How to check if a UK car is legal in Spain
This isn’t going to be a drawn out article about the legalities of using a UK car in Spain as a resident. The simple fact is you shouldn’t as a rule, if you live here for prolonged periods. As a resident you need to import and matriculate your UK vehicle if you want to keep using it. It’s that simple.
Unfortunately matriculation can lengthy, and certainly pricey. So many don’t bother.
There are one hell of a lot of illegal cars in Spain and it’s a big problem which I for one would like to see clamped down on. Safety first!!
I’m not saying every UK car in Spain is illegal. Of course it’s fine for tourists passing through, or property owners who winter or summer here, to use their cars as long as they are legally taxed, have an MoT and valid insurance. However, there are a hell of a lot of Brits (and presumably other nationalities) flouting the system.
Why is it so important (in addition to breaking Spanish law)?
It’s important because MANY UK plated cars in Spain are not taxed or covered by a current MoT, and on that basis they must be uninsured because their policy is then null and void. Even if the owner has paid for insurance in the UK the vehicle would not be considered to be legal there, or here in Spain, therefore would refuse to pay out. To my mind, driving without insurance is right up there on the list (with drink driving all too common here too) of things only a total moron, or someone who doesn’t give damn about others, would do.
How to ensure your car is legal in Spain
Because areas can differ, and rules can change – we recommend that you speak to a Gestoria in the area of Spain you have moved to. They will have up to date information and be able to take you through the process (for a fee of course).
Here’s a bit of fun for you…
The DVLA have provided a handy little tool for you to see if that battered white van or ram-shackled UK plated car so often parked on your Urb is legal (click on the image to go through to the website). All you need, is the registration and the make of vehicle.
We suspect you might be shocked by how many there are…
Nobody likes a ‘grass’ (I’ve seen those prison films too); but… should anyone feel that way inclined, they might want to send an email to the Guardia Civil Trafico, have a chat to the friendly Policia Local, or maybe you have some other ideas on how to deal with this issue?
I’m not a ‘curtain twitcher’ myself, but on this I make an exception. Hurt any of my family in an illegal and uninsured vehicle and I’ll be coming for you…
by Alan Gandy
Alan, along with Elle, is the owner of Spain Buddy. He was born in the North of England (Lancashire) and travelled extensively before eventually settling in Almería. Alan has 3 sons from the first of his 18 marriages, (Sam, Joe & Ben) who are all now adults. You can read more articles by Alan on his personal blog at AlanGandy.com and see more of his photography on his photography website as well as on Flickr and Instagram. Also, for less than the price of a cup of coffee each month you can help support Alan's photography (and get some freebies into the bargain). Click here to visit his Patron page to find out more.