Caravans over 750 KG in carrying capacity need to be registered in Spain as they are in most EU countries but firstly let me demolish an enduring urban myth. It does not matter on which side of the caravan the door is on.

New caravans purchased in Spain are inspected on their 6th anniversary of registration with Trafico with the periods becoming more frequent as the van gets older. The inspections focus on the brakes, lights and tyres. Caravans and trailers of less than 750 Kg need only a one-off ITV inspection, but more on this later

The ITV inspection is the easy bit, it is getting this far that can be more challenging with the paperwork seemingly taking precedence as is common in our adopted land.

CRiS Certificates

The good news however is that over the years the process for registering caravans has become much simpler and follows the pattern of re-registering cars. In the UK there is an organisation called CRiS (Central Registration and identification Scheme) which is run by the Caravan Club. The CRiS registration document has become accepted in the same way that a car or motorcycle registration document is in providing details of the vehicle and owner. If you already own a UK caravan you will probably have the CRiS certificate, but if you buy a UK caravan, you should register it with CRiS using a UK address: do not try and register it to a Spanish address

Engineering reports

As with powered vehicles you will also need paperwork showing the full characteristics of the van. For newer vans this is via the Certificate of Conformity (CoC). This document must show the European Type Approval or homologation number which will follow this format 13*97/27*0040*02. I have seen documents for caravans that purport to be a CoC, but do not show this number which is vital

If your vehicle does not have a CoC it will need inspecting by an engineer who will draw up a document in lieu called a ficha reducida, commonly referred to as the engineer’s report.

Where you can prove that you owned the vehicle before “coming to Spain” which in this context means before obtaining your first Padron the report costs €100 or less as it is processed under the change of residence regime. However if you bought the vehicle after moving to Spain and it does not have a CoC it will have to be inspected as if it were unique and the cost of this report goes up to €1600!

Your caravan will also need to have its gas and electric installations inspected and certified. This is normally a formality but whereas the company that carries out these inspections for my clients charges €70 per inspection I have come across people being ripped off to the tune of several hundred euros!

ITV and registration

Armed with a CoC or an engineer’s report plus the above, it’s now off for the ITV inspections. On older vans it is sometimes necessary to have additional amber lights fitted down the side which is not costly and as with cars the high intensity rear fog light needs to be on the left, not on the right as in the UK, though two lights are fine

Once the inspections are out of the way the van is registered at Trafico and you are presented with a red number plate showing the registration number. There is no registration/import tax on caravans and road tax is rarely applied

Caravans and trailers with a carrying capacity of less than 750 Kg follow the same process up to and including the ITV which surprisingly is a one-off, but are not registered at Trafico

As is the norm with registering vehicles this is complex to the uninitiated, so if you have any questions please get in touch