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Old 20-07-2008, 14:01   #1
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How long can a USA Flagged vessel stay

Anyone know how long you can cruise around the EU with a USA Flagged Vessel without paying Duty/VAT on the Vessel ? It appears to be about 6mths for RVs imported and used in the EU from USA, but was curious if the same period applied to Yachts visiting... The question is can you spend a year or two just crusing around Europe ?

Thanks for any imput on this..

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Old 20-07-2008, 14:18   #2
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This kinda touches on it.......

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...-eu-17203.html

I had heard about the 18 month "rule" before, but don't know all the wrinkles - but seems you do need to collect a bit of paper on the way in as well as no doubt meet certain other requirements. I don't know, but I suspect it revolves around the owner / crew being genuinely non EU people and can prove it.

The 6 month rule does apply to us in Jersey (not in the EU, including not for VAT purposes) for both boats and RV's (Motorhomes). We are not required to formally check in to the EU when visiting by boat, although in practice when using paid moorings / marinas the authorities have plenty of scope for knowing we are in the EU.

Plenty of folk from here have been clobbered over the years for keeping boats and RV's and Cars in the EU (mainly France) for more than 6 months. Customs usually seal / impound the vessel / vehicle until the VAT bill and any fine is paid.....but in Jersey we do have a certain reputation on tax matters , so perhaps the French do pay a bit more attention to us than genuine visitors to the EU who are NOT taking the p#ss

Remember also that how long the vessel can stay in the EU is a different question from how long the crew can.
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Old 20-07-2008, 18:50   #3
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Thanks David_Old_Jersery,

Ha, I must admit when I saw your reference ("to us in Jersery") I instantly thought you hailed out of NEW Jersery here on the east coast of the New World...but I understand you are from the Island off the Northwest of France... I wonder if you go ahead and pay the duty/VAT (27%) and then when you leave (export) is there a way to get that money back ?

Thanks too for the link to that other thread, it was also helpful, I figured this topic must have been covered but didn't see it in my quick search...

We would like to spend a year or so traveling around and into Europe on our way around the world and it sounds like the 6mth rules may not be enforced or perhaps there is an 18mth rule... we will all be USA citizens..appreciate any other insight from yourself or anyone else..

Cheers
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Old 20-07-2008, 21:22   #4
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The rule for a non-EU boat is 18 months in the EU before VAT is due, and the clock can be reset by going to a country outside the EU, like Croatia or Turkey. If you work with customs, the time the boat spends in storage does not count against the 18 months.

The rule on US citizens is 90 days out of every 180 in the Shengen treaty countries, which gets hard to follow. It is lnot often enforced in Italy and Spain, but can be a problem in Greece and Portugal.
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Old 21-07-2008, 03:19   #5
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The rule for a non-EU boat is 18 months in the EU before VAT is due, and the clock can be reset by going to a country outside the EU, like Croatia or Turkey...
Croatia & Turkey are both currently candidates for EU membership; which may close that option within the next few years.
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Old 21-07-2008, 11:26   #6
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Thanks David_Old_Jersery,

Ha, I must admit when I saw your reference ("to us in Jersery") I instantly thought you hailed out of NEW Jersery here on the east coast of the New World...but I understand you are from the Island off the Northwest of France... I wonder if you go ahead and pay the duty/VAT (27%) and then when you leave (export) is there a way to get that money back ?

Thanks too for the link to that other thread, it was also helpful, I figured this topic must have been covered but didn't see it in my quick search...

We would like to spend a year or so traveling around and into Europe on our way around the world and it sounds like the 6mth rules may not be enforced or perhaps there is an 18mth rule... we will all be USA citizens..appreciate any other insight from yourself or anyone else.

Cheers
Just to clarify, that I was NOT saying the 6 month rule is not enforced (it may not be, but I would definately plan on the basis that it is!). But sounds like you would get the 18 month (if you apply for it - however that is done) - and then (as the new post in the other thread says) this should be a lot more time than your crew's Visas allow. And I beleive that you can leave the Vessel in the EU sealed by customs which stops the clock. (ie no one living onboard - but can be afloat in a Marina, not in a Customs shed!).

UK Vat is 17.5% - it varies within the EU, not wildly - but enuf to make a difference on a vessel, so folk do shop around for the lowest rate to pay the VAT in, however also to bear in mind is the attitude of the Customs in assessing the s/h boat value - not to say that they don't all do it "properly" - but have read over the years some folk being more happy than others. I forget details / countries, in any case suspect it is one to Google / chat to folk about at the time and then still keep yer fingers crossed a tad that you don't deal with someone having an off day!

If after paying VAT and then leaving the EU you won't get any VAT paid back! (and if you later sell the boat outside the EU she will lose her VAT paid status - and you still do not get your money back!). It is possible to reclaim VAT paid on a boat but (from memory) this relates to business use - and genuine business use at that. Although others may well know different, I would discount this as being likely.

Obviously a lot depends on your route - with the EU ever expanding it makes civilised / conveniant ports of call outside the EU a tad harder - but if you are heading through the Med and are not North Africa averse (I've never been) then should make life easier.

Probably not applicable to you, but if your boat is kept in a country that joins the EU she will probably be grandfathered in as EU VAT paid status as happened for the previous new EU members - however, I am sure these countries are wise to this wrinkle now and yer may find they are either within the EU for VAT purposes before joining, have their VAT equivalent or some other import duty that makes "Free" EU Vat a tad less attractive. And I would also add that if waiting for Turkey to join the EU, then probably best not to hold ones breath..........but from all accounts a great place to visit.

Have a good trip
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Old 21-07-2008, 11:57   #7
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The rule for a non-EU boat is 18 months in the EU before VAT is due, and the clock can be reset by going to a country outside the EU, like Croatia or Turkey. If you work with customs, the time the boat spends in storage does not count against the 18 months.

The rule on US citizens is 90 days out of every 180 in the Shengen treaty countries, which gets hard to follow. It is lnot often enforced in Italy and Spain, but can be a problem in Greece and Portugal.

Thanks Donradcliffe and Jersery,

This is now much clearer for me.. The 90 in 180 day limit seems a bit limiting and I guess where ever you ck in at a port of call they would check the crews paperwork as well... hum.. have to think about that one a bit more... Guess one could always hang out in Norway for the summer before heading back to the MED (does Norway have 180 days of summer??)..

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Old 22-07-2008, 08:07   #8
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A couple of points on the 90 in 180 day limit.

1. The UK is not a Shengen treaty area, and US citizens can stay 180 days without a visa.

2. The reality of officialdom in Europe. When I entered Spain in Menorca I rented a mooring from the port captain, and filled out a short form with the names of boat and crew. When I asked about checking into the country, their response was the form was sufficient. Likewise I tried for a whole day to check into Italy in Venice, wandering around with an old cruising guide which said I needed a 'constituto' or something like that. Two port captains said 'we don't do that anymore, but if you want, you can go the ferry terminal and talk to the frontier police'. The frontier police ended up stamping a crew list, but wouldn't stamp the passports. Flying in to France, Italy and Spain, we never got passport stamps which would indicate when the 90 day clock started, and our conclusion was that they really wanted us to stay as long as we wanted. The only time we were asked when we entered the EU was by a zealous German immigration official as we were leaving Germany on the train for the Czech republic. I made up a date which was about 60 days earlier, and he didn't press the issue.

Having said that, we talked to Canadian cruisers who checked in Portugal and had overstayed the 90 days. They were fined about $100 apiece, and give another 90 days.

One more thing--don't plan on sailing around the Med in the winter--the weather can get donwright nasty, and the sailing season runs from about March through October.
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Old 22-07-2008, 14:01   #9
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Just found this in my bookmarks.........

VAT and Your Boat

Doesn't look bang up to date, but fairly light reading (for VAT!) and should give folk a head start.........
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