Moving to Spain: requesting customs duty and VAT exemptions
Updated: Oct 7
This guide gives an overview of the customs and VAT rules for people managing the removal of belongings to Spain from any other country that is outside of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
*The UK is no longer in the EU so this guide also applies to people moving from the UK to Spain.
If you are moving to Spain from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland and you plan to become a resident you can apply for an exemption from customs duty and VAT charges on personal belongings that are imported. If you use a professional removal service, the removal service would usually manage the customs declaration process, though this guide will help you understand how the system works so that you make the right choices about the goods that you import into Spain.
In order to benefit from the exemptions you have to prove you are changing your residency. Each case is considered by Customs, taking into account your individual circumstances and they may request any other additional documentation to clarify your residency status.
When presenting the VAT exemption and customs duty request, you need to provide a detailed list of the imported goods, their estimated value and their approximate date of purchase. You have to request the exemptions within the first 12 months of your residency in Spain. You can also request the exemptions 6 months prior to your move if you show enough proof and a guarantee that you are moving to Spain. To confirm the date of your residency in Spain you can provide the empadronamiento.
Goods included for exemptions
The following imports can benefit from the customs duty relief and VAT exemptions:
Imports destined for personal use, for your family’s, or for your home needs as long as it does not contribute to a business or professional activity.
Domestic animals and portable tools that are necessary in order to exercise your profession or job (these will be considered to be for personal use).
Bicycles, motorcycles and cars for private use, as well as trailers, caravans and recreational boats.
Bear in mind that in order to claim any exemption, you must have lived outside the EU area for at least 12 months and the imported goods must have been used for at least 6 months prior to their importation. When bringing cars from the UK, they should be at least 6 months old.
Some goods are excluded from the VAT and customs duty exemption, such as:
Alcoholic products (over and above the standard duty free allowances)
Tobacco and derived products (over and above the standard duty free allowances)
Imports for professional use
To benefit from the VAT exemption due to change of residency, you will need to fulfil the following requirements:
Proof that you have lived outside Spain for at least 12 consecutive months before moving. You can provide a certificate of your tax residency, your address on your ID document, utility bills, employment contracts or any other documentation that shows you lived in another country.
Proof that you are changing or planning to change your UK residency to Spanish residency. You can demonstrate this with a receipt of the request for the TIE (Spanish residency card) and a document certifying your change of residency from the UK to Spain, or with a document called baja consular. Going to school or studying at a Spanish university is not a condition in itself that qualifies you for the VAT exemption.
The assets and goods you wish to import must belong to you and be used by you for at least 6 months prior to your move, unless properly justified.
Customs control may impose additional requirements:
The imported goods should be for the same purpose in your new place of residence as in your previous one.
The imported goods cannot be loaned, given to another person, rented or donated within the first 12 months of the customs duty exemption, without advising the Customs authority.
To benefit from the VAT exemption, the imported goods must have been purchased under normal fiscal conditions in the country of origin, without any exemption or tax return. Consular goods are exempt from this criteria.
How to request the exemptions
You can request the exemptions at Customs, when entering Spain, or at the nearest Customs office of your home. You will have to specify that the reason you are requesting these exemptions is because you changed your residency from another country to Spain. They will gie you the appropriate form to complete. When filling in the form make sure to check the following codes and boxes:
Box 33 (Código de mercancías): 9905000000 Bienes personales pertenecientes a personas físicas que trasladen su residencia (personal property that belongs to a person who is transferring residence)
Box 37.1 (Régimen aduanero): 40.00 Despacho a consumo y libre práctica
Box 37.2 (Código adicional): 101 Exención de IVA (VAT exemption)
Box 37.2: C01 Franquicia traslado de residencia (customs duty relief due to change of residency)
*Box 37.2: 9CR Solicitud de franquicia por cambio de residencia con compromiso de establecerse en el TAU en seis meses (customs duty relief due to change of residency in order to move to the EU within 6 months). This code should be used only when you are declaring your goods up to 6 months before moving to Spain.