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post #1 of 13 Old 10-30-2012 Thread Starter
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Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

Hi folks,
I'm a newbie here so please forgive me if I've got this post in the wrong place.

I am about to purchase a sailing yacht in Spain, and want to change the flag to British. Not having done this before, I don't know what I don't know.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom they could share about the pitfalls, hidden costs, dangers etc.

Some details:
The 43ft yacht is 7 years old and is currently lying in Spain and registered in Spain. I am British, and would like to register her in the UK, but leave her in Spain for the time being to do some cruising in the med before returning home. She is VAT paid.
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-30-2012
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

That's easy. Go to a especial agency and they will take care of everything. It will cost you between 3000 and 4000 euros. Most of the money is not for the agency fees but costs referring register and other needed bureaucratic stuff. It can be a Spanish or a British one. Maybe you can take care of that in Gibraltar. I bet that will have several agencies that can do that do that.

But take care, boats to be register with a Spanish flag have to pay a luxury tax and for foreigners living in Spain they force them to pay the tax and have Spanish flag (or they use to do that).

Think well if you are going to live there or just to have there the boat for some time. If you are going to live there it will be better and more hassle free to maintain the Spanish flag.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 10-30-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-30-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

Thanks Paulo,
Without wanting to mention any commercial names on the forum, what would I be looking for in a google search to find such agencies?
Many thanks
Dean
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-30-2012
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

You have just to look on the internet:

http://results.yachting-pages.com/na...ry/gibraltar/0

Gibraltar Companies, Trusts, Yacht Registration, Residency, Offshore

The Red Ensign - English - British Flag

Offshore boat registration. Registering a yacht in advantageous offshore jurisdictions

I don't know were you have the boat but if you ask to the broker that sell you the boat I am sure he will be able to point you to a local agency. You may compare prices with British ones.

Regards

Paulo
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-30-2012
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

The actual costs, if you take care of the items yourself, are quite a bit less and usually a reputable boat broker in Spain will assist you for a nominal fee - or as part of the deal if you are going through a broker.

First the vessel needs a viable bill of sale that will also have to be translated into English. Since the VAT has been paid you will also need receipts and translations to English so that the UK will accept it - and make sure that the actual sale of the vessel occurs in EU waters otherwise the VAT-paid-status will go -poof-.

Taking the vessel off the Spanish flag (de-flagging) should be simple with the correct documents and for someone who reads/speaks Spanish. Once the vessel is de-flagged then putting her on the Part III or Part I British registry is very simple and costs just a couple of GBP (see http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-hom...guidetoreg.htm).

The boat doesn't have to go anywhere close to the U.K. in order to get flagged. If you go for a Part I registration then you will just get a provisional registration until such time as you have an approved surveyor do a tonnage survey, and I'm sure that there are many in Spain. The boat does not need to leave the water for this and I paid around US$400 or so for the survey on a 57' vessel.

The best approach would be to contact the MCA (they are very responsive in my experience) and ask exactly what paperwork from Spain they require as they will have done this before.

If you want to have a company do everything then you will have to swallow some huge fees, but actual costs for flagging are going to be less then 120GBP and the de-flagging should be even cheaper.


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Last edited by Zanshin; 10-30-2012 at 12:15 PM. Reason: Added text
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-30-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

Thanks Zanshin and PCP.

I'm starting to get my mind around the problem now.

The other thing I have found out is that I also need to get an "NIE" which is a Spanish Tax ID number. This seems to be needed by the yacht buyer, and would appear to take many weeks to get. I have to go to Spain, present the application and supporting documents at a (suitable) Police Station.

Then, some weeks later (between 1 and 6 I believe) my NIE will be ready for me to collect. BUT they dont tell me when its ready, I just need to go back to the Police Station from time to time and ask if its ready! Hilarious!

There are apparently other ways to do it through the Spanish consulate in the UK, but they all seem to take many weeks. Seems like my thoughts of flying in to Spain on Monday, and leaving on Friday as the new owner of the boat are somewhat pie in the sky.

Zanshin, I'd love to do this stuff myself, just for the experience, but I have almost no Spanish language, and I am not resident there so I will probably need to retain someone to work on my behalf.

I think I will go and start the process on Monday by viewing the boat and getting survey done, and maybe by spring time I will own the boat

I'll keep the thread updated for ayone who is interested in the saga!
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-30-2012
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mariner62 View Post
Thanks Zanshin and PCP.

I'm starting to get my mind around the problem now.

The other thing I have found out is that I also need to get an "NIE" which is a Spanish Tax ID number. This seems to be needed by the yacht buyer, and would appear to take many weeks to get. I have to go to Spain, present the application and supporting documents at a (suitable) Police Station.

Then, some weeks later (between 1 and 6 I believe) my NIE will be ready for me to collect. BUT they dont tell me when its ready, I just need to go back to the Police Station from time to time and ask if its ready! Hilarious!

There are apparently other ways to do it through the Spanish consulate in the UK, but they all seem to take many weeks. Seems like my thoughts of flying in to Spain on Monday, and leaving on Friday as the new owner of the boat are somewhat pie in the sky.

..
I bought recently a boat in Italy and need also an Italian tax number. The sell was mediated by an agency that took care of everything. I only had to go there to sign the papers. They also took care of the boat transfer and to register the boat in my name. In fact the bureaucratics are so heavy that I am still waiting for some papers regarding the radio licence (in my name) that take many months to be delivered (in Italy).

Were is the boat?

Regards

Paulo
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-30-2012
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

As you cannot probably speak Spanish an internet search would be difficult in what regards to find an agency in Spain.

The key words are: abanderamiento that means putting a flag on a boat and matriculación that means register.

I found some agencies for you. I guess that if you email them they will accept the work or point you for an agency nearer your boat:

NAUTIDOC

ERP servicios juridicos y navales, Gestorias nauticas; matriculacion, abanderamiento embarcaciones

Registro buques | Abanderamiento | GMM Abogados Maritimo mercantil

Navegar seguro, el seguro de barco más económico

Náutica Legal - Abogados - Servicios
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-31-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

Hi Guys,
What a difference a day makes to a learning curve

My understanding now is that it will happen as follows:

1. We will get a Bill of Sale (in Spanish and English) from the broker.

2. We will get a document showing VAT is paid, and also a copy translated to English, from the broker.

3. We will get a document showing that the title is free and clear. This comes from the "Regsiter of Movable Property", and will be provided by the seller (via the broker).

4. The broker will engage an agency to de-flag the vessel from the Spanish register. The cost for this is EUR180.

5. There is NO TAX to pay (and therefore no requirement to have NIE). This is because we are not Spanish residents, and are not flagging the boat in Spain.

6. Finally, we will flag her on the UK SSR registry (Part III), which it appears can be done online with MCA without too much fuss.

Ok, so that's the theory ... give me a week and I'll come back and let you know how the practice works out
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Changing registered flag from Spain to UK

Good onya! Sounds like you now have a plan and procedures in place. #6 really is easy to do online.


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