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Relocating to Spain
All You Need to Know About Relocating Your Household Goods and Pets
If you are planning to relocate to Spain, there is a lot to consider in regard to moving your household goods and pets. Even though moving personal belongings to Spain is fairly easy, you will need to be prepared beforehand. Here, you will find all the information on what documents you need to ship household items and furniture, as well as what legalities to expect when bringing your pets to Spain.
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Knowing what it takes to relocate to Spain and how to ship your household items and belongings, will save you a lot of time at customs. Spain’s geographical location is advantageous when shipping goods, but be prepared with customs because the allowances and regulations are not always straightforward. You will need to declare all items you plan to bring into the country by providing a detailed list and all necessary documents of value. These should be translated into Spanish. There are not many restrictions in Spain, as long as you stay within the limited amount of allowed quantities.
What else does it take to relocate to Spain? In terms of health requirements, Spain is pretty standard. As long as you have all of your basic childhood and adult vaccines in order, you should not have any trouble.
Use this relocation guide to provide you with the necessary steps and information you need to move to Spain; from moving your household goods, to storage options, custom regulations, and what to do if you have pets.
Moving and Shipping Household Goods
If you are wondering how to move your household items and belongings to Spain, rest assured. Due to Spain’sconvenient geographical location, it is one of the greatest transportation hubs in the world. It is possible to ship your household items and belongings to the country via air freight, train, sea, or by road. Shipping goods by sea will take months, but it is one of the cheaper options and may be more convenient considering how many ports Spain has. Shipping goods by air is the most expensive method.
Deciding what to pack when moving to Spain is based on your individual needs. As experienced expats, we always suggest packing the necessary clothes you will need for the first few weeks in a country and have all of your important documents at hand. Everything else can be shipped.
Required Documents for Shipping your Belongings
You will need to prepare a detailed list of all of your belongings for customs. Shipments that are not properly documented will need to be assessed separately. This will cause delays and can mount up taxes and additional costs. If the clearance of your shipment is held up at customs because of the lack of proper documents, customs is allowed to auction the items after one month.
Please keep in mind that the customs regulations for Spain may vary between the mainland and Spanish islands. It is advisable you to check with customs at your destination.
The documents you will be required to present to Spanish customs are:
- passport with last entry stamp (original or copy legalized by Spanish Consulate at origin);
- Spanish Identification Card (D.N.I.);
- original residence visa and work permit;
- certificate of origin or certificate of residence change (non-Spanish citizens need proof of a residence resign document at their country/city of origin, showing that they cancelled their residency abroad due to moving to Spain);
- legalized rental lease of a minimum of two years or legalized property purchase contract;
- written confirmation from employer stating that the expat will be working in Spain;
- consular registration at place of arrival;
- Spanish fiscal identification number (NIE);
- customs application for duty-free import;
- authorization for destination agent to clear shipment;
- two legalized copies of inventory of shipment, written in Spanish and authorized by the Spanish Consulate at origin, showing a detailed description of all goods not older than six months, including model and serial number of appliances.
Be advised that for large appliances or expensive items, you may need to present an invoice, receipt, or other proof-of-purchase document.
Spain’s Import and Customs Allowances
Entering Spain from within the EU
When it comes to customs regulations, there are different restrictions for EU citizens and non-EU citizens. If you are moving to Spain from another Member State, the moving process should be hassle-free. Spain follows standard EU rules, which are defined by the Union Customs Code. That means you can move goods freely within the EU, without import duties, commercial restrictions, or customs requirements.
For goods traveling within the EU, there are customs allowances for the following items:
- 800 cigarettes;
- 400 cigarillos (cigars weighing not more than 3 g each);
- 200 cigars;
- 1 kg of smoking tobacco.
- 10 liters of spirit drinks;
- 20 liters of intermediate products;
- 90 liters of wine (including a maximum of 60 liters for sparkling wines);
- 110 liters of beer.
Entering Spain From Outside the EU
If you are entering Spain from outside the EU, you can also transport goods free of taxation and customs duties, as long as they are not of a commercial nature. However, for non-EU countries, there are more restrictions on the value and quantity of goods you are allowed to import.
Importing certain goods by air or sea freight, like perfume, coffee, tea, or electronic devices, etc., are subject to taxation if they exceed the total value of 430 EUR (465 USD). For other means of transportation, the limit value is 300 EUR (325 USD), and 150 EUR (160 USD) for travelers under 15 years old. In general, occasional imports, such as personal items and luggage, are not subject to customs or taxations.
The following goods are also tax-free, up to certain quantities:
- 200 cigarettes;
- 100 cigarillos;
- 50 cigars;
- 250 grams of tobacco.
- 1 liter of alcohol and alcoholic beverages;
- 2 liters of alcoholic beverages of an alcoholic strength not exceeding 22% volume;
- 4 liters of still wine, and 16 liters of beer (only for VAT and excise duty)
- The fuel contained in the standard tank of the vehicle;
- Up to 10 liters in a portable container.
If you stay within the allowed quantities and do not bring any forbidden items, you can go through the green channel at Spanish customs. However, if you bring goods for commercial use, exceed the prescribed limits, bring restricted items, or carry 10,000+ EUR (10,800+ USD), you will have to go through the red channel at the border and declare these items. You can read more about this on the European Customs website.
If you choose to use a moving company, look for certifications that ensure they are a reputable service with quality standards. InterNations GO! has carefully selected moving partners that have the required certifications to ensure you have a hassle-free relocation.
Prohibited or Restricted Items in Spain
- Food, specifically meat or meat products, milk, and other dairy products.
- Plant products such as flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other plants.
- Protected wild animals or plant species.
- Certain species of fauna and flora protected by the CITES convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) require a permit. This includes items such as ivory, tortoise shells, certain hunting trophies, birds in the parrot family, among others.
- Some medication and cosmetics may require a prescription or other certificate.
- You are not allowed to take firearms, ammunition and unapproved fireworks.
- Products for civilian and military use, as well as counterfeit products, and waste (including radioactive materials) are banned.
- Do not take narcotic, psychotropic, and veterinary drugs with you.
- Taking endangered species, and cultural property into Spain is forbidden.
- And so is taking obscene or pornographic material.
Importing Prescription Medicines
If you have a medical condition that requires a prescription, you should carry a translated and certified letter from your doctor stating your need for the medication.
If your medication falls under Spanish customs’s controlled drugs category, you will need to apply for an import license at the Spanish consulate of your origin country. This will require the following documents:
- license for exportation of controlled drugs;
- full contact information of applicant;
- flight details;
- destination address in Spain.
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Home Good Storage
If you are just arriving in Spain and need a storage unit, finding long and short-term storage options should not be a problem. On average, Spain offers a good number of storage facilities throughout the country. Spain is even among the top choices in the self-storing industry in Europe. However, prices are also among the highest, with costs averaging 260 EUR (280 USD) per square meter a year. On average, short-term renting may cost anywhere from 100 to 350 EUR (110-380 USD) per month, depending on how much space you need.
You may have some difficulties when first comparing services and making reservations. Unlike many other countries, most storage companies in Spain tend not to show their prices online, so prepare to fill out forms on companiy websites or contact them via phone or email.
As for storage services, the biggest cities in Spain are well covered in terms of options. Even if you are looking for storage outside of the main cities, you should be able to find services easily. Be sure to search for the trasteros closest to you.
If you are unsure about which company is the best for your needs, do not hesitate to contact the relocation experts at InterNations GO! No matter if you are in need of a storage unit to fit just one room or a full house, we help you along the way.
Vaccinations and Health Requirements for Spain
The vaccinations required for Spain are standard. You should be up-to-date on routine childhood vaccines, but also adult vaccines, such as for the flu and tetanus. In general, you will not find strict immigration vaccination or health requirements to move to Spain.
What Vaccinations do I Need for Spain?
Depending on where you are coming from, you should check with your doctor to see if you need additional vaccinations, such as for Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, or rabies. Rabies is present in bats in Spain, so take special care if you are spending a lot of time outdoors. Try to get your vaccines four to six weeks before moving.
There are no health requirements to move to Spain. However, some types of visas do require a medical certificate in conformity with the Ministry of Health, Consumption, and Wellbeing, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration, and Social Security, and other EU regulations. Before applying for a visa, check with your diplomatic mission or consular post for all necessary information and requirements for this certificate.
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Moving with Pets
Wondering if you can bring pets into Spain? Of course, you can! Moving to Spain with pets is simple, but you will need to look out for some requirements. As a general rule with a pet relocation, all animals have to be vaccinated against rabies, no matter where you are coming from. Because dogs, cats, and ferrets under three months of age are not vaccinated against rabies, these are not allowed to enter the country, so keep that in mind when planning your move. Spain also restricts the numbers of pets you can bring. If you have more than five pets, you will have to make extra arrangements to get them all to your destination.
Moving with Pets Within the EU
If you are coming from an EU country, you will be glad to know Spain follows standard EU conditions. So, taking your dog or cat, won’t be any problem, if you follow these simple requirements.
- All pets need an identification document. This is either a European Pet Passport or a Health Certificate and Declaration by the owner.
- When entering Spain with a pet from another EU country, your pet must have an ISO microchip and have all the mandatory vaccinations up to date.
- Vaccines have to be refreshed at least at least 21 days prior to the travel date and cannot be older than one year. If your pet received all vaccines before having a microchip inserted, it will need to be vaccinated again.
- The microchip also needs to be ISO 11784/11785 compliant. If it is not, you need to bring your own scanner with you, otherwise you might be sent away at customs.
If you are travelling by airline, ensure you have the required transportation container for your pets. Depending on the size of the pet, airlines will require a container with ventilation and enough room for your pet to move inside and lie down.
Many airlines allow small cats and dogs to be taken as a passenger in the cabin, if the flight is under ten hours long. All flights within the EU are short- and medium-haul flights, so, if your pet is small you should be able to take it next to you. Please keep in mind that airlines allow a maximum of one pet per person and two pets per cabin.
If you need more information on the requirements to carry animals. Read the IATA regulations for carrying live animals carefully.
Moving with Pets from Outside the EU
If you are relocating from a non-EU country, you and your pet must enter Spain through one of these Entry Points. Once there, you should inform the Civil Guard that you are traveling with a pet, and go through inspection.
Pet owners entering Spain from the US or Canada need a USDA-certified veterinarian to complete the bi-lingual Annex II for Spain document. It is a type of passport specifically for pets from North America entering Spain
What are the Requirements to Import Pets to Spain?
If you do not have access to a European Pet Passport, you will need to bring:
- a zoo-sanitary certificate, signed by an official veterinarian from the country you are traveling from, translated to Spanish;
- a declaration written by the owner or authorized person stating the non-commercial purpose of the transportation (you can download the model on the European Commission’s website);
- a certified copy of the identification and vaccination of the pet;
- a blood titer test done at least one month after the last rabies vaccine and no less than three months prior to the travel date, if your pet is coming to Spain from a country with a high incidence of rabies.
Traveling with Other Pets to Spain
Other pets, such as fish, reptiles, or rodents from EU-countries can enter Spain fairly easily. These pets only require a veterinary certificate corresponding with the INTRA model. There is a model for reptiles, and one for other pets.
If you are moving from a non-EU country, you will need a zoo-sanitary certificate signed by a veterinary, presented at least in Spanish. This should correspond with one of three models: reptiles, domestic rodents, and rabbits.
Requirements for Moving with Birds
Birds arriving from another EU country must have a veterinary certificate in accordance with the INTRA-2 model. This needs to be written in Spanish and have been issued at least ten days prior to your travel date.
Birds imported from outside the EU must meet some additional requirements regarding vaccines and isolation, so be sure to check these before moving. You must go through one of the Entry Points and declare the transportation of the pet to the Civil Guard. You may also be asked to present:
- a zoo-sanitary certificate, signed by an official veterinarian from the country of original, written in Spanish;
- a declaration written by the owner or authorized person stating the non-commercial purpose of the transportation;
Attitude Towards Pets in Spain
Once in Spain, there are decent products and services covering pet needs, and you should not have trouble finding pet food, vet clinics, or canine residences. Even though control on animal registration is not very tight, to avoid hassle you should consult the local city hall, or ayuntamiento, about the registration requirements of your pet, as these are done on a municipal basis.
Also, some recent laws in Spain are looking to consider animals as sentient beings rather than objects, which would prevent pets from being confiscated as assets in the case of debt collections, which is good news for you and your pet.
Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!