Cars and driving

Cars and driving

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, or

2) Seal it with the customs for a period of at least 6 months (but no more than 24 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
Akti Kondyli 32
Piraeus 185 10

Telephone No: 210 46 23615, 210 46 26325 and 46 27325
Permanent import of vehicles – change of residence certificate

EU nationals, who are residents in other European Union Countries for at least two years, who decide to transfer their place of residence to Greece are exempt from VAT and Registration currently levied in Greece on:
cars (owned and used privately)
pleasure craft
mobile caravans
provided that:

a) At the time of application the applicant has not been resident in Greece for more than two years.
b) 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.
c) 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.
d) 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.
e) The applicant is in possession of a 5-year residence permit( soon to be replaced by the new Registration Certificate) Applicants who are not in possession of a 5-year residence permit (Registration Certificate) 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 permit 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 Registration and VAT. The owner will then be granted special Greek registration plates. More analytical information is available on the Greek Ministry of Economy and Finance website on Vehicles entering Greece are also required to undergo a test at a Vehicle Technical Control Centre (KTEO).

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.

In Rhodes, information can be obtained by calling Mrs. Printezi at the Local Customs Office on 22410 22566.

Driving licences

A British motorist driving in Greece temporarily need not possess an International Driving Licence provided he/she holds an appropriate valid “European Union Format” British driving licence and passport. British motorists driving their own car MUST obtain adequate insurance for Greece from their insurance company in the UK. The Motor Insurance Bureau in Greece has a department serving foreign drivers who hold Registration Certificates.

You may obtain information through the:

9 Xenofondos Street
Athens 105 57
Telephone No: 210 323 8402, 210 323 6562
Fax No: 210 323 8370

Under EC Directive 80/1263/EEC, the holder of a driving licence issued in a member state of the EU (unless the licence bears an indication that it was granted in exchange for a non-EU licence) has the right to exchange it for a licence of the new country of residence without taking a driving test. The application must be made within one year of taking up residence in a different member state; the previous licence must be surrendered to the licensing authority. EU Directive 91/439/EU (implemented in Greece on 01/01/97) states that such a change for persons holding the EU pink common-format Driving Licence is not obligatory. A Greek driving licence remains valid until the holder reaches the age of 65 years, after which an application for extension is required.

Persons hiring a car or motorcycle in Greece should look carefully into the question of adequate insurance cover. In the event of an accident the driver may be liable for payment of damages and may be held in custody pending payment. There are many motorcycle accidents in Greece, some fatal. The wearing of helmets by motorcyclists and by quad bike riders is obligatory by law.

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