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

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Posted and filed under Motoring in Spain.

Cars

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.

Caravans

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
-Passport
-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 (enquiries@spanishsolutions.net).

Nicola

62 Comments

  • 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.

      https://www.spanishsolutions.net/?s=change+to+spanish+plates

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Clive Sheldon

    We have been left an elddis 302 explore caravan and want to import it to spain as we have reside ncia we also have a car to do is this possible to change caravan

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Clive,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      To import a car and a caravan is much the same process, please see a link discussing this process and the paperwork required below:

      https://www.spanishsolutions.net/case-studies/case-study-change-to-spanish-plates/

      Can we ask if the caravan documents show you as the registered keeper as this may pose a problem when importing the caravan.

      Either way please feel free to email us a copy of your vehicle and caravan documents for a non obligation quote, we look forward to hearing from you.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Slawek

    Hi Nicola.
    We have a motorhome on uk reg. We would like to import the vieco to Spain
    And have a Spanish number plate. It is a cartago c- line 2.8 l reg 17. Thank you

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Evening Slawek,
      Thank you for your enquiry, Spanish Solutions would be delighted to help you import your vehicle to Spain.

      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.

      Secondly visit any ITV station where they will ensure the car is road worthy 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.

      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

      -Passport

      -NIE or Residencia

      -Water or elctricity bill or Padron no more than 6 months old in your name to confirm your address.

      Please feel free to forward your V5 for an non obligation quote.

      Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
      Kind regards / Saludos cordiales
      Nicola Ryan

  • Jordon

    Hi I read that if a vehicle has a valid mot that it wouldn’t not need an itv until it has run out… is that true? Also how is the vehicle value determined? As the tax value is a % if that value, do I declare the value? Or does Spain decide?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Jordon,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Yes, this is correct if you have a UK car and a valid MOT no ITV is needed until it has ran out. Unless you are transferring the car to Spanish plates, an ITV has to be carried out regardless if you have a valid MOT.

      In regards to the valuation of the car, Trafico will value the car themselves.

      Should you need any assistance with the change to Spanish plates, please do not hesitate to contact us, we would be delighted to help.
      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Justine Perry

    Hi, I bought a car on spanish plates in spain 2 years ago. All legal and in my name. I have brought the car to uk . Thinking of putting on to uk plates. Can was originally from uk and put on Spanish plates. I’m looking at costs and if it’s even worth the hassle! Thanks. Justine

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Justine,

      To change the car to UK plates, you need to contact the DVLA, in the UK, who will confirm the process and cost. We can only deal with cars being imported to Spain, we are sorry.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Janet

    Thinking of buying a caravan which is in Spain but on Dutch Plates fo you have a rough idea of the cost. I am a resident thankyou

    • Ian C.

      Dear Janet,

      thank you very much for contacting us. We will be pleased to give you a quotation for the purchase of the caravan you have seen. However, it could be good if you can get a copy of the caravan documentation for us to calculate the transmission tax. As you said the caravan is in Dutch Plates, we would be talking about 2 processes: change of ownership and change to Spanish plates. No problem, we can deal with both! Please email us any information about the caravan at fiscal@spanishsolutions.net so we would be able to give you a more accurate estimation. Thank you very much.

  • Dee Dew

    Hello my husband is disabled and has a disability card issued in Spain and the blue display badge for the car. Because of his disability he was not required to pay car tax to our Town Hall. He is no longer able to drive himself so now I am the sole driver of the car with him as my passenger. The car is 21 years old, insured and with valid ITV. We are both hold Spanish Residencia and are 76 years old. Am I as his wife now required to pay this vehicle tax? Many thanks…

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Dee, I am sorry for the delay in responding. The vehicle tax goes with the vehicle so yes. The office may not be open at the moment to pay it, but there is an extension of the time to do so, Kind regards

  • Brenda Thornton

    Hello we are thinking buy in a 630k caravan rapido 30t in the UK and bringing it to Spain and having it registered here is this possible please? it is an old model. We are residents and have a spanish car

    • Ian C.

      Hello Brenda,

      This sounds like a lovely way to explore Spain.
      We can help you with this of course. Once the vehicle passes ITV in Spain, we can get your Spanish plates.

      Kind wishes,

      Ian

  • Denise roberts

    We have a rhd converted camper van that we are using to come over to spain ive been told we can not register this on spanish plate as its not allowed as its main door is on the left hand side is this correct

    • Ian C.

      Good news Denise,

      Whoever told you this information is not right! We can do this for you, it is not cheap for a camper van but you can register your British vehicle in Spain and make it fully legal here.
      Let me know how we can help- enquiries@spanishsolutions.net.
      regards,
      ian

  • Raymond

    Hi, I have a 1999 motorhome UK registration owned by me for 2 years. Can I register this in Spain to my holiday home address? I was told a 21 year old motorhome could not be registered in Spain.

    • Jane

      Hi Raymond

      Yes you can if you are not resident you may not have to. You will require to have ITV, amend headlights and pay taxes which we can calculate for you. I have e mailed you our details.
      Regards
      Jane

  • Katie

    Hello. I have already been living in Spain for 5 years – resident with NIE. I want to buy a van and convert it to a campervan. Vans are a lot cheaper in the UK than here in Spain..! is it possible to buy a van in the UK, drive it to Spain, and then change the plates to register here?

    • Jane

      Hi Katie
      Yes it is possible but can be expensive. I will mail you our contact details if you wish us to help.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Ian B

    I have an English reg campervan which i wish to change to Spanish plates i have been resident in Spain for 16 years. I have been told as it is a type N2, over 3500kg, I cannot import it. Is this true?

    • Jane

      Hi Ian

      Yes you can do this, you will first of all need to get it passed the ITV. Once you have done this if you want to contact us and send log book we can calculate what the taxes will be.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Elizabeth

    Hi, I have a 3.5t diesel 1998 LHD Nissan motorhome, which I have owned in the UK (on UK plates) for approx 4 years. I am planning to bring the motorhome to Spain full time and re-register on Spanish plates at the same time as exchanging mu UK licence for a Spanish one.
    I have a “temporary/5 yr Spanish residency certificate”. Can you help with this please?

    • Jane

      Hi Elizabeth

      We certainly can I will have one of the team contact you with details.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Philip Collett

    We are in the process of getting our residency and also changing our uk car onto Spanish plates. Am I right in saying I do not have to pay inport tax as I will be resident.The car as been in my name for more than 6 months and bought it when it was 3 year old.

    • Jane

      Hi Philip

      You have 30 days after becoming resident to do this and not pay import tax. You will also require a letter from UK confirming you are no longer a resident there.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Mandy

    Hi, I have been resident in Spain for two years. We recently purchased an old (1989) motor home, left hand drive but doors on the left on English plates. We want to matriculate onto Spanish plates but have been told that is not possible as we should’ve purchased before becoming residents? Is this correct or is there a way we can matriculate thanks?

    • Jane

      Hi Mandy

      Your residency status does not matter as long as the vehicle has an ITV.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Katharine Bizzey

    I am concerned that a lot of your advice on leisure vehicle importation falls way below fact & achievability. I know – been there!!!

    • Jane

      Hi Katharine

      I will ask Nicola to contact you direct so you can share any further advice with us.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • John

    HI
    Have an apartment in the canaries Furteventura none resident but have NIE have a 1986 VW beach buggy this the date of first registration but on 1970 reg plates Model on V5 is Beetle Body on V5 Saloon is it possible to import the car and at what cost what information is need on the V5 ?to convert to Spanish plates been told its not possible ?
    Regards
    John

    • Jane

      Hi John

      As long as the car passes its ITV it can be transferred to Spanish plates. It may be worth while contacting a company who deals with importing vehicles if you are unsure yourself, they will be aware of the process for old/classic cars and also with the requirements of the ITV stations. To calculate the taxes your Gestoria/lawyer will need a copy of your V5.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Steven

    Hi
    I have a caravan hobby 540 ufe the caravan is in my name with cris documents.
    I have Spanish residency and would like the caravan on spanish plates.
    What is the process and how much will it cost please.

    • Jane

      Hi Steven

      With caravans there is not enough info on the cris for Trafico to confirm the import costs. When the caravan passes its ITV ,Trafico can confirm the cost via the information stated on the ITV documents. The caravan has to pass its ITV before it is transferred to Spanish plates. If you require any help please contact us direct.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Kristopher York

    Hi,
    I have been a resident in Spain for two years. We came over in a large xlwb Iveco Daily van. It has sat not moving for two years but I have recently started converting it into a campervan. I have been told that large right hand drive vehicles from the UK cannot be registered in Spain as they pose a safety concern. I do not want to continue converting the van if it cannot be registered once finished. Is this true?

    Kind Regards,
    Kris

    • Jane

      Hi Kris

      Yes, it can be extremely difficult and expensive to import vans and camper vans to Spain. We would recommend visiting your local ITV centre, or contact a garage who is familiar with the ITV centre to ask if the vehicle will pass its ITV. If the vehicle does not pass its ITV, it will not be transferred to Spanish plates, we hope this helps.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Peter Lovejoy

    Buying a cargo van versus buying a van with seats in Alicante area of Spain – running and maintenance costs including ITV. I wonder if your experienced team could advise me, what of the 2 categories of vehicle would be cheaper to register and maintain and pay ITV and insurance on? The same year and engine size and make of vehicle a cargo van or the same make of vehicle with seats inside the vehicle instead of a space for cargo?
    Much appreciate your advise on this question. Thank you

    • Jane

      Hi Peter

      We suggest you call a few insurers with the registration number of both vans to confirm the insurance. In regards to the running costs, maintenance and garage, a local garage may be able to advise better.

      Kind Regards

      Jane

  • Lars

    Good afternoon, I have a question. I am at EU citizen and have lived and worked in the UK for the past 7 years. I have sold my house in the UK and in December 2020, just before the end of the Brexit transition period, I moved to Spain, where I now have residency. I have made the trip to Spain in my Mercedes Vito van (registered in the UK), and would like to know whether anyone can tell me how long I can legally drive my van here, and whether it is worthwhile, or even possible under the new Brexit ‘deal’, to get it registered in Spain. Any advice more than welcome it’s like many of us I’m lost in translation.

    Kind regards,

    Lars

    • Jane

      Hi Lars

      You have 6 months to import your van to Spain. It’s is very difficult to import a left-hand drive van as they have difficulty passing the ITV, to know for sure it would be best to contact your local ITV centre and ask if there would be any issues. If the van does not pass the ITV, it will not be imported to Spain.

      Kind regards

      Jane

  • dave

    hi, we are buying a caravan under 750kg but the only documentation the current owner has is photo copies. how can we obtain correect documentation and what cost, or would photocopies be ok. thank you

    • Nicola Ryan

      Morning Dave,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      To import any vehicle you will need the actual vehicle documents. The seller would have to obtain these as the caravan is in his name, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Simon Dobson

    Hi I am a U.K. citizen and have recently moved to Spain. I should get my TIE card in about 6 weeks. Because of COVID completing my move to Spain has been delayed! We have a new Touring Caravan on order in the U.K. which hasn’t been built yet, and it’s manufacture has been delayed due to the lockdown. I think it will be June at the earliest that we can take delivery. Now that the U.K. is no longer in the EU what is the process for exporting the Caravan to Spain? Can I not pay VAT in the U.K. but pay IVA on importing it to Spain? Do you know what the process is for importing this? Many thanks.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Simon,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      As long as the caravan passes it ITV (mot), it will be transferred to Spanish plates. This can be a very difficult process due to the electricity and gas supplies in the vehicle. Many additional report’s ect are required. We would recommend contacting a company who specialise in importing right-hand drive caravans and camper vans as the process can be costly and difficult.

      Generally with any non EU vehicle the customs have to be paid in Spain, but we would not recommend that you do not pay any customs until you have confirmation or ITV papers to confirm the caravan will be imported. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Mark Gilfoyle

    Hi I’ve importing a Lhd 42 year old sports car to the U.K. but would like to register and keep it in Spain as we have a house there. Is it possible?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Mark,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      As long as the car passes its ITV, it will be changed to Spanish plates, but due to the age of the car, you would require a special ITV (individual homologation) which may be more expensive. The best thing to do is speak to your nearest ITV station to confirm if the car will pass its ITV or not. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Karen Buckley

    HI, I have a tourer 4 birth caravan in almeria spain and want to bring it back home to the uk.
    I will be towing it back home. Please can you tell me what papers / Custom info I will need to bring the English
    caravan back home and how much I will have to pay? Many thanks

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Karen,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      We will contact you directly to discuss this matter further, as we need to confirm if the caravan is on Spanish plates or remains on UK plates, we look forward to speaking with you.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Gerald guest

    Hi we have a fiat decato campervan on English plates 2007 .can we put this on Spanish.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Gerald,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      To import a right-hand drive camper van or caravan, to Spain, is notoriously difficult. As long as the vehicle passes its ITV, it will be put on to Spanish plates, but this will be the difficult part. We would recommend visiting your local ITV station to ask for confirmation of what changes needs to be made and also the reports ect required. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Mattie

    Hi, I have come across these posts for the first time and I am impressed with the responses you are providing. Well done!
    I am a Spanish citizen living in the UK for 25+ years. I would like to buy a LHD motorhome under UK plates that could eventually be registered in Spain when I retire in a few years time. Is this something that is possible or is it better to buy one in Spain, bring it here to the UK and then re-register it in Spain, bearing in mind that the price of these second hand motorhomes are much cheaper in the UK? Since I am a Spanish national, would the process be easier (would I have to show a residency card)? I assume the vehicle will have to pass all the inspections you have already mentioned.
    Many thanks in advance.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Mattie,

      Thank you for your enquiry and the kind words.

      If the vehicle is a left-hand drive and registered on UK plates, you would still need to pay customs and also the import taxes, you would also need to pay for additional engineers reports as the vehicle has gas and electricity installed in it.

      We would recommend calling an ITV station and discussing with them, the requirements for importing a left-hand drive motor home which has been registered in the UK, they will confirm what work is required to get the vehicle passed its ITV as this seems to be the biggest challenge. You may find that the cost you are paying to import the vehicle, you could buy a Spanish registered motor home for the same price. The process would not be any easier as you are a Spanish national, we are sorry.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Stuart hardwick

    Hi, I have been told by a company that I cannot import my vw camper van because it is a N1
    Right hand drive vehicle.
    The company is a Spanish import company. I am living in Spain and a resident

    • Nicola Ryan

      Morning Stuart,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Camper vans are notoriously difficult to import, but if the vehicle passes its ITV check, it will be transferred to Spanish plates. If you want a second opinion, we would recommend taking the vehicle to your local ITV station for their comments. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Andy anderson

    Hi, we have been in Spain for 6 months now on a 12 months visa which we hope to renew next April, my question is we want to go to the Uk to buy a motor home which is RHD, if we bring it back to Spain will we be able to get it on to Spanish plates, the rear door is on the left side,
    Thank you
    Andy

    • Tracie Miles

      Hi Andy
      I will email you under separate cover to explain everything to you.
      Kind regards
      Tracie

  • Tina

    Good Day,I am a resident with a Spanish plated car. I have a UK caravan but put the same plate as my can on it to tow it to/from Spain is this legal? or can I tow a UK caravan with a Spanish car? thank you

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Tina,

      If you are a Spanish resident, you need to import the caravan to Spain.

      Failure to do so will result in a fine. We would not suggest using the same plate as your car if the caravan has not been imported, should you need any assistance with this, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • john horrigan

    Could you recommend a company that could import my touring caravan.in south east spain,Regards John

    • Nicola Ryan

      Morning John,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      We are not aware of any companies who specialise in importing caravans, we are sorry.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

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