Driving in Spain: What you need to know about your car’s roadworthiness test (and the changes in 2021)

Driving in Spain: What you need to know about your car's roadworthiness test (and the changes in 2021)
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Here's everything you need to know before taking your vehicle in for Spain's ITV roadworthiness test, as well as the changes that come into force in June 2021.

What is ITV? 

Spain’s ITV or Inspección Técnica de Vehiculos is the equivalent of an MOT in the UK and the vehicle safety inspections carried out in some parts of the US and other countries.

The ITV (pronounced I-TE-UVE in Spanish) is the test that vehicles must pass to show that they’re roadworthy. When your car passes its test, you will be given a small sticker to display in the window as proof.

The test needs to be carried out at an official ITV station or testing centre, however if any work needs to be done on the vehicle, this can be done at a local garage. 

When do I need to get an ITV test?

Unlike in the UK, you don’t need to get the ITV test done every year. Sometimes you need to do it every other year, it all depends on how old your car is.  

  • Cars less than four years old don’t need an ITV test.
  • Cars between four and ten years old are tested every two years.
  • Cars that are older than ten years old need to be tested every year.

What do I need to get the ITV certificate? 

  • Ficha Técnica or ITV card – This is the certificate you are given after your ITV test, which shows if your car has passed and also any faults that have been found. If renewing your ITV, you should bring along the Ficha Técnica from the last ITV test that your car passed.
  • Permiso de circulación – This is your vehicle’s registration document.
  • Insurance receipt – You need to show evidence that your car has the correct insurance. 
  • Identification – You will need to bring your DNI, NIE or TIE for identification. 
  • Pay the fee – Prices vary between regions, but can range anywhere from around €30 for a two-wheeled moped to €43 for large petrol cars and vans and €48 for a diesel car. 

Remember that if you get a cita previa (appointment) with the ITV you can beat the queues.

READ MORE: Beat the queues: 23 official driving matters you can do online in Spain

Changes to the ITV in 2021

On June 1st 2021 several new changes regarding the ITV will come into force. These will adapt the revision of vehicles to new technologies that are being produced.

The new version of the manual will also include scenarios such as how to register vehicles from the UK in Spain, since the UK is no longer a member of the EU.

The main changes that will affect drivers are:

  • If the anti-lock braking system has some kind of fault, this goes from being considered a minor defect to a serious defect.
  • The possible detachment of the rearview mirrors is also considered a serious defect.
  • It will be possible to verify the data of the driver’s licence through the General Registry of Vehicles at the DGT, in case it is not presented at the ITV station.
  • Emission testing on extended range electric vehicles (REEVs) or the identification of motorcycles with advanced emission control systems, will be more clearly specified.

These changes, especially the first two, can put the driver in a difficult situation because they are both grounds for rejection of the ITV, meaning you will not be allowed to drive the vehicle until it is rectified.  

What happens if my car fails its ITV test?

If your ITV has been rejected, you must return to the garage or ITV station to check the car again in less than two months.

Failure to do so or driving without an ITV can result in four different fines, which can cost up to €500.

If your vehicle is found to have serious defects, it is allowed to be driven to the garage, but the fine for driving outside of this parameter can reach up to €200.

According to AECA-ITV, there are a total of 2.5 million drivers who, in addition to not having their ITV up to date, are not covered by the corresponding insurance policy either.

Does the car I imported to Spain need to pass the ITV roadworthiness test?

Yes, even if your vehicle has already passed the equivalent of the ITV in your country of origin, this does not exempt you from having to do it again in Spain. 

Any vehicle registered in Spain must pass the Spanish ITV , so once the transfer is completed you must go to an ITV station near you.

The documentation needed to pass the ITV with a vehicle registered outside of Spain includes, in most cases: foreign registration (may vary depending on the situation of each person and their vehicle), the circulation permit or equivalent document from the country of origin and the original copy of the vehicle’s technical sheet or technical inspection card, or equivalent.


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