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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok there are numerous threads on here about cars and I have read pretty much all of them over the last year or so. However, I don't believe this question has ever been answered with any authority!

As this now reflects my situation and being a person that always does things correct and legally, I need the authoritative answer.

I have pushed an email query off to these guys EUROPA - European Union website, the official EU website so we will see what happens, but has anyone here made progress with this issue.

So keeping the answers and thread on track (!!!!) The exact scenario is a UK resident on an extended 5 month holiday in Spain with his UK registered (and legal of course) car.

Under EU law all is ok..

But as has been mentioned before here and from the FCO

"All EU nationals planning to stay in Spain for more than three months must register in person at the nearest Office for Foreigners. You will be given a certificate stating your name, address, nationality, identity number and date of registration. This confirms you have registered as a resident."

And of course as a resident not allowed to drive a foreign registered car.

Don't register on the padron (which I am not going to do as I am tourist!!!) and that is also against the law and subject to a fine!

So where do we stand

Looking forward to the replies!
 

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Ok there are numerous threads on here about cars and I have read pretty much all of them over the last year or so. However, I don't believe this question has ever been answered with any authority!

As this now reflects my situation and being a person that always does things correct and legally, I need the authoritative answer.

I have pushed an email query off to these guys EUROPA - European Union website, the official EU website so we will see what happens, but has anyone here made progress with this issue.

So keeping the answers and thread on track (!!!!) The exact scenario is a UK resident on an extended 5 month holiday in Spain with his UK registered (and legal of course) car.

Under EU law all is ok..

But as has been mentioned before here and from the FCO

"All EU nationals planning to stay in Spain for more than three months must register in person at the nearest Office for Foreigners. You will be given a certificate stating your name, address, nationality, identity number and date of registration. This confirms you have registered as a resident."

And of course as a resident not allowed to drive a foreign registered car.

Don't register on the padron (which I am not going to do as I am tourist!!!) and that is also against the law and subject to a fine!

So where do we stand

Looking forward to the replies!
it would be great to get a definitive answer on this - I would hazard a guess that genuine visitors of more than 90 days who aren't actually planning to live here simply don't register as residents

heck - I know people who have been living here for years who aren't registered :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
it would be great to get a definitive answer on this - I would hazard a guess that genuine visitors of more than 90 days who aren't actually planning to live here simply don't register as residents

heck - I know people who have been living here for years who aren't registered :mad:
But the issue is that I then get stopped by the Guardia Civil, they ask all my details and when they discover I have been in the country 5 months and I am not resident they fine me for failure to register. Then they confiscate my car as I am not entitled to drive it as I should be a resident.

As a driver you are a large target for a nice fine, I want to be (and will be) legal and have a stress free holiday knowing that when (not if) I am stopped they can't extract large sums of money from me.
 

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But the issue is that I then get stopped by the Guardia Civil, they ask all my details and when they discover I have been in the country 5 months and I am not resident they fine me for failure to register. Then they confiscate my car as I am not entitled to drive it as I should be a resident.

As a driver you are a large target for a nice fine, I want to be (and will be) legal and have a stress free holiday knowing that when (not if) I am stopped they can't extract large sums of money from me.
how would they know how long you've been here?


& you're really not that likely to be stopped unless you beark a law
 

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But the issue is that I then get stopped by the Guardia Civil, they ask all my details and when they discover I have been in the country 5 months and I am not resident they fine me for failure to register. Then they confiscate my car as I am not entitled to drive it as I should be a resident.

As a driver you are a large target for a nice fine, I want to be (and will) legal and have a stress free holiday knowing that when (not if) I am stopped they can't extract large sums of money from me.
Aah yes, there's the problem with laws written by people who assume everyone conforms to their regimented thinking & working patterns. It doesn't occur to the half-wits that there are many people , running into 10's of thousands , who don't fit into these ' laws' they've drawn up .
You're quite right, Under the 'law' they could fine & seize but they probably wouldn't , If you find yourself close to the Portugese ; French or andorran borders, pop over for the day. The residency rules are cumulative & the clock starts again if you leave the country. Just remember to buy something with the credit card.
Contact the dvla & ask the question ( by e-mail ) they'll get their ' specialist question ' department on to it & normally reply in2/3 days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
how would they know how long you've been here?


& you're really not that likely to be stopped unless you beark a law

You are asked to prove when you entered the country to show that you are entitled to drive a UK registered car.

I have been stopped 3 times by the Guardia Civil, all random stops no law being broken, in maybe the last 5 years whilst on holiday. So 3 stops in about 20 weeks of Spanish motoring. Each time the car has been a Spanish hire car and after ascertaining I was not drunk or illegal I was allowed on my way.

In a UK registered car I expect more questioning.

Anyway that's not the point. I am a individual that follows the prescribed rules. We seem to have a contradiction between EU law and a Spanish requirement. I want to know whether I can legally drive my car in Spain for 5 months
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Edited to add.

My wife is Spanish and will also be driving the car, sometimes alone.

I am sure when they stop a UK registered car with a Spanish national (her driving licence is a UK one though) they are not going to wave her on!
 

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You are asked to prove when you entered the country to show that you are entitled to drive a UK registered car.
But as an EU citizen, you are very unlikely to have your passport stamped or receive any official notification that you have arrived in Spain.
I suppose, in theory, you could keep your ferry tickets, or a toll road receipt or something, to prove the date you entered Spain, but there is nothing which says you have to do this.

You say that your wife, as a Spanish national, may present a problem. But as she has legally applied for and received a UK licence (which, I take it, is a photo licence), under EU rulings, she is entitled to use that licence until it runs out.
And the fact that she has a UK driving licence could probably be seen as indication that she actually lives in the UK and would be on holiday here.
But I agree, it is a grey area.
 

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But as an EU citizen, you are very unlikely to have your passport stamped or receive any official notification that you have arrived in Spain.
I suppose, in theory, you could keep your ferry tickets, or a toll road receipt or something, to prove the date you entered Spain, but there is nothing which says you have to do this.
Interestingly I was with a driver of a UK car a while ago - they'd just arrived and were taking stuff back and forth from the UK to Spain in their UK vehicle. We were stopped by the guardia, who insisted on seeing their ferry tickets and all/any proof that they'd only just arrived. They even wanted to see my NIE/residencia etc and I was only a passenger!!!!!!!!

Jo xxx
 

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But as an EU citizen, you are very unlikely to have your passport stamped or receive any official notification that you have arrived in Spain.
I suppose, in theory, you could keep your ferry tickets, or a toll road receipt or something, to prove the date you entered Spain, but there is nothing which says you have to do this.

You say that your wife, as a Spanish national, may present a problem. But as she has legally applied for and received a UK licence (which, I take it, is a photo licence), under EU rulings, she is entitled to use that licence until it runs out.
And the fact that she has a UK driving licence could probably be seen as indication that she actually lives in the UK and would be on holiday here.
But I agree, it is a grey area.
BUT, I think you can ask (or demand!) that it be stamped in order to prove when you arrived in the country.
 

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But as an EU citizen, you are very unlikely to have your passport stamped or receive any official notification that you have arrived in Spain.
I suppose, in theory, you could keep your ferry tickets, or a toll road receipt or something, to prove the date you entered Spain, but there is nothing which says you have to do this.

You say that your wife, as a Spanish national, may present a problem. But as she has legally applied for and received a UK licence (which, I take it, is a photo licence), under EU rulings, she is entitled to use that licence until it runs out.
And the fact that she has a UK driving licence could probably be seen as indication that she actually lives in the UK and would be on holiday here.
But I agree, it is a grey area.
It doesnt really matter how difficult we think it is ....... the bottom line is that the onus is on the diver to prove it, not the Guardia. So we can complain all we want and say we dont have the proof, but until you satisfy the guardia you wont be getting your car back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK googling I found this response from EUROPA - European Union website, the official EU website

The response is in relation to a question another EU citizen posed to them, his situation is not the same as mine, it's far more complicated, although the answer is applicable.

I will post my response when I receive it, but in the meantime here's the EU stance.

Your normal residence is the UK by virtue of Article 7 paragraph 2 and your car should therefore be registered in the UK. Accordingly, European Union (EU) vehicles that are circulating temporarily within or between community Member States are allowed, under EC Directive 83/182, to be used on public roads without the need to register or pay certain duties in the host country. If at any time you should be stopped by the Spanish police, you are liable to establish that you are eligible to use the vehicle in Spain without registering and licensing it there. EC Directive 83/182 provides for the free movement of EU citizens across borders throughout the EU, and accordingly, Spain is not able to impose restrictions that might interfere with such freedom of movement. Therefore,and in the light of the above, you do not have to register your car or pay any taxes in Spain- it will remain registered in the UK which is your state of residence. And Spain is not able to impose any restrictions that might interfere with your freedom to move or circulate between the UK and Spain


Now this is my interpretation:-

The EU directive makes no mention of time periods, durations etc, the directive is quite clear.

If you are a citizen of a member state then you are free to use your car in any other member state without having to register your car or pay any taxes in the host state.

It is as simple as that!

Where time periods, durations etc have confused the issue, is because your normal state of residence is determined by how long you spend in a country, personal ties to a country, where you work etc. But determination of normal state of residency is enshrined in Article 7 of Directive 83/182/EC. And of course all member states use this article which (keeping things simple) generally implies if you spend more than 185 days in a country it's considered your normal state of residence.

Registering after 90 days in Spain may be useful for Spain's internal politics but it can't override Article 7 of Directive 83/182/EC which sets out precise rules for determining normal residence. In addition Article 7 makes it illegal to have 2 places of habitual residence at the same time.

So as I see it the requirement to register after 90 days has no weight under EU law.

Anyway I shall see what response I get as I have specifically mentioned the Spanish requirement to register as a resident even though I am tourist on holiday in my question to the EU.

Hope it's clearer now:confused2:
 

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OK googling I found this response from EUROPA - European Union website, the official EU website

The response is in relation to a question another EU citizen posed to them, his situation is not the same as mine, it's far more complicated, although the answer is applicable.

I will post my response when I receive it, but in the meantime here's the EU stance.

Your normal residence is the UK by virtue of Article 7 paragraph 2 and your car should therefore be registered in the UK. Accordingly, European Union (EU) vehicles that are circulating temporarily within or between community Member States are allowed, under EC Directive 83/182, to be used on public roads without the need to register or pay certain duties in the host country. If at any time you should be stopped by the Spanish police, you are liable to establish that you are eligible to use the vehicle in Spain without registering and licensing it there. EC Directive 83/182 provides for the free movement of EU citizens across borders throughout the EU, and accordingly, Spain is not able to impose restrictions that might interfere with such freedom of movement. Therefore,and in the light of the above, you do not have to register your car or pay any taxes in Spain- it will remain registered in the UK which is your state of residence. And Spain is not able to impose any restrictions that might interfere with your freedom to move or circulate between the UK and Spain


Now this is my interpretation:-

The EU directive makes no mention of time periods, durations etc, the directive is quite clear.

If you are a citizen of a member state then you are free to use your car in any other member state without having to register your car or pay any taxes in the host state.

It is as simple as that!

Where time periods, durations etc have confused the issue, is because your normal state of residence is determined by how long you spend in a country, personal ties to a country, where you work etc. But determination of normal state of residency is enshrined in Article 7 of Directive 83/182/EC. And of course all member states use this article which (keeping things simple) generally implies if you spend more than 185 days in a country it's considered your normal state of residence.

Registering after 90 days in Spain may be useful for Spain's internal politics but it can't override Article 7 of Directive 83/182/EC which sets out precise rules for determining normal residence. In addition Article 7 makes it illegal to have 2 places of habitual residence at the same time.

So as I see it the requirement to register after 90 days has no weight under EU law.

Anyway I shall see what response I get as I have specifically mentioned the Spanish requirement to register as a resident even though I am tourist on holiday in my question to the EU.

Hope it's clearer now:confused2:
Yep, I think it's clearer now, but as Stravinsky pointed out, and as explained in the above, it's up to you to prove that you're not breaking the law rather than the guardia civil proving that you've broken it. So, you'll need some kind of document inSpanish to carry on you and a letter of explanation, 'cos the GC might not be familiar with Article 7 paragraph 2 (of which document??) and/ or EC Directive 83/182,
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There's an FAQ section on that EU website.

This is one of the questions:-

I'm a Polish student, enrolled on a 2-year Master's course in the UK. Do I have to register my car there?
NO — If the sole purpose of your stay is to study


It all ties in to the fact above that there is no time limit on how long you can drive a UK registered car in another member state. The only requirement is that you are correctly registered as resident in your home state and hence a visitor (and also hence non resident) in the host state.

So likewise you could be legally resident in the UK but on a 2 years Master's Course in Spain, with your UK plated car.

How would you ever explain that to the Guardia Civil !!!!!!!!!
 

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Yep, I think it's clearer now, but as Stravinsky pointed out, and as explained in the above, it's up to you to prove that you're not breaking the law rather than the guardia civil proving that you've broken it. So, you'll need some kind of document inSpanish to carry on you and a letter of explanation, 'cos the GC might not be familiar with Article 7 paragraph 2 (of which document??) and/ or EC Directive 83/182,
And they probably wont take any notice of it anyway. Up until a few years ago there were still Guardia that thought the UK licence was not acceptable in Spain. Now, there are still those that think it has to be approved by being stamped by Traffico, which it neednt.

Shall I start on LRAU and how that has been outlawed by the EU, yet it still takes place? :)
 

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It doesnt really matter how difficult we think it is ....... the bottom line is that the onus is on the diver to prove it, not the Guardia. So we can complain all we want and say we dont have the proof, but until you satisfy the guardia you wont be getting your car back.
What I was hinting at is, if jp1 wants to stay here for 5 months as a visitor, rather than signing on the foreign citizens register after 3 months (which in his case would an unnecessary cost), then a ferry ticket with his arrival date wouldn't be much good to him anyway, even though he would be following the letter of the EU law, which states he can drive a UK registered car here for up to 185 days.
Same goes for his wife, only, to the guardia, she may be more at risk of having the car impounded because she is a Spanish national.

The only way to provide proof which the guardia may accept, would be perhaps, to forget about keeping the ferry ticket, and stay at two or more different addresses over that time and showing his current short term rental agreement or something similar, together with the letter of explanation suggested by Pesky.

People have spoken about RV drivers getting away with it, and I suspect it may be easier for them, as it appears obvious that they are travelling, rather then setting down roots.
When we travelled throughout Spain for a year, we actually asked about matriculating our LHD RV onto Spanish plates because we were here for more than 6 months, and wanted to keep the RV here, but were told it would be difficult, if not impossible to do so as the RV was classed as a commercial vehicle.
A friendly member of the Guardia actually told us that we would be fine, as long as our RV had all the necessary paperwork (it did . We actually travelled back to the UK half way through to update the MOT, tax and insurance) and we made it clear that we were travelling through Europe.
So, when stopped at traffic checks (which happened several times), we were always prepared to talk about our travels through Spain and France. But no one ever asked us.

And if all this sounds like bending the rules, all I can say is that when rules are confusing, and interpreted differently according to which member of the guardia stops you, it is best to have a plan of action prepared.
Good luck with that then, but dont confuse matters

When you come to Spain and if you have to register as a resident and you drive your car on UK plates and get stopped, just refer the guardia officer to that and I am sure you will find he will be quite happy.

Well, in fact he will take your car away to the pound where it will sit and wait until you matriculate it or prove that you aren't a resident.
But he doesn't have to register here as he isn't intending to live here, so this comment, although perhaps accurate for those who have residencia or own a green card, does not apply in this case.
But having said that, I would still be concerned in the wife's case.
 
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