Coronavirus - Using, Driving & Importing your Vehicle in Spain
Coronavirus is without doubt the greatest concern for almost everyone right now and has severely impacted our way of life here in Spain, across Europe and the rest of the world. Here's what you need to know regarding the implications of Coronavirus on the process of vehicle importation and registering your vehicle on to Spanish plates.
Already a Customer?
If you are a new or existing customer then in the first instance, please stay safe and we wish you and your family the very best throughout these difficult times. If you have questions regarding road tax, ITV's or anything else, please feel free to get in touch, but you may well find answers below to many of the common questions.
Driving your car
Travel Permitted only within Province
As at 11 May 2020, driving restrictions continue to be in force that prevent travel from province to province and the general public must only travel within their own individual healthcare zone.
Travel in a private vehicle is now permitted for any of the activities listed below, as long as it is in the same province (but see vehicle restrictions below).
In Car Rules
For people that live together, there are no restrictions on numbers of people of the same household travelling in the same car together as long as it is in the same province. However if the vehicle occupants do not live together then it is one person for each row of seats and the use of face masks is compulsory.
Extension for Phase 0
These regulations were also extended on Sunday, 10 May 2020 to municipalities which remain in Phase 0.
Journeys to second residences or hotels within the same province are permitted, but trips to other provinces will not be allowed until the end of June.
Spain’s de-escalation plan began on 4 May 2020 and is scheduled to last 8 weeks, until the end of June. From 11 May 2020 many regions of Spain will enter Phase 1 of the de-escalation plan of the state of alarm, with the exception of Madrid, Toledo, Ciudad Real Albacete, some areas of the Valencian Community, Barcelona, Girona, Malaga and Granada which remain in Phase 0. Additionally some areas of north west Spain will also stay in Phase 0.
Phase 1 - Key Points
Timetables were introduced at the beginning of May to allow different age groups of people to take walks and exercise. Individual regions have the authority to adapt their own timetables to take into account certain variables, such as hot weather.
Groups of up to 10 people can meet for social gatherings, either outside (at restaurant and bar terraces for example) or at someone’s home, but strict social distancing measures must be observed between people who do not already live together.
The wearing of face masks is compulsory on all public transport across all regions of Spain, irrespective of the current Phase.
Restaurants, Bars & Cafes
may open outside terraces with a maximum of 50% capacity. There are no travel restrictions in place to arrive at these venues, but social distancing and driving rules must of course be observed.
Hotels & Tourist Accomodation
Hotels and other tourist accomodation can open but any communal areas must remain closed.Sport - Non professional sport is allowed in which there is no physical contact and changing rooms must remain closed.
Walking in rural areas such as forests is allowed, but groups should be limited with social distancing measures for people that do not live together.
Outdoor, open air marktets are now allowed to operate, but stalls must be set out with suitable spacing in between them.
Outdoor cultural events are permitted for up to 200 people, whilst indoor is limited to a maximum of 30% of the venue’s capacity.
Museums may open but only to a maximum of 30% capacity.
Churches & Places of Worship
Religious venues may open but only to a maxium capacity of 30%
Funerals continue to take place but this is with a “limited number” of mourners.
If we have already imported your vehicle
If you're one of the many thousands of customers whose vehicle we've previously imported then you should have already received an email from us regarding the implications of Coronavirus on ITV tests, payment of road tax or SUMA and general driving information. If you haven't don't worry, as you will find all the information you need below.
Road Tax / SUMA
Annual Road Tax for passenger vehicles (or SUMA as it is known in some provinces) starts on 1 January and ends on 31 December every year, but you have to wait until your bill has been issued by your local town hall or SUMA office, before you can make payment. Normally, road tax bills are issued in Spring with voluntary payment due by early May. For this year it's 8 May 2020. However in light of the current crisis, this date has been extended until June, with further extension(s) very likely.
As part of the current restrictions due to Coronavirus, all ITV stations must remain closed by Royal Decree with no sign that this restriction will be lifted anytime soon. Consequently ITV expiry dates are not currently being enforced and there will inevitably be a grace period granted after the ITV stations reopen, to allow vehicle owners to bring their ITV up to date. It's worth bearing in mind that for vehicles up to 10 years old, the ITV test is due every 2 years whilst for vehicles over 10 years old it's an annual inspection/test, as it is in the UK.
Vehicle insurance is a legal requirement in Spain, whether or not your vehicle is being used, so even if it's parked on your drive or at an airport parking company (for example) it must be insured. Current fines for vehicles that aren't insured are around 1500 euros, so definitely best avoided. An expired ITV does not necessarily mean that your insurance is void, but your vehicle must be in a "roadworthy condition" as per your insurance policy.
If we are currently importing your vehicle
Due to the immediate closure of key government departments, it's inevitable that a number of our customers will have started the import process and are now waiting on final registration of their vehicle on to Spanish plates. Customers that find themselves in this situation can relax in the knowledge that as soon as restrictions are lifted, their vehicles are at the very front of the registration queue so their new registration will be issued forthwith.
If your UK MOT has expired or is running out
If you are going to use your car on Spanish roads then it will need to be both taxed and MOT'd in it's country of current registration. SORN is exactly the same as untaxed and will usually result in a fine and your vehicle being towed away if stopped by Spanish authorities. As you'd expect, your vehicle will also need to be insured.
Vehicle in Spain
If your vehicle is in Spain and has an expired MOT (or your it's about to expire), then it's possible for us to get you temporary import plates that will allow you to drive your vehicle on Spanish roads for up to 60 days, before and during the import process, irrespective of the UK tax and MOT status. It's possible to take out a Spanish insurance policy on green plates without additional cost once your vehicle is permanently registered. Please contact us if this is of interest.
Vehicle in UK
The UK government has said that it will extend all MOT's for passenger vehicles dated after 30 Mar 2020 by a period of 6 months. It's not yet clear exactly how this will be implemented in the UK, nor whether this will be taken into account if you bring your vehicle to Spain. Our advice would be that if your vehicle is in the UK but you are planning on bringing it to Spain then it's advisable to have it MOT'd in advance to ensure there are no gaps in cover.
Vehicle in another country
If you are planning on bringing a vehicle to Spain from a country other than the UK, then you will need to ensure that it has a valid MOT and is taxed in it's country of current registration. If this is not possible then you should contact us to arrange temporary import plates that will allow you drive your vehicle on Spanish roads for up to 60 days. You'll also be able to arrange Spanish insurance for the temporary import plates.
If your UK insurance is running out
If you have a UK registered, Spanish registered or other foreign registered vehicle and find that your insurance expiry date is fast approaching or has already passed, then do contact us for best advice. There are a number of options for all eventualities, including temporary insurance and temporary import plates that may help solve any issues you have.
UK / Foreign Registered Vehicle
If you have a UK registered vehicle that you've not yet registered on to Spanish plates and you find that your UK motor insurance has either run out or that the expiry date is fast approaching, then we may be able to help in finding you temporary cover whilst your vehicle is still on UK plates.
Spanish Registered Vehicle
If you are worried that you can't take your vehicle to have it's ITV test then please be assured that none of the main insurance companies will void your policy. Their criteria is that your vehicle is in a "roadworth condition" so you should of course ensure that this is the case. If you need a competitive quote for motor insurance please let us know.
Next steps for importing your vehicle on to Spanish Plates
If you are planning on importing your vehicle
Our advice here depends on whether you are located here in Spain or in the UK, whether someone has access to your vehicle (such as an airport parking company) and if located in Spain, whether you need to use your car on a daily basis, once restrictions are lifted.
You are located in Spain
Although current restrictions prevent the testing and registration of foreign vehicles on to Spanish plates, (by virtue of ITV stations and DGT being closed) there ARE some things that can be done to make a start on the import process. These include preparation of technical paperwork, collation and checking of personal ID documentation and booking of import slots for when restrictions are lifted. Please be aware that we are expecting the post lock down period to be extremely busy, so if you are planning on importing your vehicle we recommend that you get in touch with us as soon as possible.
You are located outside of Spain
If you are currently located outside of Spain but someone has access to your vehicle, then we should be able to proceed with import in your absence. Our drivers can collect your vehicle and documentation and we will be able to tailor an individual import plan to suit your specific timeline. We can securely store your vehicle at one of our indoor, alarmed units and will be able to conduct the import as soon as restrictions are lifted.
Read What Our Customers Have To Say About Us
See what our clients have had to say about their experience of using our company to import their foreign registered vehicle on to Spanish number plates. We work hard to ensure a friendly and fuss free experience and we hope that our hard work is reflected in the customer reviews that we receive.