Importing a UK vehicle (Cars/Caravans) and Legally Avoiding Import Tax


Posted and filed under Motoring in Spain.

Importing a UK vehicle (Cars/Caravans) and Legally Avoiding Import Tax


Many people do not think when they are moving to Spain about their car as a priority, but it is something that should be considered fairly early on, as the car must go onto Spanish plates from UK plates if staying in Spain.

When you become Resident you have a 2 months grace period where you can change your vehicle to Spanish plates and be exempt from paying the import taxes: you only have to pay an administration fee, to do this the client has to ensure the following applies:

-Those interested must have had their habitual residence outside of Spanish territory at least during the twelve consecutive months prior to the transfer.

-The means of transport must have been acquired or imported under the normal conditions of taxation in the country of origin or provenance and must not have benefited from any exemption or refund of the fees  accrued upon leaving that country.

-The means of transport must have been used by the person concerned at his or her former residence at least six months before the date on which he or she left the former.

-Enrollment must be requested within the period provided in article 65.1.d) of Law 38/1992 (60 days).

-The means of transport to which this exemption applies shall not be transmitted for a period of twelve months after registration. Failure to comply with this requirement will determine the tax levy referred to the date on which said noncompliance occurred.


To change the plates on a caravan is the same process as a car which is below:-

To import your vehicle ,firstly you have to take your car to your nearest garage here in Spain and have the headlights checked to ensure they are of standard for left hand drive. (THIS WILL ONLY APPLY TO THE CAR)

Secondly visit any ITV station where they will ensure the car is roadworthy and carry out an ITV (MOT), they will provide paperwork which Trafico require in order to put your car on to spanish plates. If you are unsure of this, most garages will carry out the lights and ITV for you. (IF THE ITV IS NOT PASSED TRAFICO WILL NOT CHANGE THE VEHICLE TO SPANISH PLATES)

When this has been done, we need to submit the following documents to Trafico:-

-Original ITV documents, (3 blue sheets and 1 white, the white will have a picture of your car on it)
-Logbook – Original
-NIE or Residencia
-Water or elctricity bill or Padron no more than 6 months old in your name to confirm your address.

We can advise the total cost upon receipt of your vehicle MOT and logbook, please feel free to email us a copy of these documents to confirm the total cost (



  • Paul

    Hi I have family in Spain I want to leave my motorbike in Spain permanently so when I come to Spain I have my bike can I still get it Spanish registered and number plate change. Because I’m not a resident in Spain.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Paul,

      Yes of course you can change your bike to Spanish plates without being a resident, if the bike is here more than 6 moths of the year it should be changed for sure. As long as you have an NIE and proof of your address which would be a gas or electricity bill or padrón , no more than 6 months old among other documents the change can be carried out.

      Please see a link below explaining the process and the documents required, should you need help with this process we would be happy to help, I deal with these on a daily basis.

      Kind regards

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