Having the facts beforehand will enable you to make the proper arrangements, and avoid any nasty penalties or clearance problems. With that end in mind, here are the relevant details that you need to know, when importing your household belongings and vehicle into Poland.
Duty for importing your personal belongings
Duty Exemptions Are Offered
Usually termed your “household goods” by customs, these are items like your furniture, furnishings, household supplies, clothing and so forth. If you’re relocating to Poland from another EU member state, then your used household goods can be imported duty-free.
As to foreigners from non-EU countries moving to Poland, it seems that your shipment of household belongings can also be free of any import duties. In order to qualify for this exemption, your items must be in used condition (at least 6 months old) (1).
You must also take all goods back out of the country (re-export), when you leave Poland. This seems to be tied to your work contract, and once it expires re-exportation of your belongings is immediately required. You also cannot sell any of these items for one full year after bringing them into Poland. Finally, a Bank Guarantee for the full amount of the applicable import duty and VAT is necessary, to be held as security in case you fail to re-export your items when you leave the country (2).
Letter of Employment from new company
Though not abundantly clear, in order to qualify for import duty exemption - you may also need a valid Letter of Employment from the company where you’ll be working in Poland. This is required to specify how long the term of your employment will be, along with exact dates for the beginning and end of your employment. Also, keep in mind that the length of your employment is not permitted to be less than one year.
This letter must be written on official company stationary (with their letterhead on it). It must also have the stamp and signature of the appropriate official designated in the company’s registration paperwork with Poland (3).
Letter of Employment from previous company
In addition to a Letter of Employment from your new company, you must give customs a Letter of Employment from your previous employer as well. This should clearly detail the precise dates that your employment ran with the company, and this should also be a timeframe of at least one year in duration.
This letter must also include a statement saying you’re no longer living in your country of origin, and that you’ll be transferring your primary residence to Poland. The language this letter is penned in will vary, as it’s required to be in the official language of the nation you’ll be leaving. A second copy of this letter in Polish is also required (4).
Value-Added Tax (VAT)
Poland has a value-added tax (VAT) which is evidently separate from any import duties. It appears that you may be required to pay this, even if your household goods are exempt from the regular import duties. Currently, Poland’s VAT is 22% of the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) value of your items (5).
To determine if this VAT will apply to your shipment, it’s best to contact Polish customs directly.
Documents for importing your personal belongings
Polish customs will need to see a list of documents, before they’ll authorize clearance of your shipment. Paperwork required includes a notarized copy of your passport (both the page with your picture and the page with your Polish visa stamp) and Residence Permit. A Work Permit may also be necessary, but this is only required for citizens of specific countries (contact Polish customs to determine if you’ll need a Work Permit for your situation).
You will also need your packing list and Bill of Lading or Air Waybill. The Letter of Employment from both your past and your new employer should also be submitted to customs. A written inventory that is thorough and descriptive is also required, and this should be written in Polish and signed by you. You may also need to confirm you have been living abroad for the space of one year minimum - though this requirement seems to only apply to returning Polish citizens (6).
You may also need to submit proof of a Bank Guarantee, which is a deposit of funds sufficient to cover the full cost of VAT and import duty (held in trust until you leave Poland). If you’re using a third-party shipping company, then a Power of Attorney will also be required. Finally, you must obtain an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This safeguard is now necessary for any shipment travelling into or out of a European Union country (7).
Duty exemption is possible
If your personal motor vehicle is in used condition and six months old or more (or with more than 6,000 km on the odometer) - then duty-free importation is possible. In order to obtain this exemption, it’s required that you be moving your place of residence to Poland for at least six months. In addition, your vehicle must be registered (in your name) in your country of origin, before you ship it into Poland.
New vehicles (or used vehicles under six months old) don’t enjoy this same duty-free status. If you decide to import your newer vehicle, then be prepared to pay the typical import duty. The 22% value-added tax (VAT) will also be incurred, and an additional excise tax as well (8). For this reason, it is much more affordable to import an older vehicle that meets the import exemption guidelines.
Even when you follow the requirements to obtain duty and VAT exemption - excise tax is still assessed on used vehicles entering the country. The rate is based upon the displacement of your vehicle’s engine and when your vehicle was manufactured. Poland’s vehicle excise tax can range from the low end of 3.1%, up to as much as 65% (9).
While not a complete list of all possible regulations which may affect your eligibility for duty exemption, here are some important requirements you should be aware of. There is a limit of one vehicle importation per type, and your vehicle must have been used by you personally in the origin country for at least the previous 6 months. Customs requires you to continue using the vehicle for the same purpose (in other words, they don’t want you to begin using a personal vehicle for commercial purposes).
Selling, leasing or renting, or even letting another person borrow your vehicle is forbidden, for the first year after bringing it into the country. If you’re found breaking this regulation, then you’ll have to remit the full amount of the typical import duty that you were exempted from paying during importation (10).
Documents for importing your vehicle
Shipping your vehicle without all the appropriate documentation, is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, you should have all of your paperwork in order, before beginning this process. You’ll need proof of insurance, as well as your vehicle registration. An invoice, purchase receipt, bill of sale or other document proving your ownership and the price paid is required by customs. You also must provide a valuation of your vehicle, which is to be signed by you. Paperwork showing that you are the owner of the vehicle in question is also needed, such as the vehicle title.
If you wish to be granted import duty exemption, you’ll need to submit a certificate of origin to customs. Furthermore, if you don’t want to visit customs in person, then you must provide a notarized Power of Attorney that enables your shipping company to handle the clearance process for you (11).
This article was provided by A-1 Auto Transport - a leader in shipping internationally to Poland. With over 20 years of experience moving vehicles and homes globally, A-1 is recognised for its experience, expertise, and stellar customer service.
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(1) Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Poland” pdf
(2) Movers.com Customs Regulations For Poland
(5) Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Poland” pdf
(7) Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Poland” pdf