RHD in Spain, exporting, insurance, etc

RHD in Spain, exporting, insurance, etc

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Discussion

big_rob_sydney

Original Poster:

2,690 posts

155 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
quotequote all
Hi All,
I'm intending on relocating near the end of this year to Spain. It will be close to Benahavis, maybe 15 minutes drive west of Marbella.

We've been building a place there for many years, and its finally looking like happening, after many setbacks. Now, I have the option to export a car back to Australia eventually, as its very lucrative to do that, hence why I'd rather keep a RHD drive car (taking the longer term view). I've already exported one car from the UK to Australia a few years ago, so I'm happy with that side of things.

The last I read about it, you need to own the car for 6 months, and then you don't pay the Spanish first registration fee.

Assuming I did my research and bought a car with a good upside to export to Australia, I would expect to keep it here for about 6 months, and then head over to Spain. After 6 months in Spain, then I'd like to send it to Australia.

So, my question would be:

Do I need to register it in Spain immediately, or is there some legal way of keeping it on UK plates / insurance / MOT / etc etc? I've heard people talk about driving to Gibraltar periodically, and if we needed to, we could quite happily take a trip outside Spain to maybe not have the continuous 3 months rules of residency. We have a place here in London which is our home for now, so maybe we could keep it as our home for domicile purposes.

Really, I just would like to understand what is the easiest way to have it for about 6 months in Spain.

TooMany2cvs

29,008 posts

87 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
quotequote all
big_rob_sydney said:
So, my question would be:

Do I need to register it in Spain immediately, or is there some legal way of keeping it on UK plates / insurance / MOT / etc etc? I've heard people talk about driving to Gibraltar periodically, and if we needed to, we could quite happily take a trip outside Spain to maybe not have the continuous 3 months rules of residency. We have a place here in London which is our home for now, so maybe we could keep it as our home for domicile purposes.
You really need to be asking on a Spanish forum, because you're asking about Spanish law.

If it was the other way round, you could keep a Spanish-registered vehicle in the UK for up to six months providing you're not a UK resident. Sounds like you would count as a resident - so, yes, you'll probably need to register it in Spain.

Depends where you are in Spain, too - on the "ex-pat" <spit> heavy costas, they're probably heartily sick of piss-takers thinking they can just get away without tax/test/insurance by pretending they don't really live there, so you'll probably get landed on in short order. In the boonies where they don't get many non-locals, you'd probably be fine.

Monkeylegend

20,207 posts

192 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
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And don't forget Brexit.

indigostr

242 posts

87 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
quotequote all
You should be ok, there are plenty of uk cars here for 6 months at a time. If you don't take the p then you will not be on the radar. There's a regular police check at the repsol station ,so far, I've never been pulled in for documents. My advice would be to buy a cheap plate on retention that fits in. OO then 2 numbers followed by 3 letters. If you do get stopped , change the plate a month later to give yourself some extra time. I am here regularly and use OO plates. Just remember to get the plates made before you leave , it is possible to get uk plates made in Marbella but an arm and a leg. I always have a spare set anyway. Reverse park in so from the front the car looks rhd Spanish registered , it also keeps scrotes from spotting.
I don't think popping across to Gibraltar will help as you don't get a stamp at the border , they're also trying to crack down on workers using the Gib registered cars but living in Spain.
I use Stuart Collins for insurance.

Geekman

2,499 posts

107 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
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Can't speak for for Spain but where I live in France people just keep their UK plates and the police don't seem to care. Many have been here 10-15 years with no issues. I know that's a very un PH response because everyone here is perfect and never breaks the law but there you go.

generationx

3,416 posts

66 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
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Geekman said:
Can't speak for for Spain but where I live in France people just keep their UK plates and the police don't seem to care. Many have been here 10-15 years with no issues. I know that's a very un PH response because everyone here is perfect and never breaks the law but there you go.
Same for here in Germany.

For European insurance try Stuart Collins (although I´m sure others are available they´re very popular with ex-pat colleagues) - your issue is obtaining an insurance "Green Card" which allows you to drive in continental Europe, as with "normal" insurance companies you will get a maximum of 60 days. SC can arrange Europe-wide for the whole year, and breakdown cover too. They deal with AXA and I´ve been using them for quite a while with no issues.

big_rob_sydney

Original Poster:

2,690 posts

155 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
quotequote all
Thanks guys, that's very helpful.

I just did a quick google images search on "spanish registered cars" and saw that there is an OO23JDR registered Ford.

I've noticed a lot of other plates with 4 digits and then 3 letters, but obviously the previous one is easier with our DVLA.

Invaluable advice, thank you guys!

el romeral

579 posts

98 months

Wednesday 3rd May 2017
quotequote all
Geekman said:
Can't speak for for Spain but where I live in France people just keep their UK plates and the police don't seem to care. Many have been here 10-15 years with no issues. I know that's a very un PH response because everyone here is perfect and never breaks the law but there you go.
It used to be like that here in Spain but since the crisis, they have upped the patrols in order to get more money in.
I imported a UK LHD car 3 years ago and ran around with UK plates for many months before getting it onto Spanish plates. One thing I did was to buy a duplicate white front number plate (from e bay UK) and stuck it on the back of my car to get rid of the stand out yellow plate. Did help it blend in better.
The first registration fee (as I am sure you are aware) is dependant on the age, value when new and CO2 emmissions of the car, so amount to pay will vary greatly. There are tables you can look up. I paid €900 all in for a 2000 Boxster S. This included the plates, gestor fees, trafico fees, first ITV and the services of a very helpful Dutch chap who did all the leg work!

Edit: sorry, just read you are not planning on keeping the car here long term, so no need to register.

Edited by el romeral on Wednesday 3rd May 23:15

indigostr

242 posts

87 months

Thursday 4th May 2017
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OO51 & OO52 plates are cheap for retention. You also don't need the EuroGB flag on the front number plate which helps with the Spanish appearance from the front. Guardia patrols are up and you see plenty of Brits and Russians pulled on the ap-7 , easy targets for a hefty fine mainly because they think they can use it as an autobahn. The patrols park in the central reservation areas preying.

el romeral

579 posts

98 months

Friday 5th May 2017
quotequote all
indigostr said:
OO51 & OO52 plates are cheap for retention. You also don't need the EuroGB flag on the front number plate which helps with the Spanish appearance from the front. Guardia patrols are up and you see plenty of Brits and Russians pulled on the ap-7 , easy targets for a hefty fine mainly because they think they can use it as an autobahn. The patrols park in the central reservation areas preying.
I like the idea of these number plates! Remember they do not use vowels in Spain.
Meant to mention on my earlier post that I have used Abbeygate insurance. They cover left or right hand drive and UK plates.

GT5S_1985

703 posts

217 months

Friday 5th May 2017
quotequote all
One more point of reference- I still have US plates on my motorcycle, and I've been using it now for a couple of years. I'm in the process of registering it in Spain, because sooner or later some alert policeman will remember that he's seen that plate before. I understand that you are allowed to drive with foreign plates for 6 months before you are technically required to register the car here.

I don't see how going to Gibraltar for a day will reset your clock - I'm not a lawyer but I seem the remember that the issue is how long you've been living in Spain, not how long the vehicle has been here non-stop.

The same goes for your driver's license. I nearly had my car impounded many years ago because I was still driving around with my US driver's license. If you follow the letter of the law, a foreign license is only valid for 6 months. This officer was going to write me a ticket for driving without a license since I'd been living in Spain for years at that point.

Sonofabeesting

589 posts

144 months

Thursday 18th May 2017
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el romeral said:
It used to be like that here in Spain but since the crisis, they have upped the patrols in order to get more money in.
I imported a UK LHD car 3 years ago and ran around with UK plates for many months before getting it onto Spanish plates. One thing I did was to buy a duplicate white front number plate (from e bay UK) and stuck it on the back of my car to get rid of the stand out yellow plate. Did help it blend in better.
The first registration fee (as I am sure you are aware) is dependant on the age, value when new and CO2 emmissions of the car, so amount to pay will vary greatly. There are tables you can look up. I paid €900 all in for a 2000 Boxster S. This included the plates, gestor fees, trafico fees, first ITV and the services of a very helpful Dutch chap who did all the leg work!

Edit: sorry, just read you are not planning on keeping the car here long term, so no need to register.

Edited by el romeral on Wednesday 3rd May 23:15
Can I ask how long it took for your car to be registered? I have just moved to Madrid and the price of second hand cars here are crazy. I have been thinking about importing a left hand drive car from the UK but the bureaucracy here is putting me off!

el romeral

579 posts

98 months

Sunday 21st May 2017
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Sonofabeesting said:
Can I ask how long it took for your car to be registered? I have just moved to Madrid and the price of second hand cars here are crazy. I have been thinking about importing a left hand drive car from the UK but the bureaucracy here is putting me off!
Just had a quick look back through old e mails and it looks like it took about 3 weeks all in. Normally it would not be too bad doing all the running around yourself but in my case, I was very glad I had an expert who knew the people he was dealing with and the system, as there were a couple of potential problems with my case, so probably it could be done more quickly:
I never noticed it (and clearly it was not picked up for the 11 years that my car lived in the UK) but the chassis number on the V5 was not correct. They had written a "5" instead of an "S", or vice versa and it therefore did not match the car. A sharp eyed paper pusher in Spain spotted it and everything ground to a halt. Fortunately my car was at my home by then or it would have been empounded at the ITV station and more or less treated like it was stolen! This meant I had to get a new export certificate from DVLC with the correct chassis number which I could prove from the Certificate of Conformity. Also on the V5 it stated the year as 2004 but the car is actually from 2000 but was taken to the UK for the first time in 2004. Fortunately this was resolved and the first registration tax wax calculated on a year 2000 car and not 2004 which saved a few quid.

Good luck if you do import. Prices are high in Spain and I estimate with the low purchase price of my car plus import costs etc, I would get back double what I paid in total.