Importing A Vehicle

Importing your own carImporting your own car

Foreign nationals and residents living abroad may enter the country in a vehicle bearing foreign registration plates and drive it as long as the reasons (visit, holiday, business) for it exist.

Foreign nationals staying for more than three months (students, foreigners married a national, business undertaking) may temporarily import a vehicle free of duty provided:

1.     The vehicle is under six years old

2.     The person is allowed to stay in the country for more than three months

3.     The person has owned the vehicle at least six months prior to entering the country

If conditions two (2) and three (3) are not applicable, a motor vehicle may be imported temporarily only if it is not older than six years. In that case, 3% of all import taxes payable on the vehicle if sold on the date of the temporary import declaration will be paid for each month or part of the month during which the vehicle has been on the temporary import regime.

Source: The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

If you you are planning to come to Serbia with your own vehicle according to Serbian law, any car imported to Serbia must pass a technical inspection, along with other requirements. The law requires that the technical inspection of the vehicle must verify that the vehicle complies with Euro 3 standards (contact the Information Center of the Institute for Standardization of Serbia at the number or e-mail listed above). In general, compliance is verified by providing the inspector with original, manufacturer’s documentation stating that the vehicle is Euro 3 compliant.

Persons planning to import a car permanently into Serbia must register the vehicle within thirty days of clearing customs. You can apply to register their cars with the transportation department of the nearest local police station. You will need the following documentation:

1.     proof of customs clearance

2.     proof of ownership and proof of foreign registration translated into passport

3.     Serbian visa

4.     work permit (if applicable)

5.     proof of residence in Serbia

6.     the results of a technical examination or inspection of the car

Anyone wishing to import a car into Serbia should consult with
Information Centre of the Institute for Standardization of Serbia
Phone: +381 11 7541-260


Vehicles may be imported duty free under the following conditions.

1. Vehicle is less than six (6) years old.

2. Client is allowed to stay in the country more than three (3) months.

3. The vehicle has been owned by the client more than six (6) months.

If conditions 2 and 3 are not applicable a vehicle may be imported temporarily only if it is not older than six years. Vehicle is subject to 3% of all import taxes payable on the vehicle.

Returning Serbians – Must pay Customs duties and taxes on vehicles.

Amount of duties = value of vehicle (estimated by Customs) + transport cost x 20%.

Amount of taxes = value of goods + transport cost x 18%.

All clients must provide vehicle description of year, color, make, model, number of doors, weight, engine size/volume (cc) and engine power (KW). Clearance can take 3-15 working days. The value placed on a vehicle by Customs will be applied in the event the purchase invoice provided by client is lower. NOTE: Vehicles produced in the US cannot be imported.

Required Documents: 9 Certificate of Title and Registration – must be original 9 Commercial/Purchase Invoice – must be original 9 EUR 3 document or COC certificate 9 Engine/chassis numbers 9 Import Permit – application obtained from the Institute of Standardization, must apply at least 2 weeks prior to shipping from origin

Anyone wishing to import a car into Serbia should consult with Information Centre of the Institute for Standardization of Tel: (+381 11) 7541-260; e-mail: or, to obtain the latest, official rules, regulations and procedures regarding importation of a vehicle into Serbia.

Import Restrictions:
? According to the Serbian law, any car imported to Serbia must pass a technical
inspection, along with other requirements. The law requires that the technical inspection
of the vehicle must verify that the vehicle complies with Euro 3 standards. In general,
compliance is verified by providing the inspector with original, manufacturer’s
documentation stating that the vehicle is Euro 3 compliant. Because most US
manufactured automobiles are not Euro 3 certified by the manufacturer, it is generally
very difficult to register them in Serbia (the registration requires a very difficult and
expensive homologation procedure).
? Import of new vehicles is allowed only if that company does not have a
representative in Serbia.
? The Government of the Republic of Serbia is preparing a new law that will probably
be adopted in 2016. By that law it will be allowed to import new vehicles that
complie with Euro 6 standards and used vehicles that are in accordance with Euro 4

1. What should I apply from the documentation if I want to import a used car?

You need to attach all the documentation on the basis of which the correct identification of the motor vehicle will undoubtedly be carried out. First of all, it means that you need to attach a traffic permit (if it’s not an original, then you need to verify the copy abroad in court, notary, in MIA or municipality). As proof of purchase, you should file an original invoice or purchase agreement (depending on how it is purchased). If the purchase agreement is submitted as proof of purchase, the certification of the seller by the competent authority must be verified (eg court, notary, MIA, municipality). If the original invoice is submitted as proof of purchase, the customs office will not require its additional verification by the competent authority.
What everyone else needs to know is that, vehicles in our country can enter with regular or temporary registration marks (ZOLL, IT ..). To start a customs procedure, the vehicle must first have a valid annual registration, and then you must first check it out abroad. A vehicle registered abroad, subject to the registration obligation in the Republic of Serbia, must be notified in writing to the entry (border) customs office. A transit declaration for a passenger motor vehicle with a temporary registration (ZOLL, IT ..) through which a person passes through the customs territory shall not be submitted. There is no obligation to register.
In the event that passenger motor vehicles are loaded onto a car platform and have regular or temporary registration marks and, upon entry, they apply for transit through our customs territory, in which case it will not be necessary to submit complete documentation, as it will be in the appropriate procedure is appreciated by the authorities of the country of destination.

2. What is meant by the term “used vehicle”?
The term “used vehicle” refers to all vehicles that were registered and from which the first registration was at least 6 months.

3. Is it true that I will not pay a customs duty if I import a car from the EU?
Incorrect. Namely, it is not enough that the car was bought in the European Union, and even that it was not produced in any of the EU countries. Namely, the key requirement is related to the origin of parts that are incorporated in the car during production. Thus, according to the applicable regulations on the origin of goods, it is permissible that the desired car contains a maximum of 40% of non-originating parts, or those originating from non-EU countries (Chinese, Japanese, etc.).
Depending on the basic characteristics of the vehicle, the rate of customs duty will be from 0% to 2.5%, while VAT will be 20%.

4. What is required when importing from the documentation in order to be able to import the car at preferential customs rates?
The following documents should be enclosed:

Invoice, statement on the invoice itself (up to the amount of EUR 6,000) or authorization (no limit in value) or Form EUR 1 (also no limit in value).


5. In what way will the customs in the import procedure determine the fulfillment of the EURO 3 standard?
If customs officers are not able to confirm, on the basis of the attached documentation, that the vehicle is manufactured with the EURO 3 standard, they are obliged to instruct the party to the Traffic Safety Agency that will issue the final certificate.


A detailed description of the procedure for importing a vehicle into Serbia – advise step by step
All details regarding the complete procedure for selecting, buying, transporting, customs clearance and registration of a semi-trailer from one of the foreign countries. What needs to be done and foreseen, how to ensure and how to avoid possible complications.

STEP 1 – Choosing a car
STEP 2 – Reserve EUR1 and COC documents
STEP 3 – Travel
STEP 4 – Checking the car and avoiding fraud
STEP 5 – Payment
STEP 6 – Preparation for return to Serbia
STEP 7 – Vehicle registration at the border and freight forwarding
STEP 8 – Dilemma Drive or pay for tow
STEP 9 – EUR1 and price
STEP 10 – Technical inspection and registration


STEP 1 – Choosing a car

The first step in this adventure is the choice of cars over the Internet. – When buying a used car from abroad, the most important thing to do is to calculate the cost-effectiveness of your choice. Namely, many are not aware of the fact that in some cases the cost of imports will exceed the value of the vehicle, or at least call into question the cost-effectiveness of this method of buying a vehicle. Therefore, before embarking on this adventure, it is necessary at least to specify the costs of imports. For information about import costs, it is best to use the car import and customs cost calculator. On the basis of the information obtained about the vehicle that you want to buy from the expert team, the freight forwarder calculates the tax base, customs and tax costs, as well as the dependent import costs. Advisory services and assistance in vehicle selection, complete import, as well as customs representation services can be found in the address book of the shipping company – (Addressbook of Freight Forwarders) of Serbia . When you search for the car you are interested in and search for import costs, you should find and reserve not one, but at least a few cars that you would like to buy, because you do not know what you really will find when you come to some foreign land after a few days . Keep in mind that those cheapest ones from the first advertisements are quickly sold and that the seller will not be waiting for you. Secondly, what you see in reality in the daylight can be much different and worse than what you saw on the Internet, because minor damage and scratches can not be seen on the monitor, and especially if the vehicle is painted. It is therefore a good idea that in advance you have prepared a plan that the car next looks at, with the hope that three or four vehicles that you have reserved at least one will meet your criteria. Make sure that the vehicles you chose are, if not exactly the same, then at least as close as possible to each other, so that you do not have to waste a lot of time in transportation and bear extra costs. In any case, be sure that you will not arrive to finish everything in one day and book online in advance at the hotel or boarding house in advance, and if you do not go on the road with your vehicle, book a car rental as it will certainly be pay more than taxis. If you go to Germany, avoid paying placements and choosing larger car-houses because there is a much lower chance of driving you to miles and selling a vehicle that has crossed much more than it is on a meter.
Abroad, hotel and boarding accommodation is mostly reserved in advance through the intent, and if you do not, you may not find a place in a cheaper hotel.
A list of tips from the first step
MAKE MORE VEHICLES – on placements close to each other
BOOK ACCOMMODATION – close to the plot
BOOK AND RENT-A-CAR – if you do not go with your vehicle, and it does not suit you taxi
On larger and more familiar placements, with most cars, they also provide an original service booklet that accurately records what was changed and how much the vehicle actually crossed.


STEP 2 – Reserve EUR1 and COC documents

Unfortunately, the new regulations in force in Serbia since spring 2014 have largely complicated the procedure for registering used cars imported from abroad. We are the only country in which such a vehicle can not be registered without a COC document, or a manufacturer’s certificate of technical characteristics, which, supposedly, all newer vehicles should have. In reality, they are mostly Germans, Austrians, Swiss and Belgians. In France and the Netherlands some vehicles have it, do not have it, and in Italy almost no one has COCs. Procurement of this document usually lasts more than one day and takes place with the representative of the manufacturer there. A COC document may be issued to you by any authorized seller for the brand of the vehicle you purchased. If a manufacturer’s representative declines to issue a receipt to you, choose another car for which you will be able to get it. Alternatively, you import a vehicle without a COC document and then pay between 60 and 120 Euros to the representative of the manufacturer of the brand you purchased, afterwards, in Serbia, in order to issue a type-certificate without which you can not carry out vehicle testing. The same applies to the EUR1 form. This is for our state authorities the only valid proof that the vehicle is of European origin and if you do not have it, you will have to pay a customs duty of 12.5%, and the base will determine you based on the catalog value of the vehicle. Unfortunately, since this year, the Catalog of the AMS Serbia Motors Center has been used, in which the value of the vehicle is generally higher than the real market value. For all that, it is best to check, at the first contact with the seller (by e-mail or telephone), whether it has this documentation and how to get it. So, the COC document can be replaced in Serbia with a much more expensive certificate from the manufacturer, and if you do not get the EUR1 document, you will have to pay the customs. Independent buying and import of used cars from abroad can be the best way to pay the best you can for the money that you have prepared for buying a car. But will it really be so and how much direct purchase abroad is worthwhile compared to the purchase of an already imported car from one of the plots, depends on a case by case basis. Some vehicle purchases abroad are considered too complicated and complex for the savings that can be achieved in this way, while others feel that only this way can be avoided by a cat in a hook and a bogus dragged trap. And in fact, the most are those who do not actually know how it looks like buying cars outside of Serbia, or they just talked about it.


STEP 3 – Travel

You choose the travel method to the place of purchase, but keep in mind that you will need a vehicle there to transfer from payroll to pay, to take out all the necessary documents and, if necessary, take you to where you will spend the night. Taxis are not a cost-effective option, because you can not know where to go in advance during the day, and if you rent a car, keep in mind that you need to have a credit card because a few foreign companies accept a cash deposit. Perhaps it is best to travel on your way with your vehicle, or with someone in the company, although bus and coach transport in one direction and rent-a-car can also be an acceptable option. The chance to pick up a car for one day, get all the documents, and the evening you go back are really small. You should like the very first or second car that came to look at the same plot, that the seller has a pre-prepared and EUR1 and COC form, or you get it on the same day until the end of working hours, which is unlikely. If you did not book your accommodation in advance, you can do so on the spot via with a hostel, boarding house and hotel in the place where you are staying.
Indicative travel prices to Munich via Hungary in several variants
With his vehicle about 200 euros
Bus + rent-a-car about 70 euros one way, plus about 80 euros rent a car one day
Carriage of the airplane 260 – 500 euros + rent-a-car 80 euros


STEP 4 – Checking the car and avoiding fraud

When you arrive at the land on which the car is of interest to you, try to inspect it in the daylight, not in poorly lit parking lots or garages. If you are in doubt in mileage, check the interior of the interior carefully and check the pedals of the foot controls, steering wheel, gearshift and handbrake pedals, driver seat and door upholstery as well as the seat belt. You can find traces of damage in the engine compartment and boot compartments where usually incomplete or poorly fused parts remain. When giving the contact, the erbega lamp should light up and turn off, and check and make all the lifters work.
Strongly press one end of the body and if the vehicle slips, it is a sign that the shock absorbers are worn out, which can be concluded with the worn tires on the rails. If on a completely flat surface the car is sloping, it means that the springs will soon be replaced. The engine in the hands should work quietly and evenly, which you can check on the handheld unit. Open the hood and remove the oil filler plug. When smoke comes out of the hole while the engine is running, it’s an indication that something is wrong with caricas, valves or pistons. The water vapor must not be leaking from the exhaust. Blow-out exhausts indicate the appearance of oil and engine moisture. If possible, measure the compression at the service before purchasing.
On major foreign placements usually there are plenty of customers, so be patient and do not expect the seller to devote time to you.
Regarding legality, the only thing you can check on the spot is the number of chassis and engines. On the factory-printed numbers, all the characters are the same size and uniformly spaced. If a number is weaker or heavier than the number, the distance between them is not the same everywhere or the symbols are not aligned, this may mean that the chassis number is rectified.


STEP 5 – Payment

Payment – best through the account. Whatever the invoice or purchase agreement you bring to our border, customs will most likely not admit you, if you have paid the vehicle in cash. The only valid proof is an excerpt from a bank, so it is best and simplest to have an account opened in a bank from which you can transfer an agreed amount to an account in a foreign bank at the seller’s account. Without valid proof of payment, the basis for customs and tax will be calculated according to the mentioned AMS Serbia catalog, in which vehicles are more expensive than in reality, and your duties will cost you more.
Additionally, you can not bring more than 10,000 euros in cash from your country, which may be a problem if you are traveling alone, and you wanted to buy a more expensive car. Also, when you do not have enough cash with you, it’s much less likely to be robbed, which often happens to our citizens.
Avoid purchasing from a physical person, for then you have to tick the EUR1 and COC forms yourself with an authorized dealer or seller if you have not arranged with the seller in advance to obtain these documents from you.
If you are still buying a vehicle from a natural person, it is necessary that the sales contract be certified by their authorized notary to have valid evidence of ownership before our police. If you are buying on a plot, the seller will issue an invoice and strike a stamp so that no additional certification is required.
There is an option to pay with a credit card and get a slip which will be with your invoice authentic proof that you have purchased the vehicle at the specified price. In that case, it is best to have a card that is linked exclusively to a foreign currency account, and not for the current one, as the bank would not convert you to the euro at any of its rates. Simply, you have a euro on your bill and it is removed as much as you pay in euros. Of course, pay for the bill as much as you plan to spend before going on a trip.


STEP 6 – Preparation for return to Serbia

First of all, it is necessary to know that the vehicles to which the certificate of technical validity has not expired are usually slightly more expensive. Of course, however, it will depend on which test plates you will remove. For example, in Germany, where our people most often buy vehicles, you can get yellow and red plates or ZOLL plates, as they are called there. If the technical examination has expired, only yellow tablets, which cost from 80-120 Euros, come into consideration, depending on the insurance company, and the insurance is valid for 5 days. For vehicles whose technical accuracy still applies, red plates are applied, which depending on the length of insurance can cost from 160-200 euros and are generally taken for a period of 15 to a month. Contrary to some opinions and interpretations, this kind of insurance, except in the EU countries, is also valid in Serbia.
When you choose a vehicle, pay it and get an invoice that practically represents a sales contract and proof that you are the new owner, the next step is to go to the institution specialized for vehicle registration. There, you give invoice and original traffic license, and you get a new one in your own name (if there is a place in the original, you will be enrolled as a new owner under the old one, and if not, you will get a brand new one) and trial tables for which you are paying insurance. From the seller, in accordance with the previous agreement, look for the EUR1 form to have proof that it is a European vehicle and to avoid paying customs in Serbia.
In Germany, Austria and Belgium, almost every vehicle has a COC document, in France and the Netherlands a few, and in Italy almost none, so you do not have to pay a receipt from a manufacturer’s representative in Serbia. So, if you do not tug the car than you drive it to Serbia, you must take the test plates and pay the insurance for at least five days. In addition to costing over 100 euros, a technical overview abroad is very rigorous and involves detailed control of every little thing from exhaust gases to the towel brush, and if it turns out that anything is wrong, you’ll have to pay for it.


STEP 7 – Vehicle registration at the border and freight forwarding

For a vehicle that you have purchased abroad, you must remove the export customs declaration. You can do this in the place where you bought the vehicle at their customs or exit from any other EU Member State. You can also take this document out of the vendor’s place, because most large plots have such a service, and you must verify it in the last country on the EU territory from which you are heading on to Serbia (most often Croatia and Hungary) and it is proof that the vehicle came out of the EU. When you arrive in Serbia, you first contact a freight forwarder at the border. At each pass, besides the AMSS point, there are several companies that provide freight forwarding services, selling vignettes for foreign countries, and the like. To one of their representatives you submit a certified export declaration, invoice or purchase agreement certified by a notary and a traffic license. He prepares the customs clearance documentation, fills in a unique customs document (JCI), issues a border application or a receipt, as many people call, and sends you to a customs office nearest your place of residence or to another place where you want to make the final clearance. Border freight service costs between 30 and 50 euros. The customs officer will check the mileage and compare the chassis numbers with the data from the traffic license, which completes this part of the procedure.
Documents for entry into Serbia
You must arrive at the selected customs warehouse within 72 hours of receiving a border application on entry, otherwise you will make a customs offense for which a high penalty is foreseen and a possible seizure of a vehicle. In the customs you must also attach the original service book, if you have, because it can also be taken as proof of the condition of the vehicle and mileage, which will later influence the amount of the customs base and tax.


STEP 8 – Dilemma Drive or pay for tow

When you have completed all formalities at customs and entered our country, you come to great dilemma, whether to continue the journey on wheels or to pay for the tow service, because for some reason you can not get a test plate without a test certificate that only after examining the authorized Laboratories are issued by the Agency for Traffic Safety. Together with the temporary tables you took out in the country in which you bought the vehicle, you also got a insurance policy. The list of countries where this insurance is valid, is indicated on the policy, and on it is also Serbia, as a member of the subsystem of the registration mark. Therefore, this insurance is definitely valid in our country, but the big question is whether our citizen who bought the vehicle abroad has the right to drive it in Serbia. It was logical that he had, because he possesses evidence that he just bought and removed the test plates in his name. Although it is obvious that these tables are valid for only 5 days and that their only purpose is to transport the vehicle to the place where it will be examined and cleared, in practice you may have a problem. Article 273 of the Law on Traffic Safety states that vehicles registered abroad in our roads can not be managed by persons who have permanent residence in Serbia. Exceptions are those who have been granted temporary residence abroad for up to 6 months, as well as members of their immediate family and persons who run rent-a-car vehicles. Since nothing is written about a vehicle that was just purchased and temporarily registered, police in the field most often interpret it as a violation of this regulation. Whether you’re risking or paying for towering, it’s up to you to decide. The penalty for driving cars registered abroad is from 15,000 to 30,000 dinars.


STEP 9 – EUR1 and price

The customs office in your place of residence is the final customs clearance for which you must again engage a customs representative and prepare an invoice, a traffic permit, an export declaration and a border application that you received when entering the country. The customs authorities will determine the base for the calculation of customs and taxes. Even if you have paid through an account or a card, or you have proof that the price is as much as it is written on the invoice, it may not be taken into account, but will be calculated according to the AMSS catalog, which will probably cost you more. This usually happens when there is a noticeably lower price for such a type of vehicle, but basically there are no rules. For some reason, if there are some good wheels or spoilers on the vehicle, it’s for our customs officers a sign of luxury, so expect that you will not get cheaper. If you have a EUR1 form or note on the invoice, you will not pay a customs duty of 12.5%, and on the calculated base, you will be charged 20% of the VAT. The car in the customs warehouse stays for a few days, usually two to five, and after that you are invited and receive a customs invoice to pay the tax, and he will also need you when registering a vehicle. Of the other costs, about 14,000 dinars should be paid for the cost of renting, reading the numbers of chassis and engines, as well as for making a customs declaration. You can perform customs clearance before or after inspection at an authorized laboratory, but without a vehicle inspection certificate that after the inspection is issued by the Traffic Safety Agency, you can not register a vehicle, regardless of whether it is imported and cleared. So for cars that are obviously produced in Europe, you have to have a EUR1 form so that you do not pay customs, and the customs and tax base is determined by the customs authorities.


STEP 10 – Technical inspection and registration

Before or after the vehicle is cleared, you must perform a mandatory inspection at one of the authorized laboratories. It is not complicated and involves checking the homologation and credibility of technical data. It is therefore important that you have a COC form, and if you have not obtained it, there are two solutions. The first and the cheapest is to get a certificate of technical characteristics from the AMS Serbia motor vehicle center, which costs 3,000 dinars. However, if there is no data in their database for this vehicle, you will need to contact the manufacturer’s representative and request a confirmation from him. Depending on the brand, this certificate costs between 7,000 and 13,000 dinars. Of the other documents for technical inspection you need to have a request for issuing a certificate, a certified photocopy of a traffic license and proof of payment of the fee and the republic administrative fee, all of which, together with the examination and the service of issuing certificates, costs about 12,000 dinars, if you have a COC document.
Make sure you do not immediately receive a test certificate after which you can complete the test, without which you can not register the vehicle. It is waiting between 10-30 days, although this period is a bit shorter lately, because the procedure is accelerated. When you finally get a certificate, you can take the vehicle to a technical inspection and register it.
Registration documents