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Selling a UK Car in Spain

- Updated: 26/11/2014
Selling a UK Car in Spain

When moving to Spain a lot of people quite naturally weigh up the pros and cons of bringing the car that they had in the UK over with them. Sometimes the obvious thing to do is to stay away from the additional expense of buying a new Spanish car when you already have a perfectly good English car that you can also use to transport some of your things over with.

This can be a good decision if you are uncertain about your stay in Spain, however, you may come to question the sense in this decision when you have been in the country for six months, and intend to remain here.

The law states that at this point you are required to legally import your UK car and this involves a procedure with the ‘Jefatura del Trafico’ that can cost you as much as 1,000 Euros when you have included Gestor fees, Import taxes and any new headlamps that may be required.

Your choices at this point are three :

1) You comply with the law and go through with Legally importing your car

2) You take your car back to the UK to ret to sell it.

3) You do nothing at all and take your chances with the authorities.

4) You try to sell your UK vehicle in Spain and buy a Spanish vehicle.

The first three options speak for themselves, so we will discuss the fourth option...

Your car has been in Spain for over six months you may or may not have declared it as being exported from the UK. Likewise you may or may not have declared it as being ‘SORN’ with the DVLA in the UK.

NOT having a valid UK tax disc on a UK Car in Spain may seem unimportant, however, the DVLA in the UK have wised up to the fact that this means that a car is being driven on a road in the EU without paying road taxes in either the UK or Spain. As such they have regular patrols in major Cities and Coastal resorts that check UK cars for tax. Those that are not showing any valid tax disc are fined, in some cases confiscated, and reported to the Spanish authorities to force the legal importation of the vehicle.

If you should choose to sell your car here in Spain then you should do the following :

On leaving the UK you ‘should have’ notified the DVLA of the permanent export of the vehicle ( The purple part of the V5 document – part V5C/4 ) - If you haven’t done this then just fill in the V5 as you would in the UK (make sure that the new owner gives you a UK address to register it to) - take responsibility yourself for ensuring that this gets sent to DVLA in the UK.

To ensure no comeback to yourself you should also keep a photocopy of the completed document

Diarise to contact DVLA after around 7 – 10 Days to check with them that their records indicate that the vehicle is no longer your responsibility.

If you have been unable to find a buyer for your car in Spain and are unwilling or unable to make the journey back to the UK to sell it then you may need to take the extreme decision to Scrap your UK vehicle in Spain

Comment on this Article

Can you clarify the situation regarding the sale of a RHD vehicle that has been transferred to Spanish Plates. Who is allowed to buy and drive such a vehicle?
Mike - Mon 16th Jul 2018
Re your comment above - " On leaving the UK you ‘should have’ notified the DVLA of the permanent export of the vehicle.....- If you haven’t done this then just fill in the V5 as you would in the UK (make sure that the new owner gives you a UK address to register it to) If the new owner has a UK address to register it to then technically, it hasn't been exported. Regards
Bob - Fri 29th May 2015
Gayle, As with selling a vehicle in the UK, the first and most important thing that you need to do is inform DVLA that the vehicle is no longer in your possession or your responsibility. You should do this by completing your V5(c) and posting it back to DVLA Swansea. You should also give the buyer the completed V5(c) Section 2. It is then HIS responsibility to register ownership of the vehicle, but you have legally fulfilled YOUR obligations. - It would also be a good idea to keep photocopies of the completed V5(c) for your records and peace of mind.
Tumbit - Admin - Sun 17th Oct 2010
hi, I am selling my car to a Bulgarian couple. they do not have a UK address. what does that mean for me??
Gayle Selby - Sun 17th Oct 2010
Unfortunately no: 4 is illegal ! It is illegal to sell, part-exchange or 'gift' a foreign reg. vehicle. Also illegal is scrapping it. Spanish law only allows for it to be taken back from whence it came if it is not matriculated on to Spanish plates. It doesn't happen much but is the law.
Gus-lpoez - Sat 15th May 2010
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