What do you need to know?
It is the procedure which allows a registration plate valid in Spain to be assigned to identify the vehicle. Depending on the type of vehicle and its origin, the procedure may vary.
It is a compulsory formality for a vehicle to be driven in Spain, if the period of residence is over six months (except for study periods).
You must complete some formalities, mainly in person, related to the inspection of the vehicle, the payment of taxes and the registration itself.
Failure to obtain registration within six months of your arrival in the city is considered a serious offence and may result in an administrative penalty and immobilisation of the vehicle.
Who does it apply to?
It applies to citizens who move to Spain and are owners of a vehicle that they want to use in its territory.
What requirements must I meet?
You must apply to register your vehicle before you start to drive in Barcelona as a resident (for over six months). You must also meet the following requirements:
- Be the owner of the vehicle or an authorised representative.
- Have a Spanish residence permit.
- Have registered in the municipal register of residents.
As a general rule, you cannot register a vehicle in the country where you have a second residence or holiday home.
How long is it valid for?
Vehicle registration does not expire.
What do you need to do?
What steps must you follow?
Vehicles in Spain are generally registered in person by prior appointment, which you can request by calling 060. Then, follow this procedure:
- Request an appointment for the vehicle roadworthiness test (VRT), which aims to verify vehicles' compliance with safety requirements, as well as requirements regarding pollutant emissions. To do this, you must request an appointment at any accredited centre (private companies that are easily found on the Internet).
- Go to the centre selected, pay the fee and submit the documentation necessary (detailed in the following sections).
- Once the inspection has been completed, if the result has been favourable, you will be given the report and a sticker will be placed on your car demonstrating that it has passed the VRT. If, on the other hand, the vehicle has serious or very serious defects, you will be told what they are, and you will have to rectify them and pass the VRT again at a later date.
- Once you have successfully passed the VRT, you will have to pay the relevant taxes.
- After completing the VRT and paying the taxes, you must go to the Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT) provincial office to submit all the documentation and register the vehicle. To do so, request an appointment at the DGT by calling 060 or on the entity’s website.
- When you go to the appointment you must pay the traffic fee and submit all documentation.
- Once the formality has been completed, you will be assigned a registration number. Once you have it, you must buy the plates with the registration number and take out insurance for the new registration number assigned. You will then be able to use your vehicle in the city.
Exceptionally, you can apply online (Electronic register) once you meet the following requirements:
Who can submit the application?
It applies to citizens who move to Spain for more than six months and are owners of a vehicle that they want to use in its territory.
The application can be made by the owner of the vehicle or by a duly authorised representative.
What documentation must be attached to the application?
The documentation will vary depending on the country of origin and whether the vehicle is new or has already been registered. In general, you will have to submit:
- The documentation identifying the owner of the vehicle.
- The registration certificate or equivalent document from the country of origin.
- The original of the technical data sheet, vehicle roadworthiness test card or equivalent document from the country of origin.
- The approval sheet (proving the vehicle complies with the European regulations for vehicle approval).
You must take the following documentation to the DGT appointment:
- Official application form.
- Documentation proving the identity and address of the owner: (Note: content in drop-down format.)
- Spanish national identity document (DNI), Spanish driving licence, residence card or passport and identity number for foreign nationals (NIE).
- In the case of minors or people with disabilities:
- Details and signature of the father, mother or legal guardian.
- Identity document.
- Document providing evidence of the capacity in which they act.
- When the holder is not carrying out the formality:
- Authorisation signed by the person represented, together with his or her original identity documentation.
- Vehicle documentation:
- Documentation proving that the VRT has been passed.
- Proof of payment or exemption from the municipal road tax (original or photocopy).
- Proof of payment, exemption from or not being subject to registration tax (except in the case of trailers).
- If the vehicle comes from outside the European Union, you will have to submit the single administrative document (SAD) provided at customs.
The documents must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator and legalised. In the case of multilingual standard EU forms, neither translation nor authentication is required.
The form of legalisation will depend on whether the issuing country has signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 or not:
If the country issuing the public document is a signatory, the document will be recognised if it bears the Hague Apostille stamp. The certificate will be processed in the country of origin.
If the country issuing the public document is not a signatory, then the legalisation process will be carried out through diplomatic channels.
Get more information about the legalisation and translation of documents.
How long does it take to process the application?
The maximum period set for registration by the DGT is three months. If you do not receive an answer in this time, the formality has not been completed. Failure to respond or administrative silence should be understood as a rejection.
What does the application cost?
The fee is variable, depending on the type of vehicle and your municipality.
The traffic fee is €97.80 (except in the case of mopeds, where it is €27.30) and cannot be paid in cash.
Taxes must be paid in addition to inspection fees. Taxes may vary depending on how and where the vehicle was purchased. Even so, the two main taxes you will have to pay are the road tax and the registration tax.
Check the tax exemption requirements before making the payment.
- VEHICLE TAX (or road tax)
- It is a tax that must be paid annually by the owners of most vehicles.
- The amount may vary depending on the type of vehicle and the municipality in which you have registered as a resident.
- Payment can be made at City Hall itself, at the relevant bank with a payment card or over the Internet.
- REGISTRATION TAX
- It is a direct and definitive tax on the first registration of new or used motor vehicles used to drive on public roads and land.
- The payment is made only once and varies according to the vehicle. It can be done electronically, using a digital certificate or digital Spanish national identity document (DNI), or in person at the Tax Office.
There are specific cases in which there is exemption from the payment of these taxes. To consult them, access the Tax Office portal (available in English, Catalan, Spanish and other co-official languages).
If you register the vehicle within the European Union (EU) due to a change of residence, you will be exempt from paying road tax.