Has anybody ever dealt with Spanish Customs for importing personal effects?

I have a shipping company in Barcelona trying to charge me 1300eur for VAT, even though my understanding is that personal effects are VAT-free. They're asking me to produce a "document from the consul in the country of origin to certify that I am no longer a resident in that country". I have no idea what such a document would look like or how I can possibly ask a consulate to prepare such a thing. NB I'm a Brit and my country of origin is the Philippines.

1 Answer 1


Here is what I now know.

If relocating to Spain, having been outside Spain for > 12 months. VAT (IVA) should be waived. The issue I have is that Customs (aduana) are asking for proof by way of a "baja" which is something that Spanish Consuls can issue to Spaniards. The law states that they should be asking for "baja OR other documents which are acceptable in law". It seems I'm just dealing with one or both of a lazy customs officer combined with a customs agent.

I've also learnt that I also need to provide a "padron" and a NIE. Significantly, the NIE must also be registered for tax at the local Oficina de Hacienda, who will issue some stickers "etiquetas fiscales" which need to be attached to the paperwork (DUA).

-- paste --

  1. Transfer of residence

In accordance with the provisions of Article 28 of the LIVA and Article 15 of the Regulation regulating said tax, imports of personal property belonging to natural persons who move their habitual residence from a third territory to Spain are exempt. Article 28 of the LIVA is responsible for regulating the various requirements relating to transfers of residence. Firstly, those who move their residence must have had their residence outside the Community for at least the 12 consecutive months prior to the transfer (11). Secondly, imported goods must be used in the new residence for the same uses or purposes as the previous one. Goods in the country of origin must have been acquired under normal conditions of taxation in the country of origin or provenance, without having benefited from any exemption or reimbursement of the contributions due upon departure from that country. These goods must also be in the possession of the interested parties (or, in the case of non-consumable goods, they must have been used by him) with a six months prior to the transfer, although in the case of automobiles, motorcycles, boats and airplanes, And the transfer being carried out by diplomats, the possession must have a precedence of twelve months. The importation of the goods must be made within a maximum period of twelve months from the date of transfer of residence they can not be transferred, assigned or leased imported goods exempt during the twelve months following the importation, except in cases Justified (13). Are excluded from the application of the exemption the following products: snuff and alcohol products, except in certain quantities to which we will refer later; Means of transport of an industrial character and industrial or mixed-use vehicles; And materials for professional use except, as we have indicated, portable instruments intended for the exercise of the profession, art or trade of the importer. In any case, the importer must submit a detailed list of the goods to be imported, as well as a certificate of removal from his habitual residence outside the Community, being able to carry out the importation in one or several times and by one or several Customs.

  • finally, after a lot of running around, thumping tables and loudly insisting (always politely) that I was right, Spanish customs agreed to waive the IVA. The key documents were:- NIE (registered with Ministerio de Hacienda), padron, my passport with entry/exit stamps as proof of my whereabouts for the past 13 months, and Philippines Alien Certificate of Registration cards for the past two years.
    – pinoyyid
    Nov 21, 2016 at 16:04
  • and in case it helps anybody else, I got a reply to my request to the Spanish Consulate in Manila that confirmed "the baja ca only be issued for Spanish citizens".
    – pinoyyid
    Nov 26, 2016 at 0:01

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