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By No owner — last modified Sep 25, 2017 03:54 PM

 Spain - Formalities

Clearance

Update January 2016: Due to the current situation with regard to the number of migrants and refugees attempting to enter Europe, a number of Schengen Area countries have re-introduced border controls. Therefore, it is advisable that cruisers now check with the official authorities when entering or leaving a country.

While at sea it is also advisable that any sightings of refugee/migrant boats be immediately reported to the appropriate Coast Guard via VHF. This is especially important if it is necessary to rescue any whose life is in danger.

European Union regulations apply.

Boats from other EU countries need only to clear in if arriving from outside the EU. In practice, however, the authorities expect to be informed of one's arrival even if coming from a neighbouring EU country. As a result of the implementation of the Schengen Agreement, boats having on board nationals of EU countries which are not signatories of the Schengen Agreement must clear Immigration at the port of entry into Spain.

In the case of non-EU boats, the captain should proceed ashore and clear Customs (Aduana) and Immigration at a port of entry. Normally officials then come to inspect the boat. In subsequent ports where Guardia Civil and/or Customs officials are stationed, the clearance procedure may be repeated, although this varies from place to place. Sometimes the local yacht club or marina inform the authorities about the arrival of foreign yachts and many marinas have their own Customs office.

After having cleared into Spain, the procedure at subsequent ports seems to depend on the attitude of local officials. However, one should be prepared to show all relevant documents whenever asked. One may be asked for registration papers, crew lists, certificate of competence and proof of marine insurance. Once cleared, yachts are free to stop in ports and anchorages where there are no officials.

Non-EU boats should clear with Immigration and Customs on departure from Spain. Customs will record the date of departure on the Customs permit if one has one. This permit can be used again if re-entering Spain within the period of its validity. Each arrival and departure must be noted by Customs on the permit.

At least one member of the crew should have a VHF radio operators certificate.

Watch out for Light Dues, charged at many ports for a minimum of 30 days, which can make short stays very expensive.

NOTE that the Spanish maritime ensign, which should be flown as a courtesy flag, differs from the Spanish national flag in that it does not have the crown in the centre.

Last updated February 2016.

Immigration

Spain is a member of the Schengen Agreement Area. See Noonsite' Schengen page for more details on the immigration rules.

Often the Immigration official does not stamp passports of people entering on yachts, but if it is your first entry into the Schengen Area (or you are leaving the Schengen Area from Spain) or are planning to leave Spain by another means of transport, a passport stamp will be needed.

Last checked February 2016.

Customs

Firearms must be declared. Rifles and shotguns for hunting purposes are permitted if a Weapons License is obtained from the Spanish authorities prior to arrival. Obtaining such a license is generally a lengthy one.

Yachts in transit can import spares and equipment duty-free but the procedure is not simple. The owner must lodge a cash deposit with the local Customs office equal to the value of the imported goods. This is returned when the goods have been placed on the boat under Customs supervision. In the absence of a Customs officer, the document must be signed by the police before the deposit is returned. In some places it may be necessary to employ the services of a shipping agent.

For non-EU yachts, EU regulations apply concerning temporary importation. See the Noonsite European Union page for more information.

Last updated February 2016.

Health

Tap water: Over recent years the water system in Spain has undergone great improvements and tap water in built-up areas is relatively safe. Unfamiliar water can still cause minor stomach upsets and you may wish to purchase agua mineral, bottled water. Agua con gas is fizzy water and agua sin gas is still water. In small villages, the water may be well water and not mains so if in doubt, ask.

Dentists: Any dentistry carried out will normally have to be paid for as they are all private. The yellow pages of the telephone directory carries a good list of dentists (dentistas). You will often find a dentist in the large supermarkets.

Drugs: Prescription and non-prescription drugs are available from chemists (farmacias), distinguished by large green crosses.

Documents

Yachts must carry their original registration document, insurance policy (and a translation into Spanish) and ship's radio licence. One member of the crew must have a radio operator’s certificate of competence. For EU boats, proof of VAT status is also required.

Although a Certificate of Competence (ICC) is not required, many Spanish Harbour Masters believe it is, so it is advisable to have one. For information on the ICC see the Noonsite European Union page.

Fees

Overtime is not normally charged, as all formalities are completed during normal working hours and yachts are not expected to clear at other times.

Harbour fees are charged in most ports if there are any facilities provided for yachts.

A special tax (G5 tax) is payable in some provinces around Spain. See this noonsite report on Spanish Taxes applied to Foreign Registered boats for more details.

Tasa de ayuda a la navegacion (Navigational assistance rates or the "lighthouse tax")

Light dues, payable throughout Spain (and the Canary Islands), were revised for 2015. This tax is now charged as a daily rate to transient foreign yachts. See this noonsite report for full details.

Tasa de Embarcaciones deportivas y de recreo (Recreational vessel rates)

This is charged by the day as well. See the above report for full details.

In Galicia, a "Pasaporte" can be purchased for €5. This is valid for two years and gives discounts of 15% on berthing fees in a number of marinas in the area.

Last updated September 2015.

Restrictions

Anchoring Restrictions

Restrictions on where you can anchor in Spain relate to a “default” EU Law which forbids anchoring or manoeuvring under engine within 500m (can be 1,000m) of the "shore"/"beach"/"swimming area" unless there is a swimming area marked out off the beach. See report for more details.

Marine Reserves/National Parks

If wishing to anchor, or enjoy many of the bays in the Balearics, cruisers should learn about Project Posidonia which has developed "reserves" to protect the seagrass and consequently put in place restrictions for visiting yachts, including the requirement to book a mooring buoy in advance. Read more here.

The island of Cabrera, a tiny piece of land off Majorca’s southern coast, has been declared a national park and access is restricted. For more information on how to apply for a permit see Cabrera Port Information.

Atlantic Islands (Galicia)
www.iatlanticas.es
The Atlantic Islands National Park (El Parque Nacional Marítimo Terrestre de las Islas Atlánticas de Galicia) falls into the same catagory as Cabrera and comprises the islands of Cortegada, Sálvora, Ons and Cíes off the coast of Galicia (NW Spain).

The anchoring permit for the Islas (Cies, Salvora and Ons) can be obtained online http://www.iatlanticas.es/html/index96e7.html well in advance. You must print it out and have it on board for inspection on request. You will receive it via return email. It is valid for up to two years.

See Instructions on how to get a permit

Some local marinas, such as the Real Club Nautico de Portosin, offer assistance with applying for this permit.

Within 2 weeks of your arrival in the Islands, you must apply for daily permits for each day you plan to spend there. Again, this can be done online at the website link above. The Islands have free Wi-Fi, so you can actually apply as you arrive. However, keep in mind that the number of visiting yachts is restricted and you may not get your chosen dates.

It is possible to anchor here without an advance permit, in case of emergency or bad weather.

(Last updated September 2017)

Charter Yachts

Foreign yachts can charter in Spain under certain conditions. Charter vessels must not exceed 72 ft (22 m) LOA nor carry more than 12 passengers. They must comply with the international regulations for the safety of life at sea and have an insurance to cover both crew and passengers. A special permit must be obtained from the local maritime authorities (Comandancia de Marina) and also a licence from customs. Yachts will be granted a five month period (extendable for two further periods of five months) in which to charter. If such vessels are engaged in any kind of fishing, proper licences must be obtained both for the passengers and crew.

An update in Spanish law regarding VAT (October 2013) means that all yachts flying an EU flag and exclusively engaging in charter activity are now exempt from taxation.

Last updated January 2015.

Pets

The Pets Travel Scheme (PETS) is valid in Spain and allows dogs and cats to enter and leave Spain with the necessary micro chip (to ISO standards), current Rabies Vacination Certicate (valid from 30 days prior to travel and up to 12 months after arrival), and current Health Certificate and Pet Psassport.

Dogs must wait at least 6 months after blood test.

The following ports are included in the PETS scheme as follows :- By ferry - Calais to Dover, Coen,Cherbourg, Le Havre and St Malo to Portsmouth By rail - Eurotunnel shuttle service but not Eurostar. By air - From certain Europe airports to Heathrow London (check with Airline or Tour Operator for details).

Check Regulations for pets coming into Spain from United States and Canada.

Potentially Dangerous Dogs - some breeds are subject to strict control and regulations so you need to check your dog is not in that category. Dogs, cats or ferrets under 3 months old are now allowed to enter Spain. Up to five animals are allowed to enter Spain as non-commercial import per traveller. Five or more animals, or animals travelling alone, come under the rules for commercial imports. Once in Spain pets need Passport in order to travel to other countries within or outside the European Union.

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