The are quite a few steps and costs involved to import and register and car from a non-EU country in Spain.
First and foremost EU conformity, import and registration costs must be taken into account as these can make the import and registration in Spain impossible or too expensive to be worth while.
This said, under EU rules if you are moving from a non-EU country to live in an EU country, such as Spain, you can bring your possessions including cars, and avoid paying the costly duties and taxes and having to pay for expensive EU conformity certification.
These transfer of residence rules give you up to12 months form the date you get your residency to import your car and avoid paying customs and VAT. However you only have 60 days from the date you take up residency, to register your car and avoid registration tax (if it applies).
Importing a Car From a Non-EU Third Country
All non-EU vehicles imported into Spain are subject to customs duty and VAT (IVA) also has to be paid. The taxes are based on either the value published in the Government official list of vehicle values, the purchase price or assessed market value, depending on the age of the car and when you acquired it.
A document known as a DUA (Documento Único Administrativo) is issued once customs has been cleared.
The documents you will need for customs are:
- Passport & NIE
- Proof of address
- Vehicle registration document / title
- Ficha tecnica or CoC (may be required)
Change of Residency (CoR) Exemption
To clear customs under change of residency and avoid duty and VAT, you need to provide proof that you were living in the country that your are bring the car from, in the 12 months prior to the date that you obtained your residency in Spain. You must also have owned the car for at least 6 months prior to the date you took up residence in Spain.
The additional documents need for change of residency customs exemption are:
- Residency card TIE
- Padron dated within 90 days
- Declaration of the agreeing not to sell the vehicle in 12 months from the date of the import
- Proof that your were living in the former country of residence for 12 months prior to moving to Spain
- Proof that you have fully relinquished residency in the former country of residence
Agent fees will vary from around €150 to €350 depending on the agent and whether you are applying for transfer of residence exemption. Customs duty is 10% and IVA is 21%.
Registering a Car Imported From a Non-EU Country in Spain
After clearing customs the the car will need to go through the process of conformity certification before it can be registered. Conformity can be a very complex area, therefore is very advisable to consult a vehicle import and registration specialist if you are planning to import and register your non-EU car to Spain.
To register an imported Non-EU car in Spain, the vehicle must meet the EU’s current vehicle safety and emissions standards. If the vehicle has European homologation, (European standard approval) it’s conformity can be proven with one of the following documents:
- European Certificate of Conformity (CoC)
- Authorised Vehicle Technical Engineers report
Most vehicles from outside of Europe do not have European homologation and therefore will need to be taken either through a process known as individual homologation, or equivalence. individual homologation is a fairly costly process where Government licenced vehicle technical engineer completes and inspection of the vehicle and certifies that is complies. With equivalence, the technical engineer certifies that the vehicle is the same as an equivalent EU vehicle with European homologation.
In addition to general conformity some cars may need modifications. For example some US vehicles have red turn indicators or the rear indicator combined with the brake light. EU standards require that indicators are amber and rear indictors must be separate from the brake light. Some non-EU specification cars also do not have rear fog lights.
It is important to check whether the car that you plan to bring will need to be modified and the likely cost, before committing to the process. Lights and electronic control systems in modern cars can be very sophisticated and costly and difficult to replace or convert to EU specification.
EU Conformity Costs
Some manufacturers will supply a European Certificate of Conformity (CoC) free of charge. An authorised Vehicle Technical Engineers report will cost between €70 and €150. Individual homologation or equivalence certificates typically cost around €1,500.
The cost of modifications will of course depend on the vehicle and what needs to be changed.
When you register a no-EU car in Spain, you may need to get these. The green provisional ‘P’ plates indicate that the vehicle is in the process of being registered onto Spanish number plates and subject to the vehicle being insured, allow you to drive the vehicle whilst it’s being registered.
Temporary registration and plates cost around €150, and special registration tax, if applicable, may have to be paid when you apply to get temporary plates – (see Taxes below).
Vehicle Technical Inspection (ITV)
The vehicle technical inspection is a conformity and roadworthiness check. Once the vehicle has its EU conformity certification document, it has to undergo an official inspection to confirm that the vehicle tallies with it’s certification and that it is also roadworthy.
It is at this part of the process that knowledge, experience and expertise, (or lack of it) can add to costs, be that in time, or actual money wasted. If there are problems with the vehicle they’ll need to be resolved. If you’re employing a company to handle the registration process for you, they will normally check the vehicle for potential issues, highlight, them help you resolve them, or find a way around. They will also check the common road worthiness things like tyres, lights etc.
The vehicle technical inspection costs around €150.
Taxes to Register Non-EU car in Spain
In addition to customs duty and VAT, to register a non-EU car in Spain there are other taxes to pay. In every case the Spanish equivalent of road tax, known as IVTM / SUMA, and for some vehicles Special Registration Tax may also apply.
Road tax rates are set by the local authority (Ayuntamiento) and are based on the power rating of the vehicle.
Special registration tax base is calculated using the vehicle new value, and applying a depreciation factor according to its age. The applicable rate depends on the vehicle CO2 emissions.
Special registration tax depreciation allowances and tax rates
Vehicle age up to 1 year = 100 %
From 1 year, up to 2 = 84 %
From 2 years, up to 3 = 67 %
From 3 years, up to 4 = 56 %
From 4 years, up to 5 = 47 %
From 5 years, up to 6 = 39 %
From 6 years, up to 7 = 34 %
From 7 years, up to 8 = 28 %
From 8 years, up to 9 = 24 %
From 9 years, up to 10 = 19 %
From 10 years, up to 11 = 17 %
From 11 years, up to 12 = 13 %
More than 12 years = 10 %
Tax Rate based on emissions (emissions levels have temporarily been increased to reduce tax)
Less than 120g/km = 0%
120g/km up to 160g/km = 4.75%
160g/km up to 200g/km = 9.75%
200g/km or more = 16.9%
Special Registration Tax Calculation Examples
Vehicle date first reg 01/01/2014 depreciation band 7-8 years 28%
The calculation is as follows: Vehicle new value X depreciation % divide answer by 1.28 and multiply by applicable tax %
BMW320 d Touring 1995cc 114g/km new value €31000 ( 0 tax emission below 121 g/km )
BMW320 i Touring 1995cc 143g/km new value €26800 €26800 X 28% / 1.28 X 4.75% = €278.47
BMW320 i Touring Aut. 1995cc 164g/km new value €29900 €29900 X 28%/1.28 X 9.75% = €637.72
BMW335 i Aut. 2979cc 202g/km €39700 €39700 X 28% / 1.28 X 16.9% = €1467.66
As you can see the emissions make a big difference. In recent years, manufacturers have greatly reduced their vehicles emissions, which means that many new cars attract little or no special registration tax.
Fees to register a Non-EU car in Spain
To finally complete the registration of a non-EU car in Spain, you will pay a fee to the traffic department the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico).
If you use a gestoria, their fee would usually cover presenting your paperwork to trafico, but not the trafico or tax presentation fees.
The DGT fee is €100 and gestoria fees to handle your paperwork will typically be around €75.
Employing a Company to Manage the Import and Register a Car From a Non-EU Country in Spain
A gestoria specialises in administrative processes, so if you employ one, to help you register your non-EU car in Spain, check whether you’re paying them just to take care of paperwork, or to take care of managing the whole process of importing your car and getting it registered onto Spanish number plates.
A gestoria will typically charge between €150 to €300 to handle the paperwork register a car from a non-EU country depending on what they include in their service.
A company that specialises in registering a cars in Spain, will take care of the whole process, and will therefore usually charge more that a gestoria.
If you decide to use a specialist, ask for recommendations from people. Avoid the many one man band’s that offer vehicle registration services, and choose an established company that has a proven track record evidence by it customer reviews and testimonial. Make sure you get them to provide you with a full breakdown of the costs, and ask for receipts of taxes paid. It is not uncommon for one man bands to take money and not finish the job, or charge excessively by inflating the tax and pocketing the difference.
Agent fee = €250 – €500