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Motoring in Spain Book Update, March 2007


Having an ITV done on a foreign plated vehicle in Spain.

9 March 2007

As I have stressed several times, including in detail in the book, if you have a foreign-plated vehicle in Spain, there are rules as to its use here in Spain.  I will not repeat them here as they are in the book, but rumours abound amongst the expat. communities, especially over a drink in the bars, and the following is intended to clarify the unfounded rumour about it being OK to have a long term foreign plated vehicle inspected here by obtaining an ITV certificate, the equivalent of the UK  MOT instead of taking it back home, wherever that is, for the legal test.  You cannot even have it done in Gibraltar.

For those reading who are not familiar with the term ITV, it is the Spanish equivalent of the UK MOT.

There never has been the legal facility to haveforeign plated vehicles ITV-ed in Spain except during the procedure to transfer them onto Spanish registration

What has probably happened because of ignorance and a desire to get round the Spanish registration transfer need is that: 

1.        Someone in a bar somewhere said it was legal despite the available evidence (if you know where to look, e.g. the book, Motoring in Spain, that it is not.  This is supposed to save taking the vehicle back to the UK or Ireland for an MOT.

2.        The Spanish ITV stations have been happy to carry out the check as they do when a vehicle is being transferred and they charge 35 - 40 for the test.  Adds to their income.

3.        The word has gone around by some who have had it done and so others believe that it must be legal instead of checking the facts.  The snowball effect has been helped by the "guilt feeling" that something must be done, even is it is not the right thing.  Many of us humans are like that, aren't we?

4.        The disadvantage of having an illegal ITV is that if stopped by the Guardia Civil or local police, it immediately brings to their attention that the vehicle must be illegal if on foreign plates, and this is reinforced when they check the insurance certificate and see a Spanish address for the driver/owner, or the driver shows a residencia card (soon to be extinct) or NIE certificate, or, as is legal now as far as the EU Directive 2004/38 (since 29th April 2006), a nota de empadronamiento.  No need for a residencia since then but Spain, like the EU driving licences, has been reluctant to follow the directive, although this does mean that since that date, you cannot be punished for not having a residencia as long as you have a nota de empadronamiento. 

What is happening now is that there are many new GC officers and new policia locales (local police) who must have just done the up-to-date training and are keen to do the job well so they are applying the existing laws more strictly.  Also, the regular bulletins sent out to these officers are being read. 

The feedback from the GC etc has most likely been that there are many foreign-plated cars where the owner has presented an ITV certificate at the road side, so through Trafico, who is responsible for the ITV stations, the instruction to the ITV stations is now to only ITV a foreign plated vehicle when the paperwork is shown proving it is only for a transfer to Spanish registration, or is for a legal check perhaps to see of the vehicle has been stolen, etc.  

My book gives much detail on the Laws backed up on my web-site for any current changes.  Details are in this web site.

I also write weekly articles for the Costa Del Sol News and the Round Town News and I live in Marbella.

 The authorities are stopping vehicles more often now to carry out seat belt checks, drinking and driving and if you are seen using a mobile while driving or even parked on the road (held to an ear), and the latest is referring to a navigation screen in the car while on the road, even if parked (on the road).   Please do not shoot me for being the messenger.  My task is to try and save you money in fines and penalty points but many drivers are their own enemies as I find every week from received E-mails and telephone calls with cries for help after being caught.  And the book only costs 16, 50.

The full step-by-step procedure of transferring a vehicle onto Spanish plates is in my book, plus 215 pages of much more.  The list of bookshops is also in the web-site, and I can post to you if you are too far away from them.



An old method of easily stealing your car is being used again by the criminals. 12 March 2007.

You get in your car, start the engine, go to reverse or drive out of your parking bay or space and you see a large piece of paper partially blocking the rear window.  So you get out of the car, leaving the engine running and go to move the paper.  While you are doing this a person jumps into your car, slams and locks the door and drives off, possibly hitting you on the way.  Or if you have left your handbag or anything of value, the thief may just steal the valuables.

The result is that not only have you lost your car, but the insurance company does not want to know as you left the keys in the ignition with the engine running.  Not only that, you have to live with the feeling that you are in some way stupid, a normal human reaction.

It can happen to you so get in the state of mind; TRUST NOBODY and act accordingly.


Tell Trafico when you sell that vehicle.

12 March 2007

I had a call from a worried lady I have known for some time last week.  It appears that like most of us, she has trustingly sold her cars over the years and believed the buyers when they say they will attend to the transfer out of her name.  My answer to that is, as I always say, TRUST NOBODY!  Many people are full of good intentions but….  Others are just plain amoral.  Anyway, she has just received notification from Trafico that she owes just over €1.000 in fines and taxes as vehicles are still registered in her name and the period goes back twenty years.  Yes 20 years.  Have you kept all your documentation and correspondence for that period of time when you have sold a vehicle?  Most likely not!  The person/s she sold them to never bothered to advise Trafico of the new owner so, as the government always gets its money in the end, and they are not bothered where they get it as long as it is according to the law, the seller can easily be the loser, plus it is an offence not to tell Trafico when a vehicle has been sold.

How do you do it?  Download the Trafico form TASA  9.07/A which is on the Trafico web site, complete it remembering that the buyer’s street address must be shown, not an Apartado de Correos, and if at your home and you do not know the buyer well, check that it is correct with a document shown by him, such as the permiso from his car, post it to Trafico certified post.  Always keep an original copy signed by the new owner.  Note that the form for the buyer to notify Trafico is the TASA 9.060.

Even if the buyer is a dealer, it does not matter what he/she says: TRUST NOBODY.  It is easier to do it the right way at the time than spend time, money and endure the stress later.

Detailed instructions are in the book along with other caveats to be aware of, whether selling or buying a vehicle in Spain.


A NEW ROAD SIGN?   14 March 2007

A new road sign has been introduced in the UK for all those lonely drivers named "Jack".  At designated points, Jack may now legally wait and be greeted by other drivers who will know your name from the sign.


No, the truth is that this new road sign has been legalised in South Africa where hijacking is, along with many other serious and violent crimes, a common daily occurrence, so signs have been erected at the many points where the crime is now very common.






Those of us who have decided to live in Spain as our main residence and have brought a foreign-plated vehicle here need to know the following, as stated in my book, but seemingly disputed by many probably because they do not want to face the job and expense of transferring their vehicles onto Spanish plates as required by Law.  Much of this is in the book.

The Law we are talking (writing) about is the Ley 38/1992, articulo 65.1 d, which says basically that (expanded):

  1. If you have a motor vehicle which is used on public roads, and Spain is your main residence, that is you live here more than 183 days a calendar year, then the motor vehicle must be put onto Spanish registration.  If you live here legally for less than 183 days a year, but your car is left here, then you must have the vehicle sealed (precintado) by customs so that you have proof that the vehicle is not being used while you are not here.  However, I have not heard of anyone actually doing that.

  2. Please remember that your foreign plated vehicle must be legal as in the home country, i.e. MOT, Road Fund tax paid, etc.

  3. Strictly speaking, the vehicle should not be used on the road until it has been re-registered.  So it is an offence to do so.

  4. If you have moved the vehicle here permanently, you must advise the DVLA, etc. as applicable, that you have done so and there is a page in the (UK) V5C form for this purpose.

  5. The 182 days or less that you visit here is a total for a calendar year, so it can be say a month at a time, etc.  Also, it can be from July 1st to June 30th the following year, making a continuous 12 months in all, but be prepared to prove this if you are stopped as the officer, if in doubt, may issue a denuncia anyway so you can prove it later.  Usually costs a lot if you do not speak Spanish fluently, not to mention the stress as it means a lawyer's.

  6. Last year I was "fed rumours" about not having to re-register foreign EU vehicles sometime in 2007, but all I could find on the EU web-sites was a proposal affecting VAT payments to Spain on importation of a personal vehicle.  More on that when it is finalised.  So for the time being, we have to re-register as before.

  7. When you register to stay here with residencia or from the 28th March 2007, at the local Dept. de Extranjeros (Foreigner's Department) or at the local police station depending on your local instructions, you will be asked and have to prove your resident status.

  8. If it is 183 days a year plus, then you have 30 days from application for residencia or registration after the 28th March 2007 to put your vehicles onto Spanish plates (matriculacion) or get them back to the "old home country".

  9. If you wait longer then 30 days, you are in great danger of being charged import duty as if you are a Spanish resident (which you are) importing a foreign vehicle and be liable for import duties in addition to the normal quite low costs of re-registration as explained in my book.

  10. How do I know this?  Because in the last 10 months, I have received quite a few E-mails from readers of the Round Town News and the Costa Del Sol News (the newspapers I write columns for each week) who have belatedly tried to register their foreign-plated vehicles, a significant number of them after being stopped in a road-side check by the Guardia Civil or local police where they were given 30 days to do so, as well as a fine of up to 300.

  11. Also, many now tell me that if the vehicle is not on Spanish plates within 30 days, the vehicle will be "embargoed", that is confiscated until the procedure is completed, and that usually means parking compound charges as an extra cost.

  12. Now I hate writing this for those readers who have not bothered to do so (many are still driving around after 2 plus years with the old registration, and sometimes I feel like the man who is about to lose his head because he has just brought the bad news to the king about the army losing the battle, but I write it because if you know, then if you get caught, who can you blame?  Not me, pleaseI am trying to save you money and stress.  That is one reason I wrote the book.

  13. ITVs on foreign-plated vehicles?  See item above at top of page.

The procedure is described in full on re-registering a foreign plated vehicle here in Spain in my book, along with lots of advice to make it easy.


Changing to a Spanish driving licence at age 70.

As British residents here know, the standard British driving licence expires at age 70.  The vocational ones expire at age 60 unless they have been renewed in the UK by talking a medical.  Vocational means those for taxis, heavy goods vehicles, etc.

The book states that after age 70, drivers in Spain do not have to pay Trafico fees for their driving licence renewals, but experience by readers shows that Trafico interprets  this as, if you are changing to a Spanish licence on the expiration of your British one then you are not yet aged 70 so expect to have to pay the fee of about 18.   The ruling is because, I guess, the change is supposed to have been done just before the old DL expires at age 70.

Anyway, this year, all administration is due to be moved over to on-line, that is via the Internet, so the computer owners can do it themselves, and those without can make friends with someone who has a computer. 

When the system is up and running, I will add an instruction here on this web-site.



It is that time of year to render unto Caesar (i.e. the ayuntamiento) that which is Caesar's.  In other words theImpuesto municipal sobre vehiculos de traccion mecanica.  This is the equivalent of the Road Fund Tax in the UK, etc.  For those who live in Malaga (or for general information in ather areas), please go to the January 2007 page in this web site.


 SPAIN IS CATCHING UP?  26 March 2007

Approved by the Spanish authorities is a change to the uncontrolled pedestrian crossings in Spain.  There are basically three types as described in the book, and the change affects the ones that are plain crossings without traffic lights or a "press and wait" for the green person (to be politically correct) button.  Apparently poles with globes that are lit inside are to be erected each side of the road so motorists have better chance of seeing them in advance.

I write the above title with tongue in cheek because in some instances, Spain is ahead of other EU countries with good ideas for saving lives on the roads.  All it needs is for all of us to obey them.



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