After more than 10 years of dealing with motoring matters, re-registering over 2000 vehicles, dealing in transfers, driving licences and rescuing motorists from the welcoming arms of the various police forces, I have an understanding of what is what, despite the ever-changing rules. Working with a specialist lawyer certainly keeps me up to date. So in order to assist those expats who are continually mislead by the “bar room lawyers” here is a summary of what is and isn’t allowed whilst motoring in Spain

Yes and No

Can I drive a foreign (non-Spanish) car in Spain? Yes, but only for up to 6 months in any 12-month period

If I take my vehicle back to the UK for an MOT every year, will this keep it legal? No, EU law requires a vehicle to be registered at the address where it is normally kept

Is an ITV (Spanish MOT) a substitute for an MOT on a UK vehicle? No,

Can I have my right-hand drive car and motorhome put onto Spanish number plates? Yes, though RHD commercials is a much greyer area

My caravan has a door on the left-hand side is this OK? Yes, it is immaterial where the door is

My motorbike has a flat beam headlight, will this pass the ITV? Such lights which have no left or right bias are accepted by some stations, but not others

Are the stick-on beam benders OK for the ITV test? No, but these are fine for holiday makers as a temporary fix to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers

My car is 15 years old; can it be re-registered? Yes, if it has EU type approval or if you owned it before coming to Spain,

If I am resident in Spain, can I import another vehicle? Yes, especially if it has European Type Approval a.k.a homologation, if not it would be costly

Do I have to register on the Padron to re-register a car? Not in most cases, but in certain circumstances, yes

What is the cost? This is driven largely by taxation which is based on the vehicle value and CO2 emissions

Can I can avoid registration/import tax? Yes, if your first Padron is less than 2 months old and you can meet other criteria

If I take my Spanish car back to the UK, can I re-register it there? Yes, but you must declare to the Spanish authorities that you will be doing so; if not taxes will build up which can be charged against any other assets that you have in Spain, such as a property

If I am resident in Spain, must I have a Spanish driving licence? Yes, your licence should be changed within 2 years of residency

Can I use my Spanish licence to hire a car in the UK? Yes

Can I have my UK driving licence withdrawn from me by the police in Spain? Yes

Does my caravan have to be registered? Yes, caravans and trailers over 750 Kg are registered in the same way as cars. Smaller caravans/trailers need only a one-off ITV but you need the correct papers

Is it OK to let the buyer of my Spanish registered car take care of the transfer of ownership? Definitely not; I have had many cases where this just does not happen and so the seller gets all sorts of fines and has to continue paying road tax. So ensure that you as the seller take care of it, preferably via a specialist service

In summary

You get the gist. I have tried to keep the questions simple and relevant to the questions that I get asked on a daily basis but behind the answers is a lot of detail.

What this means is that there are always what ifs, how abouts and quite frequently if onlys! Like “if only I had known that at the time I could have saved money and why did I listen to the resident expert on the urb?”

It is always better to seek professional advice no matter what the subject is