If you already have a driving license from a European country, you no longer need to request an international or local one. However, if you are planning on spending most of your time in Spain, it is important to register your (foreign) license at the Jefatura Provinciale of the region where you want to settle.
This will allow you to keep using your current driving license during the first 2 years (European licenses) or 6 months (all other licenses) abroad. You will also be able to get a new local driving license in case of a loss or theft. If you did not register your old license, you risk winding up in an administrative nightmare. In the worst case scenario you might even be obligated to take the Spanish driving license exam.
More information on the application for a Spanish driving license
Registration of vehicles
If your main residence is in Spain, you are obligated to drive around with a Spanish license plate. To request this new plate, you will have to take another visit to the prefecture with the following documents:
- Initial invoice
- Certificate of conformity
- Insurance certificate
- Proof of registration in your homecountry
- Your NIE number
Within a period of 4 months after this visit, you will have to get your vehicle checked. Since taxes on vehicles are rather low in Spain, this registration will most likely be benificial to you. But make sure that your vehicle gets erased from the register at home. Otherwise, you risk to be taxed in your homecountry to!
In total you can expect to pay around 200 to 250 euros to arrange both your driving license and the registration of your vehicle. On top of this fixed cost, it might be interesting to be aware of the following taxes/costs that may apply:
- Road tax: the road tax in Spain is based on the “Caballos Fiscales” (Fiscal HP). The costs are different in every city. Therefore, it is important to check the local rates in the city you’re moving to.
- Transfer tax: if you buy a second-hand car from a private individual (not an official dealer) you’ll have to pay a transfer tax. The rates differ per region.
- Registration tax: For every car that is registered in Spain for the first time, a registration tax has to be paid. The rates for this tax differ per region and depend on the CO2 emission of the car.
- ITV (technical examination/ inspección técnica de vehículos): when importing a car into Spain, it always has to go through technical examination. Even if it’s brand new.
- Registration to DGT (website only in Spanish): After technical examination you can register to the Spanish traffic service (DGT). After you get your registration certificate, you can register for Spanish license plates. Note: as a Spanish citizen, it is prohibited to own a car with foreign license plates.
- Car insurance: In Spain it’s impossible to insure your car at a foreign insurance company. Make sure you look for a Spanish company to insure your vehicle.
More information on cars in Spain is provided via the website of the Spanish traffic service.
Spanish traffic regulations
According to Spanish law, you are obligated to have the following object in your car at all times:
- 2 reflecting triangles (needs to have a symbol E9 / mention the code 27R03)
- Fluorescent vest
- Spare wheel and all tools needed to replace a tire.
- Proof that you paid your car insurance
More information on Spanish traffic regulations
More information about driving under influence in Spain