By Nathalie Langmead
Temporary Admission (importation) is a means by which a non EU resident yacht owner is granted admission into EU waters without having to pay VAT on the value of their yacht.
Temporary Admission only applies to privately owned vessels and is valid for periods of up to 18 months. This can, in certain cases, be extended to 24 months at the discretion of the local customs authorities. There must however be a plausible reason for the extension; this may be because the yacht is to be left with a boat yard for repairs or a refit.
Ordinarily, on completion of an 18 month stay within the EU, a yacht reaches its period of discharge and must leave. There is no set minimum period during which the yacht must remain in International waters; however it is always advisable to check with the local authorities on their specific rules before re-entering. On re-admission into the EU a new 18 month period of Temporary Admission will begin.
For EU residents or EU corporate bodies with yachts remaining in the EU, the VAT must be paid, meaning that when in home waters or sailing between other EU countries a document clarifying that the VAT has been paid must be evident. This could be a builder’s certificate or original invoice. An EU national could however take up residence outside the EU, for example Gibraltar, therefore being able to take advantage of the Temporary Admission laws.