Monday, June 3, 2013


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...! 

But GOD...!

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...

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