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Customs and Import Duties

Spain - Customs and Import Duties

Those who are travelling into Spain need to be aware of the customs restrictions that are in place. No animal food products can be taken in or out of the country, with the sole exception of powdered baby milk, which must be in the original sealed container. Other foods can be brought into the country, but no more than 1kg of each item.

Those who are bringing more than €6010.12 into the country need to declare the amount when they arrive. Those who are over the age of 18 are permitted to carry at most 200 cigarettes, 100 small cigars, 50 standard sized cigars or 250g of tobacco. Alcohol is limited to one litre of a spirit which has an alcoholic content of more than 22° and 2 litres if the alcoholic content is less than this.

When you are shipping household items and other personal possessions into Spain there is a certain amount of documentation which is required. You will need to have proof of ID such as a passport, a copy of your Spanish ID card if you have one, details of your residency status, a bank guarantee if there is no residency documentation, documentation from the local town hall in your country of origin to confirm that you have lived there for a minimum of 6 months, proof that you will be in Spain for a minimum of 2 years, details of any employment that will be undertaken in the country and a copy of the application for duty-free import. A letter may also be required which authorises the agent at the destination to clear the shipment and all containers must have a detailed inventory of the items which are stored within them. The inventory must be in Spanish, two copies should be provided and these should be signed and dated by you, certified by the Spanish consulate in your country of origin and have a value attached.

It is necessary to confirm that all items are at least than six months old and all household appliances should be listed with the make, model and serial number for reference. If you have the original receipts for these items then you should also take those with you. If the documentation is not correct then you may be charged import duty and there will be delays while the shipment is cleared. Further delays in obtaining the correct paperwork mean that the goods could be auctioned off if the matter is still pending after a month.

A shipment cannot be cleared until all the paperwork is in order. There are no duties if the customer declares that they will be keeping their possessions for a minimum of one year after arrival in Spain and importation must take place within 12 months of obtaining residency status. The shipment should arrive within the first 3 months of your residency. If you need the shipment to arrive later you will need to make an application for a special permit, for which a charge will be incurred.

Restrictions are in place on items which are less than 6 months old, firearms, antiques and artworks. Items such as cleaning fluids and paint cannot be shipped into Spain. Permits are required for firearms and ammunition and these need to be issued by the Spanish police. The permits should be applied for before attempting to take the items into Spain.

Duty is payable on items which are being shipped to Spain from outside the EU. The amount is based on the value of the goods. Some items, such as books, do not incur duty, so are rated 0%. Other items, such as boots, can have a duty rate of up to 17%. There is often an additional charge for items which have been manufactured in certain countries. VAT is applied at 18% for most items although some are rated as low as 4%.

For those who are shipping many items such as the contents of a house, it is advisable to use the services of an import agent who can deal with all the paperwork and duty calculations on your behalf and many expats have chosen to do this as the system of duties can be fairly complicated.

Useful Resources

Agentia Tributaria
Spanish Customs Department
Tel: + 34 901 33 55 33

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

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