Importing Cars: Bringing Your Car to Spain


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Importing Cars: Bringing Your Car to Spain

If you spend more than 6 months in Spain then we recommend you register and insure your car here, ie. importing."

Posted by The Expatriator

Information about importing cars and vehicles into Spain from the UK and North American (Canada, US). Read about insurance, residency status and your license, shipping information, getting estimates for vehicle removals to Spain and the taxes associated with importing cars.

Regarding registration of your vehicle, please see the appropriate Ministry on our government links page.

An excellent resource for comparison shopping your car insurance can be found (only in Spanish) at The rest of the site has other resources for finding motorcycle insurance, etc, and other helpful information for your car, whether you’re importing it or not.

Insurance is called “seguros” in Spanish. I’ve been told that you can order your insurance very quickly (within minutes) and that there’s a discount when you order from, for example, the site itself. Further investigation has revealed that Linea Directa (found on the Arpem site) is generally the cheapest insurance in Spain. Linea Directa also has a British equal which may offer assistance in English.

Many British insurance companies are able to continue to insure your car, although this depends on your length of stay in Spain (more than 6 months/year). If you spend more than 6 months in Spain then we recommend you register and insure your car here, ie. importing. Otherwise it’s likely in your best interests (saving complications and unnecessary Spanish beaurocracy) to contact your current insurer and request their policies on their car insurance abroad. Perhaps they collaborate with or have a branch in Spain (hopefully English speaking) that you can deal through in the future.

If you’re an American, importing a car can be a good idea, since buying a car in Spain carries a heavy tax. The cost of importing from the USA is roughly 4000€ (for an estimate, try Excess Baggage Co. ). Call your Spanish Embassy—the car may need modifications to meet European requirements. You will want to look into registering and insuring your car with a Spanish company.

It is impossible to obtain a Spanish licence without a Residencia: the problem arises because the police occasionally assume residency when they see a Spanish licence plate."

Excerpts from an excellent article about bringing your car from the UK to Spain by CostaBlancaExpats (by permission).

Regarding use of your vehicle during a short stay:

UK-registered vehicles. Anyone who is a non-resident (i.e. not in possession of a valid Residencia card) may freely drive and use a UK-registered vehicle during their stay here, but the vehicle must have all the usual documentation for MOT, tax and insurance and, of course, you must carry a valid UK driving licence.

Regarding the taxes on a UK registered car:

It is not possible to tax a UK registered vehicle here, but that does not mean you do not need road tax: every vehicle on the road ought to carry current and valid vehicle tax, and if your vehicle is UK registered, you should display a UK vehicle tax disc.

Regarding insurance for your UK car:

It is difficult to find competitive insurance cover here for a UK-registered vehicle, although not impossible, but this is as important to have in place as it is in the UK.

Regarding the need to import your car:

the Spanish rule is that you should apply for Residencia if spending more than 183 days a years, there is no provision for renewing documentation such as road tax on UK vehicles. If this is the case, the vehicle should be imported and the number plate changed to a Spanish registration. have six months to arrange importation of the vehicle and obtain a new Spanish number plate. Vehicle importations can be complicated and various documents are required to complete the process: I recommend you seek professional assistance for this service, and most reputable car dealerships can
assist you in this regard.

About being pulled over by the police and fined for not having a Spanish license:

There have recently been reports about non-resident individuals being stopped by the traffic police and fined for not having a Spanish driving licence. It is impossible to obtain a Spanish licence without a Residencia: the problem arises because the police occasionally assume residency when they see a Spanish licence plate. In this case you should explain that you are not a resident of Spain, but spend periods of time here throughout the year.

Thanks goes to Bill and CostaBlancaExpats for use of the article. See the rest of the article from the link on the right.

Last updated 03 04 2006

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jamesik said:

If I bring a US car to Spain and am in Spain for 4 to 5 months a year only, do I have to import the car? Or can I leave it with US plates as long as I keep the insurance current? How do the police know how long the car has been in Spain?

Thank you

brochelle06 said:

I am in California and a Spanish friend wants to purchase a Class A diesel RV to import in Spain. Can you please let me know is the CA emissions are compatible with EU emissions and if I should have any other concerns. Thank you in advance.

zorilla69 said:


I want to buy a motorcycle; a 125 CC automatic type, here in Barcelona mainly to get around town. I do not have a Spanish license because I do not have residency but I have an international license that stipulates I can ride motorcycles. Can I buy a motorcycle here?

Any information will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

kookee02 said:


All laws in Spain must be declared compatible with the Constitution. However, it is clear that it a public body is needed to regulate the fulfillment of this rule. -Arthur van der Vant

TomL said:


If you want to bring your car to Spain, I can recommend the company Paukner. We have had positive experience with this company when we moved from Cologne to Tenerife in Spring. Paukner handled everything about the transport of our car and the boxes in the container as well as the customs clearance at Tenerife. As far as I know it is a German company that operates weekly between Germany, Spain and Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

Thank you!


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