Beware Of Visiting The UK Driving Your Spanish Registered Car

Published on 13/04/2009 in Driving in Spain

We are preparing to go back to the continent next week - and am I glad to be leaving !

We have had an awful experience, which I feel we should relate to everyone we know in France and Spain

On Friday, our son had a day off work ( fortunately ) and happened to come home just as the Police were loading our car onto a pick-up truck.

We rushed out there in time to see it towed away, with no opportunity to stop them.

The circumstances are these :

Driving Spanish carOn 1st January 2009, Police forces throughout Britain commenced "Operation Andover,"  aimed at ridding the roads of foreign-registered vehicles, which were being driven in the U.K. for months or even years without having been taxed or MOTed. ( Northampton is full of them - mainly from Poland.)

We were given the DVLA directive, on which impounding was based ( press release 24/2006 ) which states that "Vehicles that are properly registered and taxed in their home countries and brought into the U.K. temporarily are usually exempt from U.K. registration in the U.K. for up to six months in any twelve month period."

Any sane person would assume that this would be a cumulative process, so someone visiting the U.K. in their vehicle from 1st January 2009 to 10th January 2009 and then from 1st July to 10th July 2009 would have been in the U.K. for a total of twenty days.

Not so.

The Police's interpretation of the Directive is that the Six Month Period commences on 1st January 2009 and ends on 30th June 2009, even if the vehicle had left the U.K. within days of arriving.

This means that  "ex-pats", like us, visiting their family in Britain in a foreign vehicle for a few days in January and then for a few days in July are liable to have their car impounded for having exceeded the six months period.

This was the basis for impounding our car, which visited the U.K. from 19th June to 8th July 2008 ( 20 days ) and entered again on February 9th 2009.

So it had been in the U.K. for a total for 67 days.

I spent three days going from Police station to Force Headquarters, ringing solicitors, MPs and MEPs, making statements and complaints, before a hard-working and sensible official got the car released this morning without cost - it should have been £423 !

So I am trying to let all our friends in France and Spain know about this.

Because, if this policy continues, thousands of law-abiding people, who visit the U.K. in fully-taxed foreign vehicles, are likely to have their cars impounded.

But there's more - and this will affect people who live in the U.K. and travel to Europe.

It is based on an E.U. Directive and therefore will also apply on the continent. Therefore any U.K. resident driving a U.K. registered vehicle on the continent twice in a year, more than six months apart, could have their vehicle impounded abroad - indeed, possibly, in several countries, if they drive through several.

The implications are horrendous. It is going to criminalise thousands of decent people.

We certainly feel criminalised. The guy advised us to take the car somewhere and hide it until the day we go to Dover and then drive there as quickly as legally possible, so that we are not stopped.

We now feel as though we are on the run !

Isn't it sad when you can't wait to leave your own country - and your family and friends ?

What on Earth is being done to us by these morons ?

As one of our friends said - "No wonder you're paranoid. They ARE all out to get you !"

See you later in the year - if I'm not in Prison !

Written by: A.G. Sayadian

About the author:

This is an email letter sent to me by a friend who goes, as you can see in the enclosed, twice a year at least to visit family and friends in his own, legally registered, taxed, insured, and ITV'd family car. 




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Comments:

kamrul567 said:
03 November 2012 @ 13:30

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Pam said:
27 October 2012 @ 14:08

Now I am just back in the UK How do I go about getting my english car put back onto it's english plates after being plated in spain for the last seven years.


Pam said:
27 October 2012 @ 14:06

Now I am justt back in the UK How do I go about getting my english car put back onto it's english plates after being plated in spain for the last seven years.


Malc said:
07 September 2012 @ 13:35

I'm only commenting on the question of insurance. European motor insurance is different to that from UK companies in that there is not a blame or fault clause. European motor insurance covers your vehicle whoever was at fault and wherever it was (as long as it was in Europe). If you have a bang - then you get your car repaired and settle who's to blame and liable for costs etc in a civil court.
There is also no wriggle out clause for Insurers (wasn't taxed or MOT'd). Case was proved in a Spanish Court a few months ago that insurers will pay whatever the condition of the car and whatever the circumstances. Mot's and motor tax are not a just cause for cancelling insurance. They are matters that should be taken up later by individuals (civil courts) or relevant authories (police or civil courts). Having been in Spain a few years now I believe it's one of those rare occasions that the UK lags behind Europe to the detriment (and expense) of the general public. All I need to insure a UK vehicle here is my passport - and on the few occasions I've been stopped by the Guardia they seem quite happy as long as I'm insured.



Malc said:
07 September 2012 @ 13:35

I'm only commenting on the question of insurance. European motor insurance is different to that from UK companies in that there is not a blame or fault clause. European motor insurance covers your vehicle whoever was at fault and wherever it was (as long as it was in Europe). If you have a bang - then you get your car repaired and settle who's to blame and liable for costs etc in a civil court.
There is also no wriggle out clause for Insurers (wasn't taxed or MOT'd). Case was proved in a Spanish Court a few months ago that insurers will pay whatever the condition of the car and whatever the circumstances. Mot's and motor tax are not a just cause for cancelling insurance. They are matters that should be taken up later by individuals (civil courts) or relevant authories (police or civil courts). Having been in Spain a few years now I believe it's one of those rare occasions that the UK lags behind Europe to the detriment (and expense) of the general public. All I need to insure a UK vehicle here is my passport - and on the few occasions I've been stopped by the Guardia they seem quite happy as long as I'm insured.



Robert said:
17 May 2012 @ 08:20

I brought my UK registered car to Spain in April of this year. The car is road taxed and MOTd. I have just re-insured it for driving in Spain through a company in Gibraltar and my green card etc will arrive in a few days. There is no issue with headlamp alignment as those can be changed to driving on the right at the flick of a switch on the headlamp casing. I am non-resident but have an NIE number.

My understanding was that a UK registered car could be on the road for up to six months of the year but those six months do not have to be consecutive. I want to keep the car's UK registration as I am unsure as to how long I will be in Spain as that is current job dependent. Yesterday I was told (by a colleague) that because I have an NIE number this means that I have to have the car registered in Spain.

That doesn't seem to make sense; if you are here more than three months in the year get an NIE number which then means you have to re-register the car. If you don't have an NIE number you can keep the car UK registered.

It appears that you are just flouting one requirement to satisfy another.

Can someone advise me of what is and isn't legal?



Robert said:
17 May 2012 @ 05:49

I brought my UK registered car to Spain in April of this year. The car is road taxed and MOTd. I have just re-insured it for driving in Spain through a company in Gibraltar and my green card etc will arrive in a few days. There is no issue with headlamp alignment as those can be changed to driving on the right at the flick of a switch on the headlamp casing. I am non-resident but have an NIE number.

My understanding was that a UK registered car could be on the road for up to six months of the year but those six months do not have to be consecutive. I want to keep the car's UK registration as I am unsure as to how long I will be in Spain as that is current job dependent. Yesterday I was told (by a colleague) that because I have an NIE number this means that I have to have the car registered in Spain.

That doesn't seem to make sense; if you are here more than three months in the year get an NIE number which then means you have to re-register the car. If you don't have an NIE number you can keep the car UK registered.

It appears that you are just flouting one requirement to satisfy another.

Can someone advise me of what is and isn't legal?



Robert said:
17 May 2012 @ 05:47

I brought my UK registered car to Spain in April of this year. The car is road taxed and MOTd. I have just re-insured it for driving in Spain through a company in Gibraltar and my green card etc will arrive in a few days. There is no issue with headlamp alignment as those can be changed to driving on the right at the flick of a switch on the headlamp casing. I am non-resident but have an NIE number.

My understanding was that a UK registered car could be on the road for up to six months of the year but those six months do not have to be consecutive. I want to keep the car's UK registration as I am unsure as to how long I will be in Spain as that is current job dependent. Yesterday I was told (by a colleague) that because I have an NIE number this means that I have to have the car registered in Spain.

That doesn't seem to make sense; if you are here more than three months in the year get an NIE number which then means you have to re-register the car. If you don't have an NIE number you can keep the car UK registered.

It appears that you are just flouting one requirement to satisfy another.

Can someone advise me of what is and isn't legal?



David said:
29 February 2012 @ 05:39

In 2010 I left the UK with my UK taxed and registered Land Rover and started a two year expedition of Africa.

Now, I'm back in Europe on the return leg back to the UK. While I've been away the car has been properly maintained and has also passed a European equivalent MOT.

I couldn't get insurance cover for Africa so I had to take my chances. So far so good.

So here's the question.
I want to be legal as I drive through Europe back to the UK, I've got a valid European road worthiness test certificate but no insurance and no road tax.

I want to get both insurance and road tax for the UK. How do I do it before I land in Dover?




Armbe said:
17 February 2012 @ 21:49

Back in 1993 I did come to the UK from Germany with some friends. We had a German registered van. We were able to insurance it in the UK on the German number plates. After this then taken to the English MOT. Once it pass the MOT test, we got the English number plates through the local DVLA office, and then went to the insurance to get the number plates on the certificate change.

In other words, yes it is possible to insurance a foreign car in England.



pete said:
02 March 2011 @ 12:39

The situation is this- UK residents are not allowed to drive a car with foreign plates on UK roads, unless it is a company car or you are self employed in the country where car is registered.
that's it.
If you are a foreign resident, rules apply to how long ie 6 months in any 12 month period. After that it has to be registered in the UK.
If you are stopped by police you need to have sufficient proof as to your elgibility, prove the date of arrival in uk.
If you take a UK reg car abroad (France) you still have to pay MOT tax Insurance in UK. If you 'export' the car on DVLA website, you do not need to pay tax in UK, but then you need to insure it in the resident country, and they will only insure short term while you have the car re-registered in said country.

Although hardly any of this is applied, it can be at any time, so beware becasue ignorance is no excuse ! Check out the DVLA website under 'Temporarily importing a Vehicle'.

It is of course all total nonsense as the EU should have freedom of movement across borders and provided you have insurance and MOT or equivalent, then why do you have to be tied to a single countries rules ? We are supposed to be Europeans, after all my driving licence and passport says I'm european !! ???



Dot said:
21 January 2011 @ 23:27

We have recently registered a Spainish car onto UK number plates, after returning to UK to live. No problems here DVLA really helpful. However we now need to de-register in Spain, what do we need to do? can anyone help please ?


mark connor said:
20 January 2011 @ 00:12

There is a new law just passed in Spain which states that if you have a uk registered car, you must have a valid uk mot and uk road tax and insurance. I have been living in spain for four years and my car has been here for most of that time on uk plates. I drive home to the uk a couple of times a year and have the uk mot renewed there and road tax the car there. I have spanish based insurance and the police have stopped me on a number of occasions. When they see that the car is legal in the uk they normally send me on my way with no problems. I brought the car here because it was much cheaper than selling and then purchasing one here. the uk plate is a personalised one and i am complying with the rules laid down by spanish law.
If anyone has a car here without mot or tax then the insurance does not cover you!. Please do not think that you can get away with driving your uk plated car in spain without either, and it is now not possible to have a uk plated car itv´d here. so remember no uk tax ILLEGAL no uk mot ILLEGAL no insurance ILLEGAL. When people choose to move to another country they should accept that (even if they dont like it) the law of that country is what you have to abide by, and stop griping about it and just follow the rules and you will be fine!.



CAROLVOSS said:
24 December 2010 @ 13:41

I NEED SOME ADVICE ACTUALLY. I WILL BE SENDING MY SPANISH REG CAR BACK TO ENGLAND BY ROAD FREIGHT NEXT WEEK .I HAVE A UK DRIVING LICENCE. I HAVE BEEN RESDIENT IN SPAIN FOUR YEARS AND DIDN'T GET ROUND TO CHANGING TO EU. LICENCE. FAMILY CRISIS DICTATES I WILL BE SPENDING NEXT YEAR IN ENGLAND I TO FLY BACK TO GATWICK ON 3RD JAN.WHAT DO I REQUIRE TO DRIVE MY CAR THERE LEGALLY/


rob said:
31 October 2010 @ 21:59

I have been in Spain for 18 months and for the first 6 kept my UK plates. After this I complied with Spanish Law and re registered th car on Spanish plates at a great deal of expense. I do feel a bit agreaved that there are a large number of ex pats who have had the same car on Uk plates for our entire 18 months stay. These cars are well over 3 years old, obviously have no MOT as they can not be tested until back in the UK, and are therefore obviously liable to mechanical failure and are not legally covered by insurance as the criteria states MOT required. What happens if an inocent party is seriously injured by one of these cars. No compensation for possible long term incapacity!! I know some people will say, isnt he the good guy!! but i would feel very guilty if i hit and injured someone without having insurance... wouldn't you????


rose said:
11 May 2010 @ 03:51

Can Praguepix tell me how to insure a car with spanish plates when I am resident in the Uk? I bought the car with a view to driving it across Europe this summer but didn't realise that it was impossible to insure it if I am not resident in Spain and impossible to insure it in the UK if it has Spanish plates. Is there a way to insure it that I don't know about.


rose said:
11 May 2010 @ 03:50

Can Praguepix tell me how to insure a car with spanish plates when I am resident in the Uk? I bought the car with a view to driving it across Europe this summer but didn't realise that it was impossible to insure it if I am not resident in Spain and impossible to insure it in the UK if it has Spanish plates. Is there a way to insure it that I don't know about.


praguepix said:
07 February 2010 @ 14:49

A UK plated car can have full Europe-wide insurance regardless of whether it has a current UK Road Tax. You can insure your car for year-round European use whether you have an address in the UK or not.
I have done this with two vehicles, one with UK plates, one with Spanish plates. The UK plated vehicle was new and did not require an MOT. It was bought in Germany, delivered to me on German plates which I had transferred to UK plates.
This kind of insurance is expensive and only a few Companies offer it but contrary to what many people believe, it can be done.
This insurance was necessary for me as I was based in three EU states in as many years and no longer UK resident.



samantha said:
03 February 2010 @ 09:11

Just because you have a UK plate in Spain it doesn't meanit is not insured, my car has full insurance and a full MOT, the reason we do it is that cars in the UK are cheaper than in Spain. Please stop being so ignorant!!!


Almendredo said:
27 April 2009 @ 18:38

The dorks are recording registration marks of all foreign cars arriving in the UK but (typically) not their departure. Apparently the system software has no means of recording a further entry date on subsequent UK arrival of the foreign registered car. Consequently the datebase only holds the original UK arrival date, so that any vehicle arriving in the UK again, at any future date, is liable to be impounded because Plod/DVLA only have the original ANPR-recorded entry date to go on! Daft buggers.

The DVLA Executive Director in charge of this particular DVLA cock-up is named David Hancock. Anybody tripped up by this, and there have been quite a few so far, should make contact with him. I have his direct number but won't give it here for obvious reasons. PM me if you need it, but only if you've been wrongly accused of your vehicle overstaying in the UK.



delza said:
16 April 2009 @ 17:52

I have made contact with my local police force who have told me that operation Andover was a was to do with all the non UK plated vehicles with expanded tags. On German and eastern European cars can easily be identified as expired as it says it on their plates.


dobies said:
16 April 2009 @ 14:16

This sort of behaviour doesn't surprise me, they will not be happy until they have driven all the hard working people out of Europe and it becomes overrun by Jackals.


delza said:
16 April 2009 @ 12:15

This can not be correct and I suggest your local police force don't know what they are doing as it simply impossible that way. Hence why they let your vehicle out for free as they were probably told so by a higher power as it was their mistake. The police would NEVER do anything for free unless they made a mistake.

Please let us know the EU or Police directive number so we can look into this further.



dsjt120641 said:
16 April 2009 @ 09:17

This dose not surprise me at all what is happening to the UK is a gradual take over and controling of the populas it is happening more and more , every one thought the film 1984 was far fetched time to think again.


Sam Boddy said:
15 April 2009 @ 17:30

Thanks very much for the info.
However, the driving of UK plated cars illegally in spain is of epidemic proportions, and proper application of this law may help to stop the UK cheats who pay no vehicle tax in UK or Spain.
Sam



davidashbyash said:
15 April 2009 @ 01:19

the police in england and dvla only apply the rule when it suits them, i.e. ah a spanish plate bet he cant speak english so thats 3 boxes ticked and of we go to nick someone else but only if they cant complain


RG said:
14 April 2009 @ 21:17

In answer to lasatalayas with regards to UK plated cars in Spain which are without Tax or MOT I have often questioned this with friends. I am off the opinion that even if you get insured in spain on one of these cars if you have an accident and its your fault I would think the insurance company may very well refuse to pay out any damage to your car but may pay the 3rd party. But i could be wrong!


ray-pc said:
14 April 2009 @ 13:47

how will this, then, affect lorries which are delivering goods on a regular basis travelling through France and to the U.K.? I cannot believe they are going to be impounded. ray-pc


pfduffy said:
14 April 2009 @ 11:15

This is ridicules as it would mean that every delivery vehicle going back and forth to the continent would contravene this interpretation of the directive.


lasatalayas said:
14 April 2009 @ 08:30

It would be nice if the police over here started to clamp down on the Brits who are driving cars still with UK plates on but that are no longer currently taxed in the UK.
If the tax is not up to date - are they insured?


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