Motoring Advice in Spain
What are the laws and what do you need to carry in Spain.
Driving in Spain but not sure what documents or items to carry? Check out our brief guide to the requirements for expats in English.
The ITV (Inspección técnica de vehículos) is equivalent to the UK MOT. All cars that are four years of age or over are required to pass the ITV. Once you have successfully passed the ITV you will get a coloured sticker that you should place at the top of your windscreen. For vehicles less than 10 years of age, you need to renew the ITV every 2 years. For vehicles 10 years of age or over, you need to renew the ITV every year.
You then have to keep the ITV Report – the Spanish MOT equivalent document – in the car with you at all times. Please note that ITV centres do not always remind you that your ITV is due for renewal and it’s your responsibility to make sure that you have a valid ITV for your vehicle.
Permiso de Circulación
This is the log book/vehicle registration document for the vehicle– this document shows the registration number of the car, who the owner is and any other relevant information.
Insurance Policy Document
You should also carry your insurance policy in your vehicle at all times. While the document is not strictly compulsory and Spanish police can now find online if your car is insured, if you have an accident, then you will need to know your policy number in order to complete the Accident Agreement form.
European Accident Agreement
The European Accident Agreement (in Spanish “parte de declaración amistosa de accidentes” or “Declaración Amistosa de Accidente de Automóvil”) is not compulsary but vital in the case of an accident.
Completing this form if you have an accident can greatly reduce the length of time that the compensation process takes, while also improving the legal protection of the parties involved in the accident. You should complete the details of the drivers, their insurance policy numbers and details of any witnesses. The form can be completed in English. It’s also a good idea to use your smartphone or camera to take several pictures of the accident to avoid any ‘misunderstandings’ later on and to show clearly the damage and positions of the vehicles.
If an agreement is reached about the cause of the accident, both parties can sign the form. If no agreement can be reached, you should call the Guardia Civil or the Local Police who will help to determine how the accident happened. A statement form without the signature of the parties involved has no legal validity and won’t be considered by insurance companies, making the compensation process much more difficult.
It is worth taking some time to familiarise yourself with this form before you have an accident.
A Valid Driving Licence
Visitors riding or driving in Spain must have reached the minimum age for residents of Spain, even if they are qualified to drive at a lower age in their country of residence. A foreign driving licence does not entitle the holder to drive a motor vehicle in Spain until the age of 18 years.
Remember that if you have been resident in Spain for more than two years you must renew your driving licence to a Spanish one. From 19th January 2013 EU citizens who have been officially resident in Spain for two years or more change their existing driving licenses. For those who became resident after this date, the driving licence must be renewed two years after becoming resident.
There is various contrary advice regarding driving licences and the validity of making people change their driving licences is being challenged in the European court. If your intention is to remain in Spain, we highly recommend that you exchange your licence. If you are from the UK, it is expected that there will be a high number of applications due to Brexit and so you should allow ample time for this change.
If you do not wish to carry original documents with you when you are driving, you must go to a public notary, who will make a photocopy from the originals and stamp the copies. This will allow you to only carry photocopies in your car.
Note: All documents must be originals and not photocopies. The only exception is when a copy has been stamped and certified by a Notary.
Other Compulsory Items
- Warning triangles x 2
- A fluorescent jacket for each person travelling in the car. These must be kept inside the car and not in the boot. Also, you can be fined for walking on the road or hard shoulder if you are not wearing one.
- Child seats. Children under 1.35 metres tall or under 12 years of age travelling on the front seat of a car must be seated in a child restraint system adapted to their size and weight are not permitted to sit in the front seat of any vehicle. Children measuring more than 135cm may use an adult seat belt. There is a fine of 200 Euros for failing to comply with this law.
- A spare tyre and the tools to change it. The fine for not having this in your vehicle is 80.00 Euros
- Fire extinguisher (small)
- Receipt for payment of Road Tax (IVTM) – You do not have to carry the annual road tax receipt you pay every year to your Town Hall, but it may be worth carrying it anyway. You should never be asked for this by a police officer.
- ID – For example your passport or NIE document.
- Spare pair of spectacles if you need them to drive.
- Spare bulbs and tools to change them. While this is no longer a legal requirement it certainly makes sense to still carry them.
- First aid kit
If your vehicle is not a Spanish plated car, you are also required to carry the following additional items
- A valid MOT certificate (if required)
- Your motor insurance documentation including any green card or European Certificate
Radar Detectors are Prohibited
Radar Detectors are to be banned under laws in Spain and anyone caught using them will face a 300 Euro fine and 3 points on their licence. The ownership, transport or use of a radar jammer is strictly prohibited.