Spanish Number Plates has the knowledge gained over more than three years in successfully re-registering vehicles in Spain. In that time we have built up a vast fund of information, which is kept up to date by the firm of specialist lawyers with whom we work closely

We are intending to provide information and advice about this subject in order to help our fellow ex-pats keep within the law when owning and driving a vehicle in Spain

These articles will be of no interest whatsoever to those who just ignore the rules!

By the way, the bar room lawyers are always keen to tell everyone the truth on all sorts of matters, but just in case yours isn’t quite up to speed, the next time you meet him, let him know the following:

Right hand drive cars, cars over 10 years old, motorbikes, caravans with the door on the left, French cars, vintage cars, cars without catalysers, black cars, Japanese cars, motor homes, German cars, red cars, cars with tow bars and Irish cars can all be imported, though there may be certain qualifiers!

Panel vans, pick-ups, buses, trucks or any other commercial vehicle cannot. Neither can quads

A UK registered vehicle can only be in Spain for 6 months out of any 12 without re- registering. In practice this only applies to people who have homes in both Spain and the UK and can take their car out of Spain for 6 months at a time and can prove it if asked.

Anyone with an address in Spain who keeps their car here for more than 6 months in any 12 must re-register to comply with EU and Spanish law, which states that a car must be registered, ITV’d (MOT) and insured in the country where it is normally kept

Re-registration requires inspections of the vehicle and presentation of paperwork to various government departments, payment of fees and taxes and having new number plates fitted

Import tax, registration fee, matriculation tax, emissions tax are all the same thing. It is money being extracted from you in order for you to make your vehicle Spanish, but not everyone has to pay it. It depends upon yours and the vehicle’s circumstances

Ask yourself the following to see if you need to re-register:

Is my vehicle out of Spain for most of the year? Does it have a current MOT?

Is the road tax up to date? Is the insurance valid?

If you can answer “Yes” to all of the above and can prove it if asked, then don’t re- register

On the other hand if some or all of the answers to the above are “No”, then you may need to re-register.

Or how about the following if your car is not Spanish?

Am I displaying, bulls, donkeys, “I love Spain stickers” or yellow jackets on the car? Is my vehicle displaying a Spanish business name and telephone number?

Is my insurance valid? Please note that British insurers will normally only insure a car for 3 months outside of the UK (green card|)

If asked, can I prove that I return the vehicle to the UK for 6 months at a time?

Either be more discreet, clever or consider making your vehicle legal

Should you want to continue to drive without the fear of a pull from the “boys in green”, or worse yet, having an accident, then learn the facts, not the rumours

If anyone wants to check out the facts for themselves, my references are the websites of DVLA and the AA. Unfortunately, the British Embassy, Madrid website contains out of date information and is awaiting upgrade.

For further information, please see our ad’ in the motoring section