If you are a foreigner living in Spain for more than six months in a year, you must register your vehicle with the Spanish authorities and change its licence plates to Spanish plates.
Before re-registering your car in Spain, you will have to pass a control test, the Inspección Técnica de Vehículos. To apply for this test, you will need the following documentation: the vehicle’s technical specifications provided by manufacturer or representative, and a Spanish translation, a photocopy and the original receipt of payment of duty, the purchase receipt and the vehicle’s registration papers. Once you pass the test, you will be issued with a Tarjeta de Inspección Técnica. Be aware that there are increasing issues with right-hand vehicles in Spain, and it is more and more difficult for them to ass the ITV.
Vehicles owned for more than six months prior to their entry to the country are not subject to Spanish tax, provided that you have already paid VAT in your country of origin.
To actually register your car, the paperwork is quite extensive. You will need:
- the obligatory application form, available from the local Jefatura de Tráfico.
- a NIE number, and proof of address, such as a lease or deed (original and photocopy).
- The original and a photocopy of the Receipt of payment of impuesto municipal sobre vehículos de tracción mecánica/IVTM (local car tax) and impuesto especial sobre determinados medios de transporte (registration tax), both of which are available at the Jefatura de Tráfico
- Proof of payment of VAT in country of origin
- The Tarjeta de Inspección Técnica, outlined above
- Receipt of purchase of the vehicle
- Certificado de Conformidad (Certificate of Conformity) available from manufacturer or a representative
If registering a car from outside the EU, you will need all the above as well as paying a 10% import duty (based on original market price, with age of car taken into account), 16% VAT and a registration tax of 8 to 12%. All of this makes importing a car quite expensive and time-consuming, so it may be more straightforward to simply purchase a car on arrival. Otherwise, a gestor is generally advisable to sort through the paperwork and finances.