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Temporary Admission (Temporary Importation) for Yachts in Europe

Introduction

It is the purpose of this guide to provide further information regarding the use of Temporary Admission relief from VAT for yachts visiting EU waters.

Temporary Admission (often referred to as Temporary Importation) can very simply be described as a mechanism that enables non European Union (EU) resident yacht owners to bring their yachts into Europe for a limited time, such as a holiday, and under certain conditions without having to pay VAT on the value of their yachts.

It is important that such a mechanism exists otherwise many non EU resident yacht owners would simply avoid visiting European waters as the costs of paying VAT on arrival would be prohibitive.

Temporary Admission – Criteria

The fundamental criteria for a yacht to qualify for Temporary Admission is that the yacht must be owned by a natural person (i.e. an individual) or a legal person (i.e. a company) who is established (i.e. resident) outside the VAT territory of the EU.

Temporary Admission – Time Allowed

The yacht can only be used within the EU for a maximum of eighteen months after its first arrival. Under certain conditions this time frame can be extended to a maximum of 24 months if vessel is laid up and usually bonded with the prior agreement of the authorities.

Temporary Admission – Restrictions

In practice it is not simply enough for a yacht to be owned by a natural or legal person established outside of the EU. The authorities will always look through the non-EU ownership of a particular vessel showing on its registration and look closely at how a particular vessel is being used.

This means that they would expect the principal user of the vessel, i.e. the individual or individuals who are the main users of the yacht, to themselves be established outside the VAT territory of the EU.

Principal users of yachts sailing within the EU under Temporary Admission should therefore be prepared to provide evidence to the authorities that they are genuinely not established in, or a resident in, the EU.

Temporary Admission – Arrival in the EU

The official EU guide to Temporary Admission states the following:

“Just crossing the frontier of the customs territory of the Community is in general sufficient. But, you may be required to use a route specified by customs and they may require you to make an oral or written customs declaration. It is possible they may require the provision of some kind of security or guarantee to cover the payment of the customs duties and VAT that become due if the boat does not leave the EU.”

The key point of this message is that procedures vary from country to country and it is therefore important that a yacht owner wishing to enter the EU under Temporary Admission carefully selects their EU entry point and understands in advance what formalities are required upon arrival.

Temporary Admission – Leaving the EU

Care should be taken when terminating Temporary Admission upon departure from the EU to a non-EU port. It is important that the yacht owner understands the relevant formalities required by the authorities of the state of departure and they should also check back in case the authorities of the EU country of arrival or any countries visited in between require any proof of departure from the EU.

The official EU guide to Temporary Admission states that the following with regard to the time that a yacht has to remain outside the EU before it can return:

“Yes, you are not limited to a single period of temporary import. You can sail the yacht out of the EU and when you came back again for another holiday a new period of temporary importation can begin. The customs rules do not provide for a ‘minimum period’ during which the goods must remain outside of the customs territory of the EU.”

Temporary Admission – Charter

In theory Temporary Admission is afforded only to yacht that are operated for private pleasure use.

Certain EU member states have in recent times allowed yachts operating under Temporary Admission relief to charter but usually with the restriction that the charter guests must be non EU residents and under the proviso that the owner and vessel complies with all relevant legal and fiscal requirements.

Temporary Admission – Sale of Vessel

The sale of a yacht whilst lying within the EU under Temporary Admission would breach the conditions of the relief.

Temporary Admission – Boat Shows

If a yacht is temporarily imported other than for cruising purposes, the specific Temporary Admission relief for a means of transport will not be applicable. For example, if a yacht is temporarily imported for a boat show, the Temporary Admission relief for exhibitions would be applicable.

Temporary Admission – Refit & Repair

If the importation of a yacht is for the purposes of major overhaul, refitting or refurbishment, it will not be eligible for Temporary Admission. In this case Inward Processing Relief (IPR) would be applicable.

Oceanskies – Non EU Yacht Registration

Oceanskies is a marine and aviation consultancy based in the Channel Island of Guernsey and since our launch in 2013 we have grown rapidly to become one of the largest yacht registration and documentation consultancies in Europe.

We specialise in the registration and documentation of yachts of all sizes in all of the main yacht registry jurisdictions qualifying for Temporary Admission relief by virtue of being located outside the VAT territory of the EU including the most popular British ‘offshore’ ports of registry as well as the Cook Islands and Marshall Islands.
 
We are appointed on behalf of Yacht Brokers Designers & Surveyors Association (YBDSA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) to carry out the tonnage survey of under 24 metre vessels requiring registration at the majority of the British ‘red ensign’ ports of registry.

Caveat

As a caveat we would stress that we are a yacht registration and documentation agency and not legal and/or tax advisers so none of the foregoing information should be treated as any kind of formal legal or tax advice. Readers are therefore advised to take appropriate professional advice specific to their individual circumstances before taking any action based on the contents of this or any other page of this website or any correspondence with ourselves.

As the rules for the Temporary Admission of yachts varies considerably between EU member states we would always suggest taking local advice before cruising in any particular country.

Yacht Registration

Yacht Registration - An Introduction
The British Register of Ships & The Red Ensign Group
The UK Ship Register (Part I) v. UK Small Ships Register SSR (Part III)
Registration of Yacht Tenders
The Yacht Radio Licence – A Guide To Licensing, Call Signs, MMSI Numbers & More
The Carving & Marking of Yachts – A Guide
Delaware Yacht + Vessel Registration – A Warning!
Netherlands / Dutch ICP Yacht Registration – A Warning!

Yacht Registries

Cayman Islands Yacht Registration
Guernsey Yacht Registration
Isle of Man Yacht Registration
Jersey Yacht Registration
Malta Yacht Registration
United Kingdom (UK) Yacht Registration
Polish Yacht Registration

Yacht Operation

EU VAT & Yachts – Frequently Asked Questions
Temporary Admission (Temporary Importation) for Yachts in Europe
The Charter of Yachts in the European Union
Cruising Licences for Yachts in the United States
Yacht Leasing In Malta

Yacht Survey & Certification

The Tonnage Measurement Survey
Rules for the operation of Private Pleasure Yachts under the British Flag
Rules for the Charter of Yachts Under 24 Metres under the British Flag
Rules for the Charter of Yachts Over 24 Metres under the British Flag
The Intended Pleasure Vessel Code (IPV Code)
Rules for the Charter of Yachts under the Malta Flag
Marshall Islands – Yacht Engaged In Trade (YET) Dual Private & Commercial Charter Yacht Registration

Yacht Agents

Guernsey & Jersey: Channel Islands Yacht Export & Delivery
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@oceanskiesltd

25 March 2020 at 07:58

Here is a batch of Tonnage Plates for yachts we are registering with @RedEnsignGroup under British flag here @oceanskiesltd HQ awaiting courier despatch. These plastic strips are an important part of the yacht registration process #yachtregistration #yachtregistry pic.twitter.com/5xGR7f0Xo3

@oceanskiesltd

17 March 2020 at 07:43

A beautiful start to the day again here @Oceanskies in St. Peter Port Guernsey were we are pleased to welcome the latest @sunseeker_int Sunseeker 50 Predator #Guernsey @guernseyharbours @locateguernsey @vistguernsey #PositiveVibes pic.twitter.com/rajLtbGriM

@oceanskiesltd

16 March 2020 at 13:42

On this sunny Monday we are pleased to welcome this beautiful @Sunseeker_Intl 76 Yacht to @gsyharbours which is undergoing @RedEnsignGroup registration with Oceanskies - Anyone would think its Summer! #yachtregistration #yachtlife #Guernsey @LocateGuernsey #PositiveVibes pic.twitter.com/gy0sguWV5S

@oceanskiesltd

11 March 2020 at 16:55

Today we have been Northern France visiting an incredibly busy @Lagooncats factory near La Roche sur Yon for the tonnage survey of a newbuild Lagoon 46 sailing catamaran undergoing @RedEnsignGroup registration by Oceanskies #lagooncatamaran #yachtregistration #tonnagesurvey pic.twitter.com/rwmKAuzOvX

@oceanskiesltd

10 March 2020 at 17:21

Today Duncan has been in a sunny and warm Monaco for the tonnage survey of an @PrincessYachts Princess 82 undergoing red ensign registration by Oceanskies - we are a leading yacht registration agency working with the world’s best yacht registries #yachtregistration #tonnagesurvepic.twitter.com/PUl9Sy4L9a9a

@oceanskiesltd

04 March 2020 at 06:53

Very pleased to act as agents for the visit to @gsyharbours of a @Sunseeker_Intl 76 Yacht @PrincessYachts Y78 #Sunseeker #SunseekerYachts #SunseekerFamily #Princess #princessaroundtheworld #Princessyachts #Guernsey @VisitGuernsey pic.twitter.com/Y3Tk7X8paE