logbook miniBelow you will find an informational guide on importing your car or other vehicle into Spain and registering it with the Spanish authorities.

The process itself can take a few weeks to complete and involves a certain amount of paperwork. There will also be import taxes which will need to be paid.

For many, the cost of importing a vehicle into the country is just too much, with many of us electing to buy a vehicle here instead. If you decide that it's better for you to import a car or other vehicle, then read on and find out the steps involved.

The Steps to Import a Vehicle into Spain

  1. Import the Vehicle (Pay customs charges if coming from outside of the EU)
  2. ITV Vehicle Inspection
  3. Register Your Vehicle
  4. Pay Import Taxes

Step 1 - Import Your Car or Other Vehicle into Spain

In most cases, you will either be driving your vehicle into the country or will be having it shipped in.

Regardless of how it arrives, it needs to be registered with the authorities within 30 days of arrival.

Where a vehicle is imported from outside of the EU, you will generally have to pay import taxes at the customs office before the vehicle can be released.

If you are from an EU country and are not yet classed as a Spanish resident, you can generally drive the vehicle for up to 6 months. After this time, it will need to be registered with the Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico. After spending more than 6 months living in the country, you are deemed as a 'tax resident' and therefore, tax would be due on any foreign imported vehicles.

If you are a Spanish resident and spend more than 183 days of the year in the country, you are not permitted by law to drive a foreign plated vehicle.

Step 2 - ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos)

Every vehicle on Spanish roads requires an ITV or Inspección Técnica de Vehículos. This is the equivalent of an MOT in the UK and will also be required if you wish to import a foreign vehicle and put it onto Spanish number plates.

For a list of ITV testing stations in your region, please visit the following page.

http://www.dgt.es/es/seguridad-vial/centros-colaboradores/itvs/

New Vehicles

The following documentation is required for an ITV test:

  • The vehicle's technical specifications document (provided by the vehicle manufacturer), with Spanish translation
  • An Existing ITV card, if applicable
  • Receipt of payment of duty (original and photocopy)
  • Receipt of purchase (original and photocopy)
  • Driving licence
  • Vehicle insurance document
  • Identity document, for validating foreign ownership paperwork
  • Unic Certificate (Certificado Unico or Certificado de Adeudo), obtainable from the Traffic Department
  • Note: The Unic Certificate is not necessary for vehicles coming from other EU countries

Used Vehicles

The following documents will be needed for an ITV test:

  • The vehicle's technical specifications (provided by the vehicle manufacturer), with a Spanish translation
  • Receipt of payment of duty (original and photocopy)
  • Previous ITV card, if applicable
  • Purchase receipt (original and photocopy)
  • Vehicle registration papers
  • Vehicle insurance document
  • Driving licence
  • Identity document, for validating foreign ownership paperwork
  • Classic cars (coches clasicos) require a special ITV, as well as an authenticity certificate from the regional government (comunidad autónoma)

Whenever doing any form of paperwork in Spain, it is important to have a number of photocopies of each original document.

Once the vehicle passes the ITV test, a Technical Test Certificate Card (Tarjeta de Inspección Técnica) will be issued.

ITV Renewals

Cars - New cars are exempt for the first 4 years. After this, they must have an ITV test every 2 years up to 10 years. After this, an ITV test must be done annually.

Motorcycles - Exempt for the first 5 years with an ITV required every 2 years thereafter.

Caravans - Exempt for the first 6 years, but require an ITV every 2 years.

If you import a car from a non-EU country, you may need to submit your car for homologación, which is a process in which an appointed test office modifies your vehicle in order to comply with Spanish safety standards.

Current cost of an ITV varies depending on the region you are in and can be between 30.00 and 50.00 Euros. You can book your ITV online at http://www.itvcita.es

It's worth noting that there are many garages who for a small fee, will take the vehicle for the ITV for you. When you take the ITV, you have to be with the vehicle when tested. The tester will call out certain instructions for you to do, so that they can test the vehicle. This can be things like applying the brakes, turning the steering wheel or indicating.

If you are not yet proficient in the Spanish language, it may be a good idea to have someone else take the vehicle for you. Better still, go with them so that you are familiar with the procedure next time.

You can read all about the Spanish ITV test including current prices here http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/118-all-about-the-car-itv-test-in-spain.html

What If My Vehicle Fails the ITV?

If a vehicle fails the test, the owner is issued a paper listing the faults. The repairs must be completed within two months of the test. If the faults are deemed to be "muy graves", you may have to leave the vehicle at the test center as it may be too dangerous to drive it away.

If the repaired vehicle is returned to the ITV centre within 15 days, the owner will not usually have to pay for the retest. If the vehicle does not undergo a retest within the two-month period, it may be deregistered by the Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico.

Step 3 - Registering Your Vehicle

The next step in the process is to register the vehicle so that you can then get your Spanish number plates.

In order to register a vehicle in Spain, an NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is required. This is so that any outstanding importation taxes can be assigned to you.

The following must be submitted at the local Traffic Department (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) to register the vehicle:

  • An application form available from the local Traffic Department
  • Personal identification (residence card or passport; original and photocopies may be required)
  • Proof of address such as a rental agreement or title deeds if you are a property owner (original and photocopy)
  • Receipt of payment of local car tax (impuesto municipal sobre vehículos de tracción mecánica/IVTM) from the local town hall or Traffic Department
  • Registration document (Permiso de Circulación y Permiso Para Conducción)
  • Confirmation of payment of registration tax (Impuesto Especial sobre Determinados Medios de Transporte)
  • Proof that VAT (IVA) has been paid in the country of purchase. If it has not been paid because the vehicle is new, it may be necessary to complete Form 309 via the Agencia Tributaria
  • Technical Test Certificate Card (Tarjeta de Inspección Técnica) See Step 2 above (original and photocopy)
  • Vehicle receipt of purchase (original and photocopy)
  • Registration fee
  • Certificate of Conformity (Certificado de Conformidad) from the vehicle manufacturer or a certified representative (original and photocopy). There are two types of Certificate of Conformity:
  • EC Certificate, which is valid throughout the EU, or
  • National Certificate, generally issued for modified vehicles, buses, trailers and other large vehicles. It is only valid in the country in which it was issued.
  • If applicable, declaration of ownership of other Spanish-registered vehicles
  • If applicable, declaration of possession of a Spanish driving licence

If the above sounds a little daunting, you may want to hire the services of a local gestor who can help you through all of the paperwork and also apply for IVTM road tax duty and work out the amount that will need to be paid in import taxes.

Step 4 - Pay Your Import Taxes

Unfortunately, the importation of any vehicle comes at a cost in the shape of import taxes.

Below are the current import tax charges for both EU and Non-EU vehicles.

EU Vehicles

New vehicles have a flat rate of 21 percent VAT to be paid.

For a secondhand vehicle the tax is based on the level of CO2 emissions and the average market value of the vehicle.

The tax bands are as follows (But may change in the future)

  • 0 percent tax for vehicles with emissions of less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre
  • 4.75 percent tax for vehicles with emissions from 120 to 160 grams of CO2 per kilometre
  • 9.75 percent tax for vehicles with emissions from 160 to 200 grams of CO2 per kilometre
  • 14.75 percent tax for vehicles with emissions of more than 200 grams of CO2 per kilometre
  • 12 percent tax for vehicles which are not rated for CO2 emissions

Non-EU Vehicles

Taxes for vehicles from non-EU countries include the following:

  • 10 percent import duty (IPSI, Impuesto sobre la Producción, Servicios e Importación) based on the original market price with reductions based on age of the vehicle, payable at customs offices.
  • 21 percent VAT (IVA), payable at customs offices.
  • Registration tax (Impuesto sobre Determinados Medios de Transporte) of 0 to 14.75 percent based on the vehicle's CO2 emissions (See above). To register, Application Form 576 from the Spanish Customs Office should be completed online at the Agencia Tributaria 

Step 5 - Notify DVLA - Certificate of Permanent Export

When removing your vehicle from the UK for 12 months or more, you need to inform the DVLA and complete the 'Notification of permanent export' section of your V5C/4 registration certificate (Logbook).

You will then need to send this to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BD

You should also retain the remainder of the form for your records as this may be needed when importing the vehicle into Spain.

If you do not have a V5C logbook, you can apply for one at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-a-vehicle-registration-certificate

If you have already removed the vehicle from the UK, you will need to complete the V756 form.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-a-certificate-of-permanent-export

Should I Import My Car to Spain?

This is a legitimate question and one that requires careful consideration.

In some cases (especially when importing from outside of the EU) you could be liable to pay around 40% or more of the vehicles value in taxes!

If you feel that the taxes are not too much of an issue and you decide to import your vehicle regardless of these, you may want to hire the services of a local gestor.

A gestor will be familiar with the whole process, including any forms that need to be completed. For around 100 Euros or so, a gestor can take the strain out of the whole procedure and the paperwork involved.

Another thing to consider is the safety of the vehicle. Vehicles in Spain are left-hand drive, which means that driving a right-hand drive vehicle on Spanish roads presents certain dangers. Many accidents each year on Spanish roads involve RHD vehicles as there are visibility issues, especially when attempting to overtake.

Related Articles

Driving Your UK Registered Car In Spain - http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/350-driving-your-uk-registered-car-in-spain.html

All About The Car ITV Test In Spain - http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/118-all-about-the-car-itv-test-in-spain.html

Spanish Driving Licenses - http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/88-spanish-driving-licences.html

Paying Traffic Fines In Spain - http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/188-paying-traffic-fines-in-spain.html

How To Get Your Spanish NIE Number - http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/spain-news/75-how-to-get-your-spanish-nie-number.html

Photo Credit: comedy_nose via photopin cc

Updated: 23/8/2016

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