Buy a Car in Spain
An expat is only permitted to purchase a car that is registered in Spain if they have either an official residency permit, proof that they own a home in Spain, documentation that shows that they are officially registered as resident in their town, proof that they are renting a property for a minimum of one year or an NIE number.
One of the easiest ways to purchase a car is through a dealership as the transfer of ownership will be handled by the dealer. In addition there are often bonus incentives to purchase from a dealer in the form of free insurance and a dealer will normally take the old vehicle in partexchange.
If you are purchasing a second-hand car it is important to ensure that the seller has the originals of all the relevant paperwork as you need to be sure that they have the right to sell it. The seller needs to provide documentation such as the registration document (permiso de circulacion) for the vehicle, the latest ITV test certificate, a receipt to show that the municipal vehicle tax has been paid and personal ID such as their taxation
The buyer and seller need to draw up an agreement of sale (contrato de compraventa), or alternatively the seller can issue an invoice for the agreed amount. Both of these should include the details of the vehicle, the names of both the buyer and the seller, the price that has been agreed and the date and time of the transfer of the vehicle. This ensures that if there are any outstanding fines or other payments on the car they are issued in the name of the right person. The buyer needs to have a transfer of ownership form (solicitud de transmission de vehiculos) and both the buyer and seller need to sign this. This form can be downloaded from the department of traffic website.
Each will keep a copy of this form. In some regions the authorities may request additional paperwork.
Most dealers and sellers will accept a bank cheque as a form of payment. A personal cheque has no guarantee, but a banker’s draft will be acceptable. If there is already insurance on the vehicle then it can be transferred at the time of the sale but the seller has the right to transfer this to their new car if they wish. The new owner will need to be sure that they have insurance in place before they begin to drive the vehicle. The paperwork needs to be sent to the ‘Jefatura de trafico’ and both the buyer and the seller need to do this. It can be done together or it can be done individually.
If you are unable to go to the local office yourself you can hire a ‘gestor’ to deal with this for you. The seller needs to notify this office that they are selling the car, go along with the registration document and his copy of the transfer of ownership form. The buyer needs to prove within 15 days of the sale that his paperwork has been completed. The seller also has the right to apply for deregistration papers for the car to ensure that the registration no longer has his details on it. The buyer needs to be sure that the car is registered in his name and
this should be done within 30 days of the sale of the car. There is a fee to be paid by the buyer of 4% of the value of the vehicle. He will need to provide a copy of the transfer of ownership form, a copy of the sale
agreement and a photocopy of the seller’s ID and all paperwork which has been provided by the seller. He will also need to show that he has the right to live in Spain, either in the form of residency documentation or property ownership information.
The Spanish government is encouraging the purchase of newer cars under a scheme known as Plan 2000E. This gives car buyers a cash incentive of up to €2000 to purchase a new car, for a car that is valued at €30,000 or less. In order to qualify, buyers need to be replacing a car that is at least 10 years old or have at least 250,000 km on the clock.
Direccion General de Trafico (Spanish Traffic Department)
Tel: + 34 902 508 686