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Old 11-04-2019, 15:07   #1
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New to EU. Where to register and why?

I am newly an EU citizen. I am a dual US/Portuguese citizen and have just bought a British registered boat, located on the hard in Denmark. Clearly i need to reregister ownership in my name, but where?

There is no VAT owed. The hull was built in 1982 (pre-'86), and 20 horsepower, so no annual Portuguese Tax. Is there any practical reason I should register it elsewhere? My home is in Portugal, but the boat may actually spend most of its time in the med. But will stay in Denmark for at least the next 1-2 years.

I assume one country is cheaper than another to register. Some will surely be less bureaucratic than others, to complete the process. And there are undoubtedly legal requirements as to where I must/may register it.

I would appreciate direction to a clear, concise resource to learn more. Thank you all.

PS. First boat, new citizenship and a new country, make me the ultimate noob, so thank you for your patience.
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Old 21-04-2019, 07:02   #2
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

Hello Sepharad,


A couple of thoughts for you regarding your new boat purchase. First, you should try to get a VAT Exempt certificate from either the UK or Denmark based on the build date and certifying that the boat has remained in the EU since. In the Med, you will need to prove VAT exemption. A certificate of exemption is the easiest way to do so.


Secondly, regarding how to register the boat. I live in Spain and am not familiar with Portuguese regulations, but something to consider is whether or not sailing qualifications are required by Portuguese authorities. If you flag her Portuguese, you will probably be required to show Portuguese sailing qualifications. There is also the matter of how this boat is rated in the EU which will determine how far offshore she can be sailed if she is Portuguese flagged. In other words, as a Portuguese flagged vessel, she and you, the operator, will be subject to all the laws and regulation of EU citizens. Flagging her as an American vessel would still require a VAT Exempt certificate, but would free you from any further EU regulations concerning the use of your vessel in EU waters, with the exception of carrying compulsory third party liability insurance.


If you google EU maritime law, there are several EU law firms which provide fairly good advice on this matter on their sites.


Good luck and congratulations on the new boat.


Greg
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Old 21-04-2019, 07:15   #3
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

Here on the forum you could ask @boatman61 he knows a lot about Portuguese yacht rules. Or wait til he see this thread.
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Old 21-04-2019, 08:09   #4
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Go Dutch..
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Old 25-04-2019, 05:00   #5
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

The important thing re VAT is to have a builders certificate or similar document showing the age of the boat. As you correctly say pre ´86 means she is not liable.

A great many EU boats are registered in Belgium and that option is probably more attractive than Portugal as you will not have to have a Portuguese ´driving licence´´ but you could be liable to local taxes as in France if you regard Portugal as your primary residence. Many EU countries charge a local tax on boats. Normally not huge
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Old 28-04-2019, 03:27   #6
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

I am a dual US and Portuguese citizen. I am actually in the process of getting a Driving license, but am not sure if that was meant literally.

I live in portugal and in 1-2 years will have the boat moored here, but plan on taking it into the med.

What are the benefits of going Dutch? And is there some downside on NOT going Portuguese? Like, will the Portuguese ferret me out and punish me? Will it limit my ability to moor for long periods in portugal?

Because the owner was amazingly thorough, I have the VAT receipt, the original build documents including the actual receipts for hull purchase, I have everything down to the original light bulbs.

She is currently registered in Britain, stored in Denmark, and insured while stored.

Thank you all for your help
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Old 29-04-2019, 02:26   #7
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

The British invented burocracy BUT the Portuguese perfected it. ;-)
I would look for a more simple country process.
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Old 29-04-2019, 02:57   #8
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

My chief concern, is that I not violate some EU rule or Portuguese law, that REQUIRES me to register in Portugal, because it is my home port and residence.

As to ease, I have been struggling with customs for three months, to obtain a box of my own books, from home. I am tragically acquainted with the bureaucracy here.

Holland sounds good.

The boat is Registered in England, but there are unpleasant possible changes in EU recognition of VAT on British registered vessels, should Brexit reach fruition.

The result is, I think registering in another EU country would be least risky.

Is there a reason i MUST register in Portugal?
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Old 29-04-2019, 06:02   #9
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Re: Netherlands issues in Portugal

I just looked online, to learn about registration in the Netherlands. The companies website promoted the Netherlands EXCEPT in the case of Portugal:

"The Dutch registration is actually a document of ownership but in that capacity, is accepted in most European countries when arriving in a port and handing over your documents. The only country where the Dutch document occasionally gives problems is Portugal and therefore we recommend clients that visit Portugal to use one of our other registrations, which are actual flag registrations and accepted all around the world. The Dutch ICP document can be obtained in 3 days, so it is ideal if you just bought a boat in another country and need to bring it home to where you live within Europe."

Sigh.
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:41   #10
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

Check the channel islands: very generous 10 year renewal period, adding up all the costs (tonnage survey, registration, address representative) will stay below 100 pounds a year - and peace of mind for 10 years. Drawback is, that CI are not EU, customs folks will be likely more interested in your EU VAT documentation - which has nothing to do with your flag - than usual.
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Old 07-05-2019, 22:34   #11
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Re: New to EU. Where to register and why?

Hello,

I am a Portuguese citizen and have my boat in Greece. It carries a Portuguese flag. I have to pay per year about 100 euros (sorry, I don't remember the exact amount) of tax based on the engine power. My only concern until last year was an inspection out of water every 5 years and the need to get someone officially recognised by the Portuguese authorities to do that inspection. Fortunately, the recreational vessels regulations changed last year with the aim to simplify things for the owners and users. For example, the periodic inspection is now 10 years apart and many things changed. I was considering to change the flag to Belgium but now I will keep it. If you want any particular information, feel free to send me a pm.

Regards Luis
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