Any non-EU privately registered/owned yacht (now including UK from 1 January 2021) can operate in the EU for a period not exceeding 18 months at which point the yacht reaches the period of discharge and must be removed from the EU. Any user of the yacht must be a non-EU resident although EU resident guests can accompany the non-EU user who must also be on board. We often come across clients who believe that a non-EU owning company solves the problem and enables EU residents to use the yacht but this is not the case.
The previous title Temporary Importation was a bit misleading as the yacht is never actually imported into the EU in the sense of the word, and is simply given a right of passage throughout the EU whilst complying to the relatively simple rules. The title Admission has now been adopted which gives a clearer indication of how the yacht is really operating and differentiates from yachts that have been imported under an EU importation declaration.
There is an official Temporary Admission inventory/document to be completed when the yacht first enters the EU at the start of the 18 month period although we do not see many cases where customs have asked for the form to actually be completed. If the yacht is laid up, it is possible to extend this for a further period of 6 months up to a total period of 24 months although we do recommend that acceptance is sought from local customs authorities before going over the 18 month period.
We have seen instances where local customs have challenged yachts being marketed for sale whilst in the EU under Temporary Admission and note that the legislation does enable customs to apply a security deposit or guarantee to cover the customs duties and VAT that would become due if the yacht was sold or not removed within the required time frame.
Boat shows are a prime situation when a different regime titled "Temporary Admission for exhibition" is required to be filed before the show commences. A guarantee is sometimes required although in our experience the level of guarantee is a token amount rather than the full amount that would fall due for duties and VAT.
Temporary Admission should not be confused with Inwards Processing Relief (often referred to as TPA) for yachts wishing to enter the EU to undertake VAT free yard works. There are different requirements for TPA and prior advice should be sought before engagement with yards for works to be undertaken on this basis.