (This was to have a left hand drive car, it is nearly impossible to buy a new one in the UK and secondhand ones are few and far between). You cannot import a van or truck (pick-up) under this scheme, these are classed as business or farmers vehicles. There may be some rules about the age of the vehicle.

These are the steps, not necessarily in order. There are some potential Catch 22 situations:

  • Visit the Greek Embassy for a certificate of change of residence. Only one is allowed per family.
  • Drive, or ship, the car into Greece.  Update Feb. 2007 - it was reported in the local newspaper that when you bring your car into Greece you should register it with customs at your point of entry.  This also applies to tourists who are only here for a few weeks. It is recommended that you keep ferry tickets and boarding cards as proof of date of entry.
  • Get Greek Tax Number.
  • Get a Residence Permit. - Some people have had delays with this but seems to depend on the police station or officer.
  • Visit Customs within one month of the car arriving in Greece. Use a customs agent who specialises in importing cars, unless you have someone who speaks very good Greek and is used to dealing with government officials. Cost around $300. Zakynthos Customs Office do not deal with car imports, you have to go to Patras.
  • Take vehicle to KTEO, in Zakynthos, for a “MOT” test.
  • Visit Vehicle Registration at the Transport Department in Zakynthos. 4 visits were necessary. They will take the UK registration document, issue a Greek registration document and issue number plates for the car.
  • Get Greek insurance.
  • Fix red number plates to car
  • Send export slip from UK vehicle registration document to DVLA. It may also be possible to get a refund on UK car tax.
  • Pay Greek car tax. Note you have to pay a full year, no discount for a part year. Cost depends on engine size but more recently registered cars are charged on emmission.