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Removals and Customs Import of Belongings to Tenerife

So you are taking the plunge and moving over to Tenerife. However, maybe you aren’t entirely certain that the move will be permanent or that you will settle here. So what do you do with all those years of accumulated belongings (we never call it ‘junk’)?

One option is to put your more bulky possessions in storage in your home country before you move over here. This is certainly a cheaper option from the outset and simplifies matters considerably if you decide not to make the move permanent and return to your home country.

However, bear in mind that what might seem a reasonable monthly storage charge at the outset may not seem so reasonable once you are accustomed to Tenerife prices, or if you are working in Tenerife on a limited wage.

In any event, it is good practice to professionally pack up such possessions, so that if you do decide to ship them out to Tenerife at a later date, they will be properly packed and inventoried ready to go.

If/when you decide to take the plunge and ship over your belongings to Tenerife, a sea container is the most logical and economical choice. A ‘shared’ container is the most economical option, but you will typically have to wait until the container can be filled. Typical delivery times under this option are 7 – 9 weeks door to door. There is also the option of a Private Sole-Use Container, which is more expensive, as it will typically have more space than you need for a standard house move. However, it is also slightly quicker, with a typical door to door delivery time of around 4 – 6 weeks. There are several companies offering a complete one-stop solution, including all paperwork plus packing and unpacking at each end.

For those with more urgent needs, Air Freight is an option. Just like with your holiday suitcase, Airlines tend to charge for freight by the kilo with limitations and conditions depending on package size. For smaller freight, this can be a fairly cost-effective option where a more urgent delivery is required. However, air-freight is likely to prove cost-prohibitive for the entire contents of a home. Pick up and Delivery can be arranged door-to-door depending on the airline and options available.

Another option is to buy a van, drive down through Spain and catch one of the two ferry routes between southern Spain and Tenerife. There are 2 ferry routes between mainland Spain and Tenerife. Trasmediterranea run a once-a-week service from Cadiz and Naviera Armas runs once-a-week from Huelva. The entire trip from the UK to Tenerife by road and ferry can be completed in approximately 3 – 5 days, depending on your driving style and sleep requirements. But in our opinion, it would be a crime not to stop off once or twice along the route to explore some of the amazing things Spain has to offer!

For more information and prices for both ferry routes, check out the link below:


Another thing to consider is that new arrivals to Tenerife can import their own possessions that you have owned for at least 6 months prior to moving to Tenerife within a year of obtaining your NIE certificate or Residencia Certificate, or within 3 months of physically moving to Tenerife, whichever is the sooner, without having to pay any import tax to Customs. After that year, full customs duties will be payable on the value of imported goods.

Where the exemption applies, you must certify that you will not sell any of the goods within 12 months of the date of import. The imported goods must also correspond with the social and economic status of the customer, i.e. if a minimum-wage waiter tries to import a consignment of diamonds, questions will naturally be asked!

You can also bring over your car to the Canary Islands tax free. However, you must show that you have owned the car for at least 2 years and have lived in the Canary Islands for less than 12 months. Where the exemption does not apply, there will be a 13% import tax based on government table values for the vehicle (typically 10 – 15% lower than the actual Tenerife market value).

To obtain an official valuation for your vehicle, visit the official government valuation website below:


Experts strongly recommend against importing any of the following items, which can be illegal or are highly restricted and can result in customs delays and potentially severe penalties.

Firearms & ammunition

Inflammable goods & substances

Plants & plant material

Foodstuffs, perishables or otherwise

Narcotics and dangerous goods

Offensive materials

Alcohol & Tobacco