Re: Covid, Spanish VAT and the18 month temporary importation rule

James Alton

Mohammad and Aty,

   Thanks for this information and also for the warning about opinions and responses possibly varying with officials.  I am hoping to return to the boat in time to have the option to make a short trip to either Albania or Montenegro before the time actually runs out.  We had a wonderful time in Montenegro in 2019 btw.  Does anyone have any advice for visiting at least the South portion of Albania to get the clock reset on the VAT issue?  Our destination will actually be Izmir to have the boat measured for new sails so Albania is going in the wrong direction but I don’t think there would be enough time to reach Izmir without going over the 18 month limit.  Cruising has certainly become more complicated!

Thanks again!

SV Sueño
Maramu #220


On Aug 3, 2020, at 11:26 AM, Mohammad Shirloo <mshirloo@...> wrote:

When we were wintering in Greece, this is the same information we were told. The time that the cruising permit is surrendered to customs, is not counted towards the 18 month time limit.
However, opinions and responses vary drastically in the EU, depending on the country and the official you are talking to. We did take this issue seriously, but in our 6 years of cruising the Med, we have never been faced with an inquiry from any official regarding the amount of time Kokomo has been in EU waters.
Happy Sailing;
Mohammad and Aty
B&B Kokomo
AMEL 54 #099
From: <> On Behalf Of James Alton via
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2020 7:20 AM
Subject: Re: [AmelYachtOwners] Covid, Spanish VAT and the18 month temporary importation rule
   Depending on when Greece reopens to US travellers, I am potentially in a very similar situation with regard to the VAT and the 18 month limit.  My boat is located in Preveza, Greece and I have been using an agent there named Sofia to handle the paperwork.  I inquired with her on this issue and received the response posted below:
As long as the transit log deposit to the the customs office the clock is stopped
So the sueno can stay without VAT mire time than 18 months.
Beat regards
Sofia Gravani
Agency manager
(Sofia placed the transit log for Sueño with the customs office last October)
Despite this positive response I am still concerned about going over the 18 month limit.  Do you feel that this information is adequate or should I follow up and try to verify this information?  If you recommend that I verify then would you know who I should contact?
James Alton
SV Sueño
Maramu #220
On Aug 3, 2020, at 9:49 AM, CW Bill Rouse <brouse@...> wrote:
For what it is worth, I found the strictest countries to be Spain and Greece and the most liberal, Malta. Of course, this was my experience several years ago, and as you know the customs officer that you approach varies, some strict, some not. Some Ships Agents get away with everything, some get away with nothing. Some owners are shown leniency from an official, while the same official is strict with another vessel's owner. 
Another side note: I really hated to meet with a customs official who was just "lectured to" by an English speaking person, telling him how to do his job. That official assumed the worst with me, simply because I spoke English.
I would try another Ship's Agent, hopefully 3rd-party recommended. I heard that these disputes can wind up in a local court with a judge making the final decision. Even though this can be expensive hiring a lawyer, in the end, this could be good for you, unless the judge had a not-so-good experience with someone he associates with you (like my example above).
I hope this helps, at least somewhat.
CW Bill Rouse Amel Owners Yacht School
Address: 720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 

On Mon, Aug 3, 2020 at 8:25 AM Joerg Esdorn via <> wrote:
My boat - US flagged - is in Spain on the hard and I am getting close to the maximum 18 months temporary importation period for VAT purposes.  Keeping the boat in Europe past the 18 months would mean that I owe VAT on the value of the boat.  Yet I cannot currently travel to the boat from the US and have had to cancel my entire season, including a sail to the Faroe Islands to get out of the EU customs zone and reset my 18 months.  The EU indicated in March that local customs offices should show flexibility in situations like mine.  So I engaged a customs agent is Spain to get me an extension of the 18 months to next summer.  They just got back to me that they could not help me.  Has anyone had success with Spanish customs (or French customs) on this issue?  I’m thinking of sailing the boat to France if the French are more helpful.  Many thanks for any help you can provide!

joerg Esdorn
A55 Kincsem, Vigo Spain

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