Register Your Car In Spain

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Important information relating to the prcess of registering your car in Spain.

Import a Vehicle into Spain

Import a Vehicle into Spain

Table of Contents

Understanding the Process of Bringing a Vehicle into Spain

When thinking of importing a vehicle, it is essential to plan well and ensure you have all the papers required. The process may seem overwhelming but breaking it down into simple steps will help you manoeuvre through the importation regulations easily. In depth information about car importation into Spain starting from eligibility criteria to final registration is highlighted in this guide.

Vehicle Eligibility

To begin with, one has to ascertain whether his/her car can be imported based on the Spanish law. There are certain restrictions that apply in Spain regarding age, emissions standards and country of origin for imported used cars. Generally, vehicles must not be older than 5 models years and must comply with Euro 5 emission standards. Vehicles manufactured for Europe should not have much difficulties meeting these requirements as compared to other regions.

Furthermore, the nation prohibits bringing in vehicles without any altered identification numbers or missing parts; also classified as “luxury vehicles” by government definition if over two years old. For a car owner who wants to establish if her/his automobile qualifies for legal importation, finding out its specifications in relation to the eligibility criteria provided on Dirección General de Tráfico website will be helpful.

Obtaining an Import Certificate

The next step after you have confirmed your vehicle’s validity entails applying for an import certificate (Certificado de Importación) from Spanish tax authorities. This document certifies that your vehicle is legally, technically and fiscally fit for purpose once it reaches Spain.

To get this certificate, those intending to bring their cars here need to complete application forms indicating ownership details as well as specifics of their vehicles before presenting them together with purchase documents at Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria (AEAT). Before issuing it valid for four months AEAT has taxed imports and checked respective data on certificates.

It should be noted that this certification procedure takes approximately two weeks – three weeks hence one should begin it ahead of the importation arrangements. Additional evidence may be demanded by AEAT while appraising, depending on the origin country, car age or other related factors. Having international purchase invoices translated to Spanish can help speed up this process.

Transporting the Vehicle

The Import Certificate finally arrives and the vehicle must now be transported to Spain. In the case where it is possible for an individual to drive themselves, a pre-trip check-up for roadworthiness purposes is advisable.

However, in such unique vehicles which cannot drive themselves like old-fashioned vehicles, importing them can well be done through established shipping companies that have been doing this on international bases. Make sure you choose a company that has prior experience in international auto transport and will be able to handle all necessary customs documents.

Charges differ substantially considering carrier used as well as pick up and destination points plus vehicle size; but minimum overseas car shipping costs range from $1,000-$3,000 approximately. Enclosed transportation provides more protection against weather elements compared with open transportations. This should not be left out when planning overall budget.

Spanish Customs Clearance

On reaching any port of entry into Spain there is need for customs clearance of this vehicle. Import Certificate needs to be presented alongside signed delivery order issued by shipping company (if applicable) and original proof of purchase/ownership during this process.

Applicable import taxes and duties are assessed and paid at this stage. Standard VAT for used cars is 21% of the estimate value, but fuel type, emissions, vehicle age among other factors may lead to different rates. AEAT customs tax calculator should be used beforehand to get an idea how much you will have to pay in fees.

Customs processing usually takes between one and three days if all documents are available upon arrival. However, it may take longer due to various reasons such as seasonal peak demands when port accommodations should be organized correspondingly.

Spanish Registration

Registration of the imported car on Spain’s road completes after successfully passing through customs. Import Certificate should be taken together with other customs clearance documents and proof of ownership records to your nearest Trafico (driver agency) office.

Trafico officials will inspect the car after verifying your data before they issue Spanish license plates on your behalf which enables you to drive around legally in Spain. With correct paperwork in place, registration at Trafico offices normally takes two or even one day.

Other Considerations

There are a few more things you need to know apart from the basic steps mentioned above:

Insurance: In advance driving must be insured up third-party liability coverage. A comprehensive insurance policy may also come into handy during transportation.

Shipping Seasons: Since summer is a busy season, it would be better if you plan ahead or ship your car during spring/fall months because it might be cheaper or easier then.

Residency Imports: Under certain conditions bringing personal vehicle when immigrating to Spain differs from acquiring a second-hand vehicle registered normal way.

Historic Vehicles: Some extra documentation will have cars older than 30 years exempted from paying part of the tax like historical vehicles status confers benefits.

Exporting from the US: Imported goods that meet strict US EPA and DOT standards will facilitate their entry into Spain.

Understanding Spain’s import rules, researching different transport options thoroughly and being ready for unexpected delays or taxes are crucial to make your car entry process run smoothly. If you follow the steps in this guide and use the resources at the Spanish tax and traffic authorities, you will get your imported vehicle registered legally within 4-6 weeks, ready to hit the road.

Financing Options

In case a person wants a car but doesn’t currently have funds available, he/she may finance an automobile for paying import duties and charges at onset. Many Spanish banks offer loans for importing vehicles that meet their criteria.

One option is applying for a personal loan through a major bank like Santander or BBVA. Although these loans are more flexible than the others since no collateral security is required on them still they tend to be more expensive in terms of interest rates.

Alternative solution is an automotive-specific import loan offered by some smaller regional banks. These types of loans consider the imported car as its own security; in addition, getting lower interest rates between 3% and 5% on average makes it easier to qualify. Prepare to provide relevant documents such as proof of employment/residence plus credit score if asked when processing payment request.

Timing financing applications early during import planning enables matching underwriting timeframes with estimated delivery costs based on shipping terms given by freight forwarders. Allow extra margin for unprojected delays or additional expenses not covered otherwise it might necessitate making unplanned out-of-pocket expenditure.

Dealing with an import specialist will relieve you of the paperwork work. While this involves more money it might be necessary for complex imports or simply relieving stress. Be sure though, to do thorough research on them before committing.

To import a vehicle into Spain, you must go through several steps such as documentation, inspection and possible alterations to meet Spanish laws. Below is a detailed procedure on how to proceed:

Documents and Preparation

  • Have the necessary documents before importing your vehicle:
  • Ownership Title and Registration: A proof of ownership and registration from a country of your origin.
  • Purchasing Invoice: In case there has been a purchase.
  • Identity Proof: You’ll need either National ID Card or Passport.
  • Address Proof in Spain: Residency certificate or rental contract or utility bills.
  • Conformity Certificate (COC): It’s an EU standards compliance document issued by the manufacturer; otherwise Individual Approval Certificate will be required.
  • Insurance Policy: Valid motor insurance for Spain.
  • Bill of Lading: When the vehicle has been transported by sea.

Customs Clearance

Your car should go through customs after arriving in Spain:

Complete Customs Declaration (DUA) Form: Single Administrative Document (SAD) used in imports

Pay Import Duties and VAT: Import duties change depending on vehicle’s age and place of origin while VAT (IVA) is usually twenty one percent of its price

Technical Inspection

For it to pass the Spanish ITV, your vehicle needs to undergo some steps:

Check ITV at authorized centers where they ensure that cars meet safety requirements and emission standards set by Spanish government.

Alterations may help if the car does not comply with Spanish standards.

Registering the Vehicle

Once you pass ITV, register the car in Spain as follows:

  • Pay Registration Tax (Impuesto de Matriculación): It varies according to CO2 emissions that have been registered for this particular vehicle;
  • – Go to the local Traffic Department (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico) with:
  • ITV certificate
  • proof of identity and address
  • proof of payment of duties and taxes
  • original vehicle documents
  • proof of insurance.
  • Pay Road Tax (Impuesto sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica): It is usually charged yearly to the local authorities.

Additional Steps for Non-EU Vehicles

Other steps might be required if your car comes from a non-EU country:

Homologation: Further examination and improvements that would make it meet EU requirements.

Temporary Plates: Such are given if you want to drive before final process of registering the same.


  • Get all necessary papers.
  • Clear customs and pay duties.
  • Pass the ITV inspection.
  • Register the vehicle and obtain Spanish plates.
  • Pay all applicable taxes and fees.


Language Barrier: If you don’t speak Spanish fluently, hiring a gestor (administrative agent) can help with paperwork.

Cost Estimates: Be prepared for such expenses as import duties, VAT, registration tax, or possible changes to be made on your car’s technical specifications.

Timeframe: The process can take several weeks, so plan accordingly.

It is important to observe local regulations to avoid penalties or complications – every case may have its peculiar nuances; therefore, it is reasonable to approach local officials or professionals in this field for consultation purposes.

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