Driving a car in Spain on English plates

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07 Jun 2011 12:00 AM by mobailey Star rating in San Cayetano. 461 posts Send private message

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 Why do people who come to Spain to live with their English plated car seem to think that they can drive around in it forever without changing to Spainish plates and with no road tax disc in the window, this is illegal in the ~UK~ and ITS illegal in Spain.  Makes you wonder that if they have no tax disc do they have an MOT and/or insurance?  I would not like to be the one they run into!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They would not dare run a car like thgat back England so why do they think they can get away with it in Spain. One day the police will catch up with them and the Spanish police don't muck around they will crush the car and no comeback for the owner. 


Mo&Bryan www.bryansblinds.com &  www.discovercostacalida.info Why not see if can we help  

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08 Jun 2011 9:25 AM by morerosado Star rating. 6927 posts Send private message

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There's one (at least) on our urb, we pass it daily & it is used. (We've a Spanish car ourselves). My husband wouldn't dare do what you say but, as you say, many do. There's always Traffico pulling drivers over for checks, I'd be shi**ing bricks as would my better  other half.

For example he doesn't drink & drive - never - but the other day he saw San Miguel 00 which said it really WAS 0% alcohol & he enjoyed two 200ml bottles sat in glorious sunshine rather than his usual coffee but it smells like beer & as we drove home there was a massive Traffico & Guardia presence, he thought 'what if they pull me over as I smell of beer', he was worried (for no reason of course), Traffico are scary people.

Spanish police don't muck around as you say!


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08 Jun 2011 11:27 AM by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message

If the process was easier and cheaper then more would do it sooner rather than later.


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08 Jun 2011 1:28 PM by EOS Team Star rating in In Spain of course!. 4015 posts Send private message

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It does amaze me too.  Around where we are there are loads of UK plated cars.  The sames ones have been going around for years.

I have no idea how those cars can legally be on the road.

But as More said, I too would be pooing bricks if it was me.  I get nervous enough as it is now going through checkpoints with our pefectly legal Spanish car.

The thing is too that if you are caught committing an offence and you have foreign plates, the Guardia are supposed to sieze the car and then ask questions later.

Even more reason to ensure that as a driver of an illegal car in Spain you wear a nappy at all times just in case you are pulled over .  It won't be pleasant.



Schools in Spain Guide | The Expat Files | Learn Spanish | Earn a living in Spain

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08 Jun 2011 1:57 PM by Faro Star rating in London. 1139 posts Send private message

There are more checkpoints these days and they are taking a greater interest in UK plated cars. I've seen a few being questioned.

In fact they put the frighteners on a local woman last week when she was stopped. The police said I know where you live and have been living for the last x years as I pass your house everyday and see the car ..... get it sorted!!!

Some are still getting away with being able to produce enough paperwork to say the car is 1/2 legal and then being told to deal with it.

I don't know if they have started to take more cars for not having MOT & tax if they are insured - of course the insurance might not be valid because of no MOT/Tax.

Sometimes I think it has to do with if the police can be bothered to have to deal with another English person who claims no knowledge of the language. I think they have a daily tolerence level.

I'm sometimes amazed how some UK plated cars even have logos/advertising for Spanish businesses etc

Please I don't want to open a discussion on what's meant by 1/2 legal.

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08 Jun 2011 2:23 PM by bobaol Star rating. 2253 posts Send private message

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 I still get a bit of the old collywobbles when I drive my car over.  Even though it's only in Spain for a maximum of 2 to 3 months and I carry my insurance/registration docs/MOT cert/tax disc/return ferry ticket/passport/driving license/letter from my Mum saying I'm allowed out on my own etc. and get pulled over by the police (which has happened 3 times so far).  They all seem particularly happy, especially with the note from my Mum return ferry ticket and let me continue.

However, there are several around us which have been here for years and no tax disc showing at all.  

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04 Jul 2011 9:18 AM by bootneck Star rating in Norfolk and tortosa. 1 posts Send private message

Hi everyone.

I'm new to the site, so be gentle with me.


We plan to move out to Spain in Nov 20011and we have been told lots of advice with regard to bringing a lhd car to Spain, more importantly the import tax we will have to pay.

Been reading old bits from the forum,2008, Has the law been changed, ie are we allowed to bring a car, which is our personel possesion,into the country withour paying import tax, providing we,

Have owned the car for more than 6 months,

We liecence the car within 60 days of getting our Padron.

We use a proper ITV station to do the job,

And a letter from the British Consulate.

Regards Bob. 

Is the bottle empty already.

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04 Jul 2011 4:20 PM by chordiant Star rating in La Torre Golf Resort.... 40 posts Send private message

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 Faro - I guess being 1/2 legal is similar to being a Little Bit Pregnant..!!

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04 Jul 2011 4:28 PM by chordiant Star rating in La Torre Golf Resort.... 40 posts Send private message

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 Driving on UK Plates depends on a number of factors:

1) 6 months (183 Days to be exact) if a visitor.

2) 3 months if you have Residencia and this is your first car

3) 1 month if you have Residencia and this is NOT your first car

NORMALLY, the maximum cover your insurance company wil provide when driving abroad is 3 months - which makes a nonsense of point 1.

The Guardia/Trafico now data-share with the DVLA. In the last month, the Guardia have removed a number (approx) 12 cars where I live - which were not taxed or insured in the Country of Registration.

To those who continue to drive illegal UK-Registered cars - Get legal, get registered and start paying your way for a change....!!!!!!!

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04 Jul 2011 6:27 PM by Poppyseed Star rating. 897 posts Send private message

Bootneck, this website gives some info re your enquiry about import taxes,

'However, 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.'




This message was last edited by Poppyseed on 04/07/2011.



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04 Jul 2011 6:55 PM by fpegman Star rating in San Miguel De Salina.... 441 posts Send private message

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Bootneck  the consulate will charge you about 130 Euros for the letter its best to get is as soon as possible after you get here .



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04 Jul 2011 7:11 PM by chordiant Star rating in La Torre Golf Resort.... 40 posts Send private message

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 The document obtained from the British Consulate is called a 'Baja' and is a requirement when registering the vehicle at Hacienda.

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13 Aug 2011 6:55 PM by ptan Star rating in Los Naranjos Jardine.... 1696 posts Send private message

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 The Baja is not a requirement, you can reregister a car without one but you will pay import duty.

When you import a car you pay an import tax based on the value of the car and it's emmissions.   

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

IF you have residentcia and your pardon is less than 60 days old then you can apply for a Baja consular that certifies that you have just relocated to Spain and therefore are entitled to import one vehicle as personal property tax free.    depending on the vavlue of the car and it's emmissions it may not be worth getting the Baja as the cost, €150, maybe more than the import tax.







Email: phil@naranjosuno.com

Web: www.naranjosuno.com




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13 Aug 2011 10:21 PM by chordiant Star rating in La Torre Golf Resort.... 40 posts Send private message

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Thanks for the clarification, ptan 

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19 Aug 2011 8:07 PM by Pammie Star rating. 38 posts Send private message

OMG, Thanks Guys

Last night my husband and I were so excited at planning our holiday to Spain.  This time we decided to drive down from the UK instead of the usual flying as it would be interesting, and come on you have to do it at least once.

Now after reading this I'm not too sure. 

It does worry me about having to carry the car documents (ownership, mot, insurance etc) with you all the time, what happens if you loose them, everything to do with the car has gone.  You hear of these people who flash their lights, pull you over and then steal the car etc.  Bit like the UK, but at least you have the ownership documents at home.  If the police are tatgeting UK plates can they just pull you over, or do they have to have to have a reason first.

Maybe we should scrap this idea and fly over .... oh just remember I have so much stuff to take over, won't go in the case

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19 Aug 2011 8:32 PM by janie2003 Star rating. 129 posts Send private message

 I wonder where these things come from. take colour copies of your documents they will look exactly as the originals, and you have to leave them in the car when parked up.

If someone flashes their lights at you why on earth would you stop?

I have never heard of the police specifically stopping UK cars. I have driven a cross Spain and dont think I have ever seen a police car on the motorways but I suppose someone will have and let you know.

but if you are woried then dont do it

I do live here by the way.

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19 Aug 2011 10:41 PM by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

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Yes, Janie.  I wonder too where these scary stories originate!


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19 Aug 2011 10:54 PM by fpegman Star rating in San Miguel De Salina.... 441 posts Send private message

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Pommie just drive down and enjoy it I have done it for over 30 years and I am still here Its a most enjoyable trip if you plan it

Make sure you carry the docs then you will be ok I have never once been stopped and asked for them but better to be safe than sorry

enjoy your trip and have a good time in France on the way





Overseas Property Company


Real Estate sales - rentals and Lloyds insurance agency.

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19 Aug 2011 11:08 PM by Pammie Star rating. 38 posts Send private message

Thanks for the info, will certainly look into taking colour photocopies of the documents.  We have already spoken to the insurance company about a green card, however they said we didn't need on.

As to the scarey stories, several have been published in newspapers in the past about people in remote areas pulling cars over saying they were either police or that there was something wrong with their car, and then either being robbed or having their cars stolen.  If i'm not mistaken I think it was in Sur in English a few years ago, but not sure if I have correct paper.

We come over to Spain twice a year and always hire a car, but this time we thought we just drive down, and I must admit I am really looking forward to it.

We also have a property in Bulgaria, and if you can cope with the police there you can cope with the police anywhere. They just demand money on the spot for nothing. (bribe)

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19 Aug 2011 11:16 PM by campana Star rating in Marbella. 474 posts Send private message

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As Fpegman says, "drive down and enjoy it."  And don't forgt to dally a while in France, Pammie.  It will be fun!

For many years we used to drive from Marbella back to Ireland, in Summer,  through France.  No bad experiences. 


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