Bringing Your Car To Spain

bring-your-car-to-spainIf you are driving a foreign registered car and living permanently in Spain (with residency) then legally you must import (register) your car within six months of being in Spain. EU legislation requires that a car be insured in its country of registration, so if you are now living in Spain with Spanish residency your car cannot legally be foreign registered.

You must make the appropriate changes – registration, license plates, insurance and drivers license (non-EU citizens).

An insurance company will require the car to be road legal and ask to see a vehicle inspection certificate (ITV – Inspección Tecnica de Vehiculos) and municipal road taxes must be paid. Importation for vehicles can be complicated and various documents are required to complete the process so it is best done with the assistance of a gestoria who will take care of all the paperwork for a small fee.

You must provide them with proof of vehicle ownership, a NIE or pasport number, current insurance and MOT (if a UK registered vehicle) so the transfer to Spanish registration can be done.

All car owners driving and living (resident, non- resident or visiting) in Spain must have car insurance (seguros). There are many companies that provide competitive pricing and many offer services and policies in English.

Spain, like many other countries has taken on the responsibility of keeping the roads safe for all drivers by making sure that all vehicles are road worthy. Depending on when your car was licensed, a periodic inspection by ITV is mandatory for all vehicles.

Once your vehicle has been inspected and passed, you are given a sticker and advised when to update the inspection. You must present this certificate to the gestoria as part of the registration process as well as proof of payment for municipal road taxes.

Car owners are required to pay an annual municipal tax for the upkeep and usage of the roads within the city or town where the car is registered. Proof of payment must kept in your car. The fees depend on where you are registered as living, but do not depend on the make of your car.

Both unlicensed drivers and most non-EU citizens are required to take a driving test (written and practical) in order to obtain the Spanish license required of all residents in this country. The test is complicated and expensive and in many towns you will have to do this in Spanish.

This can be a frustrating process and, unfortunately, necessary even if you already have a valid drivers license from your country.

Regarding use of your vehicle during a short stay. Anyone who is a non-resident may freely drive and use a foreign vehicle during their stay here, but the vehicle and driver must have a drivers license and car insurance. Spanish Law permits a foreign car to drive on Spanish roads as long as the car is road legal in its own country.

Importing a car from the United States can be expensive (roughly 4000 euros) and difficult. The Spanish Embassy in your country can inform you what you need to do to import your car.

The car may need modifications before entering Spain in order to meet European requirements. Once the vehicle arrives in Spain, it is obligatory to follow all of the above guidelines to make the car and driver legal.

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