Some people do not think the Canary Islands to be in the EU because we do not have VAT here, and duty free laws apply. However, they actually are in the EU as they’re a part of Spain, and come under EU laws. But, their situation can be quite confusing.
While the Canary Island are a part of Spain, and indeed controlled by the Spanish central government, we also have our own political management as well.
The Canary Islands, including Fuerteventura, are politically within the European Union, however, they are outside the European Union customs territory and VAT area. The Canary Islands Special Zone was created within the fiscal and economic regime of the Canary Islands for the purpose of encouraging the economic and social development of the islands, and the diversification of their manufacturing and service sectors.
So what does that mean, and how does it effect you?
Well, being in the EU means that there is free movement for all within EU Countries. It also means that our health system is equivalent to that of the rest of the EU, and that all European residents have the right to free health care.
However, holiday makers in particular must be aware that being excluded from customs territory means that duty free rules apply and there are restrictions on the amount of goods, such as cigarettes and alcohol, that they can be take back home.
As part of the Canary Islands and the EU exclusion zone, Fuerteventura does not have VAT applied to anything. Instead they have a specific local sales tax (IGIC), currently set at a general rate of 7%.
Whilst in most cases that would mean goods such as tobacco, alcohol, electronic goods should be significantly cheaper on the islands, the reality is that those savings disappear as goods have to be imported, and the cost of transporting them.
Duty Free Allowance for the UK
How much you can bring depends on the type of drink. You can bring in:
- beer – 16 litres
- wine (not sparkling) – 4 litres
You can also bring in either:
- spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol – 1 litre
- fortified wine (for example port, sherry), sparkling wine and alcoholic drinks up to 22% alcohol – 2 litres
You can split this last allowance, for example you could bring 1 litre of fortified wine and half a litre of spirits (both half of your allowance).
You can bring in one from the following:
- 200 cigarettes
- 100 cigarillos
- 50 cigars
- 250g tobacco
You can split this allowance – so you could bring in 100 cigarettes and 25 cigars (both half of your allowance).
Allowance for other goods
You can bring in other goods worth up to £390 (or up to £270 if you arrive by private plane or boat).
If a single item’s worth more than your allowance you pay any duty or tax on its full value, not just the value above the allowance.