What is a customs inspection service and how does it work?

If you are going to export or import products, you should be aware that they may be subject to customs examination. Customs Inspection Services carry out inspections on behalf of several entities of the General State Administration that are attached to various Ministries. Likewise, the Government Delegations in the different Autonomous Communities of Spain have Functional Areas of Health, Agriculture and Fisheries that are responsible for the Customs Inspection Services. On the other hand, the Tax Agency provides information on the numerous customs processes and requirements that companies and professionals must follow.


The Customs Inspection Services are subordinated to various departments of the State Administration and are responsible for the regulation of exported and imported products.


Customs Inspection Services, or Border Inspection Services, are responsible for the control and identification of imported and exported goods and products. They do so to ensure that products comply with all sanitary and hygienic requirements, as well as commercial quality and industrial safety requirements, throughout international trade activities. Customs Inspection Services therefore perform documentation, identity and physical checks.


What are the functions of the Customs Inspection Services?

Foreign Health, Pharmacy, Animal Health, Plant Health and SOIVRE are the agencies responsible for controls and inspections. Each of them depends on a specific Ministry.


Foreign Healt

The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality is the agency responsible for sanitation, foreign and environmental health and hygienic-sanitary standards applicable to goods intended for human use and consumption. Foreign Health is responsible for the control and documentation of hygienic-sanitary conditions in international trade of goods containing products of animal and non-animal origin destined for human consumption, as well as products of animal origin destined for non-human consumption destined for the pharmaceutical industry.



In addition, the Pharmacy Inspection Service reports to the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, as this body is in charge of developing health, planning and health care and consumer policies. In addition, it is important to highlight the fundamental role played by the Spanish Agency of Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), which is in charge of ensuring the quality, safety, efficacy and information of medicines for human use, medical devices, cosmetic products and biocides. For this reason, this Service inspects pharmaceutical products for human use, raw materials, medical equipment, cosmetics and personal care products imported from other countries.


Animal Health

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is the regulatory authority for international trade in animal health. Animal Health inspects and regulates the importation of live animals, products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, medicines and animal health articles and articles intended for animal feed. It also carries out controls on live animals, products of animal origin, animal health products and goods intended for animal feed when exported.


Vegetal Health

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is also the regulatory authority for plant health in this case. This Service inspects at the border the international trade of phytosanitary controlled plant products between Spain and third countries. Thus, both plant goods entering the European Union and Spanish exports to other countries are examined. Phytosanitary inspections are carried out to safeguard and prevent the entry and spread of any organism dangerous to plants and plant products into national or EU territory from other countries.

The Foreign Health, Pharmacy, Animal Health, Plant Health and SOIVRE Inspection Services are the most vital customs inspection services.



The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism is responsible for the SOIVRE (Official Service of Inspection, Surveillance and Regulation of Exports), since it creates, among other things, the commercial and business assistance policy. Inspections are carried out in this case by the Territorial Trade Directorates established in each Autonomous Community. Thus, SOIVRE carries out controls and inspections to verify that various goods comply with the applicable safety and commercial quality requirements. These include agricultural and food products, as well as industrial products in areas such as toys, textiles, footwear and electronics. In addition, SOIVRE is responsible for inspecting and regulating trade in species protected by the CITES Convention (wild fauna and flora and their derivatives).


Places where inspections are made

Since the entry and exit of products is often done through ports and airports, it is these infrastructures that are prepared to carry out the customs controls performed by the various agencies. Thus, the main Spanish ports and airports, which handle the bulk of export and import products, have so-called Border Inspection Posts (BIPs).


The main Spanish ports and airports have Border Inspection Posts (BIP) where the Customs Services carry out export and import controls.


The PIF or CIF (Border Inspection Centers) are facilities approved by the European Union for the documentation and physical control of all goods and products subject to customs inspection. For example, the airports of Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat, as well as the PIF areas of the Ports of Barcelona, Algeciras, Valencia and Bilbao.


Do we take care of your product inspection services?

Whether you are a company or an individual, Connecta can handle the inspection services required by customs for your products. In addition, our expert staff can handle any formalities related to the inspection of your products. Among other things, we are specialists in the import and export of pharmaceutical products. As such, we can ensure that your products pass foreign health, animal or plant health, SOIVRE and pharmacy examinations or inspections. The measures Connecta can take on your behalf will help you avoid unnecessary visits. Likewise, we will solve any problems that may occur at customs and help you reduce costs as a result of our reliable and effective operation.


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