Importing Your Personal Belongings Into Malta

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This article is provided by A-1 Auto Transport, the international moving service for moving to Malta

The sun-drenched island nation of Malta is an idyllic spot, if you're looking for a destination that boasts a warm climate and a laid-back culture. It can provide watersports galore, and you'll also have plenty of beautiful beaches, fine dining establishments and terrific shopping to enjoy. All of these benefits may take it to the top of your list, if you're planning a relocation in the near future.

Yet, choosing to move is the easy part of your adventure – accomplishing the transportation of your goods to the country and clearing customs can be the challenging piece of the puzzle. To help you better grasp the paperwork you'll need to prepare and the types of import duties you can expect – here is a brief overview of the process.

Duties On Your Household Goods

It's not a given that your household belongings will be exempt from import duties when moving to another country such as Malta. Luckily, Maltese customs does allow you to forgo paying duties – provided your items have been owned and used by you for a minimum of six months.

In addition, you'll be required to show either your Temporary Residence Permit or Work Permit. These give you permission to stay longer in the country, but customs also requires a Bank Guarantee for your shipment. The amount will be 5.3% of the value of your goods combined with the freight costs (and possibly insurance costs as well), along with an 18% Value-Added Tax.

Refundable Deposit

Another source differs, stating that this guarantee is only necessary if your shipment's country of origin is a non-EU nation. If that's the case, according to this source, the cash deposit required is based upon the size of your shipping container. If your goods will be arriving via airfreight, then expect to pay €600. If your goods will be traveling over the water, then you'll pay at least €1182 if they're in a 20-foot shipping container. This figure jumps up to at least €2364 if you've opted for a 40-foot shipping container instead.

No matter which source is correct about the size of the deposit, they all agree that this deposit will be returned to you - after you've resided in the country for about one year. These rates are subject to change, so it's best to call Maltese customs and speak with them about the fees your shipment will incur.

Excepted Items

Even if you meet all of the guidelines required to receive import duty exemption - certain items are excepted. Items upon which you'll have to pay import duty include alcohol above a set amount and tobacco products (though a small amount may be duty-free).

Televisions also carry the need to purchase a special 40 Euro Wireless & Telegraphy license. Finally, furniture will be assessed Value-Added Tax (VAT), though whether this only applies to new furniture isn't clear. If your shipment will contain any of these goods, it is advisable that you contact customs to learn more about the duties for your particular shipment.

Documents For Your Household Goods

Caption: Valletta, Malta

Maltese customs will need to see your passport, as well as your Original Bill of Lading or Air Waybill. A full packing list is also required, along with a separate valued inventory that includes monetary figures and bears both your signature and the date. As already mentioned, you must show either your Work Permit or Residence Visa and it appears that documentation of your refundable deposit is also necessary.

Documentation of Residency Outside the EU

Since import duty exemption is dependent upon you having lived outside the country for at least the last year, documentation of this fact is required. Acceptable paperwork includes a statement from the company you worked for, the embassy or consulate, your accountant or your lawyer. The document should confirm that you were a resident in a non-EU country for the last year minimum, and state the precise dates of your residency. If you're using a letter from your employer in your origin country, then the dates of your employment will suffice.

Some sources allude to the submission of these documents to the Maltese consulate or embassy in your country of origin, before undertaking your move. Since other sources don't mention this requirement, it's recommended that you contact Maltese customs to verify the correct procedure.

Letter From Your Employer

Distinct from a letter written by your employer in your country of origin (if you're using this option to prove your residency outside the EU), this document is to be provided by the company you'll be working for within Malta. If you're staying with the same company and simply transferring locations - then your reason for transferring and the dates you've worked abroad, along with the anticipated dates you'll work within Malta all must be included.

If you'll be working for a new employer in Malta, then the letter should state what job you hold and the anticipated dates of employment (or the length of your work contract). In addition, it should be penned on official company stationery that has their full letterhead included.

Power of Attorney

This document is required if you will have a shipping agent acting on your behalf, to clear your goods through customs.

EORI Number

A requirement now in place for all countries in the EU, you must have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number for your shipment.

Other Paperwork

Maltese customs mandates that you submit a Customs Declaration, which states you have been in possession of the goods for at least six months and they've been personally used by you. Both your signature and the signature of a witness are required.

You must also submit a Notice of Arrival and this is typically supplied by your shipping company or the third-party agent assisting you in the customs process. A Certificate of Registration is also required, which is issued by the Inland Revenue Department. Finally, a National Statistics Form is obligatory paperwork for your shipment.

Regulations For Your Household Goods

Having the correct paperwork in place isn't all that you'll need to do, in order for your shipment to clear customs without any issues. Maltese customs also mandates that you obtain the required registration from the Inland Revenue Department's expat section before your shipment is processed. You also must go to the separate expatriate's section located in Block 1 to register – though whether these locations are one and the same isn't clear.

Further, if you're coming from a country outside of the EU, then your paperwork will need to go through the Customer Services Section of customs. Last but not least, sources disagree whether you'll need to be personally present when your goods enter their port or point of entry into Malta. It may be sufficient to have your third-party shipping agent present. Either way, your documentation must be handed to customs in person when your goods arrive (not submitted later).


Duties On Your Vehicle

For Temporary Residents

The import duty exemption that you enjoy on your household belongings, doesn't appear to extend to your vehicle. For temporary residents, even a used vehicle that's for personal use (not commercial purposes) will incur import duty.

For Permanent Residents

If you've transferred your residency to Malta permanently, then it isn't clear whether your vehicle will be assessed import duty. Likely, no duty exemption exists, no matter what type of residency status you hold.

Additional Regulations

You should also be aware that although duty exemption is likely not available - your vehicle must still have been owned by you for the prior six months. Otherwise, it will not be allowed into the country. Going along with this regulation, the vehicle's registration must be in your name for the previous six months as well.

Customs may calculate their own value for your vehicle, and then base your import duty cost upon this figure. However, the exact amount of the vehicle import duty isn't specified by reputable sources – so again you'll need to contact Maltese customs directly to learn more.

Documents For Your Vehicle

According to experienced international vehicle shipping company A1 Auto Transport – you'll need to provide customs with your passport, Original Bill of Lading and the purchase invoice for your vehicle. You'll also need to supply a letter of employment (if necessary in your particular situation) and the original logbook for the vehicle in question.

Both the original title and registration for the vehicle and an Import License from the Maltese Department of Trade are also needed. Your international insurance policy and driver's license are also required documentation. The vehicle log book has already been mentioned, but an Export Certificate is an acceptable substitute for this document. You must demonstrate that your vehicle is roadworthy as well, by showing either a Test Certificate or MOT.

Finally, pictures of your vehicle and the VEH07 form (along with all the accompanying documentation it requires) must be submitted to customs

Need a little advice...

It's a big step relocating for work. Whether you already have a job offer, or are just taking the plunge and moving to look for work in the sunny Mediterranean. It should be an exciting time, living out on your own, meeting new people, experiencing a new culture. But before you start, do your homework, avoid any headaches so you can focus on planning your trip and learning the ropes to its' diverse and open culture. 

This article is provided by A-1 Auto Transport, the international moving service for moving to Malta

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