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Motoring in Spain Book Update, January 2007


9 Jan 2007

From March 2007, the collection of fines for offences committed in other EU States (countries) will be made easier because the EU has finally decreed that it will be legal to advise the authorities in the State where the vehicle is registered so the fine can legally be collected there, and this includes if any penalty points are to be lost for the offence.  The same applies for vehicles visiting Spain from, for example, the UK.   How this will affect the many UK-plated cars now resident in Spain is yet to be advised, but it could be ironical if someone who has settled in Spain and has not changed the registration to Spanish and receives a fine for a radar trap offence, and it is sent to the DVLA in Swansea, who advise that the car has either been advised as being exported to Spain, or even worse, has not been advised (up to a 1.000 fine) but the address on their system is now for another person/family who say that they have gone to live in Spain.

 However, the chances of the system being implemented at this time are slim, because the various authorities, especially in the UK, do not have the infrastructure to achieve this now official system.

Also, it means that the current possibility of someone who has lost their driving licence in the UK, but can go elsewhere and simply rent a car, as "Caprice", the so-called supermodel and TV announcer, full name Caprice Bourret, was reported in the Press recently in August 2006 to have done (banned for a year for drink/driving in the UK and fined with costs, 3.500), will no longer be legally possible.  Or will it?     In Spain, if you lose your driving licence it has to be handed in to the local authority and claimed when the ban is lifted.  Apparently, in the UK, this does not apply?

We have not lived in the UK for 31 years so until I get an answer from my contacts there, I am not sure.

As reported before, some French, Belgian and Spanish (Tarifa is one) towns and districts have already employed British based debt-collection agencies to collect fines which, if contested carry a lot in costs due to the need at present to go to Court.  Now from March, it will be a much easier and quicker scheme, and it will encourage the more reckless drivers to take care when driving abroad.



The MOT being as all expats will know, the annual test of motor vehicles in the UK.  Blatant advertising is now seen once more with only a UK telephone number supplied in adverts. in local English Press newspapers offering those who have UK-plated motor vehicles here for over a year or so, the supply of a new UK-MOT test certificate, even though by Law the vehicle has to actually be tested in the UK. 

The action of taking this route must be considered the crime that it is by all who run their motor vehicles with due regard to the Law and in this case safety on the roads.  Why?  Because apart from the fact that these vehicle owners are not paying any of the relevant motor taxes here, the mechanical condition of the vehicles has to be suspect and the types that would use this service are usually the same ones that do not have their cars regularly serviced.    While many of us may cock a snook at the Law occasionally, we should all be worried about that older cars that may crash into us one day, causing at least damage to our vehicles if not to our bodies.  And do the newspapers concerned realise that they are supporting an illegal act by accepting the advertising?

The final irony is, of course, that if the people who are offering the service in the UK are raided and searched, their records will supply a list of those who may not have reported their UK cars as being exported, and be liable for up to a 1.000 fine which from March this year, will be much easier to collect in Spain.



18 January 2007

There are so many rumours and a lot of misinformation going around about what happens to your driving licence when you move to another EU State, so let us set the record straight.    Much is in the book, but this summarises the facts at this time.

The EU driving licences with the "ring of stars" on them are designed to be easy to understand regardless of whatever language the reader, i.e. police etc, within the EU in any State, speaks and reads.  The current credit card licence is now the norm, although some of the newer States are not yet equipped to supply them. 

1.     All new licences issued since March 26th 2006 will be valid for not more than 10 years.  Total harmonisation within the EU is to be started/established from March 2006.  Whether or not this is in action here in Spain, see below! 

2.     Drivers who have a DL issued before March 26th 2006 will not have to change their licences until they expire though as shown on the actual licence, but ALL current licences will expire on March 26th 2032, that is 26 years form 26th March 2006.  This means that if you have for example, a UK driving licence and reside in Spain, you do not need to change until it expires, but you must have the medicals as explained in the book and elsewhere. 

3.     So existing licences where they expire at say age 70 years, all now expire on 25 March 2032 if they have not already expired as stated on the licence before this date.   It is expected and planned that all drivers by then will have the new standard DL, some with chips in giving much more data, but these are not mandatory according to Brussels.

4.     However, as said above, all new licences granted from the 26th March 2006 will have to expire at the 10 year anniversary for the purpose of the driver taking a medical for fitness to drive. This should be shown on the driving licence as the expiry date.  Remember that some classifications have a shorter time span than others in Spain. (HGV, taxis, etc.)    How this will affect Spain, where from age 45, the period is 5 years, is yet to be announced, remembering also that from age 70 in Spain, the medical is needed every two years, and in the UK every three years.    If as expected, Spain obeys the EU Directive, the medical periods up to age 70 (60 for vocational licence holders) will be 10 years. 

5.     Licences must be renewed in the country of residence, that is the official country where the driver spends 183 days plus as a resident.  This means that if you have a foreign EU DL, and you now live in Spain, it will be changed for a Spanish one.   Not a difficult task as explained in the book.   You do not even need a gestor.


Some Documents not needed NOW.

18 January 2007. Updated 8 March 2007

As announced before in this web-site and in the book, from the 29th April 2006, yes, 2006, according to EU Directive 2004/38, (Click for details:  there is no need for new EU residents moving to Spain to apply for residencia, the Nota de Empadronamiento from their local ayuntamiento (council) is sufficient and this is now being included with any national details to ensure adequate funding where, for example, as before many expats. are located.    For newcomers, the nota etc, also called the Padron, which is the local full listing, is a record of your living in the area administered by your local council or ayuntamiento, and the Padron is important as some central and provincial government grants are given based on the numbers registered.  Not registered as many expats. do not bother, then the other locals pay for some of the capital services that are needed in that area or the services are swamped due to the population figures for that area being wrong.   If you are working legally, then your employer is also expected to ensure that you are registered.

The residencia had to be applied for up to the date above and it was issued through the local comiseria (national police station), or the council if there was no comiseria, and in recent years, it took up to six months to receive (after queuing for sometimes hours to apply) due to the need for the registration having to be acknowledged by central government.    It was valid for five years and could be renewed after that period. 

The Nota is supposed to be renewed each year and is free of charge

This, in accordance with an EU Directive, is no longer necessary as the Nota de Empadronamiento replaces it and quoting the number, called the DNI No., is all that is needed when you apply for any administrative actions at Trafico, Social Security, etc.  Just another number to remember.

The intention is to not only come in line with the EU Directive but to eliminate the photocopying of some four million ID photos and three and a half million certificates of residency every year, remembering that the Spanish as well as all foreign residents needed to do this as well.

What does this mean for you / us?

  • You can now carry a copy of the Nota de Empadronamiento with you as the proper legal Spanish resident identity, this having your name and address which will obviously be as on your driving licence or passport (if carried: very unwise as a resident to carry the original).  I carry an A4 sheet which has my passport and nota on it with my social security number printed on it.  The documents are scanned on my PC and reduced to fit the page.  It has been accepted by all to date.

  • The residencia card will serve as an identity document for some time but will eventually fade away as the police and Guardia Civil "remember" the new law.  In some areas they still do not know about the legality for the last 18 months of residents driving a Spanish plated car using a foreign EU driving licence; hence my comment.

  • The Nota de Empadronamiento may be updated when you either move home or will need to be every five years if you live in the same property.  I have to check on this, but probably the local council officials may not know the answer.  (This para. will be updated when I know)

  • There is no charge for the Nota de Empadronamiento at most ayuntamientos as currently it is just an A4 sheet of paper printed off their PC system, with the ayuntamiento certificado (certified) rubber-stamp imprinted on it.

  • How to get copies more copies certified for virtually nothing very easily, along with all your car documents, is, as readers will know, covered in the book.

  • HOWEVER, If you have only recently applied for the latest Nota de Empadronamiento, or you know that the record that the authority e.g. Trafico, has the wrong residencial address on their record, or if in any doubt, I recommend sending a copy of the current Nota to avoid any delays.  

  • From 28th March 2007, the residencia card system falls away officially, and you may register at the local Departmento de Extranjeros or the police station and receive a certificate.  (Hopefully, this will avoid the hours of queuing, but provision may also be made to do it on line??)     However you will still need to carry proof of identity such as a Spanish driving licence with the correct address (andphoto) on it, or a foreign EU DL withphoto and proof of your Spanish address on a separate document such as a current Nota de Padron.

  •  _____________________________________________________________

Ayuntamiento de Marbella. 

Tariff for the vehicle road fund tax equivalents for 2.007.

See on the web site at (click)

(Impuesto municipal sobre vehiculos de traccion mecanica.)


Type of Vehicle

From -To

Tax payable ()


Cars up to 3.500 kg  (Type A)

0 – 7,99 hp

16, 41

The term “hp” = specifies fiscal hp in the Tarjeta Inspeccion Tecnica de Vehiculos under Potencia Fiscal

8 – 11,99 hp

47, 71

12 – 15,99 hp

 107, 91

16 – 19,99 hp

 143, 38

20 – 999 hp

 190, 40

Autobuses  (Type b)

0 – 20 pz

 116, 62

“pz” = number of seats

21 – 50 pz

 166, 10

51 – 9.999

207, 62

Trucks  (Type C)

0 – 999 kg

 59, 95

Kg = Maximum Authorised Mass.

1.000 – 2.999 kg

 116, 62

3.000 – 999 kg

 116, 10

10.000 – 99.999 kg

 207, 62

Tractors  (Type D)

0 – 15,99 hp

24, 74

16 – 25 hp

 38, 88

25,01 – 99.999 hp

 116, 62

Trailers & Semi-Trailers (Type E)

0 – 750 kg


751 – 999 kg

 24, 74

1.000 – 2.999 kg

38, 88

3.000 – 99.999 kg

 116, 62

Other vehicles (Type F)

0 – 125 cc

 6, 19

“cc” = cubic centimetre engine size.

126 – 250 cc

 11, 36

251 – 500 cc

 24, 24

501 – 1.000 cc

 51, 49

1.001 – 99.999 cc

 109, 04

Cyclemotors (mopeds and scooters up to 49 cc)  (Type X)

 5, 75

 Information on payments of all local taxes is to be found at

 Payments dates at:  

Payment banks at:   

  List of Malaga Provincial Offices for payment administration  with addresses and tel. nos.

 Page showing copy of certificate after payment.

Banks in Marbella for paying the annual tax:

Bank in Marbella

Allowed paying in times


08H00 – 14H00


08H30 – 10H30

El Monde

08H30 – 10H30


08H30 – 10H30


Cualquier (Account holders only)


08H30 – 10H00


08H30 – 10H30


08H30 – 10H30





A new central government policy is that when applying for any documents, including changes of licenses or addresses at TRAFICO AND OTHER STATE OFFICES SUCH AS SOCIAL SECURITY, ETC., there is no need to send in photocopies of ID documents such as the DNI (residencia), NIE, or a copy of the nota de empadronamiento.  However readers are reminded that these details must be already recorded correctly on the State's computer system.  This includes the correct addresses, etc.

The information will be obtained by a search of the police or National Statistical Institute databases, for which permission will be needed, probably by acknowledgement on each application form (information not confirmed yet).

Experience shows that perhaps we should be cautious at first especially if sending by Correos (post) to save unnecessary delays due to the possibility of no records being found of the applicants' correct details.   However, the report states that each year, 4-million ID photocopies and 3,5-million certificates of residency were sent in so now, a lot of these costs will be saved, including "green" ones due to less paper being used, and the time taken to check and file them.



 The town council of Mijas, a town in Malaga, offered 23 women the opportunity to take driving instruction and the qualifying test so they could obtain a driver's licence.  The offer ended on the 22nd January so it is now history, but kind as the offer may seem, there would appear to be two problems:

  •  If  the applicants cannot afford to pay for the course of instruction and the test, around 500 - 600, how can they afford to own and run a car?  And I would expect that for any company offering a job with a company vehicle it would not be possible for someone who has a licence but no experience, remembering that in Spain, after the test, you are limited to driving at a maximum of 80 kph (50 mph) for one year.  The insurance company would also be averse to providing full cover, I would think.

  •  In the UK, there would be immediate cries of "discrimination" as the offer is for women only, along with claims for damages with legal costs paid by the taxpayer.

 Just a thought!


Restrictions on adjusting GPS systems in cars possible.

Jan 25, 2007, 08:15:00


The DGT Traffic Authority in Spain is reported to be considering prohibiting adjusting vehicle GPS systems while in motion or on the road.   However, the law already exists prohibiting this in that a driver is not allowed to refer to any DVD or similar screen while on the road (except for a reversing or rear view mirror system), and this includes while parked (to avoid causing jams), as it also does to using a mobile phone where there is no hands-free system in the vehicle.

Trafico has found due to accidents already that programming navigation systems while the car is in motion is just as dangerous, or more so, than speaking on a mobile phone.

They hope that simply issuing this statement will be warning enough to the public so new legislation will not be necessary.

National DGT (Trafico) boss, Pere Navarro, said adjusting the devices while in motion was ‘a serious risk’, but neither did he want to order prohibitions, prohibitions and prohibitions.

He admitted that GPS devices were ‘exceptionally useful, especially when in new areas’, but he added that they were also a distraction.

Note: It is an offence anyway to watch any screen device including a DVD, etc. so this is really a reminder to advise us all that these navigation devices are also covered, as advised several times by myself in the past and in the book.



 The following road sign has been noted in South Africa where breaking down on the highway can be a death sentence or at the very least a violent robbery.   If you do break down, the photo would appear to warn you when you reach the SOS phone, not to stop, at least for long.  Possibly your SOS call could advise robbers where you are and that you cannot move.  Or could it be that the road ahead is too dangerous to stop?   After all, pulling completely off the road might be impossible especially as the driver is on the right side of the vehicle.  Note, they drive on the left in SA as in the UK, etc.




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