F.A.Q.

Here is a selection of answers to questions that we are frequently asked. If you do not find your question answered here please email and we will be happy to try and assist you or provide you with relevant sites and/or people who can help you.

1. Do I require an NIE number to purchase a car?
2. Does a car need an MOT?
3. Do I have to pay road tax?
4. How do I transfer the car paperwork into my name?
5. What paperwork should I receive when I purchase a car?
6. How do I know if a car is free from debts?
7. How much will it cost me to put my car on European number plates?
8. How much is insurance and where do I go?
9. What happens if the police stop me?
10. Can I drive my UK registered car in the Canaries?
11. What must I legally carry in my car when driving?
12. What are the regulations in the Canaries regarding child passengers?
13. Do the same rules apply to pregnant women as in the UK?
14. Do I always have to wear my seat belt?
15. What are the speed limits on Spanish roads?
16. What are the alcohol limits in air and blood
17. What should I do in the event of the accident?
18. At what age can I obtain a driving licence in Spain?
19. What are the parking laws in Spain?
20. What happens if I do get towed away?
21. Fines or MULTAS
22. Are European licences valid in Spain?
23. How does the points system work?

1. Do I require an NIE number to purchase a car?
No, to purchase a second hand car in the Canaries you do not require an NIE number (although if you can obtain one prior to deciding on a car the paperwork can be completed much quicker). A transfer into your name cannot be completed until you have your NIE. When purchasing a car from a legal company, this company can issue you with the necessary papers to enable you to drive the car (normally valid for between 30 to 60 days and renewable until your NIE is available) whilst awaiting your NIE number. Please note that this ONLY applies when buying a secondhand car from a legal entity, this does not apply to new cars bought from Main Dealers.

2. Does a car need an MOT?
In Spain the MOT is called an ITV and the system is slightly different from the UK. A car will need its first ITV when it is 4 years old. A van or multi purpose vehicle (vehiculo mixto) i.e. models such as Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner etc, on the other hand would need to pass its first ITV when it is two years old. To establish if the car has passed its ITV look first at the age of the car, this date is found on the car documents, and if it is old enough the Ficha Technica (Commonly known as the Green Card similar to a UK Log Book) will be stamped by the ITV Station with the expiry date ie 20th June 2006. The car will have a sticker on the windscreen (similar to a Road Tax disc in the UK).

3. Do I have to pay road tax?
Yes you do. Road tax in Spain is called Impuestos de Rodaje and these are paid in the Ayuntamientos (Town Halls). The prices differ dependent on the town hall in which the car is registered (i.e. the address at which you reside) and on the size of the engine, but it is much cheaper than in the UK. The system is also different as you do not receive a tax disc, all you receive is your receipt. This receipt is important, as when selling a car and arranging the transfer of the paperwork you must produce a current year’s road tax receipt.

4. How do I transfer the car paperwork into my name?
If you are non Resident you will need an NIE number, a Certificado de Empadronamiento (Certificate from your local town hall with your full Spanish address) and your passport. If however you are Resident you would require your Residencia and Passport, (unless you have moved then you would need a Certificado de Empadronamiento). Normally you will be asked for the original of all these documents to enable a transfer to be made. As with most transactions in the Canaries there are lots of papers to be signed by the buyer but they also require signatures and other papers relating to the seller. These are for a Non Resident copy NIE and Passport and for a Resident copy of their Residencia and passport.
The transfer cost will vary from car to car as you are required to pay 4 % of the declared value to Hacienda (tax office). There are official values that are obtainable for each car and these values are set by the government based on value when new, age and engine size. A charge is also payable at the offices of Tráfico and of course payment to the Gestor or person who carries out the transfer.
NB Please note that the official Hacienda prices are lower than street value

5. What paperwork should I receive when I purchase a car?
A legal car in Spain has a Ficha Técnica (what is commonly known as a Green Card) and a Permiso de Circulación (what is commonly known as a White Card, however the new version is also green). Combined, these two documents are equivalent to a British logbook or V5. You must also make sure that you receive proof that the road tax has been paid as you cannot transfer the car without it having been paid.
The Ficha Técnica shows all the technical specifications of the vehicle and whether or not it has a current ITV (MOT see FAQ no. 2)

The Permiso de Circulación is issued by Tráfico (the Spanish equivalent of DVLA) and lists the current owner, the make, model and amount of people the car can seat. This is the cars “ permission “ to be driven and without this document a car should not be driven on the road.(see FAQ no. 21 – MULTAS)

click image to enlarge…


                            
 

                            
   

 


                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ficha Técnica (front)
 

Ficha Técnica (back)
   

  

Permiso de Circulación
(old version)

6. How do I know if a car is free from debts?
To know if a car is free form debts you would need to obtain an Informe (an information sheet) from Tráfico, a small fee is payable for this. The informe is only valid on the day of issue. However, with this, if there are any debts more information can be obtained and where necessary enquiries made to establish the true position.
In Spanish a debt is called an Embargo. Various Spanish Organizations can attach them to the car for various reasons, more often than not for Seguridad Social (Social Security) or Hacienda (Tax Office) for unpaid taxes or social payments. The Embargo will not necessarily have anything in connection with the car nor sometimes the current owner! But they are put against the car and as the process often is lengthy the car can have changed hands before the Embargo is registered.

7. How much will it cost me to put my car on European number plates?
Contrary to what many might think any car can be transferred on to European plates (in Spain), although the car may have to be Homologated or a Certificate obtained (often costing in excess of 1200 € just for this part of the process). This can be a very lengthy and costly process partially due to the fact that you must pay a percentage of the official value to the Hacienda (Tax office), and this cannot be reduced. In addition to these costs there are potentially other costs if, for example, there are changes required to the car such as lights, indicators and emissions etc.

8. How much is insurance and where do I go?
To be legally insured in Spain you need to carry not only the policy document but also the proof of payment from the bank, if you have paid it through the bank, or the receipt if you have gone to an agent. There are a wide range of insurance companies and agents on the island, including ourselves. We would recommend that you insure your car fully comprehensive as this normally includes free unlimited breakdown recovery, glass cover including windscreen and legal defence insurance. The difference in price between third party and fully comprehensive is normally negligible. You will find some companies here whose names you recognise from the UK. Prices can vary but in general are slightly higher than UK prices. You can use your NCB you accumulated in the UK so get a letter from your UK Insurer to prove this.

9. What happens if the police stop me?
If you do get stopped by the police and are unfortunate enough to be fined for any offence, you should receive from the Police a Denuncia (a small A5 sized form) that details the offence, time date etc, your name and address and the amount of the fine. In the past these fines have been payable at the offices of Tráfico or at the Correros (post office). Recently however this has changed and you can no longer pay the fines at Trafico only at the Post Office or a branch of the Bank of Santander. However the forms being used still show the former situation so beware. Normally if the fine is paid within a set time a reduction applies and this is shown on the reverse of the form. Please note that this would normally only apply to Residents of the Canary Islands (i.e., those who hold a Spanish Residencia) and those not Resident can be asked to pay the fine “on the spot”.

10. Can I drive my UK registered car in the Canaries?
Yes, you can drive your UK registered car here in the Canaries but the car must be properly insured and have the new style log book which comes in many languages. The car must also have a roadworthiness certificate. Please note driving a foreign registered car in the Canaries, Spain or any other countries is, to say the least, a grey area and for peace of mind we wouldn’t encourage this as there are so many conflicting theories and information obtained from one person in the Trafico Offices often differs from the next!

11. What must I legally carry in my car when driving?
When driving in the Canaries you must carry in the car at all times the following:
• Permiso de Circulación (White Card) (DO NOT LEAVE THESE IN THE GLOVE BOX)
• Ficha Técnica (Green Card)
• Insurance policy and the factura (receipt) or proof of payment from the bank
• Drivers licence
• Passport or Residencia
• If you wear glasses for driving you also need to carry a spare pair
• Two warning triangles
• Two reflective jackets (accessible from inside the car)
• A complete replacement bulb kit
• A fire extinguisher
• First Aid kit
• We also advise that you carry a torch
• We remind you that to use ear mountable hands free phone kits is illegal in the Canaries and Spain. The fines are very heavy so it’s not worth the risk.

12. What are the regulations in the Canaries regarding child passengers?
The law regarding child passengers was introduced in June of 2004.
Babies weighing up to 13 kilos (approximately 28 pounds 6 ounces):
Must be carried in backward facing baby carry cot/seat that can be secured safely in the front seat with the seat belt. Remember that the air bag must be turned off otherwise it could cause severe injury to a baby in the event of an accident. They can also be situated in the rear of the car securely fastened with the seat belt.
Babies and young children who weigh between 9 and 18 kilos (approximately 19 pounds 8 ounces and between 39 pounds 6 ounces):
Must sit in baby seats but these can be located either in the front or back of the car and again securely fastened with the seat belt.
Young children and under 12’s under 1.5 meters in height must be sat in booster seats in both the front and the back; this is to ensure that they can use the seat belt properly.
All of the seats that are mentioned above must be homologated and properly secured in the car. If the driver fails to comply with these regulations a fine between 90 and 300 euros would apply.

13. Do the same rules apply to pregnant women as in the UK?
Yes they do, a pregnant woman does not have to wear a seat belt as long as she has a medical certificate stating her condition and with the approximate date that the baby is expected. Tráfico do advise however that no matter what their condition, pregnant women should still wear a seat belt.

14. Do I always have to wear my seat belt?
Yes seat belts are obligatory on all roads and a fine of between 90 € and 300 € could occur. So belt up!

15. What are the speed limits on Spanish roads?
It differs depending on which vehicle you are driving, but for cars and motorbikes they are as follow:
Motorways – the limit is 120 km/h
Secondary Roads (with a hard shoulder of over 1.50 meters or more than one lane in the same direction) – the limit is 100 km/h.
Other Secondary roads – the limit is 90 km/h.
When approaching a city or town and when driving through it – the limit is 50 km/h (unless otherwise stated, often this is 40 km/h).

16. What are the alcohol limits in air and blood?
The limits are as follows:
Any driver of any vehicle including a bicycle cannot drive with more than 0.25 mg/l of alcohol in air and 0.5 g/l in blood.
There are also different limits –
If you are driving a vehicle that transports produce with a maximum weigh of 3.500 kg
Driving a public transport vehicle with more than 9 seats
Driving whilst carrying hazardous produce
Driving an emergency vehicle
New drivers who have recently obtained their licence and for the first two years from then. (New drivers are identified by Green L plates displayed in the rear, these people have passed their test)
These limits are not to exceed 0.15 mg/l in air or 0.3 g/l in blood.

17. What should I do in the event of the accident?
You should stay calm and we advise that you ring the police on 062. When you speak to the police, they normally put you through to an English-speaking operator who will ask you a series of questions. One of the questions is the road number, this can be located on the small signs that are by the side of the road, on the motorway you will have to give details from the kilometre signs or from the nearest exit or entrance and direction i.e. north or south. You should then proceed to fill in the accident claim form (see image below) that is in with your insurance policy. You should do this in the presence of the police if possible. If the other party fills in the form in Spanish and you don’t understand, you should always write the following statement in English, under Observations at the bottom of the form,“ I do not understand what has been written by the other party ”.

You should then contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

Our advice would be to always carry a disposable camera in the vehicle, so that you can take a picture of the accident, as they say, “a camera never lies”.

click image to enlarge

18. At what age can I obtain a driving licence in Spain?
In Spain you cannot obtain a driving licence until you are 18 years of age. The test is similar to the UK in so much as you have a theory and practical exam.

19. What are the parking laws in Spain?
Please beware that in Spain you CANNOT park on a SINGLE or DOUBLE yellow line; unless there is sign that states otherwise.
Parking on the yellow criss-cross boxes is also prohibited. As is parking in a taxi rank, bus stop, zone reserved for loading and unloading (unless outside of the designated hours), zebra crossings, on pavements or walkways, on roundabouts, on motorways and slip roads, this list is not exhaustive so please park carefully!
If you park in between blue lines please beware that it is pay and display (although of late there are often no machines at which to pay in many areas)
If you see a VADO PERMANENTE sign (see below) do not park, as you will be towed away! All of the above are subject to the points system.

vado_permanete

20. What happens if I do get towed away?
If you get towed away you need to go the police compound nearest to where you parked your car, i.e. if you parked in Los Cristianos there is a compound there. You will then be asked to produce the paperwork (for this you must be the registered owner or take the owner with you). If you normally leave the paperwork in the car you would then have to ask permission to go to the car to get them, not always an easy task! You will have to pay a fine, and the cost of the Grua (Recovery Truck). There is also a daily storage cost as well, so beware!

21. Fines or MULTAS
As in all countries there are fines payable for most traffic offences. It is impossible to state here the amounts and types but drivers of cars abroad should exercise caution when driving, adhere to the road signs and conditions and speed limits.
In general the same rules apply in most European Countries (although often somewhat modified to that particular country) as they do in the UK regarding speeding, seat belts, mobile phones etc.

22. Are European licences valid in Spain?
Following changes in legislation a European licence is only valid if in-scripted in the offices of Tráfico.

23. How does the points system work?
See Points system.


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