From 1 July 1996, drivers from EU countries can drive with their original licence as long as it is valid and has not expired. However, the country of residence may apply its own national conditions in relation to validity period, medical check-ups and taxes, and can record on the licence any other information that is required for administrative purposes.
The minimum age limits required to obtain a driving licence in Spain are as follow:
16 years of age for class A1 licences.
18 years of age for:
– Class A licences.
– Class B and B+E licences.
– Class C1, C1+E, C and C+E licences.
21 years of age for Class D1, D1+E, D and D+E licences.
In addition, you must:
– Have official residency, a residency permit or electoral register certificate in Spain. Students must demonstrate residency for a minimum continuous period of 6 months in Spain, and must also comply with the minimum age requirements.
– Not have had your right to drive motor vehicles or motorcycles revoked by legal resolution.
– Not have had your driving licence suspended.
– Possess the psychological and physical skills required in relation to the type of licence applied for.
– Have passed the theory and practical tests, as declared by the Provincial or Local Traffic Headquarters, in relation to the type of licence applied for.
Exchanging Driving Licences issued in countries of the European Union or the European Economic Area
The documentation required in order to exchange the abovementioned driving licences is as follows:
– Official application form provided by the Provincial Traffic Headquarters where you wish to obtain the licence.
– Photocopy of your valid National Identity Card, Passport or Foreigner’s Identity Card (N.I.E.) which accredits your official residency or status as a student in Spain for the minimum period required, along with the original documents, which will be returned once checked.
– Two recent 32 x 25 mm photographs.
– Written declaration that you have not had your right to drive motor vehicles or motorcycles revoked by legal resolution or had your driving licence suspended.
– Written declaration that you do not hold any other type of driving licence, issued in Spain or another community country, of the same class as the one applied for. – The licence you wish to exchange, copy or photocopy.
This process will be handled by the Local or Provincial Traffic Headquarters.
In general, in order to be able to use a vehicle in the country where your main residence is established, you must register the vehicle with the normal registration number plates of that country. When your main residence is in an EU country, and you wish to have permanent use of a vehicle in Spain, this vehicle must be registered. The vehicle must be registered in the EU country in which it is used permanently.
From here you can travel temporarily with your car through any other EU country without paying registration taxes. If you wish to transfer a vehicle definitively to another EU country, it must be registered again (with normal registration number plates) in the destination country.
If the transfer of the vehicle coincides with your change of permanent residence, you are not obliged to pay the registration of motor vehicle taxes in the EU country of your new residence, if and only if the vehicle has already been used in the country of origin (EU country of your former permanent residence) for a minimum of six months.
From the moment that, as a resident, you use your vehicle in Spain, the only taxes to be paid are: those related to the vehicle, known generally as vehicle or traffic taxes, which are paid periodically (monthly or yearly).
In certain EU countries, registration rights must be paid (which must not be confused with vehicle registration taxes). Temporary use of the vehicle The vehicle cannot be sold, hired or lent out when it is used temporarily in another country, and conversely, a vehicle carrying foreign plates in the country of residence cannot be bought, hired or borrowed (nor driven).
Your vehicle is exempt from taxes if it is used temporarily (for a period of time, continuous or not, under 6 months a year), in an EU country other than the one in which you live. This restriction regarding temporary use duration does not apply to cross-border workers.
Students or participants in a transnational voluntary activity can use a vehicle with the registration number plates of the individual’s main country of residence, if use is temporary, and they will be exempt from taxes for the entire duration of the studies or voluntary transnational activity.
Temporary use also applies to those who, without changing their main residence, reside temporarily in another country and take their car, for a period over six months. The EU country of temporary residence can impose the payment of certain taxes, once the six months covered by full exemption have passed. Taxes are updated annually.
ITV (Spanish Technical Vehicle Inspection)
Vehicles registered in Spain must undergo a periodic inspection in order to check the vehicle’s general condition and its safety features. The ITV (Spanish MOT test) is carried out in authorised garages, and the frequency depends on the age of the vehicle.
Vehicles with foreign registration number plates can undergo voluntary inspections, but the vehicle documentation is not stamped (this will be done in the country of origin). If the insurance is processed in Spain, the vehicle’s original documentation will be required along with the summary of the vehicle’s Technical Record, which can be obtained at authorised ITV garages.
Alicante Traffic Headquarters
C/ Ferré Vidiella, 4 esquina S. Juan Bosco, 12 – 03071 Alicante
Telf: 965 12 54 66 / Fax: 965 92 57 59
Open from Mondays to Thursday, 8:30am to 4:30pm. Fridays from 8:30am to 1:00pm.