Registering a vehicle in Spain

Registering a vehicle from another country and buying a new or used vehicle in Spain is a complex and potentially costly procedure. If you are a Spanish resident, you will normally be exempt from Spanish registration tax if you obtain Spanish number plates within one month of the vehicle entering the country.

1. Importing a vehicle from another country

The process for registering a vehicle from another country is a complicated matter.

You will need the following documentation:
A bill of sale (a translation may also be necessary).
The original vehicle title certificate.
Your passport to prove identity.

A single administration document from the Customs Office (for new/used vehicles purchased outside the EU).

In most cases, these documents will be enough to satisfy the customs requirements.
You will then need to pay import taxes and duties (if applicable).

Current Import Tax and Duty:
Cars 10%*
Motorcycles (depending on engine capacity) 6 – 8%*
Trucks 22%*
The import duty will be based on the market value of the vehicle. Reductions may apply depending on the age of the vehicle. There will also be an import tax (VAT) of 21%.

ITV Inspection Certificate:
Before registration, the vehicle will need to be inspected by an official inspection authority to prove that it is roadworthy and complies with Spanish standards of safety.

The following documents will be required:
Matriculacion Vehiculo​.
Bill of sale (original and copy).
Receipt for payment of import tax and duty (original and copy).
Driving Licence.
Proof of car insurance.
Passport for identification.
Technical specifications for the vehicle.

Registering the vehicle and paying road tax:
The final step of the process for registering a vehicle in Spain is as described above. The one-time registration tax must be paid as well as the road tax in the years after registration. Once the vehicle has been registered, you can put on your Spanish plates and the car import process is complete.

2. Buying a new vehicle in Spain

The registration process for a new car is normally handled by the dealership where you purchased the vehicle. They will normally handle the transfer of ownership paperwork as well. Even so, it is advisable to understand the particulars of the process.

Registration Fee:
There is currently a registration fee of €95.80 (€26.70 for mopeds)*

Application Form:
The dealership will download this for you.

Required Documents:
A roadworthiness certificate (pink and blue sheets).
A “diligencia de venta” containing information about the buyer and the dealer selling the vehicle.
Proof of identification (ID card, Spanish driving licence, passport or residence card).
Registration Tax.
Matriculacion de Vehiculos.

A one-time registration tax will have to be paid to the municipality. This tax is based on CO2 emissions, with rates ranging from 4.75% (121-159g/km) to 14.75% (200g/km or more). You will then have to pay an annual road tax based on the vehicle’s horsepower.

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

Insurance:
Before you are allowed to legally drive your vehicle on Spanish roads, you will need insurance. 
Owners are required to have a minimum of third-party car insurance for all vehicles in Spain. 

3. Buying a used car in Spain

The process for buying a used vehicle in Spain will depend on whether you are purchasing from a dealership or a private party. If you are buying from a used car dealer, they will normally handle all the paperwork. The following explains the process of registering a used vehicle when buying from a private seller.

You should ask to see the original documentation when buying from a private seller as follows:
The vehicle registration certificate.
An ITV test certificate (verifying proof of roadworthiness).
Proof of payment of road tax.
A copy of personal identification document.

It is important to confirm the seller’s right to sell the vehicle. Be sure to match the name on the sellers’ official ID to the one on the paperwork.

To conclude the purchase of a vehicle, you should together with the seller create a signed sales agreement or an invoice for the purchase to include the following details:
Vehicle details – including the make, model, vehicle identification number (VIN), etc.
Seller and buyer names.
Agreed price.
Date and time the transfer of ownership takes place (this is important in case there are any open traffic violations or fines associated with the car).

The final document required to conclude the purchase is a transfer of ownership form. Ideally, the buyer should download two copies of this form and take it with them. The buyer and seller should sign the form, with each party keeping a copy.

Registering the change of ownership:
As the buyer of a used car, you will need to register the vehicle in your name in the vehicle registry with the Registry of the Directorate General of Traffic.

Paying Transfer Tax:
When registering a vehicle which has been purchased from someone else, you will also need to pay a transfer tax to the local municipality. In doing so, you will need to provide the above mentioned documentation as well.

The vehicle’s registration document must be transferred within 30 days of the date of purchase. Currently, the cost of the transfer is around 4%* of the value of the vehicle.

Insurance:
You will need to have insurance before you can drive the vehicle.

* Prices correct at the date of writing.

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