Below you will find an informational guide on importing your car or another vehicle into Spain and registering it with the Spanish authorities.
With the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020 it is impossible to say what the procedure will be once the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During the transition period, the UK will have negotiated trade deals with the EU and other EU member states, which may mean the procedure and tax rates below will change.
Until that time, the information below outlines the current requirements.
The process itself can take a few weeks to complete and involves a certain amount of paperwork. There may also be registration taxes and/or duties to pay depending on the age of the vehicle and where it is being imported from.
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
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, the 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.
Read more about driving a UK registered car in Spain via our article at
Step 2 - ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos)
Every vehicle on Spanish roads requires an ITV or Inspección Técnica de Vehículos. If the vehicle has a current MOT you will not need a Spanish ITV/MOT until the current one expires. Previously all imported vehicles had to have a Spanish ITV test when being imported, but now the foreign ITV/MOT is accepted as long as the car is roadworthy.
For a list of ITV testing stations in your region, please visit the following page.
The following documentation is required for an ITV test:
Note: The Unic Certificate is not necessary for vehicles coming from other EU countries
The following documents will be needed for an ITV test:
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.
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 4 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.
The 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 https://www.veiasa.es/itv/inspeccion_tecnica_vehiculos
It's worth noting that there are many garages that 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
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 one month of the test. If the faults are deemed to be "muy graves", you may have to leave the vehicle at the test centre 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 one month period, it may be deregistered by the Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico.
Step 3 - Registering Your Foreign 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 foreign vehicle in Spain, you will need an NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). This is so that any outstanding importation taxes can be assigned to you.
The following must be submitted to the local Traffic Department (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) to register the vehicle:
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.
New vehicles have a flat rate of 21 per cent VAT/IVA to be paid if this has not already been paid in another country when purchased.
If the vehicle has been owned for more than six months, prior to the owner becoming a resident in Spain, the vehicle will not be subject to any import duty as long as the VAT was previously paid when purchased.
For a secondhand vehicle, the registration tax (Impuesto Especial Sobre Determinados Medios de Transporte) 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)
Taxes for vehicles from non-EU countries include the following:
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
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 vehicle's 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 and when driving on winding roads.
Driving Your UK Registered Car In Spain - https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/350-driving-your-uk-registered-car-in-spain.html
All About The Car ITV Test In Spain - https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/118-all-about-the-car-itv-test-in-spain.html
Spanish Driving Licenses - https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/88-spanish-driving-licences.html
Paying Traffic Fines In Spain - https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/188-paying-traffic-fines-in-spain.html
How To Get Your Spanish NIE Number - https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/75-how-to-get-your-spanish-nie-number.html
Private Health Insurance for Expats
If you want the security of knowing that you and your loved ones are covered against any unforeseen health issues in Spain, please consider one of our excellent value, low-cost Sanitas health insurance policies. All of our policies are in English, are underwritten by Bupa and are now a requirement when obtaining a residency visa for Spain.
You can view our range of policies here - https://www.healthplanspain.com/sanitas/sanitas-health-plans.html
Photo Credit: comedy_nose via photopincc
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