Hi, I’ve just successfully shipped a Toyota IQ from UK to Limassol. If anyone wants up to date info and how it works and what to expect; I can help. Just done it a few weeks ago. It’s significantly different than seems to be variously advised here and on websites., with some absolutely crucial info which I’ve never seen advised anywhere.
Contact me here and I’ll respond with some key points.
Ok here goes. Please bear in mind when reading this that unlike some readers here possibly......a)I am not resident in Cyprus (only holiday home owner), and therefore not exempt from duty as many here might be; I was always expecting and ready to pay the Excise Duty, and b) as a consequence of this I deliberately bought a car here in the UK which I knew in advance from research (Cyprus govt website and the shipping company info) that I would only pay €19.96 duty! Yes that’s right €19.96! That’s because the car I bought and shipped was a Toyota IQ with less than a 120gm/km CO2 reading (actually 99gm/km)
I shipped the car using Autoshippers (autoshippers.co.uk)who were very good. There seems to be 2 ways to ship; RoRo or R-RAK.
R-RAK apparently ships 4 cars per container; 2 sailings per week from London depots to Limassol, or car can be collected and driven to the depot).We drove ours in the early hours from South Cheshire to the shipping company in Enfield. I believe Rainham is the other depot. Transit time is approx 14 days give or take weather conditions. R-RAK has the advantage that for an extra £100 you can fill up the car with belongings, etc. R-RAK has 2 sailings per week.
RoRo (Roll on Roll off) departs from Bristol or Southampton, and is a weekly service. But with RoRo I don’t think you can load the car up. As I understand it RoRo for a standard car is £474; whilst R-RAK is slightly cheaper at £459 + £100 if you want to load it up. RoRo has more expensive landing costs at Limassol so I gather, hence the Autoshippers recommendation to ship it R-RAK, which we did.
One of the declared advantages of R-RAK is that you are supposed to be able to track your cars transit journey; I’ll say more about that at the conclusion to this.
Total costs paid to Autoshippers for everything at the UK end were:
Car shipped port to port (Limassol): £459
Export paperwork charges: £36
Port to port insurance for a car value of £5250: £115.50
Insurance Premium Tax: £13.86
Total: £724.36 + VAT: £119 = Grand Total £834.36.
With Autoshippers my car had to be at the depot on the Thursday before a Tuesday sailing. When the car reaches Limassol the port agent at that end phoned me to tell me so and to arrange collection.
Let me say at this point that at all times, everything at this (UK) end with Autoshippers was slick, efficient, informative and an all round great service; very smooth and pretty logical. As I’m sure you can imagine, it was only at the Cyprus end that the complications set in!
A couple of important points worth mentioning at this point.
1)We had to complete an inventory of things we intended to load the car with. Please note, that the inventory is for insurance purposes only, so for example, anything which isn’t insureable such as tinned goods, don’t have to be stated on the inventory. We loaded up with lots of tinned goods, household cleaners, mouthwash etc coz most of the time that is pretty expensive in Cyprus. But we took other stuff such as small items of household furniture etc, and things too heavy or awkward for a suitcase. So basically, only list things on the inventory which are worth insuring, seemed to be the advice we got.
2)With R-RAK you don’t have to be at the port personally to collect the car; we weren’t; (I was actually at work here in UK when my car arrived at Limassol; We flew out 4 days after the car arrived). So the port agent required me to give authorisation (via an emailed Customs Authorisation Form) to have my car collected on our behalf.
3)I’ve read various things here and online about having to have owned a car for 6 months before shipping. Absolutely not; we only bought our car in July and exported it mid September. The 6 month ‘rule’ only seems to apply if you are resident and intend to take advantage of the ‘duty free’ concession applicable to that status. I wasn’t resident, won’t be, and therefore always intended to pay the duty, (knowing it would be ridiculously low for that specific vehicle!).
So far so good; the car had arrived on the Thursday and the port agent advised me that it would take 2 or 3 days for the car to be unloaded, cleared and ready for collection; which it was. It arrived at Limassol on the Thursday and we were called on the following Monday morning to advise it was ready for collection.
We duly made our way on bus from Paphos; (our base at the time), to CyprusGlobalLogistics in Limassol.
There are seemingly 2 ways to import; Temporary or Permanent. Temporary is by far the easier and more universally recommended way of doin it. You can drive the car in Cyprus for 6 months after importation/collection from Limassol, on your existing UK insurance, UK plates, UK Tax, during which time you’ve either got to get it fully Cypriot registered, insured and taxed, or export it back out of Cyprus, or surrender it for Customs warehousing, or destroyed (?).
If you opt to immediately import on a Permanent basis (why would you?), then you can’t drive your car away or have it or use it until all formalities are complete, which at best apparently takes about a month! I know nothing more about that method and no official I spoke to could seem to come up with any good reason to do it that way, so I won’t dwell on that any longer, except to say.....
Make it clear to your shipper and to the receiving port agent which way her opting to import to save any confusion!
It didn’t seem to be clear to the Port agent which way I had intended doing it. I thought it was a given that I was doin it the easy way, but apparently it wasn’t and as a consequence there was a bit of confusion with the agent about this and therefore about which documents I needed from them.
Next.... most stuff I read and info provided on shippers websites mentions that you absolutely unquestioningly need forms T2L (apparently provided in advance by the shipping company), and form C1040. In fact it seems to be universally emphasised that if you are stopped by Police driving your conspicuous UK registered car, you flash the all important C1040 and all is well.
When I asked the port agent for this form she told me that form was only needed for ‘duty free’ importation. So at no point did I have in my possession any document which the shipping company said I should have. Furthermore I had no such document to show the police! The documents I had to take, were my V5 log book, UK insurance certificate proof, driving licence, and receipt for the car purchase, and Autoshippers prior paperwork emailed to me before shipping.
One important point to mention here is; by the time I got to the port agents office it was afternoon and too late to go to Customs at Limassol who apparently closed at 3.30pm, so documents I needed from Customs to start the registration process couldn’t be given to me, and had to be sent by courier several days later!
I then paid exactly €400 port agents costs, was given a receipt to then take to a warehouse facility about 2 miles away to collect the car, and left the port agents office with almost no document to show the police if stopped. So my advice would be, on the day of collection, get to the port office first thing in the morning, so there’s time to go to Customs to get the vital documents you need for registration.
It’s worth saying, that when we collected the car, it was as we’d delivered it, no scratches etc, and everything inside intact and complete; nothing missing.
After driving the car all around the island nervously for a week, I finally got my documents from customs from a courier office in Paphos, then the fun began!,
First things first though: an impression is given on website and Cyprus importation info that somehow an imported car has an emissions test to determine its CO2 levels which in turn determine the Excise Duty payable. That wasn’t my experience; one of the Customs documents couriered to me stated the CO2 and explicitly the duty payable, as predetermined by Customs I guess. At no time in any part of the process did my car undergo any physical CO2 emissions test!!
I’ll post this now as ‘Part One’ coz there’s almost as much to say about ‘Part Two’ the actual registration process, which took me from 8.10am one morning until 3.30pm!
Thank you for your kind comments re ‘Part 1’; much appreciated. Sorry for the delay in this ‘Part 2’, I got interrupted, lol.Please note: the process described here is my experience of it in Paphos. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s slight or even major differences regionally, so be prepared for that, if yre trying this in Larnaca or Famagusta municipalities. I did it in Paphos because at the time I was still based there waiting for completion on the sale of our apartment there.
1. So, having received the documents, (none of which were the T2L or C1040!), I went to Paphos Customs at 8.10 the following morning and here’s what happened. At this point you may want to compare my actual version of events with any Website or other info you have read or been told.
2. The nice lady at the Paphos Customs Office took my documents and looked them over. She then asked me to follow her out of the office to a steel staircase leading down to the car park at the back of their building. She told me to bring my car to that car park, and then to come back to her. I did, and a few minutes later went back to her office. She then went with me to the car and a) checked the mileage b)noted the VIN number, and that’s all. Then back up to the office, where she then prepared a document which indicated how much Duty I had to pay (based on CO2 emissions), which I then took to a separate cashiers office to pay the €19.86. Having paid I was then given the all important C72 document. The Customs lady was great; she then explained what I had to do next, which was, to take that document to an MOT garage to get the car MOT’d.
3. MOT: This can only be described as an ‘MOT-Lite’!......(20 minutes exactly....Government timed with a special device which links the MOT garage to the govt website!). The only things checked were breaks, wheels, and more crucially than anything (apparently), Engine number! I say crucially coz this is written explicitly at the bottom of the MOT sheet and I was told later at the Driver, Vehicle Examination Centre that if this is wrong or missing it can delay or postpone registration. I think this is definitely something which needs stressing.
4. From there I went to DVEC (Driver, Vehicle Examination Centre),in Paphos, this is where it really got interesting! Having queued in person, in the wrong queue (of several queues)for 20 mins I was redirected back out of the office and told to queue my car (not me lol)behind several others waiting to be examined (For what I’m still not clear and wasn’t then; the MOT had been done and CO2 had clearly already been dealt with and paid for via Excise Duty). Anyway Eventually after about an hour, my car reached the front of the queue and after another wait of about 20 mins I was called away from my car and into the office.
5. This is where it got tricky! The guy looked thru my paperwork then told me my (UK)insurance was invalid (for registration purposes)coz it only had less than 4 months left on it! This was an absolutely crucial point which I’d never seen mentioned or highlighted in anything I’d read on any website or anything to do with temporary importation into Cyprus. He then asked if I had brought my ‘2 x 2 Euro stamps’! What???? Of course, I hadn’t coz no one said I’d need them, but apparently you do (and I’m told this is longstanding procedure, not new, because most things Govt related are apparently endorsed with these stamps; they are put on the log book). He then told me that I would need to return with a current Cyprus Insurance cover note and 2 x 2 Euro stamps! He then took me back outside to my car and checked the engine number on the engine block against the engine number written on the MOT by the MOT mechanic, checked something (?) about each of the wheels and that was it. He didn’t check CO2 or anything else; it was bizarre and I’m still not clear what that physical inspection was for. Someone later told me it’s coz the DVEC don’t trust the MOT people, and so double check things like the engine number. He then told me to subsequently return with the cover note and stamps to the ‘front office’ (when I’d got them) but that I didn’t need to present the car for a re inspection. I queried with him whether I would be able to insure the car with a Cypriot insurer ‘pre registration’ and he told me I would. Interestingly when I’d asked Autoshippers this question previously back in UK, I was told it probably wouldn’t be possible, but to check locally.
6. I then took the stamps and cover note back to the DVEC. At the front office, the lady examined my documents, asked about Cypriot Driving licence and didn’t seem overly happy that I only had a UK one, then asked me for Registration Fee and Tax (Total €168), which again didn’t seem to reconcile with currently published rates for either! Please note here also: The Tax and new Log Book and new registration number were all done there and then spontaneously and printed off there and then; there’s no returning several days later to pick those up, as I’ve read several times online. Also note (again crucially) that it would seem that registration and tax are done simultaneously with no choice in the matter, a requirement to pay there and then, and in cash; no credit card (luckily I had enough cash on me), and no choice to pay the tax online via JCC website later.
7. I then asked where to get plates done and was directed to ‘G Droushiotis’ car accessories across the road who made up the new plates and fitted them for €20.
I’ll add a final ‘Part 3’ which is a summary of tips and recommendations I can offer, based on my experience.
Based on my experience of importing and registering the car; I would offer the following tips, insights, and recommendations:
1. I’m sure there are many shipping companies out there, who could equally be recommended, but I have to say I was happy with Autoshippers, and would use them again and would recommend them. Everything at their (UK) was fine. Tom there was my initial contact. Also Maria at CyprusGloballogistics at the Limassol end was excellent. Just make it clear at the outset to the shippers and the Port Agent which import method yre trying to achieve, i.e temporary or permanent importation, and whether yre resident, and therefore potentially a Duty Free customer. You may have realise that Temporary Importation eventually becomes Permanent Importation at the point of completion of registration process, which is of course true. Which is all the more baffling is why anyone would choose the Permanent method at the outset. Importing on temporary basis gives you the option of driving around on UK plates and insurance etc, and postponing full registration until yre ready. Just remember to sort it within the 6 months ‘window’.
2. R-RAK was good; seemingly pretty much as described. The only comment I’d make is that it’s supposed to be possible to track you cars journey with it, but I never managed to do it.Autoshippers say on the website that the RRAK service is trackable with the container number. Unfortunately at no point was I able to do this; for several reasons. I was told that the Container number would be on the Waybill which would be given to me when Autoshippers had confirmation of shipment. The problem was, I didn’t get that confirmation until 5th September, 8 days AFTER it had apparently sailed on 28th! In other words my car was more than half way into its journey/transit time to Limassol before a) I was notified of confirmation of sailing, and Container number, and b)Able to therefore (theoretically) track my car. To get that info so late into the transit seems almost pointless to me, and also would seem to almost negate the tracking facility. Also for 8 days into transit I therefore had no indication of......sailed or not sailed, delay, etc etc; just a big void in information. Also even when I got the Container number finally, I still couldn’t track it despite trying several times from the link given. It just seemed to take me to info about the shipping Company not the actual journey info. In fact I only eventually found out where the ship was by going onto a different website which was about the actual ship not the company. But that’s a small gripe really.
3. Get to the Port Agent first thing in the morning, to allow time for any processing, Customs Office visit etc.
4. Acknowledge any prior info given by the shipping company but park it, and wait to hear (locally) from the Port Agent what the process is; they have the key local knowledge, which as we know can change, or be regionally different etc. Essentially, let the shipping company guide you re actual importation from A to B, but let the Port Agent be your guide as to how to proceed with actual local registration and what documents you need etc.
5. Make absolutely sure before your car leaves UK, that it will have at least 4 months UK insurance on it at the point you will be presenting it for registration at DVEC.
6. Make sure you have a small supply of 2 Euro stamps when you start registration.
7. Make sure you have cash (not cards), to pay for registration, and car tax.
8. Make sure you know where your engine number is on the engine block, and that it’s readable! I was told by the MOT guy that he had been unable to do some Registration MOTs coz the engine number (like mine), was on a bar coded paper stuck to the engine block, and creased and unreadable. The driver had to be referred to a Main Dealer for confirmation of the engine number, and couldn’t proceed with the MOT TIL this had been achieved.
9. Make sure the MOT guy writes the engine number on the MOT sheet (they seem to do this automatically but just check).
10. Try and do some prior research about car insurance, and which is the best/cheapest.Because I had to get mine in a hurry to satisfy the DVEC people and return with the cover note, I ended up paying over the odds I think. I didn’t do this, coz I intended to import the car and tax and insure it at a later date in the 6 months ‘window’, so I was taken by surprise when I did have to spontaneously buy insurance.
11. One interesting aspect about my insurance though; coz I’m a holiday home owner, and not in Cyprus all the time, it looks as though I can insure my car in 4 month ‘stop/start’ tranches, rather than insuring it for a whole year. That’s how it is at present, but I’m sure it will pan out that it’s cheaper to just insure for a whole continuous year.
12. I know there are clearly people out there (Foda here I gather is very good),who, for a price, will walk you thru the whole process smoothly and without pain. I met one such person at the Customs Office and again (same woman with same customer), and she was very good and very helpful. She was actually the person who advised me not to wait in line at DVEC and instead go and queue my car. She also told me how crucial it was that the engine number was correct and written on the MOT. So if you feel inclined to spending the money to avoid the hassle then more power to ya; go for it. I didn’t want to spend that extra money, so I decided to go it alone. It depends I guess on your personal confidence with such things and how you cope with officialdom and bureaucracy.
13. What I’d say is, yes it was hassle, yes it was annoying and nerve shredding and frustrating at times, but isn’t most bureaucracy? I did it without help, so can you, and especially now you have my tips here lol. It’s entirely do-able, just a pain in the ‘you know what’! If I’d known what I know now it would have been super easy. Also I was trying to do it in the context of a 2 week ‘holiday’, It must be a lot easier to do it if yre not time pressured. It’s not hard; just frustrating and a bit time consuming. From start to finish it took me from 8.10 am presenting at Customs Office to 3.30pm getting the new plates fitted, to get it all sorted. But that included having to go and sort an insurance Cover Note.
14. Was it financially worth it? Absolutely! The car I imported is 4 years old, still with balance of Toyota warranty left, 27,000 verified miles, full service history, all previous MOT’s and receipts etc. One lady owner from new, pristine condition, 60 plus miles to the gallon, low tax and insurance etc etc . £4400 + £1200 approx shipping and importation costs + £140 approx tax and Registration. So if we say the car all in,cost me £5800 to buy and keep and drive in Cyprus, it’s still a steal. Same car here would cost me a lot more than that, and it wouldn’t come with all the back up and provenance info. Ten to 15 year old cars with no paperwork are routinely £3 to £4000 in Cyprus as we all know.
15. The key here is importing the right car, I.e less than 120gms/km CO2. The Cyprus govt website actually states such vehicles as zero Excise Duty, which is true, but then there’s an ‘extra’ Excise Duty’ for such cars which comes out at €19.86 lol. Import the right car and you’ll be quids in. But beware, importing anything with higher CO2 emissions starts to look very expensive and not worth it. Autoshippers were able to tell me in advance,exactly how much duty would be payable, which was great. So get that cost understanding from your shipper before deciding to proceed. All the costs advised of and quoted by Autoshippers were accurate to the penny (or cent lol), other than the tax and registration figures which were slightly out. Possibly because registration tax was I believe discounted for a while.
Well folks hope that helps. Sorry it’s taken so long, and in 3 parts, but as you can see, to describe the whole process accurately, cannot be done quickly or easily and still be meaningful and useful. I’m happy to answer any questions based on my explanation or experience on it, but bear in mind I’m not a car importation expert lol. Good luck anyway, and thanks for reading.
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