Foreign registrations are still "running" on Macedonian roads

columns of vehicles. / Photo: Free Press Archive

Vehicles with foreign license plates, including vehicles with Bulgarian license plates that meet the prescribed criteria for use on the territory of the RSM, have the customs status of temporarily imported goods. Last year, the government reduced the fees for their re-registration by 50 percent, provided that they entered the country as of October 1, 2020 and are of EURO 4 standard

A good part of the vehicles with foreign license plates, mostly from Bulgaria, ended up in one of the landfills, because it was not profitable for their owners to translate them into Macedonian registrations. The possibility of their re-registration with 50 percent reduced fees ended last year on June 21, but there are still vehicles with foreign license plates on the roads. "Sloboden Pechat" turned to the Customs Administration of Macedonia to find out on what basis vehicles with Bulgarian license plates can still be seen in the country? We also asked what their status is, because last year it was possible to translate them into Macedonian license plates with 50 percent lower fees.

- The entry of vehicles with foreign license plates, which are mostly those of neighboring countries, is allowed in the customs area, which is in accordance with the freedom of movement of passengers and goods. Vehicles with foreign license plates, including vehicles with Bulgarian license plates that meet the prescribed criteria for use on the territory of the RSM, have the customs status of temporarily imported goods. According to the customs regulations, temporary importation of vehicles for road transport can be approved if they are registered outside the customs area, in the name of a person with a residence outside the customs area and are used by persons with a residence outside the customs area - the Cabinet explained to the Director of Customs.

According to the Customs Law, the term for temporary importation is 6 months in a 12-month period. This means that you can drive in Macedonia with foreign license plates for that amount of time, and then you will have to "take a break", but only on the condition that you live abroad all the time and use the vehicle during your stay in the country. Otherwise, you will have to report to the nearest customs office and start the procedure for importation or temporary importation of the vehicle.

– Customs officials check the validity of entering and using vehicles with foreign license plates at the border crossings. It is checked whether and which persons can import and use such vehicles on the territory of Macedonia - it is stated in the Customs Law.

Citizens of Macedonia who do not live permanently abroad, they do not have the right to enter and drive vehicles with regular foreign license platesand that are registered in their name.

- If they already own such a vehicle, citizens have the opportunity to carry out the customs import procedure by paying the duties - say the Customs. If they fail to do so, in addition to the misdemeanor penalty, their vehicle may be confiscated.

For decades, cars with Bulgarian registrations, whose owners have Bulgarian passports, have been driving on Macedonian roads. Last year, the government reduced the fees for their re-registration by 50 percent, on the condition that they entered the country as of October 1, 2020 and are of the EURO 4 standard. The government announced that with this solution, revenues of about 20 million euros will enter the budget, and it has collected about 6,5 million euros.

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