How to import and register a boat in Croatia: Guide for 2022

Living on a boat in Croatia

PUBLISHED: 20/06/2022

If you are considering sailing to Croatia on a boat you own, you are in the right place. This is the first article from our new series on boats and sailing. We explain how you can import a boat from the EU Member States or third countries and register them in Croatia.

In the following sequels, we will cover technical inspection of boats, mandatory insurance, and advice for those who want to live on a boat.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Categorization of boats in Croatia

According to their purpose, boats are categorized by:

  • Brodica za osobne potrebe (boat for personal use)
  • Brodica za gospodarske namjene (boat for commercial purposes)
  • Javna brodica (public boat)

Boats for commercial purposes include:

  • Passenger boats
  • Cargo boats
  • Work boats
  • Fishing boats
  • Other types of boats for commercial purposes

How to import a boat to Croatia

If you want to import a boat to the territory of an EU Member State, including Croatia, you must prove its customs status called carinski status.

According to the customs status, boats can be treated as:

  • EU goods or domaća roba (domestic goods)
  • Non-EU goods or strana roba (foreign goods)

Import of EU boats to Croatia

Boats that have the status of EU goods can be used in the customs territory of the European Union, including Croatia, without customs formalities and time limits.

The boat’s ownership, the flag, and the entry in the register of vessels in the EU Member State are not considered proof of being an EU good. You must prove the status of an EU good with a specific document that must be kept on the boat.

To prove your boat is an EU good, you may provide:

  • T2L or T2LF, issued and certified by the customs office of an EU Member State responsible for the location of the vessel at the time the document is issued (PUCZU’s Article 205)
  • Original invoice or transport document (PUCZU’s Article 206)
  • Customs goods manifest

PUCZU is Provedbena uredba Komisije (EU) which translates as Commission Implementing Regulation (EU). It is available here.

An invoice must contain:

  • Name and address of the sender of the person concerned
  • Marks and packing reference numbers
  • Description of the goods
  • Gross weight
  • Value
  • T2L code
  • Signature of the person submitting T2L
  • Competent customs office

A certification from the customs office on the invoice is not needed for boats whose total value is up to 15.000€. If the boat is worth more than 15.000€, you need this certification.

If the boat leaves the customs territory of the European Union, it loses the status of EU goods. If the boat leaves the EU territory and returns, it may still keep the status of EU goods. To keep the status, visit the customs office and submit one of the documents listed in PUCZU 2015/2447 on defining detailed rules for the implementation of specific provisions of Regulation (EU) 952/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing the Union Customs Code.

Import of non-EU boats to Croatia

Boats that have the status of non-EU goods are subject to customs formalities and all prescribed import duties. To release the boat to free circulation, you must submit a customs declaration to the competent customs office. It is called carinska deklaracija za puštanje u slobodan promet.

The customs office will charge you the import duty and PDV (VAT). A list of competent customs offices in Croatia is available here.

During the calculation, they may also apply:

  • Preferential (reduced) or zero duty rates – submit a document proving the preferential origin of the goods (EUR 1 or invoice declaration/supplier’s declaration)
  • Exemption from PDV, if the provisions on the exemption in relation to international transport of the Article 47 of the VAT Act can be applied

[Read: How to import your car and belongings to Croatia]

Temporary import of private boats

Boats registered in third countries (non-EU Member States) can be temporarily imported for private use. Temporary import means that they will leave the EU territory after a while – like for tourist purposes. In this case, you may be fully or partially exempt from paying the import duties.

To temporarily import your boat to Croatia, you must submit an oral customs declaration to the competent customs office at the import location. The boat can stay in Croatia for up to 24 months, depending on the purpose of the stay.

You are exempt from import duties if:

  • Boat is registered outside the EU customs territory on behalf of the person established outside the EU customs territory (if the boat is not registered, the owner must be established outside the EU customs territory)
  • Boat is used by a person established outside the EU customs territory

After the temporary import, boats must remain intact. Boat repairs and maintenance are allowed.

If you belong to the following groups, you may be granted temporary admission:

  • Foreigners with residence in a third country
  • Croatians with residence in a third country – provide a foreign work permit or residence permit to prove residence

Suppose you want to temporarily leave the EU territory while your boat is under temporary import. In that case, you must contact the competent customs office according to the location of your boat. You must state that no one will use the boat and boat’s location (address) while you are away. If someone else uses your boat, you must provide their personal data. Only people registered for that activity can guard the boat.

More information on the temporary import of non-EU private boats to Croatia is available here.

[Read: PDV (Value Added Tax) in Croatia]

How to register a boat in Croatia

Croatian boats must meet the following requirements before sailing:

  • Their navigability is determined by the provisions of Pomorski zakon (Maritime Code), Zakon o plovidbi i lukama unutarnjih voda (Navigation and Inland Ports Act) and Pravilnik o brodicama, čamcima i jahtama (Rulebook on boats, small boats, and yachts)
  • They have a valid registration certificate or certificate of navigability
  • They are operated by a person with a certificate of competency to operate a boat
  • There is a minimum number of crew members required for safe navigation determined in accordance with special regulations

Existing boats and boats under construction must be entered into Upisnik brodova (Register of boats). Warships and warships under construction for the needs of the Croatian or foreign Armed Forces are not included in this register.

If your boat was built before June 16, 2000, it must be marked with a CE conformity mark before entry into the Register of boats.

How to register a boat

Below are all the steps you must pass to register a boat to the Register of boats. Before registering a newly built boat, it doesn’t have to go through a technical inspection.

#1 Collect the documentation 

To register a newly built boat for the first time, you may need to provide:

  • Application form for boats up to 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Application form for boats bigger than 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Proof of ownership
  • Construction certificate and an invoice of the manufacturer or an authorized representative
  • Sales contract with the manufacturer, authorized representative, importer, or distributor
  • Copy of an ID card if you are a foreigner
  • Power of attorney if you are a foreigner
  • Proof of entry in the court, trade, professional or other appropriate registers in the country of the establishment if you are a foreign economic entity
  • Statement of the equipment installed on the boat – Available here
  • Document proving conditions for entry are in accordance with Articles 187 and 188 of the Maritime Act
  • Documents and certificates determining the technical acceptability of a boat up to 24 meters in length prescribed by the Rulebook on keeping the register of ships, the maximum permitted age and technical conditions for entry in the register of ships and a special regulation governing the technical acceptability of boats up to 24 meters in length
  • Document proving the status of the user of the boat if they are entered in the register of boats

Power of attorney must contain the name, surname, residence, OIB, and signature of the owner and the proxy. It doesn’t have to be authorized by a notary public. [Read: How to get something notarized]

To register an existing boat for the first time, you may need to provide:

  • Application form for boats up to 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Application form for boats bigger than 24 meters
    • Available in Croatian here
    • Available in English here
  • Proof of ownership
  • Construction certificate and an invoice of the manufacturer or an authorized representative
  • Sales contract with the manufacturer, authorized representative, importer, or distributor
  • Copy of an ID card if you are a foreigner
  • Proof of entry in the court, trade, professional or other appropriate registers in the country of the establishment if you are a foreign economic entity
  • Document proving conditions for entry are in accordance with Articles 187 and 188 of the Maritime Act
  • Documents and certificates determining the age and technical acceptability of the boat as prescribed by the Rulebook on keeping the register of ships, the maximum permitted age and technical conditions for entry in the register of boats and a special regulation governing the technical acceptability of boats
  • Confirmation of the body from the foreign register that the boat has been deleted from the foreign register if the boat is transferred from the foreign register to the Croatian register
  • Document proving the status of the user of the boat if they are entered in the register of ships

An example of a boat sales contract is available here

An example of a boat gift contract is available here.

In each subsequent application, it is necessary to include the NIB or the designation of the boat. This is not necessary for the first registration.

Other application forms and examples of documents you may need are available here.

#2 Submit the request

You can submit the registration request via:

  • e-Građani (e-Citizens) or e-Poslovanje (e-Business) – View more here
  • E-mail
  • In person at the competent Harbor Master’s Office – View a list here
  • Mail – View more here

The request is considered submitted once it is recorded in the central information system of the Ministry of electronic office operations.

The competent Harbor Master’s Office is determined by the place of residence (prebivalište) of the owner or user. If you submit the request to the wrong office, they will deliver it to the competent one. If the boat constantly or mostly stays or sails outside the residence, the competent Office is considered to be the one which is in charge of that area.

[Read: Prebivalište and boravište: two addresses that must be registered with the police]

#3 Get plates and name

During the entry to the Register of boats, the Harbor Master’s Office will determine the designation of the boat depending on the category of the boat.

The designations are the following:

  • Boats for personal use: two letters that present the harbor + NIB
  • Boats for commercial purposes: NIB + two letters that present the harbor
  • Public boats: RH + NIB + two letters that present the harbor

NIB – nacionalni identifikacijski broj – (National Identification Number) is a unique identification number assigned to a boat.

If your boat has a name, the name must be legibly written on the boat and must not interfere with the visibility of the designation. The name is determined by the owner of the boat and it is not mandatory.

Here are all Croatian Harbor Offices and their marks:

  • Bakar – BA
  • Baška – BS
  • Biograd – BG
  • Bol – BO
  • Božava – BZ
  • Cavtat – CT
  • Cres – CS
  • Crikvenica – CK
  • Dubrovnik – DB
  • Hvar – HV
  • Ist – IT
  • Jablanac – JB
  • Jelsa – JL
  • Karlobag – KB
  • Komiža – KZ
  • Korčula – KO
  • Kraljevica – KR
  • Krk – KK
  • Lopar – LO
  • Makarska – MA
  • Mali Lošinj – ML
  • Malinska – MK
  • Maslenica – MC
  • Metković – MT
  • Milna – MN
  • Mošćenička Draga – MD
  • Murter – MU
  • Novalja – NV
  • Novi Vinodolski – NO
  • Novigrad (Zadar) – NG
  • Novigrad (Istria) – ND
  • Omiš – OS
  • Omišalj – OM
  • Opatija – OP
  • Osijek – OK
  • Pag – PG
  • Ploče – PL
  • Poreč – PO
  • Preko – PR
  • Primošten – PS
  • Privlaka – PV
  • Pula – PU
  • Punat – PN
  • Rab – RB
  • Rabac – RC
  • Raša-Trget – RS
  • Rijeka – RK
  • Rogač – RO
  • Rogoznica – RG
  • Rovinj – RV
  • Sali – SA
  • Senj – SE
  • Šibenik – ŠB
  • Silba – SL
  • Sisak – SK
  • Šilo – ŠL
  • Slano – SO
  • Slavonski Brod – SB
  • Sobra – SR
  • Split – ST
  • Stari Grad – SG
  • Starigrad-Paklenica – SD
  • Ston – SN
  • Sućuraj – SĆ
  • Sumartin – SM
  • Supetar – SU
  • Susak – SS
  • Sveti Juraj – SJ
  • Tisno – TI
  • Trogir – TG
  • Trpanj – TP
  • Trstenik – TT
  • Ubli-Lastovo – UB
  • Umag – UM
  • Varaždin – VŽ
  • Vela Luka – VL
  • Vir – VI
  • Vis – VS
  • Vodice – VD
  • Vukovar – VK
  • Zadar – ZD

#4 Pay for annual fees

Once your boat is in the Register of boats, you must pay the annual fees including:

  • Compensation for the use of maritime property
  • Compensation for the safety of navigation and protection of the sea from pollution

Entry of changes

If there are any changes to the data that are entered into the Register of boats, you must submit the request for registration of data change to the competent Harbor Master’s Office. This must be done within 30 days after the changes occur.

The change of ownership must also be registered within 30 days. It must be done by the new owner. If the new owner does not make the change, the old owner can delete the boat from the Register.

If you want to delete a boat from the register, you must fill out this form.

Administration fees

All possible administration fees for registering a boat to the Register of boats are available here.

How to track boats in Croatia

The data on boats registered in Croatia can be viewed via an e-Građani online service called Javni pretraživač plovila (Public vessel search engine) or ePlovilo (eVessel). It allows you to view the data on boats entered into the Register of Boats, Register of Yachts, and Register of Inland Waterway Boats. This app is available in English here.

[Read: e-Građani (e-Citizens) – Online portal for Croatian government services]

How to get help registering or importing a boat in Croatia

If you’re planning to bring a boat to Croatia, or plan to buy one, we can help legalize your vessel so you can sail the Adriatic in peace. We have extensive experience working with customs on importation and know how to expertly navigate the bureaucratic waters.

As you can see from the above post, there is a lot that goes into it. If you don’t speak Croatian, it can be even harder and more time-consuming.

Let us handle the procedure (and stress) for you, so you do not have to. Our English-speaking team can:

  • Determine the right procedure for your situation
  • Help you obtain all the necessary documents
  • In most cases, visit government offices on your behalf (without you)
  • Translate with the authorities (when your presence is required)
  • Coordinate everything from beginning to end
  • Update you frequently so that you always know what is happening

You may read reviews from our clients here and read more about us as a company here.

The first step is a free 15-minute call with us so you can meet us and we can determine how to help. To get started, please tell us a little about your situation in the form below. Next, we’ll contact you as soon as possible to set up an introductory call. We look forward to helping you sail the high seas.

View our other boat articles


Sources:
https://gov.hr/hr/uvoz-plovila/496
https://carina.gov.hr/propisi-i-sporazumi/carinsko-zakonodavstvo/fizicke-osobe-2715/vozila-i-plovila/plovila-za-razonodu/2774
https://carina.gov.hr/propisi-i-sporazumi/carinsko-zakonodavstvo/fizicke-osobe-2715/vozila-i-plovila/prijevozna-sredstva/2779
https://narodne-novine.nn.hr/clanci/sluzbeni/2020_01_13_223.html
https://gov.hr/hr/uputa-za-upis-brodice/484
https://mmpi.gov.hr/vijesti-8/javni-pretrazivac-plovila/2684
https://carina.gov.hr/UserDocsImages//5231//Uputa%20o%20provedbi%20postupka%20privremenog%20uvoza%20plovila%20u%20privatne%20svrhe.pdf
https://mmpi.gov.hr/more-86/upisnici/obrasci-zahtjeva-stranaka/22020

Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant. We can recommend one if you contact us.

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