Ah Spain! Lots of sunshine, a laid back lifestyle, cheap drinks, and a new start; a great place to emigrate to. I guess that this is the dream that may of us have followed. Most of us bring our car with us; it’s part of the fun to drive to our new home and bring our most treasured possessions along to ensure their security and safety. Some will look to exchange their car for a Spanish one, but upon seeing the price of even old bangers over here will plump for re-registration. Some don’t bother, become illegal and allow other road users pay for the use of the excellent road network; their choice, their conscience

De-registering back home

Many people that re-register their vehicles in Spain make the not unreasonable assumption that Trafico will advise their home country that the vehicle is now registered here; not neccesarily so this is something that we should do ourselves. If we do not our vehicle is liable for road tax etc in our home countries

With UK registered cars, this is fairly simple as it is merely necessary to send off the section from the V5c registration document advising of permanent export. For vehicles registered in other countries the bare minimum that is needed is a copy of the registration document stamped by Trafico to show to your home authority. Certain countries, Denmark is an example, require the number plates to be returned also

This means that in many cases a vehicle can be registered simultaneously in two countries; however this is contrary to EU law so not a good idea

For a proportion of expats, the dream turns sour. The sun is too hot, the cheap drinks are just too easy to come by, the grand kids are missed and finding work is impossible or maybe the exchange rate has eaten into our pensions so we start to see fault in our new country and yearn for the grass of home which does seem greener after all

With the present exodus of expats back to their homelands many are taking their Spanish registered vehicles with them, whether purchased or re-registered here. The car will need to be registered in your home country and for UK residents I am told that this is simple and cheap, completely the opposite to here in Spain where the bureaucrats and taxmen make it a minefield for the uninitiated.

De-registering in Spain

The vehicle will also need de-registering in Spain; if not it stays live on the system meaning that road tax is liable every year and as this builds up it is possible that the authorities could embargo any other assets that you have such as a property.

The papers required are the registration document, an in-date ITV card, road tax  which must have been paid plus copies of your passport and NIE certificate. These are presented to DGT Trafico who will process it for you. A little twist here is that a car being declared exported from Spain can no longer be used on the roads here, so it is prudent to de-register it after you arrive back in your home country. In order to do  this, you are best advised to employ a professional or a well trusted friend who knows the ropes to ensure that it actually does happen. As with most other countries, there is no need to return the Spanish number plates, so these can be kept as a souvenir and will hopefully remind you of some of the happier times that you enjoyed before returning home. Alternatively, if your experience here was bad, you may find pleasure in cutting them into little pieces

Remember also to put your UK/Irish headlights back on and move the rear fog light to the right hand side. Hope that it all works for the best