EU citizens are free to circulate in Greece in their EU state registered car for six months without customs controls. After six months the car must be re-exported or cleared through customs.
Generally speaking it is still an expensive and complicated exercise to permanently import a car into Greece. Although officially there is no import tax within the EU, Greece charges a "registration tax" on vehicles imported for longer than six months and this can be high, even on older second hand models. This registration tax is worked out on a percentage of the value of a new car, with a sliding scale of discount for older vehicles and it appears to be open to interpretation by the customs officer in charge.
If you are intending to stay longer than six months it may be wise, and most likely cheaper, to buy a new or secondhand car in Greece.
However for those who wish to persevere, you will find below the official information on the documentation and conditions for car importation to Greece from other EU countries
The following information is from the British Embassy's "Notes on Greece".
Temporary Importation of Cars by Tourists
Tourists from other EU Member States, whose cars are registered in that EU State, are free to circulate in Greece for a period of six months without customs control. The car registration document and proof of ownership of a caravan or boat is required. Travellers should at all times be able to prove to the authorities when the car was brought into Greece.
To qualify for a second period of tax free circulation: either both the car and the owner should be out of Greece for at least 185 days or while the owner is away, the vehicle can remain at a special Customs compound in Greece for the period stated. Greek road tax is payable for all additional periods of circulation. The entitlement to circulate on foreign plates is strictly personal, consequently only the wife/husband or children may use the car in addition to the owner. After the expiry of the period granted by the customs authorities, the person concerned will be required to either: 1) re-export the car, 2) seal it with the customs for a period of at least 6 months (but no more than 12 months) after which time, provided the owner can show that he/she has been out of Greece for at least 6 months during this time, another 6 month circulation period will be granted, or 3) clear it through customs.
Failure to conform to the provisions of Greek Law as above may result in the Greek Customs imposing fines for each extra day after the expired period. Such fines can be very steep. Under such circumstances, the vehicle is not released to the owner unless he agrees to clear it through customs or export it from Greece.
Advice on extensions, transfer or sale of tourist cars in Greece can be obtained from the Directorate for the Supervision and Control of Cars (DIPEAK) at the following address:
Directorate for the Supervision and Control of Cars DIPEAK Akti Kondyli 32 Piraeus 185 10 Telephone No: 210 46 23615 / 46 26325 and 46 27325
Permanent Import of Vehicles- Change of Residence Certificate
EUROPEAN UNION NATIONALS, who are residents in other European Union Countries for at least three years, who decide to transfer their place of residence to Greece are exempt from VAT and Special Consumption Tax (SCT) currently levied in Greece on: new and second-hand cars new pleasure craft of a length exceeding 7.5m new motorcycles, second-hand motorcycles of over 250cc new and second-hand mobile caravans
At the time of application the applicant has not been resident in Greece for more than two years.
The applicant has/had been domiciled in another member state for at least 185 days in each year of the three years prior to their initial arrival in Greece.
The applicant holds a change of residence certificate issued by the Greek Consular Authorities in the EU State of previous residence. This certificate is valid for use within 12 months. (List of documents required to obtain the Change of Residence certificate, from your current place of residence, includes P60s for the last 3 years, P45, utility bills, Council tax bills for the last 2 years, bank statement and the vehicle's documents).
The applicant owned and used the vehicle in the prior EU member state of residence for at least 6 months and that appropriate TAX and VAT has been paid in the country of origin.
The applicant is in possession of a 5-year residence certificate. Applicants who are not in possession of a 5-year residence permit should be aware that, usually, the relevant taxes and dues are required to be paid or a bank guarantee deposited for a sum equal to those taxes and dues, until they produce a 5-year residence certificate to the appropriate customs authorities.
Within one month from the date of importation, owners of such vehicles must appear in person at the nearest Customs Authority to request exemption from payment of SCT and VAT. The owner will then be permitted to purchase special Greek registration plates. Normally the charge for such plates is equivalent to 20% of the duties payable for full Greek plates. Vehicles entering Greece are also required to undergo a test at a Vehicle Technical Control Centre (KTEO). Diesel engine vehicles are not permitted to circulate in Athens, Piraeus or Salonika. It is highly recommended that all vehicle owners consult the nearest Greek Consulate for full information prior to their departure for Greece.
A VEHICLE IMPORTED UNDER THE ABOVE REGULATION may not be transferred, leased, pawned or lent, nor its use assigned in any other manner without prior approval by the customs authorities. In the event of transfer, lease, pawning, lending or assignment of the use of such a vehicle before the lapse of one year, the total amount of tax due shall be collected.
Authoritative information on this special concession is available from the Greek Customs Authorities at: Director of Customs Ministry of Finance Amalias 40 Athens 105 62 Telephone No: 210 324 5552 210 324 587
Copyright 2004-2012 Carol Palioudaki. Importing a Car Greece. www.livingincrete.net