Importing Amazon Kindle Paperwhite to Croatia

Every year I try to surprise my wife with some extraordinary birthday gift. Last year I bought her a nice looking designer dress, an e-book and ordered the Kindle so she can read the Ender’s Game once more. I opted for the newest Kindle, the Paperwhite one. So, ordering this kind of stuff to Croatia is not that easy. We did enter the EU, but for some reason I couldn’t have ordered it from UK, Germany or Italy. Go figure.

As I was a bit late with organizing the delivery, I didn’t have the time to go through 4 people to deliver Kindle like it is a reactor-grade plutonium. So it had to be the States. I placed the order on Wednesday, got charged $160 + $20 shipping. Amazon said that it would take five days to deliver. Two days later, I got an email from local DHL that the package arrived and that I should reply to them with my EORI number.

What is an EORI number?

An EORI number is a unique number throughout the European Community, assigned by a Customs Authority in a Member State to operators (businesses) or persons Economic Operator (EO). By registering for Customs Purposes in one Member State, an EO is able to obtain an EORI number which is valid throughout the European Community. The EO will then use this number in all communications with any EC Customs Authorities for appropriate customs declarations.

Ok, time to find a customs office and request the number. Things in Croatia work a bit different than in more western parts of the world. Namely, to request the EORI number you have to fill a form. And send it via mail. Snail mail. The mail that travels three days from the post office to its destination 6 km away. The mail that my Kindle, which is freezing in some cargo area, derides, having traveled from Nevada over Frankfurt to Zagreb in only two days.

Customs receive my request next Wednesday, and I wait a day to get my EORI number. Needless to say, it is Thursday, my wifes birthday, and all she got was an e-book she can’t read :). Now, EORI requests usually return the same way, via snail mail, but I decide to be assertive and hurry the procedure. Later on I realize that the EORI number is just your PIN prefixed with the country code, and all they needed to do is an INSERT statement to The Great Database Of People That Import Stuff™. Great. Now to pay the cargo “handling”.

DHL, after receiving my EORI number, charges me with $57 (ouch) and delivers Kindle on Friday.

Reading Kindle is great, wife and I share it, buying books is fun and less expensive (money- and space-wise) and I don’t regret one buck spent! Just, what sould I do with this EORI now :)