Rules For Bringing A UK Registered Car to Spain?

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29 Jul 2014 01:22 by billy67 Star rating. 11 posts Send private message

There are already numerous posts on this topic, having read all the advice here and elsewhere there are still a couple of questions where we find conflicting answers.

We already know that your car needs to have vailid, insurance/mot/tax. Breakdown cover and the breakdown kit (Hi-Viz Jacket etc)

How long can the car stay in Spain for before we need to remove it or re-register it, so far we have been told 1 month, 6 months, 6 months in a calander year depending on when the car was taken over. We are aware that the traffic laws changed recently, can anyone clarify please?

Traffico need to be informed about our car being in the country, when do we have to tell them, how much of a grace period do they give us




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29 Jul 2014 07:35 by nigel188 Star rating in Estepona. 625 posts Send private message

Hi Billy

Have a look at this Anginfo Website for more information on this subject.

Good Luck







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29 Jul 2014 09:19 by windtalker Star rating. 1708 posts Send private message

Hi Billy how long do you intend to keep the car in Spain .

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29 Jul 2014 10:25 by billy67 Star rating. 11 posts Send private message

We intend to stay for 6 months initially. We may then extend our rental. We are renting from 1 Sept this year.

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29 Jul 2014 13:05 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

Having read the Anglo mentions "residents" . This means a tax resident, on the register for foreigners and/or on the pardon to receive health care etc.  

You are classified as a visitor if in Spain for less than 183 days. 

So initially Billy you are a visitor and have only your insurance company to notify because they will only cover you fully comp for a certain time, thereafter 3rd only. Obviously your car must have all documentation to show it is legal in its country of origin.

However, should you decide to extend your stay, then your car will have to be matriculated before the allotted 183 days.

You have one month to complete the process and will have to sign on the pardon, with your local council. This will also permit you to use a local doctor. Also it means you have to become a tax resident.

DO NOT sign on the pardon until you start the matriculation otherwise import duty will be payable.

Also make sure you keep any info re when you arrived in Spain because if stopped by the guardia you can prove you are just on an extended holiday.


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29 Jul 2014 14:00 by billy67 Star rating. 11 posts Send private message

Does the "calendar year" part mean that we can have the car in Spain from sept 14 until end of dec 14 and then from jan 15 until end of june 15 before we have to matriculate.

Does this also apply to tax residency, would we be tax resident by end of feb 15 or end of june 15 if we extended our stay?

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29 Jul 2014 14:09 by juansheetisplenty Star rating in Cartagena. 278 posts Send private message

29 Jul 2014 14:11 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

It is, to my knowledge 183 days in total within the 365 days. Tax year in Spain is from 1st July until 2pm 30th June. 

At the 5th month stage of your tenancy agreement is when you will have to decide if you want to remain in Spain and all the obligations that that incurs.


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29 Jul 2014 14:30 by newworld Star rating. 937 posts Send private message

Make sure that your insurance  company is covering you, i took out a UK insurance 2 weeks ago, most companies will only cover you for 2 months outside the UK,  i got 3 months cover, LV will give you 6 months  but for me they wanted over £500 and i got cover for just over £200,  and i think its only 3rd party cover if you have to clain outside the UK

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29 Jul 2014 15:02 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 1091 posts Send private message

You can't sign on the padron unless you take out residency. If you are going  (or intend) to stay more than 183 days you must become resident and you have to rematriculate your car within 30 days of arrival, not when you take out residency or sign the padron.

If you (and your car) intend to stay less than 183 days you don't have to rematriculate it but it must have current road tax, MOT and valid insurance (ie legal in its own country) throughout your stay.

The Spanish tax year is Jan 1st to Dec 31st but makes no difference to the 183 days rule.

UK insurance companies will normally put you on basic insurance (3rd party) as soon as you leave UK but you can pay extra to make it fully comp for up to 3 months.

The rules for casual driving (as a visitor) and importing the car are exactly the same as they are for a foreigner taking a car to UK.

The new rules you mention refer to a car being kept in the country for more than 183 days which means it needs putting it on Spanish plates regardless if you are here or not. Many people leave a UK reg car in Spain and use it for visits which used to be fine provided tax and so on were up to date.

Keep ferry tickets etc with you so you can show when the car entered the country and is intending to leave.

(And before I get jumped on, yes residency means signing on the EU Register of Foreigners living in Spain but residency is easier to type).


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29 Jul 2014 15:26 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

Obviously mariedav you live in a different part of Spain from me or maybe things have changed within the last few years because what I wrote was how our lawyer told us to do it when matriculating the car, which was 3 months after our arrival. and sign on the Empadronamiento after starting the matric.  Because we had already decided to relocate here permantly we had organised  our  NIE numbers but actually signing on for residency came a year later when our abode was permanent.

Plus we have to have our tax return completed by 30th June. 2pm deadline. 

That's the problem with Spain, Billy, seemingly multiple countries under one heading of Spain. And even worse different councils with different rules.  Never one answer fits all.

Whatever for the first 183 days you can be classified as visitors. So suggest you think about it very carefully if you want to extend your stay and plan well ahead if you decide to do so.

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29 Jul 2014 15:49 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 1091 posts Send private message

You might complete your tax return by the end of June but it will be for 1/1 to 31/12 the previous year which is the Spanish tax year. Like UK where you complete your return by 31 October but it's from May to April.

Councils did allow people to sign on the padron before residency but that's been clamped down on. As it is the electoral roll that makes sense. 

The rules, exactly the same as UK,  if you intend to stay more than 183 days you have 30 days to start the process of rematriculation from date of arrival. That it's become almost a national pastime to get around the rules makes no difference. 


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29 Jul 2014 16:17 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

Why mention the national pastime. Hmmmmmm

All Billy wanted to know at the moment was about his car.

No problem there because his initial extended holiday is for 6 months and ends in February... So not even income tax is an issue .

Who knows, dependant upon where in Spain he is going to be renting , he might find it wetter, but warmer , in UK in the winter months.

So let's  let Billy enjoy his holiday first and if after 5 months he decides to prolong his stay then am sure he will know many Brits , either in his chosen area or on forums, who can guide him through what legally happens next scenario.

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29 Jul 2014 20:30 by windtalker Star rating. 1708 posts Send private message

Hi billy forgot to mention you said you are going to Spain in september for 5/6 months long term car hire in the winter months is very very cheap you will be able to hire a small car for 25euro per week don't forget if you do decide to hire a car to take out a separate care insurance for hire cars this cost me £45.00 for the year  whatever you decide make sure you do not stay in Spain for more than 183 days in any 12 months things will start to get very complicated for you good luck.


This message was last edited by windtalker on 29/07/2014.

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29 Jul 2014 20:53 by billy67 Star rating. 11 posts Send private message

Have just looked on a website that for some reason they wont let me put the link on but it is further down the thread angloinfo

It  states that only the Registered owner of the car can drive in Spain. Does that mean that even though My wife and I are both insured to drive the car, only the owner can. Have not come across this before and have been looking at all the rules extensively.

Unfortunately as soon as you find a rule stating one thing you find another contradicting it...very confusing


Thanks to all who have posted is helping I think?


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29 Jul 2014 21:18 by bobaol Star rating. 2256 posts Send private message

bobaol´s avatar

You'll get at least a dozen differing bits of opinion. For some reason, this type of subject brings out the best and worst in people.

Your wife can drive your car but (silly this, I know as she's your wife) she has to carry a letter from you to give her permission. In Spanish. 

Mariedave was right. The rules in Spain are exactly the same as for a foreigner taking a car to UK. Stick to under 6 months and you'll be fine. Ignore the red herrings of padrons, tax years, residencia and so on. But take heed of the insurance rules. 


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29 Jul 2014 21:37 by floella Star rating in SE Spain. 772 posts Send private message

Spain is full of contradictions, unfortunately.

Don't actually think a married couple count. As surname is the same. Well hasn't  for us or anyone we know. 

If ,however, you allow anyone else to drive your car , when you are not in it, then you should give them a note of authorisation. Think same applies in UK.

Car documentation , or copies, ,have to be kept in the car , or on your person ,at all times and always have your dr.licence with you.

There is a very good booklet about driving regulations in Spain available in most UK book shops so suggest you get it because some rules are different and visitors are easy targets.

Do hope, despite your concerns and the confusions, you enjoy your time in Spain.


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29 Jul 2014 22:55 by Pitby Star rating in Andalucía. 1904 posts Send private message

Pitby´s avatar

 Basically, if you intend to come to Spain to live for six months or more there is no question that you need to register with the police and, automatically, the hacienda that you are resident here.  Therefore, you need to register your car with the Spanish authorities soon after you arrive.  

Why do people think they can stretch it out for six months without having to do anything?  Your INTENTION to live here ultimately is the decider!  Anyone who advises you otherwise is not advising you correctly!

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29 Jul 2014 23:32 by billy67 Star rating. 11 posts Send private message

We are using this 6 months to decide if Spain is for us, we may or may not stay after that time. I think people are giving us the correct advice based on this scenario.

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29 Jul 2014 23:55 by Pitby Star rating in Andalucía. 1904 posts Send private message

Pitby´s avatar

You state that you intend to stay for six months initially, with the option to extend your stay - that would indicate that you will stay more than six months and the law requires you to register after/within three months in any event!  

We relocated here, to live, in the September and had to pay tax for the whole tax year, irrespective of the fact that we hadn't lived here for 183 days!  We may have got most of it back, but we were still tax resident!  

It does bug me that people look for every angle to avoid paying their contribution to the country they are living in - and billy67 that is not aimed at you, just to a lot of people who think they can live under the radar and get away with it!  And many do - I know some! 

Get good legal advice  - or do as a lot do and drive your uk reg car oblivious, don't register and keep your fingers crossed!  Loads do it!


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