Spain - Import Requirements and DocumentationSpain - Import Requirements
A copy of the commercial invoice should accompany the shipment to avoid delays in customs clearance. It is worth noting that imprecise descriptions are a common reason for goods being held without customs clearance, meaning that a clear description of the goods is essential and should be worded in such a way as to describe the goods to an individual who may not necessarily have an understanding of a particular industry or article. A clear description of goods should satisfy three basic questions as to what the product is, for what is it used, and of what it is made.
No special form of invoice is required, but all of the details needed to establish the true value of the goods should be given. At least two additional copies of the invoice should be sent to the consignees to facilitate customs clearance.
Companies doing business in the EU or companies exporting to the EU (i.e. Authorized Economic Operators) need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) for Customs Declarations and to apply for Authorized Economic Operator status. Once a company has an EORI it will be valid throughout the EU customs union and is expected to expedite customs processing.
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The U.S. and the EU have had an agreement on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters since 1997.
While Spain does not enforce any quotas on products manufactured in the U.S., it still requires import documents, which are described below, none of which represent a trade barrier for U.S.-origin goods.
Import Authorization: (Autorización Administrativa de Importación, AAI) is used to control imports subject to quotas. Although there are no quotas against U.S. goods, this document may still be required if part of the shipment contains goods produced or manufactured in a third country. For goods of U.S.-origin, the document is used essentially for statistical purposes or national security.
Prior notice of imports: (Notificación previa de importación) is used for merchandise that circulates in the EU Customs Union Area, but is controlled for statistical purposes. The importer must obtain the document and present it to the General Register.
Importers may apply for import licenses at the Register of Spain's Secretariat of Commerce or at any of its regional offices. A commercial invoice that includes freight and insurance, 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 adequately justified.
Goods 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, U.S. exporters should ensure that the importing party has obtained the necessary licenses. In addition, U.S. exporters should have their importer confirm with Spanish customs whether any product approvals or other special certificates will be required for the shipment to pass customs.
Fines and Penalties
Regulations establish fines for actions delaying normal customs procedure. Fines are not very large, usually ranging between EUR 30 – 60 (USD 33 – 66).
To better protect the environment, the European Union has updated certain regulations on products including batteries, chemicals, cosmetics, agriculture and more. These changes include the EU Battery Directive, REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, RoHS (Restriction on Hazardous Substances), cosmetics regulations, phytosanitary certifications and sanitary certifications. For more information regarding these changes in regulations, refer to https://www.export.gov/article?id=European-Union-Import-Requirements-and-Documentation .
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