Importing a non-EU vehicle into Spain – all you need to know
The UK is no longer a member of the European Union (EU), and is therefore a “third country” so there are a few more hoops to jump through in order to bring goods or vehicles into Spain from outside the EU.
The rules vary slightly depending on your residency status in Spain – i.e., if you’re already resident in Spain (more than 1 year), a non-resident or you’re in the process of relocating and want to bring the vehicle with you when you move (called “change of residence”).
To import or not to import, that is the question
Everyone’s circumstances are different, and only you can decide whether it’s worth importing your vehicle. Before making any final decision, Upsticks have some Top tips to consider, especially if your vehicle is right hand drive (RHD).
Is the vehicle allowed into Spain?
There’s not much point planning on taking your vehicle with you to Spain if you aren’t going to be allowed to import it anyway. Right hand drive commercial vehicles (class N1 in Section J of the V5/logbook) are not importable, under any circumstances, due to safety issues with the door opening on the wrong side.
The vehicle will also need to have EU type approval indicated on the registration certificate (Section K on a UK V5/logbook) unless you are registering it for change of residence then this requirement is waived
Historic/classic cars can be difficult depending on which area or Spain you live in, watch this video for more information on this.
Technical, Tax and Tráfico – the three main elements to any vehicle import
Technical – can the vehicle meet Spanish technical requirements for the ITV, Spain’s periodic vehicle safety check (MOT in UK, DOT in the United States, SAAQ in Canada) and have you got the right documentation for the import process.
Tax – what taxes are payable and when they are due, including IVA (VAT, sales tax) and possibly Customs Duty (DUA), depending on your specific circumstances.
Tráfico – you’ll need to register your vehicle with the Spanish Traffic authorities (DGT – Dirección General de Tráfico) and there are charges for completion of the Permission to Drive Certificate (Permiso de Circulación, permiso) and issuing of the Spanish registration number (número de matricula).
Importing a vehicle as part of your personal items for change of residence
Probably the best time to import any vehicle is at the same time as you register for residency in Spain, because there’s the opportunity to waive some of the taxes. Depending on the technical situation with the vehicle, it might be your only chance to import an American RV for example. This is a summary of the steps for a non-EU vehicle import:
- Process the vehicle through Spanish Customs (Aduanas) and obtain a DUA document after payment of any taxes. For change of residence VAT/IVA isn’t chargeable and other taxes are calculated on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis (allowances made for age of vehicle, emissions etc)
- Have the original vehicle registration document, proof of purchase and Certificate of Conformity (COC) from the manufacturer. If you don’t have the COC, you’ll need an extra process to obtain Spanish certification known as a “ficha tecnica reducida”
- Make sure the vehicle meets the requirements for the Spanish ITV (MOT, roadworthiness inspection). This could involve changing the headlights, fog lights, removing aftermarket modifications like towbars etc).
- Book the “first registration” ITV test, make sure of your documents and that the vehicle is insured.
- Once the ITV is passed, register the vehicle with Tráfico and pay the IVTM, the Spanish equivalent of road tax – don’t forget your Padron. You could also apply for a waiver of the special registrations tax, even if your vehicle’s emissions are over the magic 120g/km – read more here
If you have been a resident in Spain for more than 1 year, then there are no waivers available and the import will be liable for full taxes, based on where the vehicle is being imported from and your specific personal circumstances.
To find out how Upsticks can help with registering your vehicle onto Spanish plates in Andalucia, Book a Call and we’ll be happy to help.
Checklist for preparing a UK right hand drive car for a Spanish ITV test
How long can you drive a foreign plated car in Spain?
The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last reviewed/updated 01.08.2022