Check Your Ability to Import of a Car into Spain

It’s one thing being able to physically import a car into Spain or indeed even buy one there but are your papers in order?

The UK has a really simple system for registering or taking ownership of a car. Essentially you need either a UK driving license or a foreign license, photo ID and some form of official proof of address like a utility bill and then it’s all done. It will cost you the price of a postage stamp to change the log book in to your name. In truth its a simple, easy and cheap way of buying a car. This is not however the case in a number of other places. For example, in Italy unless you are essentially permanent resident it’s impossible to gather the right paperwork to buy or register a car in your name. Spain is not far off the same. If you were looking to buy a left hand drive car to either import to Spain or even buy locally you need to either be permanent resident or be able to produce an NIE Certificate, Passport, Proof of Address and invariably be signed on to the Spanish tax system (the process of becoming Alta) to pay car related taxes. Certain things like the empadrimento supersede some of this as well. Essentially some of this stops the average Brit from being able to either buy or import his LHD Citroen or Nissan purely based on the paperwork.

Things have got stricter in Spain since last years deeper enforcement of money laundering regulations and more and more we are seeing that expats need to produce a copy of there escuteria or rental agreement as the proof of address and not abbreviated versions. Everything needs notarising and no paperwork can be missing. There are instances whereby it almost becomes impossible to drive a Spanish registered vehicle because 1 of the above has not yet been completed. The same also goes for buying a car on Spanish plates already in fact you need more paperwork to do this because you need the previous owners NIE and passport copy as well and without that your left hand drive Fiat 500 will not be transferred to you.

The simple fact is you need to check that you have all the paperwork you need to be able to register or transfer the car into your name and equally don’t get hung up on by something that is already on Spanish plates, this can be trickier than importing and the transfer taxes can make it more expensive than importing afresh. Secondly analyse your situation. For those trialling life abroad don’t jump in at the deep end with a Spanish registered vehicle. Take it in on UK plates first as in this instance it is a temporary import and you do have 6 months to decide if you are going on staying with the car. If in doubt get in touch with the team at Total Auto who will happily take the time to look at your paperwork and your situation.