Shipping & Mail Forwarding to Spain

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Clearance Process
Working with Customs officials throughout the world, FedEx has developed innovative technology to eliminate many steps of the paperwork-handling process and expedite the movement of international shipments.┬ Starting at the origin location, state-of-the-art technology allows the processing of shipment paperwork and electronic transmission of documents to the designated FedEx hub and destination clearance location. The Expressclear system also keeps a database of regulatory information, which includes; importers' numbers, broker designations, corporate contact names and telephone numbers. At a FedEx hub, international shipments are sorted, scanned and loaded onto an international flight. Vital shipment information is keyed into a worldwide manifest database, which is linked to computer systems operated by brokers and Customs officials in many countries. Even before the plane has taken off, or while it is in the air, Customs agents and brokers at the destination airport of entry can begin examining shipping manifests, querying air waybill data if they need more details, assessing duties and taxes and selecting the shipments they wish to examine. By the time the plane arrives at its destination, many packages have already been cleared by Customs. As the plane is unloaded, the Expressclear system identifies packages to be examined and prints "cleared" Customs labels for all others. Cleared shipments are transferred to trucks for immediate delivery. International shipments are scanned at all key points throughout the process, and this allows for up-to-date status reports including when Customs clearance is obtained. Spain, like most member states of the European Community, bases its Harmonized Tariff Schedule (Nomenclatura Aduanera) on the TARIC (Integrated Tariff of the European Community) which is issued by the Commission and the Member States for the purpose of applying Community measures relating to import and exports, and-when necessary- to trade between member sates. The TARIC also serves as a basis for the working tariffs and tariff file of Spain and other Member States.

Spanish customs values shipments at C.I.F. prices. Import duty rates are divided into two classifications: Most Favored Nation (MFN) and General. Import duties are calculated on ad valorem basis, i.e. expressed as a percentage of the value of the imported goods. There are two primary entry types for importing into Spain:

  1. Standard clearance procedure

  2. Simplified declaration procedure

The┬ two procedures apply to all shipments regardless of value and/or to negligible value shipments below 22 EURO and provides Duty and Tax relief.┬ The low value limit is 22 EURO or 45 EURO when the shipment is consumer to consumer.

Tobacco, drugs, medicines, weapons and their parts, strategic materials and their parts, CITES commodities, alcohol and all other licensable commodities cannot be processed under the simplified declaration procedure.

Imported goods are not legally entered until after the shipment has been released by Spanish Customs. Spain Customs may pull any shipment at any time for review or investigation, which could result in clearance/delivery delays. NOTE: In addition to the Customs Department, importers should contact other agencies when questions regarding particular commodities arise. For example, questions about textile products should be forwarded to the Secretaria General De Comercio Exterior (COMEX) for import license requirements.

The Importer of Record or a licensed Customs Broker may account for goods. According to the Importer of Record's profile FedEx GTS SPAIN will either provide notification upon arrival of shipments to the Importer's designated Customs Broker or clear and advance payment of any duties and taxes levied for the shipments on behalf of the importer.

Note: A Customs (entry and payment processing) account can be established at any customs office and by the importer himself for his shipments or by FedEx for all its customers. Currently only FedEx's account is being used. In all cases a commercial invoice is needed for clearance purposes.

Goods may be transported in-bond to another point of entry for clearance by re-manifesting (infrequent) to that location, by using house air waybills or by using T docs (EU transit system). A bonded carrier is required to transport the shipment from the point of arrival to point of clearance. Arrangements for transporting the merchandise to an interior point in-bond may be made by the consignee, by the customs broker or by any other person having sufficient interest in the goods for that purpose.

If it is desired to postpone the release of the goods, they may be placed in FedEx's cage in a bonded warehouse until the documentation has been obtained for appropriate release. If the goods are not released from Customs within 5 days, they are reported to the Customs Office warehouse and abandoned or sent back to the origin at shipper's expense.

Free Trade Zones/Warehouses
There are three different customs regulations in Spain. The EU common customs apply to the mainland and Balearic Isles. The Canary Islands, previously a customs-free area, is undergoing a transition period to meet EU customs regulations. There is a customs-free trade area in the two northern Africa enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which are under Spanish sovereignty.

Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla are not considered as part of the EU due to different Customs policies.┬ Only documents are accepted to Ceuta and Melilla.┬ Duties and taxes shipments destinated to Canary Islands must be billed to consignee.┬ Paperwork delivered to cnee/cnee's broker will constitute POD.

Document Requirements
Several different forms of documentation may be required for shipments to Spain. Exporters are required to present one commercial invoice, one bill of lading and three copies of a certificate of origin for all shipments. Other certificates are necessary for exporting pharmaceutical goods, perishable foods, live animals and some medical goods. Some of the documentation required may be: Air Waybill -┬ An air waybill or carriers certificate (naming the consignee for customs purposes) is required as evidence of the consignee's right to make entry.

Commercial Invoices -┬ Invoices are required for all dutiable shipments relating to commercial transactions between companies and companies; companies and individuals, regardless of the value. Commercial invoices should show freight, insurance and similar charges as separate items when applicable, regardless of the INCOTERM used on the transaction. It must be in Spanish for export shipments or accompanied by a translation. It can be in any official language for import shipments and, if required by customs, must be accompanied by a translation. A party, who is knowledgeable of the transaction, must furnish translation, if requested.

Specific invoice details are required for a number of commodities including the following:

  • Textiles┬ - the fabric breakdown, whether knit or woven and, for clothing articles, the gender;

  • Marked/mutilated samples┬ - the words "mutilated samples" or┬ "marked samples, not for resale" as applicable;

  • Software on CD's and floppy disks┬ - The value of software must be shown separately from software support.

Dangerous Goods Certification -┬ Some goods will, in addition to the standard documentation noted above, require DG certification. ┬ (i.e. perfumes, liquor, chemicals, etc.)

Import Licenses
Import Authorization: (Autorizacion Administrativa de Importacion, AAI) - used to control imports, which are subject to quotas.

Prior notice of imports: (Notificacion Previa de Importacion) - used for merchandise that circulates in the EU Customs Union Area, but is controlled for statistical purposes only. The importer must obtain the document and present it to the General Register.

Importers apply for import licenses at the Spanish General Register of the Secretaria General de Comercio Exterior. A commercial invoice that includes freight and insurance, the C.I.F. price, net and gross weight, and an invoice number must accompany the license application. Customs accepts commercial invoices by fax. The license, once granted, is normally valid for six months but may be extended if adequate justification is provided.

Goods that are shipped to a Spanish customs area without proper import licenses or declarations are usually subject to considerable delay and may run up substantial demurrage charges. Prior to making shipments, exporters should ensure that the importer has obtained the necessary licenses.

Sanitary Certificates - Animal and Plant Health Inspections certificates may be required for the importation of living plant material, including plants, plant products and seeds. Health inspection requirements also govern the importation of animals and parts of animals, including meat products, skins, hides and similar products, marine mammals, fish, crustaceans, or mollusks and parts thereof. Most of these certificates are obtained by providing the proper documentation to the Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentaci├│n, (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Products).

Pharmaceutical Certificates┬ - These certificates are required by Spanish Customs for drugs and certain sanitary items. A standard analysis bulletin issued by the manufacturer, listing the product composition, is acceptable for customs purposes.

Bills of Lading┬ - No special regulations

Certificates of Origin ┬ - Certificates of Origin are required for the importation of any Textile products valued at over┬ 22 Euros. Exceptions from this requirement include marked and mutilated samples; luggage made up of textile materials, canvas bags, and bona-fide gifts, personal effects. A Certificate of Origin is recommended to be provided for every commodity subject to import licensing and /or quota restrictions from some origin countries and is required for all textile products imported into Spain that originate in Hong Kong, Macao, or Singapore regardless of the value.

Certificate of Origin Form A┬ - A Certificate of Origin Form A may be required for goods under formal entry claiming preferential duty or exemption under the various agreements of Generalized System of Preferences. It should be produced at the time of entry and must be in the possession of the Importer at the time of entry. Origin of the goods must be detailed on the commercial invoice.

EUR 1 Form Import┬ - An EUR 1 form may be required for goods under formal entry claiming preferential duty or exemption under various bilateral agreements by the European Union countries and some specific countries or groups of countries. It should be produced at the time of entry and must be in possession of the Importer at the time of entry. Origin of the goods must be detailed on the commercial invoice.

EUR 1 Form Export┬ - An EUR 1 form may be compiled exporters from the European Union to some countries to claim preferential duty or exemption under the various agreements as per the above paragraph.

Quotas┬ - Quotas have been assigned by the European Union to specific countries for specific products, which allow for the controlled importation of specific products.

Declaration of Antiquity┬ - A declaration must be shown on the invoice for goods over 100 years old. The statement must include the words "circa date" followed by the year of manufacture whether known or estimated.

Customs Valuation
All goods categorized, as non-document commercial goods shipped to Spain must have a proper value declared and proper description provided which should convey the shipper's intent related to the goods as well as any special processing requirements that exist for the goods shipped. Everything has a value, whether or not a transaction took place. Failure to properly document value of any goods will result in delays and or additional fees as deemed necessary in addition to warehouse fees.

Spain applies Article VII of the World Trade Organization concerning Customs valuation. Members of the European Union adhere to Article VII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade concerning customs valuation. There are five methods for the determination of customs valuation in descending order of application. The first states that customs valuation is the transaction value, i.e., the price that is actually paid or payable for the goods by foreign importers, plus certain costs and expenses; for the transaction value to be acceptable, certain conditions must be met, notably that the buyer and seller be unrelated. If the first method is rejected by Customs, other means may be adopted to establish customs value as follows: transaction value of identical goods; transaction value of similar goods; deductive method, i.e., the resale price, less such costs as customs duties, taxes, and commissions; and computed value, utilizing costs of production, profit, and other expenses. The agreement further provides for customs valuation based on either FOB or CIF value. Other areas are covered, such as rapidity of clearance of goods, currency convertibility, appeal privileges and rights, and publication of laws and regulations.

Import Duties
Countervailing duties are assessed to counter the effects of subsidies provided by a foreign government for merchandise exported to Spain resulting in artificially low prices that are detrimental to Spanish and other European Union member states industries. The duration of the countervailing duty imposition varies from case to case and the duty imposed currently ranges from 5 to 33 percent.Â

Watch Duty Rate
Watches imported into Spain are subject to classification and duty assessment based on a per item basis. The actual duty and the final rate of duty are determined based on the classification of the watch at the time of entry processing with customs.

Below is a summary of the new rules for EU deminimis value that enter into effect December 1, 2008:

  • A commercial shipment below 22 Euros: no duty and no VAT collected.
  • A commercial shipment between 22 Euros and 150 Euros: no duty but VAT is collected.
  • A commercial shipment over 150 Euros: duty and VAT are collected.

Under strict enforcement of unfair trade laws, Customs will assess antidumping duties or countervailing duties. Spanish antidumping legislation is in accordance with Article VI of the GATT (WTO), which recognizes dumping and export subsidization as importation of products into the commerce of another country at less than the normal value of the products, thereby causing, or threatening to cause, material injury to domestic industry or materially retarding the establishment of a domestic industry. Dumping is considered to take place if the price of the product exported from one country to another is less than the comparable price, in the ordinary course of trade, for the like product when consumed in the exporting country, or in the absence of such domestic price, is less than either the highest comparable price for the like product for export to any third country┬ or the cost of production of the product in the country of origin plus a reasonable addition for selling cost and profit. Due allowance will be made in each case for differences in conditions and terms of sale, for differences in taxation, and for other differences affecting price comparability. In order to offset or prevent dumping, an antidumping duty may be levied in an amount not greater than the difference between the dumped price and the comparable price of the product.

Excise Duties
Excise taxes are assessed against certain commodities, which are normally identified as "luxury" goods. The excise tax is normally assessed against tobacco products, perfumes and alcohol products but can also be assessed against other goods as deemed by Spanish regulations.

Additional Duties

Import Taxes
Most imports enter under MFN Rates (Most Favored Nation) rates. Relative high tariffs apply to textile, automobile, consumer electronics, cereal, meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and tobacco. In addition to duties, goods imported into Spain are also subject to a value-added Tax (VAT) which is generally charged at one of three rates:

  1. The standard rate of 16% applicable to most manufactured goods, if the value is greater than 22 Euros and 10 kilos.

  2. The reduced rate of 7%, applicable mostly to applied to the sale and imports of human or animal foodstuffs, water, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals for animal use, medical and health products, mopeds, personal dwellings, hotel and restaurant services, transportation services, agricultural services, street cleaning services, entertainment services, building and construction services, medical services and funeral services.

  3. The reduce rate of 4% applicable bread, dairy products, eggs, fruits and vegetables, books and newspapers, pharmaceuticals for human use, vehicles and medical items for handicapped people and vehicles for public transportation.

The VAT is not imposed in the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla. The General Indirect Canarian Tax of 4.5 percent is imposed in the Canary Islands.

Canary Islands is not part of the European Union's free movement of goods arrangement due to local customs policies, all shipments must be BSO (other than docs in FedEx letter) and require a CI and recipient's EIN/VAT number for clearance purposes. Clearance will be performed by a Non-FedEx broker (either consignee's broker or one assigned by FedEx if not selected by origin) at an additional fee. Duties and Taxes will be billed to consignee. Shipments with origin in the European Union require the EIN/VAT/Passport number of the shipper, paperwork delivered to consignee's broker will constitute POD. RTS from Canary Islands is not possible, the only option is to destroy. Silver and Gold jewelry (Precious Metals) shipments from non European Union countries to Canary Islands are accepted BSO only with a broker sited at Madrid.

Excise duty rates may also be applicable on certain items such as alcohol and tobacco. For further information, please contact the Agencia Estatal de Administracion Tributaria (Customs) at

Customs Fees
Fines and Penalties
Fines and penalties may be imposed for failure to present a customs declaration or commercial invoice within the prescribed time and for variations between volume and value of goods declared and those actually presented for customs clearance. Variations due to damage or spoilage are not penalized. Deficiencies or excesses of less than 4 percent are not penalized. For an attempt to circumvent customs regulations or to obtain a lower rate of duty by importing separately all of the parts of a whole mechanism, apparatus, or other object, the duty will be assessed at the rate levied on the assembled mechanism, apparatus, or object, and a fine will be charged based on the differences in the rates of duty concerned.

Invoice Fee
Customs in some situations will assess additional fees based on the invoices provided for a shipment. The fee is usually levied if they deem them necessary as part of the terms of entry due to the size of the shipment and the related large number of invoices provided by the shipper for his goods.

Examination Fees
Additional fees can be assessed on some commodities to cover the expense of performing the examinations and or testing required as a condition of the goods entry into the commerce of Spain. Commodities affected: cosmetics, drugs and medicines, artwork.

Exchange Controls
There are no foreign exchange controls.

Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT's)
Technical barriers or non-tariff barriers to trade, as they are sometimes known, can cause many problems for exporters looking for new markets for their products. These barriers can be in the form of regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade tries to ensure that these barriers do not create unnecessary obstacles. To obtain further information on Technical Barriers to Trade as well as Notifications on technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures, go to the WTO website at

Consular Fees
There are no consular fees for Spain.

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