Understanding CIQ Requirements in Spain for Business Aviation

PT 3 M minute read
Understanding CIQ Requirements in Spain for Business Aviation

Understanding CIQ Requirements in Spain for Business Aviation

This is a post by author Gonzalo Barona. Gonzalo is Managing Director for Universal Aviation Spain, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Madrid, and Gerona. Gonzalo is an expert on business aircraft operations in Spain and can be contacted at gonzalobarona@universalaviation.aero.

This business aviation blog post is part of a series on operating in Spain and continues from our last article: “Business Aviation in Spain: Flight Planning and Airport Operations.”

Customs and security clearance procedures are straightforward and user-friendly for operators arriving in Spain, either from inside or outside the Schengen area. It’s important, however, to be aware of visa and documentation requirements as well as agricultural restrictions. Here are some tips to make your planning easier.

1. Know procedures for clearing customs in Spain

When an aircraft arrives from a Schengen country, the ground handler will take crew and passengers through security at the general aviation terminal (GAT). For departure to a Schengen destination crew, passengers and luggage will be escorted through security by the ground handler. Note that there are no restrictions on carry-on liquids for GA operations in Spain. When arriving from a non-Schengen country, crew, passengers, and luggage will be escorted to security at the GAT, and then to airport police to clear entry into the country. For departure to a non-Schengen destination, crew, passengers and luggage must clear security and airport police prior to departure. Clearance into and out of the country typically takes just a few minutes. Customs clearance for official diplomatic flights is not required as clearance is arranged in advance with the appropriate embassy. Onboard or planeside customs clearance is not possible in Spain.

2. Be aware of visa requirements

Crewmembers, regardless of nationality, do not require visas for Spain, so long as they have a valid crew ID. For passengers, certain nationalities require visas. Some nationalities may obtain visas on arrival, while others must have visas prior to arrival or risk being denied entry into the country. For this reason, it’s always best to confirm visa requirements with your 3rd-party provider in advance.

3. Understand document requirements

On arrival, you’ll need to provide crew and passenger manifest, valid passports for all onboard, and crew IDs for police clearance. In some cases, passenger visas will be required, so they must be furnished at the time of clearance into the country. Technically, you’re required to provide completed arrival/departure cards for arrival/departure from non-Schengen countries, and your ground handler can fill these out in advance. In many cases, however, airport police do not require these cards to be completed. Always check with your 3rd-party provider or ground handler in advance on the arrival/departure card requirements.

4. Certain fees are payable on arrival

While there are no fees associated with customs clearance, you’ll be assessed passenger security fees. Other fees include approach and landing fees as well as aircraft parking fees, all based on maximum takeoff weight (MTOW). Your ground handler will arrange credit for all airport fees. Alternatively, operators may settle fees and airport charges – with either credit cards or Euros – at the technical building on the airfield. If you choose the latter option, please take into consideration that this will mean additional time for departure crew requirements.

5. Be aware of agricultural restrictions

Always check with your ground handler in advance for restrictions on bringing agricultural and other items into Spain. In-flight catering from international flights may not be brought into the country but may be kept, on a case-by-case basis, at the airport under the care of your ground handler. However, please check with the ground handler to ensure they have the space and refrigeration you may require for any perishable food items.


Clearing customs in Spain is a generally pleasant, quick, and easy experience, but it’s important to be aware of all documentation requirements. Work with your ground handler on the storage of catering and perishable items that may not be permitted to leave the airport. On day of operation, your ground handler will have all airport fees settled and provide you with any requested CIQ assistance.


If you have any questions about this article, contact me at gonzalobarona@universalaviation.aero.

Got a question for Gonzalo about this article?