Importing a high value car from the UK in Spain post Brexit, now comes with added costs. As the UK is no longer in the EU and the standard process to import and register a UK car in Spain now involves customs.
This means on top of the registration tax which in most cases will be 17% of the vehicle value, 10% customs duty and 21% VAT will apply, unless you can find away around it.
Paying nearly £50k to register a £100k motor is simply not a consideration. There are however various ways these huge costs can be avoided, bringing the cost of importing and registering high value cars in Spain down to a few thousand Euros, rather than tens of thousands.
Spain does not have a system to issue personalised licence plates. It does however have a system to identify and recognise Classic Cars. Cars that qualify can achieve the status of being certified as a ‘historical vehicle’. Classic Cars with this status can be registered with historical licence plates, so the owner can enjoy the kudos of having their beloved motor officially recognised and marked as a Classic Car.
Getting ‘historical vehicle’ status for a Classic Car, also brings with the added perks of cheaper insurance, longer gaps between ITV´s and road tax exemption.
The starting qualifying criteria is the age of the car, the qualifying age being 30 years. The age for a Classic Car in Spain used to be 25 years, however was changed to 30 years in May 2018. This change was not retrospective. Classic Cars that already had historical number plates kept them, so there are cars with these plates that are less then 30 years old.
Registering Classic Cars in Spain
The process of assigning a licence number to a classic car in Spain is more or less the same as that for a normal car. However in most cases, the car will have to go through more vigorous checks before it can be passed. There is no differentiation in regard to age of vehicle and licence number issued. A 50 year old classic Ferrari, and a brand new Nissan Micra, could end up with consecutively numbered plates.
So unlike UK registrations which in general contain a year marker, it’s very difficult to gauge a Spanish registered car’s age from its licence plate.
From a classic car perspective, this means that, if you’re bringing your pride and joy 1964 Mercedes SL to Spain, when you register it, you will end up with a licence number that is just one digit different to hundreds of other regular new cars registered at the same time. Not great for prestige.