Is Fuerteventura in the EU?

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Last updated: 1st August 2021

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

Alcohol allowance

How much you can bring depends on the type of drink. You can bring in:

  • beer – 42 litres
  • wine (not sparkling) – 18 litres

You can also bring in either:

  • spirits and other liquors over 22% alcohol – 4 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 9 litre of fortified wine and half a litre of spirits (both half of your allowance).

Tobacco allowance

You can bring in one from the following:

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 100 cigarillos
  • 50 cigars
  • 250g tobacco
  • 200 sticks of tobacco for electronic heated tobacco devices

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.

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  1. When the UK exits the EU, will we need a visa to visit Fuerteventura, if as you imply, the freedom of movement is because of Fuerteventura being, at least partly, in the EU?

    1. Hi Duncan. Nobody knows what will happen once the UK have left the EU, although there has indeed been talk about visas. However, bearing in mind that there are far more British that holiday in the EU (particularly Spain) than EU visitors to the UK, and that the UK is outside the Schengen Area, it is very doubtful that anything will change, and very probable that Brits will still continue to just need to show their passport.

    1. Hi Dawn. You can take back to the UK 200 cigarettes. Here is the full list of what you are allowed:

      200 Cigarettes
      100 Cigarillos
      50 Cigars
      250gms Smoking Tobacco
      1 litre Spirits
      2 litres Wine
      2 litres Fortified Wine (port, sherry, etc)
      60cc/ml Perfume
      250cc/ml Toilet Water
      200€ worth of goods, gifts and souvenirs

  2. Do we need an international driving permit to hire a car in fuerteventura. We come out on the 26th March for 1 week.

    1. Apologies for delay in replying, unfortunately I did not get notified of your comment and missed it! I guess that you have come and gone on your holiday. At this time, whilst we are in the EU, you will not require an international driving permit. However, once the UK finally leave the EU it is believed that this will be required, dependent upon whether a plan is agreed or not.

    1. The island is duty free, and thus duty free laws apply. You can not take more than that allowance back to the UK from the Canary Islands, it doesn’t matter whether they were purchased at the airport or a shop on the island.

  3. Can you enter fuerteventura with a criminal record specifically while on a suspended sentence for a harassment charge ( non violent)?

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