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Removals to Europe, UK and Overseas Moving Service

Removals to Spain: Importing Cars and Other Vehicles

Hamiltons European Removal Department can assist with importing your vehicle to Spain. We provide removal quotations for the full range of vehicles from classic cars to everyday vehicles, motorbikes, boats, farm machinery, jet skis and quad bikes.

Removals to Spain – contact us now to discuss your requirements.

This guide provides information on how to register your car with the Spanish authorities. This is essential if you are importing a vehicle into Spain for stays of more than six months. Please note that all information is correct at time of publishing but may change at any time.

Importing your car to Spain

The exact paperwork required for importing a vehicle into Spain will depend on whether the vehicle you wish to import is new or second-hand and from the EU or outside the EU. You will need to provide documentation as follows;

  1. Proof of your own personal residence in Spain, in the form of a residence card or ID card from your country of origin.
  2. A certificate from the Spanish police stating where you live.
  3. Proof of property ownership or a rental contract which must be for a minimum of one year.
  4. Your Spanish driving licence.

You also need to present the relevant vehicle documentation. This will include;

  1. The technical inspection certificate, known as the ITV. ( MOT equivalent)
  2. The vehicle registration document or Certificado Unico para la Matrícula de Vehículos, this is available from your local provincial traffic department.
  3. The invoice for the purchase of the car if you bought it within the last six months
  4. Proof of payment of road tax ( impuesto municipal sobre vehículos de tracción mecánica/IVTM
  5. Proof of payment of the appropriate taxes.

Once the importation procedure is complete you mustn’t drive your car until your local provincial traffic department has issued temporary green registration plates. These are usually valid for 10 days, giving you  enough time to drive to the nearest testing station for an inspección técnica de vehículos ( ITV) test, which must be passed before you receive a permanent registration number.

On completion of this process your V5c should be returned to the DVLA in Swansea.

It may be that your vehicle needs to undergo a homologation procedure. This will be the case if your vehicle does not comply with certain safety and other requirements. Vehicles imported from a country outside the EU must undergo homologation and must be certified by the manufacturer or an officially recognised garage and undergo a test before it can be registered in Spain. It’s a long and complicated process and the information demanded by the authorities often varies from region to region in Spain.

As with all imports, there are taxes and duties to be paid and importing a car is no different. The following taxes and duty must be paid when importing a vehicle into Spain:

  • IVA, the Spanish equivalent of VAT, payable at 16% on cars imported from outside the EU or on a tax-free car on which VAT has not previously been paid, which is being imported from an EU country.
  • A registration tax or impuesto sobre circulación de vehículos of 12% on petrol-engined vehicles with a capacity of over 1,600cc, four-wheel drive vehicles and diesel-engined vehicles over 2,000cc and of 7% on vehicles with smaller engines. These tax rates are slightly cheaper in the Canary Islands. Residents coming to live permanently in Spain and importing a car on which they’ve previously paid VAT and which they’ve owned for at least six months are exempt. An application for exemption must be made within a month of the date of issue of your residence permit, and you must present a certificate of non-residence ( certificado de baja de residencia) from the country you’re leaving.
  • An import duty of 10% is levied on vehicles imported from outside the EU unless you are a resident.

Each of the above tax rates is applied to the original price of the vehicle, with a reduction for each year of its age up to 10 years. These reductions work on a sliding scale as follows; 20% after  year 1, 30% after year 2, 50% after year 4, and 80% after year 10.

Driving a Car on Foreign Registration Plates

A Spanish resident is not permitted to operate a car on foreign registration plates. Vehicles registered outside the EU cannot generally be operated in Spain or any other EU country by EU residents, although there are a few exceptions.

The importation of right-hand drive (RHD) cars is allowed now but still frowned upon by the Spanish authorities. They were banned in 1991, but this ban was subsequently reversed due to protests from the British to the European Commission. However, it is still the case that only immigrants importing an RHD car may register it in Spain; existing residents are not allowed to purchase an RHD vehicle abroad and register it in Spain.

The regulations for non residents differ depending on whether you are an EU national or not.

Non residents of Spain that are EU Nationals can bring a vehicle registered in another EU country to Spain and can use it for up to 182 days per year without paying Spanish taxes. The vehicle must be legal in its country of registration, meaning that it must be inspected (MOT’d) as appropriate and taxed there.

Non residents of Spain who are citizens of countries outside the EU may temporarily import a vehicle registered outside the EU for a total period of six months within a calendar year. This six month period need not be continuous and in certain circumstances, it can be extended. This would apply to those regularly crossing into EU territory for work, full-time students from outside the EU and people from outside the EU on a special mission for a specified period. The vehicle can be used only by the owner, his spouse, parents and children who themselves, must also be non-residents.