What are the steps to register a car in Spain?

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Depending on what kind of car you buy, and where you buy it from, the steps to register may vary. In this article, CARFAX Europe explains the steps and overall process of registering a vehicle in Spain. The first step is always to check the vehicle history. Then you can register the car in Spain worry-free.

There are three different situations which will be covered in this how-to guide:

  • Buying a new vehicle in Spain
  • Buying a used vehicle in Spain
  • Importing a vehicle from outside of Spain

Keep reading to learn what you need to do, depending on your specific situation.

Buying a New Car

The registration process for a new car is normally handled by the dealership where you purchased the vehicle. The dealership will typically handle the paperwork for the transfer of ownership as well. This makes it the easiest situation out of the three. In addition, many dealers can also offer insurance contracts, which makes the process of getting you behind the wheel of your new car fast and easy.

Even if the dealer is handling the paperwork, nevertheless, it can be a good thing to understand some of the particulars of the process. The following is a list of the details which are normally handled when registering a vehicle:

Registration Fee

There is a registration fee of €95.80 (or €26.70 for mopeds).

Application Form

You can download and take a look at the registration form.

Necessary Documents

The following documents are needed to complete the registration process:

  • A roadworthiness certificate (both the pink and blue sheets)
  • The "diligencia de venta," which contains information about the buyer and the dealer who is selling the vehicle
  • An official form of identification (e.g. ID card, Spanish driver’s license, passport or residence card)

Registration Tax

A one-time registration tax must be paid to the municipality at the time of registering a vehicle. This tax is based on CO2 emissions, with rates ranging from 4.75% (121-159g/km) to 14.75% (200g/km or more). Once this is paid, you will have to pay an annual road tax, which is based on the vehicle's horsepower.

Though, keep in mind that hybrid and economically-friendly vehicles may be eligible for sizable discounts, for example: 0% for vehicles producing less than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

You will need to provide proof of payment in order to complete the registration process.

car taxes


Owners are required to have a minimum of third-party car insurance for all vehicles in Spain. Before you're allowed to legally drive your vehicle on Spanish roads, you will need to sign up for an insurance plan.

Once the registration process is complete, you can put on your license plates and enjoy your new car.

Buying a Used Car

The process for buying used cars can vary, depending on whether you're purchasing from a dealership or a private party. If bought from a used car dealer, in most cases, they will handle all the paperwork. The following steps explain the process of registering a vehicle which is used when buying from a private party.

Vehicle Purchase

When buying a used car, it is highly recommended to see original versions of all paperwork and documentation, especially if you're buying from a private seller. The seller should provide you with the following documentation:

  • Vehicle registration certificate
  • An ITV test certificate, verifying proof of roadworthiness
  • Proof of payment of road tax
  • A copy of personal identification document

In order to ensure he or she has the right to sell the vehicle, be sure to match the name on the sellers' official ID to the one on the paperwork.

To conclude the purchase of the vehicle, you should together create a signed sales agreement or have the seller provide an invoice for the purchase. Regardless of which document you choose to use, it should include the following details:

  • Vehicle details, including the make, model, vehicle identification number (VIN), etc.
  • Names of buyer and seller
  • Sales price
  • Date and time the transfer of ownership takes place (this is important in case there are any open traffic violations or fines associated with the car, so they can be directed to the correct person)

The final document needed to conclude the purchase is a transfer of ownership form. Ideally, the buyer should print and bring two copies of the form with, in case the seller doesn't have one already. Both the buyer and seller will need to sign the form, with each party keeping a copy.

Registering the Change of Ownership

As the buyer of a used car, you will need to register the vehicle in your name in the vehicle registry with the the Registry of the Directorate General of Traffic.

Paying Transfer Tax

When registering a vehicle which has been purchased used from someone else, you will also need to pay a transfer tax to the local municipality. In doing so, you will need to provide the above mentioned documentation as well.

For those living in Andalusia, Aragón, Asturias, Castilla y Leon, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Madrid, Murcia and Navarre, you can complete this process online. You will then receive an Electronic Transfer Code (CET) as proof that you have paid the required tax.

The vehicle's registration document must be transferred within 30 days of the date of purchase. Currently, the cost of the transfer is around 4% of the value of the vehicle.

Traffic Insurance

If desired, the previous owner's insurance can be transferred to the buyer with the vehicle. If you choose to obtain your own car insurance, the seller can cancel their insurance and you can make the necessary arrangements for a new plan yourself. Keep in mind, you will need to have traffic insurance before you can drive the vehicle.

Importing a Vehicle from Outside of Spain

The process for registering a vehicle purchased outside of Spain is a little more complicated. The following explain the necessary documentation and procedures which must take place.

Necessary Documentation for Imported Cars

To legally enter the country with your vehicle, you have to have the proper documentation. The necessary documentation can vary depending on the situation. You will need the following:

  • Bill of sale (sometimes necessary to bring a translation)
  • Original vehicle title certificate
  • Single Administration Document from the Customs Office (for new/used vehicles purchased outside of the EU)
  • Passport for identification

In most cases, these documents are enough to satisfy the requirements for passing through customs. The next step is to pay import tax and duties.

Import Tax and Duty

Owners of vehicles purchased outside of Spain will need to pay an import tax and duty. The rates for the import duty are controlled on the EU level, and are as follows:

  • Normal Cars - 10%
  • Motorcycles (depending on engine capacity) - 6-8%
  • Trucks - 22%

The rate of the import duty will be applied to the market price of the vehicle, and reductions will be made based on its age. On top of the import duty, an import tax (VAT) of 21% will need to be paid.

ITV Inspection Certificate

Before you are able to officially register the vehicle, you will need to have it inspected by an official inspection authority. This inspection is designed to prove that the vehicle is roadworthy and that it complies to the Spanish standards of safety. It's recommended to bring the following documents for an easier inspection process:

matriculacion vehiculo españa
  • Bill of sale (original and copy)
  • Receipt from payment of import tax & duty (original and copy)
  • Drivers License
  • Proof of car insurance
  • Passport for identification
  • Technical specifications for the vehicle (this can be obtained from vehicle manufacturer or by purchasing a CARFAX Vehicle History Report)

The following areas of the vehicle will be inspected:

  • Exhaust emissions
  • Lights (both interior and exterior)
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Suspension (shock absorbers, wheel alignment, etc.)
  • Tire tread
  • Condition of bodywork, mirrors, glass, etc.

Upon the successful completion of the inspection, you will get an ITV Certificate.

Registering the Vehicle and Paying Road Tax

The last step of the process for registering a vehicle in Spain is the same as described above. The one-time registration tax must be paid as well as the road tax in the subsequent years after registration. Once the vehicle has been registered, you can put on your Spanish plates, and the car import process is complete.