For members


The key step-by-step guide for importing a car into Spain

If you are bringing a vehicle to Spain from overseas and are a permanent resident there are a few important bureaucratic hoops you have to jump through. And it's important not to waste any time. Here's what you you need to know.

The key step-by-step guide for importing a car into Spain
Photo: ifeelstock/Depositphotos

As with all things bureaucratic in Spain, the process of importing a car can be long and complicated.

But here’s how to do it.

When do I need to register my car in Spain?

If you are a permanent resident here, then you should register your car within 30 days of importing it to Spain.

If you bring it from outside the EU and it arrives by freight in a ship, then you will have to pay import taxes at the customs office before the vehicle can be released.

Most people will just drive it over into Spain or catch the ferry in which case you should register within 30 days and there are unconfirmed reports of foreign residents living in Spain being stopped by Guardia Civil and fined if they have not done so.

If you bring it from outside the EU, you will have to pay import taxes at the customs office before the vehicle can be released and will need to register it within 30 days.

When do you NOT need to register a vehicle in Spain?

If you are an EU national who doesn’t spend more than six months a year in Spain, you can use it in Spain without having to register it.

That means that students, pensioners, foreigners with second homes in Spain and cross-border commuters with company cars don’t have to go through the registration process, as long as they can prove they haven’t spent half of the year in Spanish territory.

However, you will need to ensure that your insurance is valid to drive in Spain and that your MOT or equivalent is valid the entire time you plan to keep it in Spain because you cannot do the Spanish equivalent (ITV) on a car that is registered in another country.


What about duties and taxes?

You will need to pay the following on any imported car:

  • 10 percent import duty (if bringing car from outside the EU)
  • 21 percent VAT (to be paid at customs) on new cars if this has not already been paid in another country, based on the purchase price of the car. This is applicable to vehicles coming from within and outside the EU.
  • If the vehicle has been owned for more than six months prior to the owner becoming resident in Spain then no VAT owed provided you can prove you paid VAT when originally purchased the car.
  • A registration tax based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions — ranging from 0% to 14.75%

Spain’s national tax regulations also allow for overseas vehicle usage If you have submitted and paid for the corresponding IEDMT (registration tax).

Registering your vehicle:

Once you have brought your car to Spain, paid the import tax and passed the ITV, you will need to register your vehicle in the same way as you would if you just bought a Spanish car, which means a visit to your local Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico. Cita Previas must be made in advance.

To find out where your nearest DGT office is and make a ‘cita previa’ click HERE

What documents will I need to present?

Your local traffic department (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) will require you to present or submit all original documents relating to the vehicle, including the current foreign registration and proof of licensing.

You will also have to show a Certificate of Conformity with EU regulations, issued by the Technical Vehicle Inspection service in Spain (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos, more commonly known as ITV).

If you bought the car from a private owner, you will be asked for the purchase agreement with a certified translation and proof of payment of the Property Transfer Tax (Impuesto de Transmisiones Patrimoniales, ITP).

If you bought the vehicle from a car dealer in another EU country, then you will need to present an invoice with the VAT number clearly stated and VAT proof of payment through the Spanish Tax Agency’s modelo 309 or 300 forms.

How much does it cost to register your car in Spain?

The IEDMT tax registration is a one-off fee that costs €95.80, although there are some deductions for vehicles already registered in another EU country.

A one-time registration tax must be paid to the municipality at the time of registering a vehicle.

This tax is based on CO2 emissions, with rates ranging from 4.75% (121-159g/km) to 14.75% (200g/km or more). Once this is paid, you will have to pay an annual road tax, which is based on the vehicle’s horsepower.

Though, keep in mind that hybrid and economically-friendly vehicles may be eligible for sizable discounts, for example: 0% for vehicles producing less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

You will need to provide proof of payment in order to complete the registration process.

What if I’m buying a new car overseas and bringing into Spain?

If it’s from an EU country you can buy transit registration plates for €20.20 from your local traffic department in Spain. These will allow you to drive the vehicle back to your home in Spain without any problems from traffic authorities.

About the ITV

The ITV can be carried out at any registered ITV centre, normally located on industrial estates just outside the city – you will see big signs for them when you drive along a highway.

This is the equivalent to an MOT in Britain and is a vehicle inspection certificate to ensure your car is roadworthy and complies to Spanish standards of safety.

  • The vehicle will be inspected for: Exhaust emissions, Lights (both interior and exterior), steering, brakes, suspension (shock absorbers, wheel alignment, etc.) tire tread, general condition of bodywork, mirrors, windows etc.

They also check that the car has certain safety aspects including working seatbelts.

To take the car for the ITV you don’t need an appointment but be warned that the centres can get busy and queues long at the weekends and towards the end of the month.

For the first one, you will need to bring:

  • Bill of sale (original and copy)
  • Receipt from payment of import tax & duty (original and copy)
  • Drivers License
  • Proof of car insurance
  • Passport for identification
  • Technical specifications for the vehicle (this can be obtained from vehicle manufacturer or by purchasing a Vehicle History Report)

Cost of ITV

The price varies from region to region and costs between €30 to €60. Check prices and locations, and book an appointment HERE


Don’t forget that you are legally required to purchase insurance for your car in order to drive. 

READ ALSO:  Driving in Spain: The 12 things that could land you in trouble with the law

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For members


Can the UK’s Blue Badge for disabled parking be used in Spain?

The UK’s Blue Badge scheme allows disabled drivers to park in special parking spaces closer to their destination, but can it be used if you're on holiday in Spain or living in Spain? The Local has spoken with the British Embassy in Madrid to find out.

Can the UK's Blue Badge for disabled parking be used in Spain?

The Blue Badge for disabled drivers issued by UK authorities features a symbol of a person in a wheelchair and should be displayed in the front of your car if you’re parked in a special disabled spot.

But can you use the same badge in your car in Spain?

When the UK was still part of the EU, these disabled badges for parking could be used throughout the bloc, but since January 1st 2021 when Brexit officially came into force, there have been some doubt regarding this. 

In other words, some disabled drivers visiting Spain who wish to rent a car or British residents living in Spain with UK disability cards are now uncertain as to whether their badges will be recognised here or not. 

In Spain, on roads and in car parks, parking places reserved for disabled people are marked with a wheelchair symbol.

The EU has its own parking card for people with disabilities and the recognition of the UK’s badge has always been an informal agreement between governments.

The advice from the UK government has always been for UK Blue Badge holders to check locally within the country they are travelling to, before using it abroad. 

The British Embassy in Madrid told The Local: “This advice did not change following the UK’s exit from the EU and to date no EU/EEA nation has specifically stated that it will not recognise a UK-issued disabled parking card”. 

However, the rules and advice are slightly different depending on if you are visiting Spain or living here. 

The UK government website states “You can use your UK Blue Badge when travelling in some European Union (EU) countries, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland”.

However, under the list of EU countries where you can use the UK Blue Badge, the UK government says Spain is “undecided” and asks drivers to check with the Spanish Embassy for more information.

This is causing a lot of uncertainty among UK Blue Badge holders and has sparked many debates on social media groups used by Brits in Spain. 

The British Embassy in Madrid has confirmed to The Local that: “Where the table states ‘undecided’, that doesn’t indicate that a particular nation has stated they will not recognise a UK issued parking card, merely that the UK doesn’t have a specific notification of reciprocity of the UK’s goodwill gesture”. 

This means that while Spain has not officially said that it will not recognise a disabled blue parking badge issued in the UK, there is no reciprocal agreement in place. 

While many British people visiting Spain say that they are continuing to use them without problem, others are reporting that Spanish authorities in some areas will not accept them anymore.

One member of the N332 Facebook group, (a group created by Spanish traffic police officers and volunteers) wrote: “To be honest I use my blue badge in Spain and it has not caused me any issues since Brexit. I think as long as a badge is displayed in the parking spaces no one will say or do anything”.

However, another commentator said that their friend was fined for using a UK blue badge in Spain.

According to the Spanish authorities, fines of up to €200 can be handed out for those who park in a disabled spot without the proper permit, although that’s not to say that a UK Blue Badge is not a proper permit.

So if you’re visiting Spain and have a disabled parking card, you should contact the local authorities first to find out if you can use your UK-issued parking card, otherwise you technically could be using it at your own risk and could be fined.  

In some places in Spain, you may find that authorities turn a blind eye, while in others may tell you that your badge is not valid.

Can you use your UK Blue Badge if you’re living in Spain?

The UK government website states: “If you have a UK Blue Badge and live in Spain, you must return it to the original UK issuing authority. You can apply for a new Spanish disabled parking card. The process is different in each region of Spain. Contact your local town hall or social services department for further information”.

So those who live in Spain should apply for the equivalent of the UK’s blue badge here. This is called the Tarjeta acreditativa de discapacidad or Tarjeta de grado de discapacidad, depending on where you live.

Examples of different disabled parking cards issued by Spain’s regions. Image: Fundación Once

The not-for-profit project Support in Spain warns that it can be a lengthy process to apply for the Spanish equivalent and that many have been waiting months or even years for their cards to be issued. This has left many foreign disabled residents in Spain in a difficult situation.

Another member of the N332 Facebook group wrote: “Why does it take so long to get a blue badge in Spain? My husband has advanced Parkinson’s and dementia. We have been waiting almost a year and our town hall tells me this is normal”. 

How to apply for Spain’s disabled parking card?

Firstly, in order to apply, you will need to make an appointment with your doctor in Spain to certify that you have a degree of disability that warrants a disabled parking card. Typically, applicants must prove that they have a disability of at least 33 percent in order to be eligible for the Spanish disabled parking card.

Your doctor may also need to refer you to a specialist. Getting this disability certificate, or reconocimiento de discapacidad as it’s called in Spanish, is the reason the process takes so long. This certificate is the same document you’ll need in order to apply for disability benefits in Spain too.

As mentioned above, the process of applying is slightly different, depending on what region of Spain you live in. Typically, you will have to go to your local Equality and Social Policies Department (Departamento de Igualdad y Políticas Sociales) or at your local town hall (ayuntamiento) and fill out the necessary paperwork.

This will then need to be submitted along with your disability certificate and any notes from your doctors, before your application can be processed. 

Those who are worried about how long the process will take should contact their local town hall to find out the average time frame in their area.