Importing from Spain to the UK: A Guide for Business

If you’re looking to start importing goods from Europe for business purposes, or you’re thinking about a new EU supplier, then Spain could be a fantastic option.

Spain has an impressively wide and varied amount of goods that it exports worldwide with the UK being one of its main EU partners.

According to data from World’s Richest Countries, Spain exports ‘$21.9 billion or 6.9% of its overall exports’ to the UK with some of the main examples being vehicles, machinery, electronics, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals. So, as alluded to above, your business could be spoilt for choice when it comes to importing from Spain and choosing to work with a Spanish supplier could be a great move for your company.

If this does sound like an attractive option for you, there are a number of factors to take into consideration first, before you start to import your goods. Should you fail to follow these procedures correctly, you can face additional costs, sanctions or damaging penalties. In this guide, TNT have broken down what you need to know to successfully import from Spain to the UK.

Spain Fact File:

Official Language: Spanish
Currency: Euro
Central Bank: The Bank of Spain
Calling Code: +34
Capital City: Madrid
GDP: $1.230trn (estimate)
Population: 46.5 million (estimate)

Check the Restricted Imports List

Before you make any purchases, it’s worthwhile checking the UK Government’s restricted items list that could cause delays or problems with your imports. Examples of restricted items include dangerous goods such as weapons, but also certain plants and animals and obscene materials. The full list of these can be found here.


In some cases you might need an Import Licence to import certain restricted goods. Again you can find out whether or not this applies to you here, via this page from the UK Department for Business Innovation & Skills.

Have the Right Documentation

Along with the possibility of the Import Licence, there’s other documentation you will need. You may need to complete a commercial invoice to have your goods imported; this keeps a detailed record of your items, delivery dates, the payments and more. In the same respect, it’s worth having your own records of this information for your imports from Spain as well as these.

Pay any Costs

You should have a VAT registration number for your business which you need to send to the supplier in Spain. If you don’t have one, you’ll face having to pay the equivalent VAT charges in Spain along with the UK charges. The simple answer here is to make sure your business is VAT registered.


There may also be duty costs on your imports from Spain, but these charges are only in certain circumstances such as how you transport them to the UK and whether there are any duty charges in Spain. To ensure you’re paying the right amount you also need to get hold of the right commodity code to correctly classify your import goods. The Government has a Trade Tariff search tool to help you find the correct codes for your items.


A final aspect to consider with these potential charges is the exchange rate between the UK pound and the Euro used by Spain. This can have a bearing on your overall expense and it’s important to make sure these are accurate.   

Consider your Options

In terms of how you have your goods imported to the UK from Spain there are many options to consider. You may choose, air, rail, sea or road freight, or indeed a combination of the above. There is also the option to choose the services of TNT, as our extensive network encompasses over 175 different countries. On top of this, we can handle the important documentation for you and help ensure your imports arrive safely, securely and on time.