Importing your household belongings into the Czech Republic

Have you decided to relocate to the Czech Republic? Here is a general overview of what you need to know regarding the customs clearance process and importation of your household belongings and vehicle. 

You may have decided to permanently relocate to the Czech Republic for new work opportunities, the rich culture or other benefits the country has to offer. If that’s the case, you’ll need to know the proper procedure required to clear customs. You may also wonder if your household belongings and vehicle can be brought into the country without paying added import duty or tax. Importation requires detailed paperwork, careful planning and a knowledge of the required regulations that pertain to your particular shipment. To help demystify the process, here is a general overview of what you need to know.

What Import Duties Apply?
Duty Exemption Is Available
If you’re planning a long-term move into the country, it’s possible to import your standard household goods without paying any duty or tax. This type of exemption makes relocating a much less expensive proposition - but you must fulfill certain requirements in order to be granted this type of duty reprieve.

First, all your belongings must be purchased a minimum of six months ago, and have been used personally by you in your previous residence. Also, you must have been living outside of the Czech Republic for at least the last twelve months. Further, there is a time limit from the date when your visa was granted, as you must import your household items within the first year after moving into the country.

Additional Guidelines
These are not the only regulations that you must follow, if you want to receive import duty exemption. The Czech Republic also requires that you obtain the necessary importation registration and accreditation from the local authorities. Whether this means the local customs office or the actual municipality where you’ll be living within the country isn’t clear. For this reason, it’s best to contact customs directly, to receive the most up-to-date information.

You’re also not permitted to sell or otherwise dispose of your household belongings, while you’re living in the Czech Republic. Customs requires that you re-export all items upon leaving. Finally, your employer needs an official business license to operate in the Czech Republic - otherwise your request for duty exemption will be denied.

What Documents Are Required?
In order to be eligible for import duty exemption, you must have your paperwork in order. Required documentation includes a detailed packing list, as well as a separate inventory list. This inventory should include monetary values, and all electronic items should have the serial number, brand and model information included. Further, this inventory should be written in Czech and signed by you certifying its accuracy. You’ll also need to provide your passport and an official Letter of Employment from the company where you’ll be working.

Lease and Other Paperwork
Your Original Bill of Lading or Air Waybill and a copy of your lease contract must also be presented to customs. This contract proves you’re transferring your permanent place of residence into the country. If you don’t have documentation for your housing, your goods will not be released by customs. Though your shipment will be impounded until the proper paperwork is submitted, you do have six full months after moving to obtain this.

EORI Number
New regulations also mandate that you apply for and obtain an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Without this, your shipment won’t be able to clear customs.

Additional Documentation
The following documentation may or may not be required, as reputable sources differ concerning this particular paperwork. You may need to show customs a bank guarantee, which represents fully half the value of all the goods you’re importing. While quite a large sum, these funds will be released back to you after you’ve received stamped approval at your port of entry.

Keep in mind, in order to complete this process, you must turn in all stamped paperwork to customs in person (or have your representative do it for you). If you will be working with an experienced international moving company or customs agent, then you’ll also need to submit a Power of Attorney. This enables them to act on your behalf.

What Import Duties Apply To Your Vehicle?
Most countries treat personal motor vehicles differently than your household belongings - meaning duties may apply and additional paperwork is required. The Czech Republic typically imposes a vehicle import tax of CZK 10,000 - but this is waived if you meet certain guidelines.

Eligibility Requirements
These include living outside of the Czech Republic for longer than the last 12 months. You must also import a used vehicle purchased a minimum of six months ago, which has been used personally by you. However, your vehicle can’t be too old, as customs dictates that it be manufactured no more than 5-8 years ago (the exact time frame depends on the specific type of vehicle you own).

Other reputable sources disagree, stating that the maximum age allowed is 5 years (10). To avoid any problems during processing, it’s recommended that you contact customs to determine which figure applies to your shipment.

Additional Obligations
Regardless of whether your vehicle is eligible for duty exemption or not, it must undergo a Czech Technical Inspection (STK). This certifies that your vehicle is in good working order, and that it meets the technical specifications required by the Czech Republic. Upon a successful inspection, you’ll be granted a 3 month certificate.

This provides you with sufficient time to obtain official registration from the proper authorities. Such registration is required, if you’re going to be living in the country for longer than 12 months. You must also provide both the technical specifications and owner’s manual for the vehicle.

Re-exportation When Leaving

Upon successfully importing your vehicle duty-free, there is still an additional regulation you must follow. If you fail to adhere to this guideline, you may forfeit your exemption. Czech customs mandates that you re-export your vehicle upon leaving the country – meaning you cannot sell it while living in the Czech Republic. Whether this regulation only applies to those who have a temporary work contract isn’t clear - so contact customs to clarify this rule.

What Documents Are Required?
Typical Paperwork
Customs will need to see a full list of documents, before granting an import duty exemption for your vehicle. This includes both a packing list and a separate inventory list (these may need to be written in Czech as well as English). You’ll also need to provide a copy of your lease contract or agreement, and your passport.

Both the certificate of Title and Registration also must be submitted, and these should be the original documents not copies. Customs also requires the original purchase invoice and owner’s manual for your vehicle. A Letter of Employment from the company you work for is also required, along with either your Original Bill of Lading or Air Waybill.

Additional Documentation
The customs process for bringing your vehicle into the Czech Republic is quite thorough, and you’ll also need to show your driver’s licence and that you have an international insurance policy in place. If you’re using a qualified third-party international mover (which is highly recommended to ensure you don’t experience problems), then customs will need to see a Power of Attorney. This document gives your transport company permission to handle the shipment on your behalf.

Last but not least, one source mentions that you’ll need a bank guarantee, which is typically for the full amount of the duty and tax which have been exempted. This is usually forfeited, should you fail to re-export your vehicle upon leaving the country. Whether this regulation is still in place isn’t clear (as other sources don’t list it), so you should speak with your shipping company or customs directly to determine if this is required.

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