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By No owner — last modified Aug 19, 2018 11:28 AM

 Spain - Formalities

Clearance

European Union regulations apply.

Under EU Regulations, EU registered boats arriving in another EU country are not required to fly the Q flag, unless they have come directly from a non-EU country (which could be Gibraltar), have non-EU nationals on board, or are carrying dutiable goods.

Yachts registered outside the EU should always fly the Q flag on arrival. The Spanish courtesy ensign does not have the crown in the centre (like the Spanish national flag).

Clearing-in

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. Special care must be taken when filling in a marina or shipyard’s entry forms as these will be sent off to the Border Police Office and revised. Therefore, if you come from an EU port, make sure this is stated. The same applies if you come from a non-EU port.

After having cleared into Spain, the procedure at subsequent ports and anchorages 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.

Clearing-out

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 you have 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.

Notes

  • 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.


Immigrants at Sea

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

It is quite possible you will encounter some of these boats if transiting between Spain and North Africa. The Spanish Coast Guard transmit notifications on VHF about boats that they know of, their approximate vicinity and number of people on board. If you sight such a vessel, advice is to get in contact with the closest MRCC centre. Get close to the vessel so you can report status etc., but do not attempt to take anybody on board.

Last updated April 2018.

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. Passport stamps are the only proof as a non-EU citizen that you have not overstayed your permitted time in the Schengen Area.

Last updated April 2018.

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.

TI - temporary admission for non-EU boats

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

Note that following new Customs rules introduced May 1st 2016, each member state interprets the TI rules differently. In Spain, a vessel wishing to be placed under TI must, on arrival, report to a customs port and declare its arrival and departure. Some Customs offices will insist this is not necessary, but in order to avoid problems in other member states make sure you get something in writing.

Importing spares & equipment

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 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%.

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.

If you are shipping many items from outside the EU, it is advisable to use the services of an import agent who can deal with all the paperwork and duty calculations on your behalf.

Last updated April 2018.

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.

Healthcare:

Spanish healthcare consists of both private and public healthcare, with some hospitals (hospitales) and healthcare centres (centros de salud) offering both private (privado) and state healthcare services (asistencia sanitaria pública). You don’t need to have private health insurance to get medical treatment in Spain, but it usually allows you to get faster treatment for non-emergency procedures, diagnosis tests, and specialist consultancies.

If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by an EU-member state and you are in Spain for a temporary visit, you can use your EHIC to access state healthcare in Spain at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. The Spanish health authority determines what treatment is considered necessary and cannot wait until your return to your home country. Remember to take your passport too.

Note, the EHIC is not valid for dental treatment and is not recognized by private doctors and clinics.

It is advisable not to totally rely on the EHIC and to take out medical insurance. There have been cases where an EHIC has been refused in some parts of Spain.

Spain has bi-lateral agreements with some countries, such as Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, that allow citizens from these countries visiting Spain for short periods of time to obtain free emergency medical treatment. See bilateral agreements here.

Private hospitals won’t accept the EHIC and will ask you to pay for your treatment or provide evidence of adequate insurance. Private health care is the only health care available to non-EU citizens (Doctor’s visit costs approx.100 Euros). Some public clinics also offer private health care as an option. If you have private health insurance, check with your insurance provider if you are covered whilst in Spain (for example Bupa Global is Sanitas in Spain).

Chemists (farmacias) can often help with minor health problems and can also issue medicines that in other countries are only available on prescription.

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.

Medicines:

Non-prescription and some prescription drugs (without a prescription) are available from chemists (farmacias), distinguished by large green crosses.

Documents

Yachts must carry on board:

  • The original yacht registration certificate
  • All passports
  • Proof of 3rd party insurance – in Spanish. You can probably get the appropriate certificate free of charge from your insurance provider.
  • A VHF operators license. 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.

For information on marina discounts in NW Spain / Galicia follow this link.

Last updated April 2018.

Restrictions

Discharge of sewage within Spanish territorial waters is not permitted.

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. There are now "Posidonia Police" operating in the Balearics who will fine anyone anchored on Posidonia (reportedly €1000). Read more in this noonsite report.

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).

To visit and anchor here with your own boat requires advance permission. Yacht owners must first apply for a Navigation Permit by completing the online form. This can be done well in advance and the Permit is valid for 2 years. You will receive it via return email. Print it out and have it on board for inspection on request.

Full instructions in English can be found here.

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 then 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. It's a good idea to apply for more days than you actually need as the number of visiting yachts is restricted and you may not get your chosen dates. In low season it is possible to apply for up to 10 days, in high season 3 days. You can always cancel dates you are not going to use later.

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

Charter Yachts

In order to charter your yacht in Spain you must have a charter license, pay matriculation tax and be able to account for the VAT on the vessel. To receive a charter license, the owner (or a charter management company) must register as a taxpayer in Spain. The yacht itself must be registered for commercial use, and those under 24m in length overall must be surveyed to ensure compliance with Spanish safety regulations.

Only EU-flagged yachts may be chartered in Spain.

If a charter agreement states that the charter begins and ends outside Spain, then no license will be required and no matriculation tax will be payable. However this understanding should not be taken for granted, and advice should be sought prior to arrival from a Spanish maritime lawyer.

Last updated March 2018.

Local Customs

If you have never been to Spain before, you might find it rather a culture shock. This travel writer sums up well the key differences in Spanish culture compared to their closest European neighbours.

https://www.anepiceducation.com/how-to-enjoy-culture-shock-in-spain/

Clearance Agents

Evolution Agents
Tel:(+34) 971 400 200
Offices in Palma, Ibiza, Menorca, Barcelona, Costa Brave & Port Vendres, Valencia, Cartagena, Malaga, Gib. Services include yacht clearance / immigration, ships spares in transit, spares import / export, TPA (Inward Processing Relief), visas, tax and charter regulations advice, notary services.

Pets

A useful website outlining regulations for the movement of pets in all EU countries can be found here - https://ec.europa.eu/food/animals/pet-movement/ms-websites_en

Coming from an EU country

Dogs and cats must:

• Have a European pet passport.

• Be identified with a microchip, or tattoo (if it was done before 03/07/2011) and as long as it remains legible.

• Be vaccinated against rabies with a valid vaccine at the time of travel and included in the passport. Rabies vaccinations administered by a veterinary practitioner not authorised by an EU country will render the EU Pet Passport invalid for travel.

No exceptions are granted, and animals less than 15 weeks old , and therefore not vaccinated with a valid rabies vaccine , are not allowed to enter Spain.

Coming from outside the EU

Dogs and Cats must:

• Have a zoo sanitary certificate, which must be signed by an official veterinarian from  the last non EU country you left, and presented at least in Spanish. 
• Have a certified copy of the identification and vaccination data of the animal / animals.
• Be identified with a microchip, or tattoo (if it was done before 03/07/2011) and as long as it remains legible. 
• Be vaccinated against rabies with a valid vaccine at the time of travel. 
• If you come from a country not listed in Annex II of Regulation (EU) 577/2013, the animal/s must have been subjected to a serological test against rabies in an authorized laboratory.

Potentially Dangerous Dogs
Some breeds are subject to strict control and regulations so you need to check your dog is not in that category.

For more details see:
http://www.mapama.gob.es/es/ganaderia/preguntas-frecuentes/preguntas-mascotas.aspx

Last updated April 2018.

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Spanish Berth Owners Safe - "Law of the Coast" Called Off  (16 Aug 2010)

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European Black Water Regulations  (22 Nov 2009)

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ISDMT Tax Crackdown Begins in Torrevieja, Alicante, Spain  (09 Jan 2009)

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Boater fined €150,000 after delaying ship  (22 Aug 2007)