Spain has changed the law re. matriculation of foreign cars – now you have 20 days! –

 Foreign plates (anything but Spanish) are from now on only permitted 20 days in Spain. The law changed recently from 180 days to 20 days.  If you are caught you will be fined 500 euros, your will be car impounded at 9 euros per day until the vehicle is on Spanish plates! 

All cars with foreign licence plates legally must be changed to Spanish plates once that their owners take out your official residency in Spain. The procedure is a follows: You can use your car for 20 days (not working days). During that time you will have to apply for the green number plate (permiso temporal de circulación) which gives you two month to get all the papers in order, go to the ITV and traffico.

How can I change my plates in Spain?

If you have a non Spanish registered car, when it is imported into Spain it is liable for a 12% matriculation tax on it’s current Spanish value (this value is not something you work our yourself). Eventually you will have to register the car as Spanish so it’s worth saving the 12% tax by getting it ‘Spanish Plated’ within one month of your entering the country as a visitor and becoming a resident. If your car is worth around £2000 then probably it is easier and cheaper to just pay the matriculation tax on it.

What happens if I am not a resident?

Non-residents are allowed to buy cars in Spain so long as they have property in Spain although the rules are pretty vague and can be interpreted different ways in different places. So it should be possible to register your car in Spain. You will have to pay the registration tax but that is based on the current value of the car (for example, the 10% of its original cost). The tax rate depends on the CO2 emissions and the top rate is 14.75%. In addition there are costs involved in making changes to the car to conform to Spanish rules such as possibly changing headlights etc. On top of that will be the cost of a special ITV and of course gestors cost for handling it all.

A non resident can keep the car in Spain indefinitely on its country plates so long as it is not used for more than 6 months in a year and has a valid tax of any country and ITV and, of course, insurance. A Spanish ITV is not acceptable so you would have no option but to take it back to your country for a ITV (in UK is called MOT, for instance). Therefore, re-registering it would cost less than the cost of continual trips back to your country.

What is the process and how much does it cost?

The process can cost from 300€ to 1500€ depending on the car, including ITV, documentation, duties, other fees and even customs (when you buy a new car and bring it to Spain). So it is very important to do the right things in order to avoid unnecessary expenditure.

These are some guidelines what the Traffic Department will ask for upon registering your vehicle with Spanish licence plates:

– Application form to be filled-in
– Fee to be paid of 92,80 Euros for cars, for motorcycles 25,80 Euros
– Personal documents: ID-card or passport plus NIE- or Residence Certificate
– Car documents: ITV-card with pink and blue copy and sales contract in case of a sale.
– Receipt of road tax paid at your local town hall. You will have to present the ITV-card with the pink and blue copy to do so.
– Receipt of registration fee on the vehicle paid at “Hacienda”.
– Import tax to be paid at the Junta de Andalucía, if the car is second hand and has been purchased in      another EU-country (sales contract will have to be legally translated into Spanish).

You first will have to check at the local ITV station whether your technical certificate from your home country (“certificado de características”) will be sufficient so that you can be issued with a “certificado de conformidad”. For British vehicles contact the DVLA in Swansea. Also some right hand vehicles cannot be imported. Cars recently purchased may already have an European certificate/document that enables the car being technically homologized. However, if you purchased an older second hand car, it is possible that first of all, you will have to obtain new Spanish technical car documents.

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