FAQs

Why do I need to re-register in Spain?

EU regulations state that a vehicle must be registered, taxed and inspected (MOT/ITV) in the country of residence of the owner. Those drivers that are part time in Spain must also comply with this if their vehicle is to be based permanently in Spain. Otherwise a non-Spanish vehicle can only remain in the country for 6 months in any 12-month period Permanent residents must register their vehicle in Spain. For further information see www.ukinspain.com OR www.britishembassy.gov.uk

How long will I be without my vehicle?

The engineers inspection and ITV (MOT equivalent) can take anything from 1-3 hours, so depending upon where you live we would normally need your vehicle for up to half a day only. We do not need your vehicle for any later parts of the process

Can I accompany you to the ITV station?

Yes, we prefer customers to be with us when the vehicle is inspected, so that they can witness the process and be on hand should there be any queries

What if my car fails its ITV test?

As with the UK MOT test, it is prudent to check your vehicle over before submitting it for test, for example, ensure that all of the lights are working and pay particular attention to the tyres. Tyres on the same axle must be the same type with exactly the same tread (though all 4 tyres need not be identical). Should it fail the test, any remedial work will need to be undertaken before re-submitting the car for a further test, which will be at additional cost. One of the advantages of having your vehicle tested in Spain is that the ITV station is government appointed and only carries out tests. The station cannot undertake repairs no matter how minor; this means that they cannot be tempted to fail a car and charge you for the remedial work as can happen at some UK MOT stations. Should you need work undertaken either before or after your ITV test, we have relationships with a number of workshops that will be happy to provide a service at competitive rates.

What type of vehicles can be replated to Spanish plates?

The vast majority of vehicles are re-registered under a set of rules called “Change of Residence”. These rules are designed to enable people to bring their personal vehicles with them when they move to Spain. Where you buy a vehicle after you have moved to Spain, different rules apply (see below) Cars, motorcycles and campervans, whether right or left- hand drive can be imported under “Change of Residence” The general exception is commercial vehicles such as panel vans, pick-ups mini-buses, and car-derived vans whether left or right-hand drive. These vehicles cannot be re-registered unless being imported by a company for use by that company

If I am already a resident in Spain, can I import a vehicle from the UK or any other country?

In most cases, yes. However recent tightening of the legislation means that only vehicles that can fulfil the following criteria can be imported 1/ The vehicle has European type approval (homologation) 2/ If no type approval, it may be possible to import as a unique vehicle (called SVA in the UK), though this is more expensive and a lengthier process than normal If resident, before buying a vehicle registered in any country other than Spain, we would strongly recommend that you seek advice to ensure that it can be imported before committing to the expense

I have a classic vehicle; can this be imported?

Any vehicle over 25 years old can be classed in Spain as “Historical”. Vehicles falling into this category can generally be imported, “as built” with no changes to the vehicle needed As this requires a special process, please contact us for further advice

I have a caravan, does this need to be registered also?

Yes, unlike in the UK, towed vehicles including caravans have to be registered and if over 750Kg in weight will show a separate red number plate.

Each caravan/trailer is treated as a unique vehicle and has to undergo inspections by a specialist team with whom we can make arrangements on your behalf

Will I need to change my headlights?

If your vehicle is right-hand drive, then your lights are designed to point towards the left hand kerb, these are not acceptable in Spain, so headlights designed to point to the right are obligatory. This applies to all vehicle types including motorcycles, however with bikes, although the ITV station will often accept a “flat-lined” headlight, there is no guarantee that they will do so Some cars (though very few) can be adjusted in order to comply with the regulations; please check your handbook first Also check your rear fog-light. If you have two rear fog lights, then no problem. If you have only one rear fog-light, then this must be on the left hand side of the car. There are inexpensive ways to overcome this. Due to our extensive contacts, we are able to supply and fit headlights at competitive prices

My vehicle has been modified since is what first registered; is this OK?

It depends on the modification. Please supply details and we will check it out first. As a guide, the addition of tow-bars will only cause a delay if your car is fairly old, but alterations to the suspension or engine size for example will be a hurdle

Can I keep my British registration?

When you import your vehicle to Spain and re-register it, your UK “logbook” is returned to DVLA in Swansea, so you lose your UK registration.

However, if you want to retain title to your UK registration (for instance if you have a personalised number plate), then you may be able do this by applying to DVLA to retain ownership. For a fee, they may allow you to retain title and issue a certificate to this effect

Should you want to do this, please contact DVLA directly at www.dvla.gov.uk

Will I need to change my insurance policy?

Yes. It is recommended that you obtain quotes and have your insurance ready to go as soon as possible after you obtain your Spanish plates, meanwhile continue to drive with your existing policy. (Note that British insurers will normally only cover you for a period of 3 months whilst your car is outside of the UK)

Re-Platemate is not qualified to give detailed advice regarding insurance, as it is a complex business and once re-plated your vehicle will definitely need a new policy.

How long does it take to complete the replating process?

Once your vehicle has been matriculated and passed the ITV (about half a day); the documentation normally takes about 4-7 working days after this. Public holidays, Red days and Fiestas will add to this timescale

At the end of the replating process, what do I get?

Your car will have been accepted into Spain and ITV’d as being in a legal, roadworthy condition. You also get the ITV sticker for your windscreen, SUMA (road tax) receipt, import tax receipt (where applicable), a brand new Spanish registration document and the new number plates for your vehicle

How can I be reassured that the process is fully legal?

We work in conjunction with a firm of Gestors (lawyers) who specialise in motoring law and are well used to dealing with the bureaucracy that has to be undertaken during the re-registration process. We are more than happy to supply their details so that you can have any doubts put to rest

What do you charge?

We charge a flat fee for Ficha Reducida (matriculation), ITV testing, provision of all Spanish documents, legal costs and number plates. Please contact us for a full quotation

What additional costs may be involved?

You will be liable for SUMA (road tax) and possibly for import tax. These costs vary depending upon the type and age of your vehicle and where you live.

How much tax will I be liable for?

Road tax for all vehicle types is less than in the UK. The Road Tax is charged locally with the rate being set by your SUMA office (ayuntamiento in some towns) not nationally and so varies in cost. For a full year it will be approximately 100-150 euros for a car; much less for motorbikes

Import Tax (or matriculation fee.)

As of 1st January 2008, the regulations regarding import tax changed significantly.

Calculating tax takes into consideration the exact car, engine size and type and its age. The tax authority has a table that we access in order to calculate the value of the car based upon this information.

The value is then compared to the below table of the vehicle’s CO2 emissions in order to determine the level of taxation to be applied.

here are 4 bands of taxation for 4-wheeled vehicles as follows:

CO2 emission of less than 120g/Km = 0% of the vehicle value

CO2 emission of between 120-160 g/Km = 4.75% of the vehicle value

CO2 emission of between 160-200g/Km = 9.75% of the vehicle value

CO2 emission of more than 200g/Km = 14.75% of the vehicle value

Motorcycles, as of 1st January 2009 are now assessed for tax in the same way as cars

Using the tax authority tables, the valuation is calculated using very basic information, which is merely the age and engine size in cc’s. The model and condition of the bike is not taken into consideration

The 4 bands of taxation for motorcycles is as below:

CO2 emission of less than 80g/Km = 0% of the bike value

CO2 emission of between 80-100 g/Km = 4.75% of the bike value

CO2 emission of between 100-120g/Km = 9.75% of the bike value

CO2 emission of more than 120g/Km = 14.75% of the bike value

The above only applies to motorcycles in excess of 100HP (74Kw). Bikes below this threshold pay no tax

The ideal document for showing the true value of the CO2 emissions is the vehicle registration document, or “Certificate of Conformity” or the vehicle handbook

Where you have no document showing the CO2 emissions, then we will use official websites to calculate this For an exact evaluation of taxes, please contact us with full details of your vehicle

Re-Platemate will arrange for your taxes to be paid and provide you with the receipts from the relevant tax collecting authority. This way you can be certain that you have only paid the right amount of tax and no “mark-up”

Can I avoid paying import tax?

Yes, the Spanish authorities will class your vehicle as part of your personal possessions brought with you to Spain and will exempt you from tax, but only within 60 days of your arrival and if you can meet the following criteria

  1. You have owned the vehicle for more than 6 months (as shown on the vehicle registration document)
  2. Your original “Padron” is less than 60 days old
  3. You have a Baja Consular from the British Consulate (or consulate of the country in which you last lived and in which the vehicle is presently registered)


Please note that for importation purposes, the date of your arrival in Spain is taken as the date that you APPLY for your FIRST Padron at your present address, so in practice, you could have been in Spain for a some time before obtaining your Padron

Should you need a Baja Consular, then a trip to the British consulate in Alicante, which covers both Alicante and Murcia provinces, is necessary as you have to apply in person, though we will be happy to accompany you there, should you wish us to do so at no extra cost. The cost of a Baja Consular is presently 143 euros (December 2008), which is usually less than the cost of import tax

Can I import a car originally registered in the USA?

Yes. We have successfully done so on a number of occasions, but please note the following:

If the car is being imported under the “Change of Residency” rules, there should be no problem, but please read below:

Cars originating in the USA (or anywhere else outside of Europe) often do not conform to Spanish standards. For example it is important that the indicators are orange, not red and that the car has reversing and rear fog lights, with the fog-light being fitted on the left hand side of the car

It is vital that your car has a European homologation (or type approval) number; many US cars do not. The number is sometimes shown on the logbook, or on the car itself. It looks like a chassis number, but contains asterisks. Without this number, it may be very costly in terms of time and money to re-register the car. We would urge you to contact the main dealer who supplied the car and ask them to provide proof of the homologation number if you do not already have one

If no European homologation exists, the car may be able to be imported as a unique vehicle, which is a more expensive, and long drawn out process, so we strongly recommend seeking our advice before buying any car from outside of the EU

This all sound very complicated and confusing; can it be made simpler?

To someone not familiar with all of the processes involved and in particular dealing with the Spanish authorities, it can seem very daunting. Re-Platemate is well established and its sole purpose is to make the whole process as simple and easy for the client as possible

How do I go ahead?

Visit our contact page and choose your preferred method to make first contact.


ALL VALUES WHERE QUOTED ARE CORRECT AS AT JANUARY 2009


Please note that we do our utmost, with the assistance of our Spanish legal advisors, to ensure that the information supplied is factual and up to date. However changes in rules and regulations and the interpretation of these can and does occur periodically, sometimes with no or little notice and for which we cannot be held responsible.