How can i Import a Vehicle?

Importing a car by sea to Spain can be a delicate and complicated process, as many factors must be considered, especially transportation and customs clearance at the destination. The vehicle can be transported inside a container or directly in the hold of the ship. You can import the car from USA, Japan, etc.

In the first case, a crane loads the container on the deck of the ship if it is a container ship, or on the top deck of the ship if it is a normal cargo ship. In the second case, it is the employees of the shipping company or the port terminal who introduce the vehicle into the hold through the ship’s ro-ro ramp (roll on-roll off) and position and secure it to the ground (lashing) with lashing lugs so that it does not move or shift during navigation.

Vehicles can be imported by sea in the container in the ship’s hold but must be transported with the battery disconnected and fueled to at least 30% of the tank according to IMO (International Maritime Organization) standards.

Both the battery and fuel are classified as dangerous goods, and as such, if the car is transported in a container, a certificate of responsibility must be completed in accordance with Special Provision 961 of the IMDG Code, International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG), published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).


What documents are required?

The documents required to import a car by sea vary depending on whether the vehicle is duty-free or not, in which case a duty of 10% and VAT of 21% will apply.

Without import duties

  • Sales contract
  • A photocopy of the National Identity Card/National Identity Card/Passport of the holder
  • Transport document
  • Declaration of value
  • Authorization of dispatch (we will provide you with a model)
  • Traffic registration certificate in the country of origin
  • Vehicle technical data sheet
  • Registration of the importer’s employer
  • Affidavit that you are not going to sell the car and that you have owned it for more than 12 months.

10% Duty exemption and 21% VAT exemption

  • Sales Agreement
  • A photocopy of the National Identity Card/National Identity Document/Passport of the holder
  • Transport document
  • Commercial bill of sale or sales contract accompanied by proof of payment.
  • Authorization of dispatch (we will provide you with a model)
  • Technical data sheet of the vehicle


Customs-Related formalities

For a car imported by sea to enter Spain, it must first go through the Import Clearance. This process is carried out by the Customs and Excise Department of the Tax Agency.

In addition, you will need the Single Administrative Document (DUA), a standardized form for filing import declarations created by the Customs Code of the Union (CAU).

To import a vehicle by sea, you must first obtain a set of papers and then complete the customs formalities and pay the corresponding fees.

It is recommended that the vehicle comes clean inside and out, so that customs officials can easily examine it and detect any damage.

Also, if possible, before shipment, formalize an agreement with the seller describing the condition of the vehicle (if it has dents or scratches, if it has a spare wheel or electronic equipment such as navigation or audio-visual).

Having this document simplifies any future liability claims in the event of an incident during transport.


Additional procedures to be carried out

If the vehicle is imported from a third nation (which is not a member of the European Union), it must be homologated for use in Europe and have the manufacturer’s European Certificate of Conformity.

In addition, the following taxes must be paid:

  • Road tax to the city council.
  • Registration tax to the Tax Agency (Form 576, Special Tax on Certain Means of Transportation)
  • Value Added Tax (VAT) if it is a new car.
  • Transfer Tax (ITP), in the case of the import of a used vehicle.

Once Customs has completed all the necessary formalities, you must go to the General direction of traffic (DGT) to register and register the vehicle (obtain the definitive license plate) and subsequently be able to pass the Vehicle Technical Inspection (ITV).


Do you need us to take care of your Import Clearance?

At Connecta Customs Agency we can advise you on how to successfully import a vehicle by sea.

Whether you are an individual or a company, we will handle the import clearance process in a maximum of 24 hours, as we are experienced  customs brokers.

The experts at Connecta Customs Agency will provide you with the necessary documentation for customs clearance and take care of all the administrative formalities.

As a customs agency specialized in the maritime import of automobiles, Connecta will handle all customs formalities and advise you on the necessary paperwork.

We will inform you with complete transparency about the procedure and status of the maritime import of your vehicle.


Connecta has two channels of communication and document transmission:

– By email to:

– You can also use our form to Connect with us.

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