Since I moved to Albania last November, I have been exploring the process of getting my car registered in Albania. In my mind I did not even consider the fact that I was now "importing" a car. This was something new for me. The first path to registration, through the organization that supports missionary and Christian ministry work, ended with some disappointing news last week, after 10-12 hours of obtaining documents, notary expenses etc. Since I am serving with a medical ministry my car is not eligible for the waiver of customs fees.
Last Thursday I went to the customs office, for 3 1/2 hours. I returned to the customs office on Friday with another Albanian gentleman, and 5 1/2 hours later had my import documents. There was a nervous moment when the office staff learned that I had moved to Albania last November, 7 months earlier. This meant I would need to pay a penalty fee of $500 USD, above the $720 USD customs fee. OUCH...!
In the process, one of the office workers discovered a passport stamp from Kosova, for Jan 2013...and guess what? NO Penalty Fee...!!! Also, when the staff learned I was a missionary...they did not charge me the "foreigner" rate, but the "kosovar" rate. I never heard what that saved me.
Today I completed the registration process, paid taxes, had the car inspected and now have Albanian license plates. Another 3 1/2 hours of time. The fees were very inexpensive...compared to what I had to pay for customs fees, less than $100 USD.
It is clearly a "man's world" at the customs office and the registration center...I was the only woman I saw the entire time. I am very thankful for the Albanian gentleman that helped me through this process.
Always an adventure...