Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is personal view of Spain and Spanish life as seen by a Briton living in a small village in Alicante province.
The other tabs link to similar blogs when I have lived in other places. The TIM magazine is an English language magazine I write articles for.

Monday, February 22, 2010

On the road

The rights and wrongs of running cars in Spain, originally registered on foreign plates, is one of the staples of the many expat Internet bulletin boards. Whatever the legal technicalities the idea is pretty simple. If you live in Spain your car should have Spanish plates, Spanish insurance and the rest whilst if, for instance, you live in the UK your motor should have UK plates, tax, insurance and safety checks. Living here means you spend more than 183 days of the year in Spain.

A Swedish chum who lives in Pinoso was pulled over at a police checkpoint a couple of weeks ago. Her car, which was running on Swedish plates, was briefly impounded until she was able to register the vehicle on temporary "tourist" plates. Now she is going through the process of re-registering on Spanish plates. The police told her they were having a bit of a blitz on foreign cars and that there would be no fine (I can't remember whether she said that could have been two or three thousand euros) if she got on with the re-registration.

Obviously, as EU passports are no longer stamped with entry and exit dates, keeping track of where a car lives has become much more difficult. I presume too that a year means a calendar year so it wouldn't be enormously difficult to organise a perfectly legal stay of nearly 12 months with a short six months on each side of the new year.

My guess is that all the police look for is a full and current set of paperwork whether that be Spanish or from another EU country.

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