Several days ago my innocent post on FB, with examples of fines for the use of cars with foreign registration, has become a real field for controversy between supporters and opponents of such cars.
One of the favorite arguments of owners of Euro number plates is the reference to the Istanbul Convention (Convention on Temporary Admission of 1990). Many of them believe that the Convention allows Ukrainians to use cars with foreign registration, imported by foreigners. Moreover, this view is shared by some lawyers and even some judges.
I do not want to provoke discussions about whether it is right or wrong to use a car with foreign license plates. I will just try to explain as easily as possible why the norms of the Istanbul Convention do not apply to Ukrainian realities.
To begin with, a few words about one of the most popular schemes of car import - "temporary import". A foreigner imports a car into Ukraine, crosses the border and gives it to a Ukrainian. Power of attorney, technical passport and other documents are often handed over together with the car, although none of them matters to the Ukrainian. The car can be owned by a foreigner or owned by a foreign company.
Then the Ukrainian, happy and carefree, drives a "new" car to meet customs inspectors. After the meeting with the inspector, our driver has a great chance to receive a report on violation of customs rules under Article 485 of the Customs Code of Ukraine. The sanction of the article provides for a considerable fine - 300% of payments that must be paid for "customs clearance" of such a car. This is where everyone starts mentioning the Istanbul Convention.
But let us understand all the intricacies of the application of the Convention.
What cars can be imported under the Convention?
The Istanbul Convention distinguishes between two types of vehicles (TK):
Commercial vehicle for commercial use - used for international paid transportation of persons or for international commercial transportation of goods. It is forbidden to use such vehicles for domestic transportation.
If anyone thinks that you can tell a story about a car for international passenger transport, I will disappoint him. Such shipments require a license.
The legislation also sets a number of requirements for cars used for international cargo transportation (more details in the Law of Ukraine "On Road Transport").
Vehicles for private use - used for personal needs. Customs considers a trip by car on a business trip as a personal use.
Can a Ukrainian import a car with "Euro number plates"?
Here it is better to use the term "resident" / "non-resident".
Resident - enterprises registered in Ukraine; citizens permanently residing in Ukraine. That is, it can be even foreigners who have a permanent residence permit in Ukraine.
Non-resident - foreign enterprises; citizens permanently residing abroad.
With regard to private vehicles, the Convention grants customs duties on such vehicles only to non-residents.
Instead, commercial vehicles can be imported without payment of customs duties by both residents and non-residents. Such vehicles must be registered abroad and owned by a non-resident. If a resident imports such a vehicle, he must provide confirmation that he will use this vehicle for the international carriage of goods under the direction of its owner.
Convention and "green corridor"
In almost all cases, foreign cars are imported into Ukraine using the "green corridor". Thus, drivers automatically declare that their vehicles are personal vehicles.
If the vehicle belongs to a vehicle for commercial use, it cannot be imported through the "green corridor" (part 2 of Article 379 of the Customs Code of Ukraine).
Of course, you can always say that the driver chose the "green corridor" by mistake. But we must not forget that there is also responsibility for this. In such a case, the violator may be charged under Article 471 of the Customs Code of Ukraine, and may also be charged under Article 472 (the sanction provides for the confiscation of the vehicle + a fine in the amount of its value).
Is it possible to transfer a car to a Ukrainian?
Many believe that the Istanbul Convention allows Ukrainians to use vehicles imported by foreigners.
Indeed, Article 7 of Annex C to the Convention allows third parties to use temporarily imported vehicles. But in order to understand which vehicles and to whom you can use, I will give the full text of this article.
(A) Commercial vehicles may be used by third parties who have the appropriate authorization of the user of the temporary importation and who carry out their activities for the benefit of the latter, even if they are registered or permanently resident in the territory of the temporary importation;
b) Private use vehicles may be used by third parties who have the appropriate authorization of the user of the right of temporary admission. Each Contracting Party may allow such use by a person residing in its territory, in particular if he uses it on behalf of and in accordance with the instructions of the user of the right of temporary admission. "
As you can see, commercial vehicles can also be used by Ukrainians who work for the benefit of the owner of such a vehicle (a foreigner or a foreign company). That is, they must transport the goods in favor of such vehicle owner. But this does not mean that such a vehicle can be transferred uncontrolled. There is an established order for this.
With regard to private vehicles, the Convention gives each State Party the right to decide for itself whether to grant its citizens the right to use such vehicles. In Ukraine, this issue has not been resolved in favor of citizens - temporarily imported personal vehicles are prohibited to transfer to others (part 4 of article 380 of the Customs Code of Ukraine).
As we can see, the Istanbul Convention in Ukraine allows only non-residents to temporarily import cars duty-free. A Ukrainian will be able to take advantage of such benefits only if he imports a commercial vehicle with properly executed documents. Just keep in mind that even in this case it is a question of importing a vehicle not for a period of up to 1 year, but only for the time necessary for the carriage of goods (part 1 of Article 9 of Annex C to the Convention). So be vigilant and do not trust empty promises.
The material is published on the site "Autocenter"