When you see the prices of second hand cars in Gran Canaria you will probably think about importing a much cheaper car from mainland Europe or the UK. Whilst overall it can be cheaper importing a car there are many costs involved in importing a car to the Canary Islands and you need to consider them carefully before bringing your car here.
The first thing you need to know is that when importing goods into the Canary Islands the Canary Islands are not considered part of Spain, therefore any advice taken from Spanish companies will not be applicable to Gran Canaria, this is particularly important for importation tax. In Spain for some goods you are not liable to pay import tax, for the Canary Islands you are.
Important points on importing cars to Gran Canaria from the EU
If you have owned the vehicle for less than six months you will be taxed heavily.
If you have had a Spanish ID number (NIE) for more than 6 months, again you are liable to be taxed the import duty. This is 9-13% of the value of the car in Spain.
However, if you have owned the car for some time and you are a new resident in the Canaries you are allowed a one-off importation of your goods and import tax is not payable. You will need to obtain a document from your local authority in your origin country before you leave to demonstrate that you have been living there. This, along with local documents will prove your exemption from import tax.
There are additional charges once you arrive, these include matriculation and putting the car through the ITV. These can be up to 200€.
If you are confused have a look at the Agencia Tributaria website for the latest information however this can be often be even more confusing so if in doubt get in contact with a shipping agent such as Migrate Global Canarias.
Once you bring a car to the Canary Islands you are allowed to drive it here for up to 6 months before putting it on Spanish plates, if you don’t re-register it here in the Canary Islands within 6 months you are liable to pay extra charges. However if you take it out within 6 months you don’t have to pay anything.
You may have noted that used cars in the Canaries are not always good value for money. However, you should bear the above points in mind when deciding whether to ship your vehicle to Gran Canaria.
Driving your car into Gran Canaria
One alternative is to pack up your car, drive down to Cadiz or Huelva and use the ferry service. This can be an economical way of shipping a car and all your belongings to Gran Canaria, although it is not without cost and the sailing is 24 hours so it's quite a journey. Many people enjoy the adventure though, and if you already have Canarian residency documents you are entitled to a 75% discount on the ferry cost.
Shipping your car to Gran Canaria
Shipping vehicles to Gran Canaria, without actually driving them, is also common practice. From some parts of Europe and mainland Spain there is a roll-on, roll-off service, whereby you put your vehicle on the ferry at one end and collect it at the other end. Currently the only option available directly from the UK or Ireland is containerized shipping, which can be costly, but which is very safe and also offers you the option of moving personal/ household goods in the same container. The usual procedure is for you to deliver the vehicle to a nominated warehouse near your UK or Ireland address, where it will be loaded on a container, secured for sea transit and shipped here for you. If you are combining this with a household removal, that side of it would be carried out as normal, with a packing service if necessary, a collection, followed by loading together with the car at the warehouse.
All unaccompanied goods travelling between the Canaries and the rest of the world, including Europe and mainland Spain, have to clear customs. This is usually a paper-based procedure, although some containers are opened and inspected, but the important thing to know from the outset is the documents you will be asked for, which are NIE and certificado de empadronamiento (see ‘Paperwork’). If you have used a door-to-door removals or transport service you will simply be required to provide these documents and customs clearance will be carried out on your behalf. Otherwise you will need to appoint a customs agent to represent you and you will have to sign some further documents and provide an inventory of contents.