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Frequently Asked Questions.


Our experience in re-registration has allowed us to put together this list of FAQ's to assist you understand some of the issues that arise and to help you get the very best out of our service.

Please click on the questions to reveal the answers.

Why do I need to re-register my vehicle in Spain?
Answer: E.U. regulations state that a vehicle must be registered, taxed and inspected (MOT/ITV) in the country where the vehicle is normally kept.
Those drivers that are part time in Spain must also comply with this if their vehicle is to be based for more than six months in Spain.
Otherwise a non-Spanish vehicle can only remain in the country for 6 months in any 12-month period.
Permanent residents must register their vehicle in Spain within one month or two months if the vehicle is registered to them already in another country.
Please visit www.ukinspain.com or www.britishembassy.gov.uk for further information.
How long does it take to complete the re-registration process?
Answer: Once your vehicle has passed the ITV (about two hours); the documentation normally takes about 7 working days after this.

Public holidays, Red Days and Fiestas will add to this timescale.
The vehicle can be legally used during the period that the documents are being produced.
At the end of the re-registration process, what do I get?

Answer: Your car will have been accepted into Spain and inspected, as being in a legal, roadworthy condition and you will receive:

  • Spanish registration document (log book)
  • ITV card, similar to the MOT certificate
  • ITV sticker for the windscreen
  • Road tax receipt
  • Import tax receipt, where applicable or proof of exemption
  • Spanish number plates suitable for your vehicle
What type of vehicles can be re-registered to Spanish plates?
Answer: The vast majority of vehicles are re-registered under a regime known as "Change of Residence". These rules are designed to enable people to bring their personal vehicles with them when they move to Spain. Where you buy a vehicle after you have moved to Spain, different rules apply
(see below under "If I am already a resident in Spain, can I import a vehicle from the UK or any other country?")

Cars, motorcycles and campervans, whether right or left- hand drive can be imported under "Change of Residence."
How long will I be without my vehicle ?
Answer: The engineer's inspection and ITV (MOT equivalent) can take anything from 1-3 hours. This is the only time that your vehicle is needed and you can legally drive it immediately as a document is provided by the ITV station that explains that the vehicle is being re-registered; very handy if stopped by the police.
Can I accompany you to the ITV station ?
Answer: Yes, we prefer customers to be with us when the vehicle is inspected, so that they can witness the process and be on hand should there be any queries. If this is not possible for example due to work commitments, then we can collect the vehicle from your home or place of work and return it after the inspections.

We frequently collect cars from the airport car parks and process them without even meeting the client and will be happy to do so for you also (Alicante and Murcia airports only please!)

We leave a car as security and for your use during this period (Distance limitations apply)
What if my vehicle fails its ITV test ?
Answer: As with the UK MOT test, it is prudent to check your vehicle over before submitting it for test, for example, ensure that all of the lights are working and pay particular attention to the tyres. Tyres on the same axle must be the same type with exactly the same tread (though all four tyres need not be identical). The spare tyre is not inspected.
An illuminated airbag light will be cause for failure, most other dash warning lights will not, but please check with us first.
Should it fail the test, any remedial work will need to be undertaken before
re-submitting the vehicle for a further test, which will be at the customer's cost.
One of the advantages of having your vehicle tested in Spain is that the ITV station is government appointed and only carries out tests. The station cannot undertake repairs no matter how minor; this means that they cannot be tempted to fail a car and charge you for the remedial work as can happen at some UK MOT stations.

Should you need work undertaken either before or after your ITV test, we have relationships with a number of workshops that will be happy to provide a service at competitive rates.

If I am already a resident in Spain, can I import a vehicle from the UK or any other country ?
Answer: In most cases yes; however recent tightening of the legislation means that they can only be imported if the vehicle has European type approval (homologation). Where no type approval exists, it may be possible to import as a unique vehicle (called SVA in the UK), though this is more expensive and a lengthier process than normal.

If resident, before buying a vehicle registered in any country other than Spain, we would strongly recommend that you seek advice to ensure that it can be imported before committing to the expense
Can I import a brand new vehicle ?
Answer: Yes, there are a number of advantages of doing this; mainly that the cost of vehicles in other EU countries is much less than in Spain, thereby saving you money.
Purchase tax (VAT/IVA) must be paid in either the country in which the vehicle is purchased or in Spain. Where you choose to pay IVA in Spain, a UK vehicle must be registered temporarily in the UK on a form VX302.

Click HERE for more information from the DVLA
.

The vehicle can be brought to Spain immediately. If the owner then waits until he has owned it for more than 6 months and has 6000Km on the clock, it is no longer classed as brand new so he can avoid import/registration tax (where the owner qualifies to do so) or where this tax has to be paid, it will be reduced.
Vehicles can also be purchased new in other EU countries with similar rules applying regarding VAT/IVA, though unless you were a resident of that country, you cannot gain exemption from import/registration tax.
I have a classic vehicle; can this be imported ?
Answer: Any vehicle over 25 years old can be classed in Spain as "Historical". Vehicles falling into this category can generally be imported, "as built" with no changes to the vehicle needed.
As this requires a special process, please contact us for further advice.
I have a caravan, does this need to be registered also ?
Answer: Yes, unlike in the UK, all caravans and trailers if over 750Kg in carrying capacity have to be registered and will be supplied with a separate red number plate showing the vehicle registration.
Caravans and trailers of less than 750Kg are not registered with the authorities, but are still required to have the correct paperwork, including a one-off ITV pass.
As of 2011, the CRiS certificate has been accepted as a UK registration document making the process much simpler and less expensive for caravans especially if the caravan was owned prior to moving to Spain.
Where no CRiS certificate exists, then a caravan or trailer will either need to have a European Certificate of Conformity or pass a unique inspection at higher cost. CRiS certificates are not normally given to trailers.
Before the ITV inspection, any gas or electric installations have to be inspected and certified. We can arrange for this on the day of ITV inspection at cost price.
Will I need to change my headlights?
Answer: If your vehicle is right-hand drive, then your lights are designed to point towards the left hand kerb; these are not acceptable in Spain, so headlights designed to point to the right are obligatory.
The stick on "beam-benders" are not acceptable for ITV. Flat lined headlights with no left or right bias are normally acceptable. This applies to all vehicle types including motorcycles.

Some lights (though very few) can be adjusted in order to comply with the regulations; please check your handbook first.
Also check your rear fog-light. If you have two rear fog lights, then no problem. If you have only one rear fog-light, then this must be on the left hand side of the car. There are inexpensive ways to overcome this which we can take care of.
Due to our extensive contacts, we are able to supply and fit headlights at competitive prices.
My vehicle has been modified since is what first registered; is this OK?
Answer: It depends on the modification. Please supply details and we will check it out first. As a guide, the addition of bull-bars is normally OK, but alterations to the suspension or engine size for example may be a hurdle.
My vehicle has a tow bar; is this OK?
Answer: Where a car was owned prior to moving to Spain and is therefore re-registered under the "Change of Residence" regime, tow bars are perfectly acceptable as long as the data plate showing European Conformity is still in place. This is a small plate that may be found anywhere on the tow bar mechanism and can be made of metal or plastic.
Where a car has been purchased after coming to Spain, then the tow bar must not only show the data plate but must be included on the vehicle Certificate of Conformity.
Where the above criteria cannot be met, the tow bar has to be removed in its entirety before the ITV inspection. We can guide you through the process of having the tow bar legally fitted and added to the car documents once the car becomes Spanish as well as having it removed before inspection.
Can I keep my British registration?
Answer: When you import your vehicle to Spain and re-register it, you need to advise DVLA in Swansea that the car has been exported, so you lose your UK registration.
However, if you want to retain title to your UK registration (for instance if you have a personalised number plate), then you may be able do this by applying to DVLA to retain title or to transfer the plate to another UK registered vehicle.
.It is prudent to do this before re-registering the car.

Should you want to do this, please contact DVLA directly at www.dvla.gov.uk
Will I need to change my insurance policy?
Answer: Yes. It is recommended that you obtain quotes so have your insurance ready to go as soon as possible after you obtain your Spanish number plates, meanwhile continue to drive with your existing policy. (Note that British insurers will normally only cover you for a period of 3 months whilst your car is outside of the UK).
Spanish Number Plates is not qualified to give detailed advice regarding insurance, as it is a complex business and once re-registered your vehicle will definitely need a new policy. We fully endorse Expatinsuranceinspain, a well-established company that have a wealth of experience in this type of work.
The personal touch is provided by Ken Taylor.
www.expatinsuranceinspain.com
or call 966 740 188.
Please mention Spanish Number Plates when making contact .
How can I be reassured that the process is fully legal?
Answer: Not only are we registered with the authorities and pay all necessary taxes into the Spanish system, we work in conjunction with a firm of Gestors (lawyers) which specialises in motoring law and are well used to dealing with the bureaucracy that has to be undertaken during the re-registration process.
We are more than happy to supply details so that you can have any doubts put to rest.
What do you charge?
Answer: We charge a flat fee for Ficha Reducida (engineer's report), ITV testing, provision of all Spanish documents, legal costs, IVA and number plates. The overall costs payable will be determined by which taxes are levied, headlight requirements etc, so it is pointless publishing any prices as each situation is unique.
Please contact us for a full quotation which will include all costs.
What additional costs may be involved?
Answer:You will be liable for road tax and possibly for import/registration tax. These costs vary depending upon the type and age of your vehicle, the CO2 emissions and where you live.
Should your car fail the ITV inspection, any remedial work is at the cost of the owner, though it is fair to say that not many vehicles fail, as owners normally check the vehicle over beforehand.
We have a lot of resource around us, so any problems can normally be dealt with immediately after the ITV inspection and the vehicle then re-tested with no unnecessary delay
How much tax will I be liable for?

Answer: Road tax for all vehicle types is less than in the UK. It is charged locally with the rate being set by your ayuntamiento (Town Hall) not nationally and so varies in cost. For a full year it will be approximately 100-150 euros for a car or motor home, much less for motorbikes.
Another quirk is that road tax in Spain is levied from January 1st to December 31st, so upon re-registration it will also vary depending upon the time of year that it is first paid.

Import/Registration Tax
As of 1st January 2008, the regulations regarding import tax changed significantly.
Calculating tax takes into consideration the exact car, engine size and type and its age. The tax authority has a set of tables which we access in order to calculate the value of the car based upon this information.
The value is then compared to the below table of the vehicle's CO2 emissions in order to determine the level of taxation to be applied.

There are 4 bands of taxation for 4-wheeled vehicles as follows:
CO2 emission of less than 120g/Km = 0% of the vehicle value
CO2 emission of between 121-159 g/Km = 4.75% of the vehicle value
CO2 emission of between 160-199g/Km = 9.75% of the vehicle value
CO2 emission of more than 200g/Km = 14.75% of the vehicle value.

(Certain provinces have 16% as the higher value of tax).
All cars registered before 1st January 1997 are charged at a flat 12% of the Spanish valuation irrespective of the CO2 emissions.

Motorcycles.
As of 1st January 2009, motorcycles are now assessed for tax in the same way as cars. Using the tax authority tables, the valuation is calculated using very basic information, which is merely the age and engine size in cc's.

The model and condition of the bike is not taken into consideration.
Not many manufacturers of motorcycles publish the CO2 levels, but it is always worth asking them for a letter confirming the level as this may save you money. If not you will be charged at the highest rate (well they would wouldn't they!).
This is true as of January 2012, though hopefully it may change in the future The 4 bands of taxation for motorcycles is as below:
CO2 emission of less than 100g/Km = 0% of the bike value
CO2 emission of between 100-120 g/Km = 4.75% of the bike value
CO2 emission of between 120-140g/Km = 9.75% of the bike value.

Larger bikes where the CO2 emissions are more than 121g/Km and the bike generates more than 100 Horsepower (or 74Kw), the tax will be 14.75% of the bike value.

For an exact evaluation of taxes, please contact us with full details of your vehicle.

Spanish Number Plates will arrange for your taxes to be paid and provide you with the receipts from the relevant tax collecting authority. This way you can be certain that you have only paid the right amount of tax and no "mark-up"

Can I avoid paying registration/import tax?

Answer: Yes, the Spanish authorities will class your vehicle as part of your personal possessions brought with you to Spain and will exempt you from tax, but only within 2 months of your arrival (see below) and if you can meet the following criteria.

a) You owned the vehicle for more than 6 months (as shown on the vehicle registration document) before obtaining Padron/Residencia/paying Spanish income tax.

And Then...

a) Your original "Padron" is less than 2 months old.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING IN THE UK AND ARE A BRITISH PASSPORT HOLDER:

b) You can prove that you have lived in the UK for at least 12 months. This can be done via a letter from your employer or information from the UK tax authorities for example. Having a property, bank account or being on the electoral role is inadequate for this purpose

c)   You obtain a Notary letter confirming your past and present addresses and the date that you moved to Spain

IF YOU ARE NOT A BRITISH PASSPORT HOLDER OR ARE BUT HAVE MOVED FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE UK

You may be able to obtain a Baja Consular (residency transfer document) from your  Consualte (or in the case of UK citizens from the Consulate of the country in which you were previously resident)

Or you may have other official documents supporting the fact that you lived in a specific country

Please contact us for specific advice regarding this subject as it may not be straightforward

Please note that for importation purposes, the date of your arrival in Spain is taken as the date that you APPLY for your FIRST Padron at your present address (or "Residencia" at any address so in practice, you could have been in Spain for some time before obtaining your Padron and still be exempt from the tax.

Should you need a Baja Consular, then a trip to the British Consulate in Alicante, (which covers the provinces of Albacete, Alicante, Castellon, Murcia and Valencia), is needed; we normally accompany all customers there at no extra cost. The cost of a Baja Consular is presently 168.00€ (January 2013), which is usually less than the cost of import tax.
Most countries have a Consulate in Alicante (including Ireland) and charge less than the British!
If you are outside of the above two regions, then you will find your local Consulate via www.ukinspain.com .
Other Consulates can be found via the web on http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/spain

Can I import a car originally registered outside of Europe for example the USA?

Answer: If the car is being imported under the "Change of Residency" rules, there should be no problem, but please read below:

Cars originating in the USA (or anywhere else outside of Europe) often do not conform to Spanish standards. For example it is important that the indicators are orange, not red and that the car has reversing and rear fog lights, with the fog-light being fitted on the left hand side of the car.

If you are not importing a vehicle under "Change of Residency" it is better if your car has a European Type Approval Number (a.k.a. homologation); many non-European cars do not.

The Type Approval number is sometimes shown on the logbook, or on the car itself. It will look similar to this:- e13*97/27*0040*

Without this number, it may be costly in terms of time and money to re-register the car. We would urge you to contact the main dealer who supplied the car and ask them to provide proof of the homologation number if you do not already have one.
If no European homologation exists, the car may be able to be imported as a unique vehicle, but in these circumstances must conform to modern protocols and in particular the emissions standards which are normally Euro 3, 4, 5 or equivalent.
This process is more expensive, and long drawn out, so we strongly recommend seeking our advice before buying any car from outside of the EU

I am thinking of buying a Spanish registered car, is it simple to put it in my name?
Answer: Normally yes and we can take care of it for you, but there are a number of documents that are necessary from both you and the seller and these are not always available, especially if the car is being bought in the UK.
Also bear in mind that under Spanish law, when you buy a Spanish registered car, you may also inherit any unpaid taxes, fines etc, so it makes good sense to have a background check undertaken first.

We can do this on your behalf for a small fee. It can be undertaken more or less straightaway during weekday working hours

When cars are bought and sold in Spain, a tax of 4%, 6% or 8%  of the value is payable if purchased privately.  To find out what this may be, please get in touch.

If bought from a dealer a VAT invoice must be provided and normally no transfer tax would be levied.

Do I need a Spanish driving licence if I live in Spain?
Answer:

Generally speaking driving licenses issued in other EU countries remain
valid in Spain but local exceptions apply. For example, in Spain the minimum
age for driving a car is 18 years, so if you have 17 year olds in your
family with a UK licence, they cannot drive here until their next birthday

It has been law since 2009 that holders of a non-Spanish driving licence
need to exchange it within two years of obtaining residency. As of 19th
January 2015, this requirement has been reinforced by the issuing of
denuncias and fines. As you can imagine a purge in order to squeeze more
money from us will surely follow, so now is the time to act and ensure at
the same time that all of your papers which the boys in green will wish to
see are in order

In summary, the law is that anyone who is a resident of Spain (meaning that
they hold the green Residencia) has two years to exchange their licence for
a Spanish one and in doing so undertake a medical. This is clear enough but
is supplemented by the fact that the licence only needs to be exchanged
within the two year period if the present licence has more than 15 years to
run. If it has less than 15 years to run it will need exchanging when it
otherwise would have been renewed in the country of issue
Note that vocational entitlements such as 7.5 Tonne or PSV normally expire
before the entitlement to drive a car, so if a driver wishes to continue to
drive such vehicles he or she needs to exchange it before these entitlements
are due for renewal

Medicals are undertaken at specialist centres called Centros de
Reconocimiento de Conductores, not with your GP

To exchange your licence you should make an appointment at Trafico in your
Provincial capital or engage the services of a specialist gestoria (to help
retain your sanity!). The process should be simple but is complicated by
appalling communications between Trafico and DVLA which can make the process
drag on for months; so don't delay because if your licence expires whilst
you are waiting for a new one you cannot drive

The following documentation is required

1. Application form, TASA 2.3

2.Proof of identity and residence, which are:
a/ Passport
b/ Residencia

c/ Padron, which must have been renewed within the last 3 months 

3. Driving Licence: Original and photocopies of both photo licence and paper
counterpart.

4. Passport style photograph

5. Form Modelo 2.67 containing your signature which will appear on the
licence

6. Written statement that you have not been banned by law from driving in
another country

7. Written statement that you do not hold any other driving license or
permit, issued in Spain or in another EU country, other than the one being
exchanged

Classes of licence in Spain are the same as those throughout the rest of the
EU and will be carried over from the original licence to the new Spanish
one. A number of people myself included noticed that their Spanish licence
missed off certain entitlements, in my case for motor bikes, so check your
license upon receipt and have any errors corrected.

 Licence categories

Category B on the licence is the most widely used and corresponds to those
vehicles with a weight less than 3500 kg specifically including cars.
Presently, this category has a term of ten years or until the age of 70 from
date of issue

Categories other than "B" may have different renewal periods for both the
licence and medical. For instance like many drivers of mature years I am
allowed to drive vehicles up to 7.5 Tonnes despite not having had a test for
a truck of this size. This was granted under "grandfather rights" when the
need for a vocational test was introduced in January 1997. These are renewed
every 5 years. Owners of motor homes with a weight in excess of 3.5 tonnes
must posses such a licence

The old style paper licences are not standard EU issue so need to be changed
without delay for the card licence showing your photograph; this applies
whether you are going to exchange your licence to a Spanish one or not

The new regulations are open to misinterpretation and it is inconceivable
that every police officer or functionary will universally understand them,
so my advise it to exchange it without delay

ALL VALUES WHERE QUOTED ARE CORRECT AS AT MARCH 2015

Consulate advice

Alicante/Murcia
Edificio Espacio
Rambla Mendez Nunez 28-30
6th Floor
Alicante 03002

Andalucia
Calle Mauricio Moro Pareto 2
Málaga 29006

Phone, all centres (34) 902109356

email: spain.consulate@fco.gov.uk

Office hours: Office Hours: (local = GMT +1hr)
Monday to Friday 08:30 to 13:30

This all sound very complicated and confusing, can it be made simpler?
Answer: To someone not familiar with all of the processes and variables involved, in particular dealing with the Spanish authorities, it can seem very daunting. Spanish Number Plates is well established and its sole purpose is to make the whole process as simple and easy for the client as possible.
ALL VALUES WHERE QUOTED ARE CORRECT AS AT MARCH 2015.

Please note that we do our utmost, with the assistance of our Spanish legal advisors, to ensure that the information supplied is factual and up to date. However changes in rules and regulations and the interpretation of these can and does occur periodically, sometimes with no or little notice and for which we cannot be held responsible.