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Moving to Spain


Capital: Madrid
Population: 46,704,314 (2013)
Area: 195,364 sq miles
Top 5 Largest Cities: 1. Madrid 2. Barcelona 3. Valencia 4. Seville 5. Zaragoza
Lanuage: Spanish
Climate: Mediterranean, semiarid and oceanic climate
Motto: “Plus Ultra” / “Further beyond”

Planning on moving your household goods to Spain? Let Nationwide Van Lines take control of your very important move. We provide Certified Packers & Loaders trained and tested by the American Moving & Storage Association. We value every customer, thus we keep you highly in tuned of each and every step to help you prepare your finances and timing. Allow Nationwide Van Lines to make your move smooth and easy.

Required Documents for Import

As a member of the European Union (EU), passing through Customs is pretty simple. There are necessary documents and strict requirements to be satisfied prior to the release of your household goods. We’ve prepared your responsibilities below to assist you in the endeavor or clearance.

Import Declaration – A document stating the household goods being shipped.

Customs Value Declaration – A document used to calculate duties and taxes that states the value of the entire household shipment.

The Single Administrative Document (SAD) – The EU importers declaration on household goods.

Certificate of Origin – Document certifying the origination of producing or manufacturing certain goods.

Import License – A required license for goods of certain countries.

The following personal documents are required by Customs in the Spanish language:

  • Residence or work Visa
  • Passport
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Residence, “Asunto Cambio Residencia”
  • Rental agreement or purchase title stating a 2 year minimum of stay in Spain
  • Residence/work permit
  • Your original Certificate of Change of Residence, Baja Consular, issued by the Spanish Consulate at your origin if going to Madrid. If going to Barcelona, your Baja Consular if a Spanish national.
  • NIE number if going to Barcelona
  • For those going to Madrid, you must obtain the Alta de Empadronamiento from the local authorities of where you will reside in Spain
  • For those going to Barcelonia, your original Empadronamiento certificate from the Spanish City Hall is needed
  • Inventory List (Madrid, English and Barcelona, English or Spanish)
  • Declaration of customer
  • Application Form for those shipping duty-free going to Madrid
  • Diplomatic Franchise by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs if a Diplomat
  • Customs application
  • Power of attorney
  • Comprehensive valued inventory of shipment (in Spanish)

Additional detailed document requirements

  • If items are owned and used for no less than 6 months, imported within a year of your arrival and you lived abroad for a year or more, your HHGS are duty-free if going to Madrid. If you are going to Barcelona, the same restrictions apply except having to live abroad for a year or more.
  • If moving to Barcelona, your HHGS must be owned and used for 6 months or more to be deemed duty-free.
  • If going to Barcelona, your HHGS must enter the port of destination within a year of your arrival.
  • You must obtain Diplomatic Franchise from the Foreign Affairs ministry. This can take 2 to 3 weeks if going to Madrid.
  • A Contact Agent is needed for your Customs form is going to Barcelona.
  • A Change of Residence Certificate must show a full year of European Economical Space if going to Barcelona.
  • You must register with the National Tax Office if going to Barcelona.
  • You must register at the National Tax Office or Revenue Service if you have not received a Residence Permit. Your employer, company or a person whom is already registered with the National Tax Office must represent you at Customs clearance if going to Madrid.
  • If you are going to Madrid and do not have a Spanish Residence permit, you will need to obtain a Bank Guarantee ranging from 40% to 60% of your total value you declare within your inventory. You must also have your Work Permit for Customs clearance. You will receive your Bank Guarantee back once regularization is done within 6 months of presenting permit.

The Examination of Household Goods and Entry Documents

Once your household goods have arrived in Spain along with your documents, both are subjected to examination by Customs. A CBP officer will examine your household goods to determine the value, correct markings, proper invoicing, existence of prohibited items, damages, deterioration and illegal narcotics. It’s important to assure all items are properly described and accounted for to avoid any delays or seizure of items. Once your items are approved for release, they are safeguarded by the proper officers.

Duty and Taxes

In order to clear Customs, duty and taxes will be due to gain possession of your household goods. Your Duty will range from 0 to 20% with an average of 4.2%. Your VAT is at a standard 21%.

Duty-Free Items

The Customs of Spain will allow certain items to be imported duty-free. As part of the European Union, there are duty-free opportunities with restrictions. The following are the details and quantities allowed:

If moving from the United Kingdom, these items will be duty-free:

  • Skincare products
  • Fragrances
  • Champagne
  • Fashion accessories
  • Souvenirs
  • Gifts
  • Cosmetics
  • Selected spirits
  • 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos or 1 kilograms of tobacco
  • 90 liters of wine (if sparkling wine), no more than 60 liters)
  • 10 liters of spirits (over 22%)
  • 20 liters of alcoholic beverages (no more than 22%)
  • 110 liters of beer

If moving from a European Union country, all HHGS will be duty-free with the restrictions below to deem as personal use, not for commercial use or sale:

  • 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos or 1 kilograms of tobacco
  • 90 liters of wine (if sparkling wine), no more than 60 liters)
  • 10 liters of spirits (over 22%)
  • 20 liters of alcoholic beverages (no more than 22%)
  • 110 liters of beer

If moving from a non-European Union country, the following HHGS can be imported by persons 17 years or older duty-free.

  • 16 liters of beer
  • 1 liter of spirits (over 22%)
  • 2 liters of alcohol (less than 22%)
  • 4 liters of wine
  • 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, 100 cigarillos or 250 grams of tobacco

Other HHGS up to $546.47 USD in worth for air and sea travelers, $381.26 USD in worth for other travelers and $190.63 USD in worth for children

Labeling and Marking Requirements

  • All labeling must be done in the Spanish Language.
  • Required information:
  • The name and address of the importer
  • The country of Origin
  • Clearly numbered in reflection of the inventory list
  • The quantity

Prohibited Items

Not every item is accepted by Customs. To avoid any delays and extra charges, please refer to the list of restricted items below.

  • Drugs
  • Illegal narcotics
  • Paint
  • Seeds
  • Protected species and items made of them
  • Firearms
  • Coral
  • Explosives
  • Ammunition
  • Art items
  • Ivory
  • Wood from the Amazon forest
  • Cleaning fluids
  • Obscene materials and literature
  • Products of Iran

Restricted Items

Some items are permitted and restricted to quantity, but still requires either special authorization and/or duties to be paid. Here is a list below of Restricted Items.

  • Cosmetic products can only be imported by a company with an import license from the Spanish Ministry of Health
  • Jewelry must be sent to the Laboratorio Contraste to assure the quality prior to Customs clearance
  • Plastic kitchenware made of melamine and polyamide and produced in China or Hong Kong
  • Tobacco and its products can only be imported by companies with an import license

Receiving your Household Goods

The liability for duties are paid once Customs has cleared your shipment for release. There are no options of prepaid duties or taxes prior to exportation from a foreign country. Once your shipment is filed with CBP, the party and only the party listed as the receiver can pick up the shipment. If household goods are warehoused, the party of liability can be changed to another party, most whom purchased the goods. The Customs broker cannot pay duties, but can accept a check written out to the Customs and Border Protection to forward. Once items are received, all articles are deemed owned by the receiver and no longer in ownership of the CBP.

For more information regarding moving to Spain, please visit:


28071 MADRID

All information featured above is for viewing purposes only. To obtain up-to-date information about overseas shipment, please notify your nearest Consulate.