List of Topics and Articles

Buying a Vehicle • Ian


Vehicle Information for Valencia Spain



Buying a Vehicle

If you wish to make a purchase such as a car or motorcycle, you will require an NIE number.  If you will already have one, so the process is easier.  You may need the Registration Document with the local Town Hall called the "Apardiamento" or "Certificacion de Inscripcion Padronal" - See separate article.

You may need to take with you one of the people that do the translation services.  They can help you with the difficulty of the language barrier through all of this bureaucracy. 

The following are extracts from Eugene Carmichael's motoring series in Britchat.

Eugene Carmichael is a consultant offering fast track defensive driving advice; help with the Spanish theory driving test and he is a specialist in remedial help in building or rebuilding driving confidence.  Telephone 606 025 356 or 618 165 814.

Documentation - Part A

The subject of complete and correct documentation, more than any other associated with living in Spain seems to be the most misunderstood.  I shall try to shed some light.

When the officer demands "papeles, por favor!" what he is looking for are the following from a resident:

(a)    Permiso de circulacion.  This is the car's certificate to use the roads, and it is upon this certificate that we pay an annual road tax charged to us by our town hall. Normally we receive by post their demand note, and we have a period of three months within which to pay.

(b)    Tarjeta de inspeccion tecnia de vehiculos, (ITV booklet). This booklet has all of the technical data pertaining to the vehicle including height, width, horsepower, and even the tyre size.  To ensure roadworthiness the vehicle must undergo a technical test periodically.  New cars are exempt for four years; thereafter testing is required every two years until ten years old. After that testing is annually. The results are communicated to your Ayuntamiento which triggers the demand for road tax.

Should your vehicle fail the test you are given a list of what needs to be done, and the ITV booklet is held by the testing centre.  To continue driving without the booklet is a serious infraction, unless you are going to the garage or returning to the ITV station.

(c)    The Insurance Certificate.  This may or may not be green in colour, but the essential data provided by it is name of insurance company, policy number, name and address of policyholder, vehicle insured, period covered, and type of cover. Attached to this should be the current receipt for payment of the premium.

By: Eugene Carmichael

Documentation - Part B

Your driver's licence. This topic deserves a column all its own because this is where most confusion arises. For the time being we will assume that the driver holds a pink paper style Spanish license, or the new European photo-card type.  Upon satisfactory presentation of this document, together with the others noted in the last edition your inspection will be complete and off you go.

I have experienced several police road checks along the coastal roads. I can say without fear of contradiction that the police are always very professional, starting with the salute. (You get to feel important just before the business part begins.) One evening I had been to the movies at the leisure centre in Torrevieja. Between leaving the cinema and my apartment in La Zenia I encountered no less than four checkpoints. Being a Friday evening I was checked twice specifically for alcohol. (I passed!)

From the first of January, 2004, police powers were greatly enlarged to confiscate driving licenses and to impounded vehicles for up to three months for a long list of offences. The problem is that the public have never been shown the list, so we travel at our peril. I'm fairly certain that driving under the influence would be on the list, as would be driving with no license or an invalid one.

It was reported that as of October 28, 2004 Spanish law was amended to make photo card licenses issued in the U.K. automatically legal here. However, the police continue to arrest and charge persons driving on unregistered U.K. licenses. It is possible that they simply have not been advised of the change in the law, or the law has not actually come into effect. Personally I would insist on changing my U.K. license for a Spanish one so as to be safe.

There are enough outstanding questions to make this solid advice. Questions such as will Spain renew your U.K. license at age 70?  What happens should you physically lose your U.K. license while resident in Spain? How will the Spanish system debit points against you if you hold anything other than a Spanish license?

Contact a Gestoria in your area who deals with these matters and relax.

Finally, you are advised not to leave the documentation for the car in it when it is parked. Should it be stolen complete with documentation the thieves will thank you. Rather, develop a system of being sure to take the papers in and out of the car with you.


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