Q: I have applied for and received the Croatian Digital Nomad Visa, and whilst the process can be a bit bureaucratic, you can get it online. Also, there is a similar scheme in Greece, but after six months, you have to pay half tax, but between them, you could switch between the two and stay in the Med forever. Any issues?
A: The critical issue for Sailors is Tax Residency, potentially leading to VAT liability. However, the problem is more nuanced. Regulation No 952/2013 says that Boats owned by non-EU residents and registered outside the EU are entitled to tax-free temporary importation into the EU for eighteen months. Article 250 2(c) ‘The temporary admission procedure may only be used provided that …the holder of the procedure is established outside the customs territory”. Article 5 (31) “person established in the customs territory of the Union means … any person who has his … habitual residence in the customs territory of the Union …” and I guess by analogy established outside the customs territory must mean is not a “Habitual Resident”.
Searching “Habitual Residence” on the web: it is a legal term distinct from domicile, tax residence, temporary residence etc. etc. So I am guessing that because “Habitual Residence” is subject to interpretation, and even determination of tax residency in most countries requires consideration of multiple factors – some EU customs authorities apply the simple and standard #1 tax residency criteria of 183 days. Note that in Italy the 183 days are per fiscal/calendar year. If you were a betting man, you could get the one year visa from 1 July 23 to 30 June 24 and claim you have stayed within 186 days residency in the fiscal year. And use 90 Schengen tourist days to pad out the rest of the 2023 and 2024 sailing years. FWIW