Customs in Spain

Customs in Spain
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Updated 2021-08-13 12:53

Before travelling to Spain for your new life abroad, you will need to be aware of the country's many customs regulations. Foreigners are advised to check which items they can and cannot carry in their luggage. As with every other country, some things can be imported duty-free while others may be controlled or banned. Note there are different regulations for European Union and non-European Union citizens. 

You can find all the information you need with your travel courier and on the website of the Agencia Tributaria (Spain's taxation authority or revenue agency). Meanwhile, here's a handy guide covering key points.

If you are shipping your belongings to Spain, you will need the following documents:

  • Passport
  • NIE (your foreigner's identity number)
  • Certificate of residency
  • Letter from your employer (if you're not a retiree)
  • Work permit
  • A complete inventory of your goods (in Spanish)
  • Customs application for duty-free import

Spanish currency

Regardless of where you are entering from, the maximum amount of cash you can bring into the country without having to declare it is €10,000 (or the equivalent in another currency). Cash is defined as coins, banknotes, cheques, money orders and bankers' drafts. If you are travelling with more than the equivalent of €10,000, fill out a declaration and submit it on arrival. You can find the forms here at the Agencia Tributaria website. If you fail to make a declaration, you could have your cash confiscated and receive a fine.

Duty-free products

There are no limits on the amount of alcohol or tobacco you are permitted to bring in from other European Union countries, provided they are for personal use. To determine they're for your use, customs officials will look at the quantities you are carrying and other factors. If they suspect the goods are not for personal use, you have to prove they are. If you can't do this you may be asked to pay duties. Or the products will be confiscated. Each EU country sets its own maximum amount, which must be at least:

Tobacco products

  • 800 cigarettes
  • 400 cigarillos
  • 200 cigars
  • 1 kilogram of smoking tobacco

Alcoholic beverages

  • 10 litres of spirits
  • 20 litres of fortified wine
  • 90 litres of wine
  • 110 litres of beer

If you enter Spain from a non-EU country, the following restrictions apply: 

Tobacco products

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 100 cigarillos
  • 50 cigars or
  • 250 grams of smoking tobacco

Alcoholic beverages

  • 16 litres of beer
  • 4 litres of still wine
  • 2 litres of fortified wine
  • 1 litre of spirits over 22% volume or 1 litre of undenatured alcohol (ethyl alcohol) of 80% volume (or over) or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling wine

Important:

Following Brexit, the UK is now a non-European country.

You can also carry cosmetics and medication for personal use. Regarding medicines, you must have your prescription or doctor's report with you. Additionally, foreigners can carry other goods up to a value of 300 euros per traveller or 430 euros if travelling by air and sea. Travellers under the age of 15 can carry personal items of a non-commercial nature up to a value of 150 euros.

Drivers are permitted to carry up to 10 litres of fuel in their motorised vehicles. This is in addition to what's in the tank.

Important:

People under the age of 17 are not allowed to import duty-free tobacco products or alcoholic beverages. For workers or residents in the area bordering Gibraltar, the number of cigarettes is lowered to 80. For workers of international transport companies, the quantities are reduced to one-tenth of the regular allowances.

Banned products in Spain

Some products may be subject to specific controls or restrictions or are prohibited: They include:

  • Firearms, ammunition and unapproved fireworks
  • Animal skins
  • Drugs and narcotics
  • Counterfeit products
  • Plants products (flowers, fruits, vegetables and other plants)
  • Waste (including radioactive materials)
  • Veterinary drugs
  • Protected wild animal and plant species
  • Exotic animals
  • Obscene or pornographic material

No meat or dairy products without veterinary documentation (if arriving from a non-EU country) are permitted. However, powdered infant milk, baby food or food required for medical reasons are allowed, and some fish products, snails, and honey for personal use.

Good to know:

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you can ship household items and personal possessions free from duty and VAT if they have been used for at least six months. You will need to provide documentary proof, including ID, residency status, an inventory list in Spanish, evidence that your items are at least six months old and that you have lived in your country of origin for at least six months. Failure to provide the correct paperwork could result in delays and charges.

Useful links:

Agencia Tributaria

Madrid Duty-Free (per country)

Alcohol, tobacco, cash and excise duties

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