UPS Close Window

Import/Export

United States to Spain

Country or Territory Regulations Topics:

Commodity Specific Stipulations

There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to Spain. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.

Products Of Animal Origin are goods which contain at least partly material derived from the body of an animal. These products can be divided in food or non-food.

Food means any substance, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, which is intended for human consumption, but does not include cosmetics or substances used only as pharmaceuticals.

Non-Food (not intended for human consumption) includes animal by-products, animal feed, samples for testing or research purposes (food-grade or non-food grade), and in vitro diagnostics (IVD).

Animal products and animal by-products are often subject to a veterinary inspection. These products can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC). In addition those products must undergo veterinary checks at an approved Veterinary Border Inspection Post (BIP) when entering the EU & EFTA countries or territories (EU regulations are aligned for EU countries or territories and NO; IS; CH; LI).

For UPS shipments arriving in the EU by air, Cologne is the first point of arrival /BIP. Inspections will be processed at Cologne but final customs clearance process will be issued in the destination country or territory.

Additional charges for Vet-inspection will be applicable  see Brokerage Services and Charges.

Import requirements:

Generally, each type of Product of Animal Origin has specific import requirements that must be met. Food which is subject to veterinary inspections must:

Come from an EU listed Third Country or Territory (no safeguard measures in place)

Come from an EU approved establishment . Registered producers are listed under the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/food/international/trade/third_en.htm

Be accompanied by appropriate Health Certificate(s), signed by a veterinarian of the competent authority of country or territory of export. Photocopies of the Health Certificate will not be accepted.

Be appropriately packaged and labelled, indicating the nature, ingredients, quantity/ weight, the country or territory of origin and manufacturer.

Any foodstuff coming from non-approved establishments, sent as samples for testing purposes, can only be imported with a permit/license from a respective national veterinary authority. The permit/license must be send to the border inspection point responsible for the veterinary inspection. Delays may occur as the license needs to be provided already at the time of inspection.

Any non-compliant shipment must be returned at shippers expense immediately. The following exemptions apply to non-commercial shipments / gift shipments or purchased by private individuals for private consumption):

Meat, meat products, animal fat - max. 10 kg from Faroe Island and Greenland.

Fish and fish products (with intestines and organs removed) - max. 20 kg from all third countries or territories; no limitation from Faroe Islands.

Other animal products (for example, honey, egg, frog, live mussels - max. 10 kg from Faroe Islands and Greenland, and max. 2 kg from all other third countries or territories).

Please see Animal Products and Food Supplements.
Please see "Food Supplements".
Please see "Animal Products".
All food items shipped to Spain require a Sanitary inspection previous to customs clearance. Sanitary inspection requests the following documents:

  • Registration number of the importer at the Ministry of Health
  • Registration number of the importers warehouse facilities at the Ministry of Health
  • Certificate of analysis (with lot numbers and other identification mark) provided by the producer
  • Original letter from importer stating the intended use of the product

Individuals cannot import food products. These shipments will be refused entry and abandoned, destroyed or returned to the country or territory of export. Refused shipments may be subject to return charge.

Based on the EU regulation 2009/669/EC certain foodstuffs (for example tea with origin China) imported from certain third countries or territories are subject to increased level of official controls due to contamination risks of these products by aflatoxinson and pathogens. These controls are carried out at Designated Point of Entries (DPE) defined by each member state.

The import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station and not subject to vet inspection can only be imported into the EU through Designated Point of Entries (DPE). They must be accompanied by a declaration attesting that the goods are either harvested or processed before March 11, 2011, originated from a prefecture other than the ones affected by higher levels of radiation or if originated from an affected prefecture have been subjected to laboratory analysis determining the level of certain radionuclides (regulation 2011/297/EC).

The customs office responsible for our import sites are not defined as DPE. Commodities subject to import controls at a DPE can't be imported with UPS.

Customs classifies certain food supplements as medicine, especially vitamins and other products with physiological effects. Food supplements classified as medicine can not be imported without an import license.

Only authorized importers are allowed to import medicine. The importer has to provide an import permit issued by the Ministry of Health. The medicine must be registered in Spain, otherwise the importation will not be allowed. If the importer cannot provide an import license, then the goods will be returned to the shipper.

Private individuals cannot import medicine unless they can provide a medical prescription from a doctor and a special authorization from the Ministry of Health issued for the respective shipment. The documents are required prior to importation . If the private consignee cannot provide a prescription, the goods will be returned to the shipper.

A sanitary inspection may apply causing an import delay. Brokerage accessorial charges may apply.

The European Union (EU) has placed an import ban on Honey from certain countries or territories.

Before shipping Honey to a European Union country or territory, it is highly recommended to contact your local chamber of commerce or your importer for detailed information.

If the importation is allowed by the European Union, the shipment must be accompanied by an original health certificate provided by the shipper/producer, otherwise, importation will not be possible. Furthermore, a vet inspection at the first point of arrival into the EU is required, even for sample shipments.

Brokerage accessorial charges will apply and an import delay may occur.

If the shipper fails to verify the import regulation of the destination country or territory and sends honey which is prohibited by the European Union, then all charges that may apply for the respective shipment will be billed back to the shipper.

Data shipments to Spain require an invoice with the value of the CD-ROM or disk media (not the intellectual value of the content).
Please see animal products.
Medical devices (for example, used for dental or medical treatment) regardless of the value, require the following:

  • Registration number of the importer's warehouse facilities at the Ministry of Health-Sanitary Department
  • Declaration of Conformity provided by the shipper
  • EC Certificate of Conformity provided by the shipper
  • Original letter from importer stating the intended use of the product

A Health or Pharmacy Inspection may apply. Accessorial charges may apply.

Only authorized companies, such as pharmaceutical companies, laboratories, etc., can import medicine and an Import License is required from the Spanish Ministry of Health. The medicine must be registered in Spain, otherwise importation is not allowed. For each import clearance of medicine shipments, Customs requires a single import authorization.

Special regulations exist for human and animal derived products.The importer must obtain a special kind of import permit from the Ministry of Health in Spain.

Private individuals cannot import medicine, unless they can provide a medical prescription from a doctor and a special authorization from the Ministry of Health issued for the respective shipment. The documents are required prior to importation. If the private consignee cannot provide a prescription, the goods will be returned to the shipper.

A sanitary inspection may apply and could cause an import delay. Brokerage accessorial charges may apply.

Please see food supplements.
The invoice must include a description of the part, the type of machine for which the part will be used, and a list of the part's components.
Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store, UPS Customer Center or ISC Approved Shipper to ship personal effects.

The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc, UPS Customer Center or ISC approved shipper will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.

Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.

All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:

An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation (holidays, move, relocation) A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only A photocopy of passport or ID card Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.

Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food can not be cleared as personal effects.

Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.

In order to clear sample shipments duty & tax free, the total invoice value may not exceed 22.00 Euro and the total weight of the shipment may not exceed 9 kg.

It is always the decision of customs to allow the entry as a sample shipment, duty and tax free. The invoice must include a description of the sample.

In order to avoid wrong customs declarations at import, it is mandatory that the exporter provide very detailed information about the shoes (for example, what kind of leather, what material used for soles and uppers, what kind of shoes (sport shoes, sandals, boots), who is to wear the shoes (children, women, men).
Most of modern test reagents for diagnostic research are built on antibodies which are generated from animal tissue. There are two types of antibodies, the monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies are generated in vitro. Tissue from animals are taken (e.g. blood) and infected with certain substances or pathogens. The blood cells react with the production of antibodies which are than harvested and used for the production of the test kits. Due to the in vitro production and the controlled way of production those types of test kits are not subject to veterinarian control if it is a commercial production.

Polyclonal antibodies are gained from living animals like rabbits. They are infected with the substances / pathogens and the animals are producing antibodies. The antibodies are harvested from the blood stream of the animals. Test reagents with polyclonal antibodies are subject to vet inspections.

Shipment documents (commercial invoice or declaration on letterhead) should include:

 the place of origin of the material

 the quantity of the material, in weight or volume

 a description of the material/ animal source

 catalogue number and price (if available)

 additives (e.g., sodium azide, glycerol), their source (e.g., whole serum, supernatant, ascites), and purification, if any.

 protocols  the recommended protocol or datasheet indicating any unique fixation, detergent, blocking, or incubation conditions.

 the intended use (commercial/ manufacturing; research/ testing)

 the name and address of the shipper

 the name and address of the receiver

Commercially packaged, ready-to-use In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) containing products of animal of origin, do not require a Vet-inspection, if compliant with Directive 98/79/EC on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices. A declaration of conformity (CE-marking) must be provided for each individual commodity (e.g. reagents, test kits, immunosorbent assays such as ELISA kits.

A certificate of origin is not required for the import clearance of textiles. The need of a certificate of origin for the import clearance was reversed on October 24, 2011.

The country or territory of origin must be stated on the invoice for each invoice line. If the customs authorities doubt the correctness of the declared country or territory of origin they may request an additional proof which might be a certificate of origin.

Customs may require an import license for certain products from certain countries or territories, depending on the harmonized tariff code. The importer must obtain the import license. An original export license from the exporter of the country or territory of origin might be necessary to obtain the import license. The requirement of an import license is dependent on the country or territory of origin of the goods, not the country or territory of export. For further detailed information it is highly recommended to contact your chamber of commerce.

If the import license cannot be provided by the importer, the textiles must be returned or abandoned. It is always the decision of customs to allow the entry as a sample shipment, duty and tax free. The invoice must include a description of the sample.

Data shipments require an invoice with the character of the USB stick (storing intercompany data) and the value of the USB Stick.
All veterinary products, such as surgical and hospital instruments or dental instruments do not require any additional documentation provided by the shipper. The importer has to provide a letter that confirms the intended use of the goods.
Please see food supplements.

Prohibited or Restricted Commodities

In addition to the commodities which UPS prohibits to all countries or territories served (listed here), it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to Spain.

Imports of alcoholic beverages are highly restricted. A sanitary inspection must be done prior to Customs clearance. A sanitary inspection will require:

  • Certificate of analysis provided by the shipper
  • Import License from the Department General of Exterior Commerce in Madrid
  • Importer registration at the Ministry of Health in Spain
  • Wine shipments require a certificatestates where the wine was produced

Brokerage charges may apply and import delays may occur. Private persons are not allowed to import shipments of alcohol. Gift shipments (from private to private) may not contain alcohol.

Cosmetic products can only be imported by companies that have an import license from the Spanish Ministry of Health. The shipper must provide a Certification of Analysis. Only Essential oils are permitted for import.

Imports of cosmetic products to the Canary Islands are prohibited in any case. No exceptions will be made by the customs authorities. Shipments of cosmetics to individuals are prohibited. These shipments will be refused entry and returned to the country or territory of export. Refused shipments may be subject to a return charge.

Endangered plants and animals protected by the multilateral treaty of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), must be accompanied by a valid CITES Certificate.

All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.

Shipper needs to provide the following documentation:

Invoice with the scientific name and CITES certificate.

Additional charges will be applicable. Products of animals or plants subject to CITES can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC).

UPS provides International Dangerous Goods Service for shipments between the U.S. and Spain by contract only.

Accessorial charges of 45.00 Euros apply as follows:

  • Hazardous Materials Class 9 (HAZ)
  • Hazardous Materials All Other Classes (HAN)
  • The importation of precious jewelry is highly restricted.

    Destination Brokerage has to prepare special import documentation for precious jewelry and has to seal the packages before delivery. Importers must be aware that they have to send the sealed packages to the Laboratorio Contraste for quality certification. It is solely the importer's responsibility to send the goods to the laboratory, otherwise, customs will penalize the importer. Brokerage must contact the importer prior to customs clearance in order to obtain a power of attorney and get information about the responsible laboratory.

    Brokerage accessorial charges may apply for document preparation. Please be informed that there is no Laboratorio Contraste in Canary Islands.

    According to Spanish customs legislation, living plants, parts of plants, fruits, vegetables and seeds are considered to be plants. There are prohibitions and restrictions on the importation of certain plants.

    A Phytosanitary Certificate must accompany all shipments of plants.

    These kinds of goods require a Phytosanitary inspection. UPS is not able to clear living plants through customs. The importer has to choose an alternate broker for the customs clearance and the Phytosanitary inspection.

    Plants mentioned in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) must be accompanied by a valid CITES Certificate.

    Due to the Phytosanitary inspection an import delay may occur.

    Brokerage accessorial charges may apply.

    The European Union (EU) has implemented specific conditions and detailed procedures for the import of plastic kitchenware (HS-Code 3924 1000 11) made of polyamide and melamine and originated in or consigned from China or Hong Kong (regulation 284/2011). Tableware (for example, plates, flatware, cups) are excluded from the restrictions. The reason for the new regulation were notifications and alerts by the European 'Rapid Alert System'- kitchen tableware was recognized which exceed the thresholds of aromatic amines and formaldehyde released into food.

    Based on the regulation, controls must be performed at the point of introduction into the EU by the competent authorities. They include documentary checks on all consignments and identity or physical checks (including laboratory checks) on 10% of the consignments. All consignments of kitchen tableware (HS code 3924 1000) originated or consigned from China or Hong Kong must be accompanied by a declaration confirming that it meets the requirements concerning the release of primary aromatic amines and formaldehyde. The declaration shall be accompanied by a laboratory report that the consignments fulfill the requirements.

    The goods and declaration must be examined at the first point of introduction into the EU.

    The consignments shall be notified at the first point of introduction at least two working days in advance.

    Our main points of entry (Cologne, Germany and East Midlands, United Kingdom) are not competent to perform the checks and forwarding under bond is prohibited without the checks. Products covered by the new regulation and destined to the EU can't be accepted by UPS. Exporters should clearly state on the invoice the material and the country or territory of origin of plastic kitchenware to avoid holds on commodities not subject to the regulation.

    Products made in Iran are prohibited in our service due to a current embargo.
    Please see "Plants".
    Only companies are allowed to import tobacco products. The importer must provide an import license issued by the Directorate General of Exterior Commerce in Madrid. Tobacco is subject to high excise tax. A sanitary inspection will be required, therefore an import delay may occur. Brokerage accessorial charges may apply.

    Private importers are not allowed to import tobacco products, even as a gift. It is recommended to contact the local chamber of commerce before shipping.


    NOTE: Information provided by UPS is provided AS IS, may not be current, and does not constitute legal advice. In no event shall UPS be liable for any errors in the information, forms or features made available by UPS, or by any third party site linked to from UPS. Selection and completion of proper forms for any given shipment is the sole responsibility of the shipper. All shipments are subject to the UPS Terms and Conditions of Service in effect at the time of shipping for the country or territory of origin.
    Close Window