Change of Ownership Of Car and Re-Matriculation

If you buy a car privately in Spain, the paperwork to change the car into your name is a very different system to that which you are probably familiar with. Unless you are fluent in Spanish, it is extremely difficult to deal with the administration department in Alicante to register the car in your name and do a change of ownership of a vehicle.

We can take the pain out of the administration, by dealing directly with the Traffic Department on your behalf. You will then receive the new ownership documents in due course which can be collected from our office. You will need to pay a fee to us, plus car tax and a fee to the Traffic department.

Many clients find it more convenient to bring their car to Spain than to purchase a new one once here. We can arrange for your car to pass the necessary paperwork, present the same to the Traffic Department and then obtain the Spanish Registration plates.

If you are non-resident and a member of the EU, you may drive your vehicle from your home country within Spain without changing the number plates for 181 days but then if your car is staying in Spain, then you have to change to Spanish plates. So those people driving around on foreign plates when they live in Spain or even their car is in Spain for more than six months are doing so illegally. 

If in the interim period, the car needs an ITV (the Spanish MOT), this can be carried out in Spain but will only be valid whilst the car is being driven in Spain. You can obtain insurance for your vehicle but will not be able to tax the vehicle here – you must apply to the relevant home authorities for this.

To legally “import” your vehicle and change to Spanish plates you must have a Matriculation and ITV inspection, pay the relevant tax at the appropriate Hacienda and apply for a Spanish matriculation at your province’s Trafico office. We arrange this as part of our Matriculation service for car registration in Spain.

To be exempt from import tax on the car, you have to meet a series of requirements:

  • 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 an exemption or refund of the fees accrued upon leaving that country.
  • The means of transport must have been used by the person concerned in his or her former residence at least six months before the date on which he or she left.
  • 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 sold for a period of twelve months after registration. Failure to comply with this requirement will determine a tax liability.

While the car is here on foreign number plates, you are required to put “stickers” on the headlight bring them in line with Spanish regulations. To change to Spanish plates free of import taxes, the car must have been in the owner´s name one year, as mentioned above.

If you buy a car from a second-hand dealer, most of the time they will need some information from you and they will deal with the paperwork for a change of ownership. Just make sure in a reasonable period of time that you receive the log book and the ITV certificate that it has passed the ITV (MOT).

If you are buying privately then it is generally the buyer´s responsibility and you will need to do the transfer, pay the transfer tax and road tax.  After signing the contract you have 10 days to inform the Traffic department of the change and 30 days as the buyer to pay the transfer tax and pay the road tax (if not paid) and present the change of ownership to the traffic department.  Many people do not realise this.

If selling, do ensure that the buyer changes the ownership and see proof or you may be left with a serious problem if it remains in your name.

The seller has 10 days after the signing of the contract or passing the vehicle over to notify the Traffic department that the vehicle has been sold by filling a special form (trámite de notificación de venta) unless the buyer is doing it and you can see the change of ownership is done. This is important and avoids the seller from the responsibility of fines, road tax, insurances and civil responsibility.

After signing the purchase contract and the car is handed over, the buyer has 15 days to give to the seller a copy of the new green log book document certifying the vehicle now belongs to the new owner.

Please remember that if you are buying in Spain, you must do a contract between buyer and seller and make sure you put not only the date but also the time of the signing of the contract (as this can sometimes be very important). Also, make sure that both parties provide a photocopy of their passport and NIE/DNI.

Please contact us if you are buying or selling a car in Spain and need to do a change of ownership.

Looking for a solution?

Feel free to get in touch with any enquiries and one of our friendly members of staff will get back to you as soon as possible.

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