How to import your car and belongings to Croatia

This post has been verified with the customs office and HAK.

Importing a car to Croatia

If you’re planning a big move to Croatia, you might be wondering if it is worth bringing your car and large personal belongings with you. When importing a car into Croatia, you’ll be faced with the process of legalizing the car before it can be driven on Croatian roads.

To prevent shock and awe, we’ve put together a detailed guide on what it takes to import your car and other personal belongings to Croatia including all the taxes and procedures you might encounter.

In this post, we will cover:

  1. What are considered personal belongings in Croatia
  2. Which items are exempt from Croatia customs fees
  3. How to request an exemption from Croatia customs fees
  4. Where to find the Carina customs offices in Croatia
  5. How to import a car to Croatia
  6. Which taxes you might pay when importing a car
  7. How to complete homologacija (homologation procedure)
  8. Registering the car after import
  9. Other things to consider before moving to Croatia

What is considered to be personal belongings?

Osobna imovina (personal property/belongings) is every property that people use for personal needs.

Items that are considered personal belongings include:

  • Furniture
  • Household appliances
  • Electrical appliances
  • Hobby tools
  • Small agricultural tools and appliances – saws, cutters, lawn mowers
  • Cars, trailers, caravans, and boats
  • Pets and riding animals
  • Reasonable quantities of household supplies (1-month food supplies)

Items that are not considered personal belongings include:

  • Alcohol and alcoholic beverages
  • Tobacco and tobacco products
  • Commercial transport vehicles
  • Machines
  • Tools and instruments used in professional activities

Exemption from paying import customs fees

Persons who move to Croatia from non-EU countries can transfer their personal belongings to the EU territory and Croatia without any import customs fees.

These persons must fulfill 2 requirements:

  • They lived in a non-EU country for at least 12 months before moving to Croatia
  • They used their personal belongings in their homes for at least 6 months before moving to Croatia

People who want to be exempt from paying import duties on their personal belongings after moving to Croatia must send a request to the customs office nearest to their new Croatian home address.

This request is called “Zahtjev za oslobođenje od plaćanja carine” (Request for exemption from customs).

The request must include:

  • Proof of living in a non-EU country for at least the previous 12 months
    • Confirmation from Croatian diplomatic or consular mission
    • Confirmation from foreign or Croatian employer
    • Confirmation from employment office
    • Other similar confirmation
  • Residence permit in the Republic of Croatia (prebivalište or boravište, which must be valid for at least a year)
  • A written statement stating the day you relocated (or will relocate) to Croatia
  • A list of personal belongings (2 copies)
  • A signed declaration stating that the goods you are bringing over from your country of origin are for personal use and that they were used for a period of at least 6 months before the move

Once you receive an approved exemption from paying customs, you can import your belongings within 12 months from the date of your move to Croatia. You can transfer your things to Croatia all at once or in several chunks.

The 12-month period can be extended for justified reasons. For example, due to the political situation in your country of origin, natural and other disasters, etc. This exemption can be used more than once if you decide to return to your home country for some reason.

It is also possible to import your personal belongings before you move to Croatia. In this case, you must move to Croatia within 6 months from the day of import. Also, you do not need to enclose a written statement about the day of moving to Croatia. Instead, you must enclose a written statement that you intend to move in 6 months.

Once you import your belongings, you are not allowed to sell them, give them to someone else for use, pledge, or rent within a period of 12 months without contacting a competent customs office and paying customs and PDV costs.

Where to find the Carina (customs) offices

In Croatia, customs is called “Carina”. There are 4 regional Carina offices and 18 local offices.

  1. The regional office Zagreb that includes these customs offices:
  2. The regional office Rijeka that includes these customs offices:
  3. The regional office Split that includes these customs offices:
  4. The regional office Osijek that includes these customs offices:

The address book with all Carina offices can be found here.

How to import your car to Croatia

When moving to Croatia, there are a variety of factors that are considered by the government when evaluating the car you are trying to import.

When importing a car to Croatia, you must report the car to Carina (customs office) within a period of 15 days. Depending on where the car comes and your nationality, you are subject to several different taxes and procedures to make the car legal to drive.

Taxes you must pay when importing a car to Croatia

There are 3 possible taxes you may have to pay when importing a car to Croatia. These taxes are:

  1. Carina (customs tax)
  2. PDV (value-added tax)
  3. Trošarina (acquisition tax)

Now, we’ll go through each type of tax to explain who must pay which tax.

#1 Carina (customs tax)

You are exempt from paying carina tax in the following situations:

  • When you move a car from an EU country
  • When Croatian citizens return to Croatia from either EU or non-EU countries
  • If a car is in your ownership for at least 6 months and you lived outside of the EU for a year or more. In this case, you will only have to pay PDV costs. Car registration documents need to be provided as a proof of using your car in a non-EU country.

In any other case when you move a car from a non-EU country, you will have to pay carina. Carina is calculated according to the emission of gases and purchase value of the vehicle.

#2 PDV (value-added tax)

PDV is the value-added tax in Croatia, which is charged on most purchases. PDV is also charged on imported cars in certain scenarios.

You are exempt from paying PDV in the following situations:

  • When you move a car from an EU country
  • When Croatian citizens return to Croatia from either an EU or a non-EU country

When you move a car from a non-EU country and are not a Croatian citizen, regardless of how long you have owned it, you will have to pay PDV.

PDV is calculated on the total price of the car (purchase value). In Croatia, the PDV rate is 25%.

If you import your car via another country within EU, you will pay the VAT in that country. You don’t have to pay it in Croatia AND the country of EU entry.

For example, if your car arrives by boat to Germany, you will pay their PDV (which is 19%) and you don’t have to pay Croatian PDV.

#3 Trošarina also known as Posebni porez na stjecanje motornih vozila (Acquisition tax)

All imported personal cars are subject to a special tax defined by the Zakon o posebnom porezu na motorna vozila (Law on special tax on motor vehicles).

This special tax (called “trošarina”) must be paid within 15 days of importing a car. The request for paying this tax is submitted to the customs office according to your address.

Calculation of the acquisition tax depends on many factors including:

  • Age of the vehicle (new or old)
  • Type of the vehicle (a car, a motorcycle, etc.)
  • Purchase value
  • Emission of gases (CO2)
  • Type of fuel (gas, diesel, etc.)

You can download the form here.

You can estimate the acquisition tax on your vehicle using Carina’s calculator. There is not currently an English version of this calculator.

Homologacija (homologation process)

In addition to paying the appropriate taxes, all imported cars must pass through the process called “homologacija”.

What is homologacija?

Homologacija (called "homologation" in English) is a process of determining if the car aligns with local Croatian regulations, according to the vehicle category.

There are no restrictions on the type of vehicle that you can import to Croatia. There is only one restriction related to driving the vehicle in Croatia – a vehicle must pass the homologation procedure. If the car passes homologacija, then it can be driven in Croatia. There are no limitations in terms of age.

If the vehicle has been in your ownership for at least 6 months, it is possible to request alternative requirements for homologacija. You will need to ask for this option at the time of the homologation procedure.

As part of the alternative homologation procedure, owners must still pay for the full homologation procedure. However, they won’t be required to pay the additional 400 kuna for a specific document needed to pass the procedure. This document is called “COC dokument” or “Potvrda proizvođača” (A confirmation from supplier). It can be obtained from authorized suppliers.

Alternative homologation procedures can also be conducted for vehicles that are older than approximately 20 years. It means that owners can import them no matter if they pass the homologation procedure or not. If they don’t pass it, owners can import them but they can’t drive them.

Homologation is regulated by the Državni zavod za mjeriteljstvo (State Bureau of Metrology). They coordinate and supervise the work of legal entities authorized for the procedure.

The homologation procedure is performed by Centar za vozila Hrvatske and Hrvatski autoklub (HAK) at their testing stations. The cost of the procedure is 625 kuna.

The list of all 134 testing stations in Croatia and their contact information can be found here.

Registering the car after import

If you moved to Croatia with the intention of staying longer than 6 months, you must register your car in Croatia. In this case, you must register your car at the closest administrative police station to your address within 6 months of importing the car.

If you stay in Croatia for less than 6 months, you don’t have to register your car in Croatia. You can use your foreign registration labels during this period.

You can register your car in Croatia with a foreign driver’s license. However, third-country citizens with a permanent or temporary stay in Croatia can only use their foreign driver’s licenses for up to 1 year from the day of entering Croatia (if their license was issued in a non-EGP country).

You can see the excerpt from the law below:

(1) Stranac kojem je odobren privremeni ili stalni boravak u Republici Hrvatskoj i hrvatski državljanin koji se iz inozemstva vrati u Republiku Hrvatsku, a i osoblje diplomatskih i konzularnih predstavništava i misija stranih država i predstavništava međunarodnih organizacija u Republici Hrvatskoj, stranih trgovinskih, prometnih, kulturnih i drugih predstavništava te stranih dopisništava, mogu upravljati motornim vozilima na osnovi važeće inozemne vozačke dozvole za vrijeme do godinu dana od dana ulaska u Republiku Hrvatsku.

This translates to…

A foreigner granted temporary or permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia and a Croatian citizen returning to the Republic of Croatia from abroad, as well as staff of diplomatic and consular missions and missions of foreign countries and missions of international organizations in the Republic of Croatia, foreign trade, transport, cultural and other missions and foreign bureaus, may operate motor vehicles on the basis of a valid foreign driver’s license for up to one year from the date of entry into the Republic of Croatia.

After this period expires, they must exchange their foreign driver’s license for Croatian driver’s license. Otherwise, they will pay a penalty of 500 kuna and may be required to take a driving course and test. You can learn how to exchange your foreign driver’s license for a Croatian one here.

You can see the excerpt from the law below:

(4) Novčanom kaznom u iznosu od 500,00 kuna kaznit će se za prekršaj osoba koja ne zamjeni inozemnu vozačku dozvolu u roku iz stavka 1. ovoga članka.

This translates to…

(4) A fine in the amount of HRK 500.00 shall be imposed on a person who fails to replace a foreign driver’s license within the period referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article.

The Ministry of Interior has a FAQ page where you can find a lot of useful information about your move to Croatia.

What else should I consider before moving to Croatia?

When planning an international move to Croatia, there are several things that must be considered first in addition to what it takes to import a car.

Check out our additional resources on moving to Croatia that answer these common questions:

Have a questions about importing a car to Croatia? Let us know in the comments.

Sharing is Caring:

28 thoughts on “How to import your car and belongings to Croatia

  1. Kristina
    February 14, 2020 @ 3:43 am

    I am in Canada and would like to ship my car and a small amount of personal items (basically whatever can fit in the car). Do I need a customs broker for the process on the Croatian side or is this something I can do on my own?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 17, 2020 @ 1:21 pm

      Hi Kristina,

      Good question! You can do it all on your own. A broker is not needed, and would just be a waste of money.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Deborah
        March 9, 2020 @ 9:49 pm

        Hello Sara,

        I have loved your indepths knowledge on topics and find it very helpful. I thought I could use your help. Hence, my question – my company has offered an employee a car with a german registered plate which the employee will be driving the car soon to Croatia. I got to understand that we need to provide him a written statement that declares that the company is the rightful owner. Since will my first time to deal with car import in Croatia I would be grateful if you could advise me on how best I could prepare this written declaration. Do we need to make this declaration in a word form using our letter head and sign or there is a special form for that that I need use? How best could I do this written declaration? Could you be of help?

        Many thanks!

        {reply}

      • Kristina
        August 16, 2020 @ 6:46 pm

        Hi Sara,
        Just a follow up on the original question about needing a broker/agent in Croatia. I am currently in process of booking shipment from Canada and was advised by shipping agent that it is now a requirement to have a destination agent/broker on the bill of lading. It seems there were problems with people shipping personal effects in past so now it is required.

        {reply}

  2. EZ
    February 25, 2020 @ 5:22 pm

    Hi Kristina,
    Interestingly – I am also planning to ship my car (loaded with personal stuff) to Croatia this summer too.
    Who is your shipper and how much does it cost? I would like to ship it to Ploce.
    Thanks
    EZ

    {reply}

  3. Dean Ljubicic
    March 2, 2020 @ 11:13 am

    I would like to import a car to Croatia that’s well over seven years old. I’ve read online from various sources like this article that doing to is against the law, but the official I’ve spoken to at the homologation office said this wasn’t a problem. I’d really like to clarify this point before buying a car and then realizing I can’t bring it to Croatia. Can you point me to the law or the office that help me clear up this point?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      March 2, 2020 @ 3:10 pm

      Hi Dean,

      It is correct that you cannot import a car that is older than 7 years. If you want to confirm this with the government, then you’ll need to contact Carina (Customs). Here is their contact information: https://carina.gov.hr/kontakti/3069

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  4. Kris Cvitan
    June 7, 2020 @ 1:53 am

    Hi
    I live in Australia and have a house in tribunj and I’m also a dual citizen. I’m I able to ship my personal car (Jeep grand Cherokee) which is right hand drive to Croatia

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 8, 2020 @ 11:22 am

      Hi Kris,

      Are you asking if you can ship your car that is right hand drive to Croatia? If so, then yes you can.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • John
        June 23, 2020 @ 1:09 am

        If I buy a car from Germany how much would it cost?
        Car price around 270000kuna
        Co2 is 264
        Year made is 2018

        {reply}

  5. Arlen
    June 23, 2020 @ 12:25 pm

    Hello Sara,

    I have a question regarding buying a car…maybe you can help. 🙂 I am living outside Split, and in the process of buying a car from a friend. I am a US citizen, and my wife is Dutch. We have Croatian residence, and both have Dutch drivers licenses. I’ve heard that non-EU citizens need to get a special green license plate on registration. Would that apply to me also? I’m just considering what’s easiest, and whether I should put the car in my name or my wife’s name.
    Thanks!
    Arlen

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 25, 2020 @ 10:22 am

      Hi Arlen,

      Yes, it is true. You would need a green license plate if the car is in your name.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  6. Deniz
    August 2, 2020 @ 4:06 pm

    Sara,
    couple questions
    1. If i ship my car to Croatia from USA(im USA and Croatian citizen) what is the process(can i drive it in Croatia and how long)
    2.Since my salary will be in USA bank –do i have pay any taxes on that once i move permanently to Croatia(my homeland) since taxes are taken in USA
    3.Does Europe made car bougth in USA needs enviromental certificate for importing purposes?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 13, 2020 @ 1:41 pm

      Hi Deniz,

      1. The process is included in this article for importing a car. You’ll need to change over the license plate as part of registering the car.
      2. There is no double taxation treaty between America and Croatia so you will be required to pay tax in Croatia on your worldwide income in addition to the taxes you pay in the US.
      3. You’ll need to meet the guidelines for Croatia in terms of environmental certification. Doesn’t matter where it comes from. As part of registration, the car will need to be inspected.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  7. John Gately
    August 23, 2020 @ 5:48 am

    Hi Sara, my name is John and my wife and I live in the US. My wife is a Croatian citizen and we plan to move to Croatia in 2 years. I have a 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and want to bring it to Croatia. Do you know what the homologation process consists of or do you know any reputable places that could perform the work required to convert it to European specifications? Thanks!

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 31, 2020 @ 4:51 pm

      Hi John,

      We are currently rewriting this post to include the latest information as well as the homolgation process. It’ll be up in the next 1-2 weeks. Once updated, we’ll post it on our social channels and in our newsletter.

      Thanks for your patience!

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  8. Kristina Banden
    September 8, 2020 @ 7:14 pm

    After contacting customs and getting references from them I am still finding it hard to get information on how long I have to register my car once it has gone through customs. I am shipping my car from Canada and would like to know how long do I have to register it? I have had answers from 1 month to 6 months to when the insurance expires. Anyone who has gone through this? Any and all info would be greatly appreciated

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 9, 2020 @ 3:16 pm

      Hi Kristina,

      We are about 80% done updating this post. Still trying to get your question answered. I hope we can have it cleared up in the next week.

      Thanks for the question!

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  9. AbC
    September 15, 2020 @ 8:55 pm

    To Kris
    How do you want to overtake? In Europe driving on the right lane is mandatory on
    highways so, with a right hand driven car you can not see the road. The same also
    on national roads. Road traffic regulations demand to see the lane you want to
    use. This applies to the most countries here. Generally, importing cars from over-
    seas is not useful as they are built to different compliance and safety regulations.
    Save your money. Buy local.

    {reply}

  10. Richard Pinion
    September 16, 2020 @ 5:50 pm

    My wife and I are thinking about moving to Croatia. Reading this post, you said that a car older than 7 years cannot be imported to Croatia. We were hoping to send our 2008 Jeep JKU. But, sounds like that is not possible. Sorry to ask again, after you’ve answered at least twice before, but we won’t be able to send the 2008 Jeep JKU???

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 20, 2020 @ 1:22 pm

      Hi Richard,

      This rule has changed. We are putting the finishing touches on an expansive update to this post. Should be ready this week or next so stay tuned.

      Age doesn’t matter as long as it passes all the tests.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  11. Chris
    September 27, 2020 @ 3:15 am

    Hi,

    My name is Chris and I will be moving to Croatia in the next few months. I too will be bring a suv 2014 Toyota RAV4 and packing it with items I would like to take with me. I’ve heard different things about customs and taxes. Can you cover this and what the costs would be?

    Thanks.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 29, 2020 @ 9:14 am

      Hi Chris,

      We are completely overhauling this post as we speak. It’s about 90% complete. We should have it up later this week or next. It will answer your questions. Stay tuned!

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  12. MICHAEL BROWN
    October 25, 2020 @ 9:44 am

    It looks like the links to calculators for taxes #3 and #4 point to the same web page. It would be great if you could confirm.

    Also if you have a link or more details on alternative homologation, that would help me a lot. My car was born in 1973 and I converted it to full electric drive, so I have a very weird situation.

    Thanks so much for the great details!

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      October 30, 2020 @ 2:34 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the comment!

      Seems we got some misinformation from HAK when we spoke to them before. I can now confirm that trosarina and the acquisition tax are the same thing, so we have consolidated these two sections.

      With regards to alternative homologation, we pressed HAK as hard as we could and the details in this post are all they would provide us with. Ultimately, you need to prove that the car is drive-able and that you’ve owned it for more than 6 months to request the alternative procedure.

      If I can help further, please let me know. 🙂

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Expat in Croatia Newsletter and get a FREE GUIDE to the 9 Tips for Battling Croatia's Bureaucracy.