Importing your car into Spain before the UK quits the EU

Importing your car into Spain before the UK quits the EU

Importing your car into Spain before the UK quits the EU

If you’re about to permanently leave the UK for Spain and can’t bear to part with your car, here’s how to import it.

Spanish bureaucracy is infamous amongst the British expat community, with hoops set up for jumping through on almost all the important things in life. It’s not that officials want to give you a hard time as new expat arrivals, it’s just the way things are and getting used to it is part of the expat experience. Importing your precious car is no exception to the rule, with ‘long and complicated’ not quite describing the chaos and confusion.

If you’re a registered permanent resident in Spain intent on bringing your car into the country, you’ll need to register it within 30 days of its arrival, whether you’ve driven it in yourself or had it shipped. If you’re arriving from a non-EU member state and it’s been shipped, you’ll need to pay the Import Office the relevant amount of tax before you can be reunited with your wheels. If you’ve driven it over and failed to register it, you can expect a fine if stopped by local police.

The good news is that certain categories of expat resident don’t need to register their cars if they’re planning to spend less than six months in residence. This applies to foreigners with second homes, students, some pensioners and cross-border regular commuters using company cars. However, all drivers in Spain, whether expat or nationals, must make sure their car insurance and MOT or equivalent is fully valid as it’s impossible to get a Spanish MOT certificate if the car isn’t registered in Spain, giving yet another good reason to register it as soon as is possible after its arrival.

It’s not certain what may change for UK expats should the threat of a no-deal Brexit actually become reality, but getting an international driving license before you leave for Spain would seem to be a good idea, and making enquiries about insurance coverage for Europe as well as the home country might also be wise. If you’re looking to leave in the very near future whilst the UK is still part of the EU, you shouldn’t have to pay import tax on your car. but no-one knows how this may change or when.

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