Import rules and regulations on Japanese used vehicles in Spain

With every passing day; the popularity of Japanese used vehicles is increasing. Japanese vehicles are famous for their reliability, comfort and durability. Almost every country in the world import used vehicle from Japan. Likewise, most cars in Spain are imported from Japan only. Spain is a country located in southwestern Europe. Large number of second hand cars can be seen on the roads of Spain. The procedure for importing and registering a used vehicle from non-EU in Spain is not very difficult. Importers just have to be well aware of all import rules and regulations on Japanese used vehicles imported in Spain. Importation of left hand drive vehicles is permitted in Spain.


After the vehicle enters into Spain, the importer must take the vehicle to the local traffic department that will issue a temporary registration (green) plates. These plates are valid for limited period of days, generally 10 days. During this period, the owner must drive the vehicle to the nearest testing station for an inspección técnica de vehículos (ITV) test. One should pass the test in order to receive permanent registration number. In case of classic cars, there is a special test required as well as a certificate of authenticity to be issued by the regional authorities (comunidad autonoma).

Documents required for port clearance:-

  • Original Certificate of Title and Registration
  • Original Commercial/Purchase Invoice
  • Copy of Passport
  • Identification Card “Documento Nacional de Identidad”
  • Drivers License & International Insurance Policy (green card)
  • Liability Insurance – current policy at origin
  • Valid plates

Additional documents for permanent import:-

  • Change of Residence Certificate – for returning Spanish nationals
  • Residence Permit – for foreigners
  • Certificate of CIF value of vehicle in Spain

Roadworthiness inspection:-

It is important for the vehicle to pass the Spanish ITV test before it can be registered in Spain. If a vehicle fails the test, necessary repairs must be done on the vehicle within two months of the test. If the vehicle is not tested again during the two month period, then the vehicle may get deregistered.

Taxes and Duties:-

  • VAT: 16% on cars imported from outside the EU.
  • Registration Tax:
    • Petrol engine vehicles with capacity over 1,600 cc, four-wheel drive vehicles and diesel engine vehicles over 2,000 cc- 12%.
    • Vehicles with smaller engines-7%.

Residents coming to live in Spain permanently and have owned the vehicle for minimum period of six months and have previously paid VAT are exempted from duties. Application for exemption must be made within the month of the date of issue of residence permit. Used vehicle importer should present a certificate of non-residence from their previous country.

  • Import Duty: 10% on vehicles imported outside the EU, unless the importer is a resident.

Vehicle registration in Spain:-

Once the vehicle passes the customs, it should get registered at the nearest provisional traffic department (Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico), which will first issue you a temporary license plate. For vehicle registration, following documents are required-

  • Original and copy of passport.
  • Residence proof plus original NIE number certificate.
  • Original vehicle registration and proof of ownership.
  • Proof of Spanish motor vehicle liability insurance (seguro de vehículos).
  • Proof of payment of road tax (Impuesto sobre Vehículos de Tracción Mecánica).
  • Proof of technical vehicle inspection.
  • EC certificate of conformity or homologación.

The major shipping ports in Spain are Port of Barcelona, Port of Las Palmas, Port of Pasajes, Port of Santander, and Port of Vigo. Generally RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) shipping method is used for vehicle shipment. However on request of customers, more expensive yet safe way container method is used.


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