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Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Old Dec 1st 2019, 9:10 pm
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Question Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Read this on a website:

"Non-resident, non-EU citizens:
A car owned by a non-EU citizen may be kept in Spain as long as it is only used for up to 180 days (six months) in a calendar year and remains road-legal in its country of registration. However, once it has been used for six months, it should be officially sealed (precintado) by Customs authorities (aduana) or the Guardia Civil. Though not commonly done, it can be used as proof that the vehicle was not driven illegally. At the start of the next calendar year, the seals may be removed by the officials and the vehicle may be driven again for another 180 days. There is a fee for this service."


Anyone with any knowledge of this?

e used as proof that the vehicle was not driven illegally. At the start of the next calendar year, the seals may be removed by the officials and the vehicle may be driven again for another 180 days. There is a fee for this service.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 5:13 am
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

I think I've read on here several times information regarding having a foreign car in Spain and there often seems to be a debate as to how long that can be for a non-resident, and to be honest, I've not paid a lot of attention to it as there are different views and information. Some indicate that after a certain time limit you have to take the car back out of the country, some not. Some say it is down to the length of time the person is in the country, 180 days etc., and if they leave, the car must leave, some not.

In passing I've always been interested in someone coming up with information that confirms what I thought, and that I've been too lazy to try and find out for sure, but that you can keep it in the country for as long as you want, just that there is a limit as to how long you can use it for. This appears to answer that question.
I do keep a foreign registered car in Spain full time, only use it for a few months each year and park it back up again. Maybe I should think about getting it sealed.

I see this information is on Spainlegal and Angloinfo websites, but how up to date it is, and has it been superseded, I have no idea.

Last edited by Mark604; Dec 2nd 2019 at 5:21 am.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 7:08 am
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Originally Posted by Mark604 View Post
I think I've read on here several times information regarding having a foreign car in Spain and there often seems to be a debate as to how long that can be for a non-resident, and to be honest, I've not paid a lot of attention to it as there are different views and information. Some indicate that after a certain time limit you have to take the car back out of the country, some not. Some say it is down to the length of time the person is in the country, 180 days etc., and if they leave, the car must leave, some not.

In passing I've always been interested in someone coming up with information that confirms what I thought, and that I've been too lazy to try and find out for sure, but that you can keep it in the country for as long as you want, just that there is a limit as to how long you can use it for. This appears to answer that question.
I do keep a foreign registered car in Spain full time, only use it for a few months each year and park it back up again. Maybe I should think about getting it sealed.

I see this information is on Spainlegal and Angloinfo websites, but how up to date it is, and has it been superseded, I have no idea.
I think you're correct about there being a lot of wrong or out of date info about keeping a foreign car in Spain. One example is the "tourist" number plate scheme (number plates starting with T with red date stick-on strips on the right and without an EU flag on the left)...the scheme ended in 2018 but websites have not been updated.

In reading various websites, I think most stay away from giving detailed info to keep it simple for the average punter. Better websites suggest, as you mentioned above, there is no time limit on a foreign car being garaged in Spain; the time limit is on the OWNER not the car...the amount of time the owner stays in Spain makes his car illegal or not. In practice though, it's far more complex because if you say spend for example 120 days a year in Spain during summer you need to register because you've spend for than 90 days consecutive in Spain. Problem is being registered in Spain suggests to Spanish police that you've moved to Spain permanently; so as far as they're concerned you shouldn't be driving a foreign car more than 30 days after you've registered...if you don't speak Spanish fluently how are you going to explain all this to them? I can see why many expats break to rules and don't register or they make a trip to Portugal to reset the 90 day clock.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 7:46 am
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

[color=left=#000000]I can see why many expats break to rules and don't register or they make a trip to Portugal to reset the 90 day clock. [/color]
I can't see why expats don't buy a Spanish registered car?
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 7:58 am
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Can a non-resident drive his own Spanish registered car?
A Spanish resident can't drive a foreign registered car in Spain except in certain circumstances.
A UK resident can't drive his own Spanish registered car in the UK under the same conditions. A lot of countries don't allow you to keep and drive a foreign car in that country without re-registering it if you are a resident in that country.
Can I, as a non-resident, buy and use a Spanish registered car all the time - taking into account anyway the time restrictions a non-resident has. But within that time.....? But then when take it back to my resident country I can't drive it due to those laws.
I did think of re-registering my car to Spanish plates at one time but was told I'd have to be a resident to drive it lawfully. Maybe right or wrong, don't know.
That's my understanding, that you can't. I'm easily willing to be wrong though.

Last edited by Mark604; Dec 2nd 2019 at 8:01 am.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 8:15 am
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Originally Posted by missile View Post
I can't see why expats don't buy a Spanish registered car?
Expats living permanently in Spain should have a Spanish registered car. Those spending just 3, 4 or 5 months a year in summer are not required by law to have Spanish registered car...apart from that, why should they? Especially, when cars in Spain are more expensive than elsewhere in Europe. And as I mentioned above, Spain in 2018 cancelled the Tourist number plate scheme which was precisely aimed at foreigners who spend summers in Spain. Crazy stuff.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 10:32 am
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

I am not sure you are correct? Police often have purges where foreign registered cars are impounded. Good luck convincing them your car is "legal".
Cars are not much more expensive than in UK, particularly after one factors in the extra expense in owning and inconvenience and safety of driving a RHD car.

What car do you own?

Last edited by missile; Dec 2nd 2019 at 10:35 am.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 1:02 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

There does indeed seem to be some debate as to how long a UK plated vehicle can be in Spain.

My view (from reading the relevant laws) is that it can be kept and driven here for 12 months.

PROVIDED -
(1) You as the owner/keeper are non-resident
(2) It is completely road legal in the UK (MOT, tax, insurance etc.)

There are some that say it can only be driven by a non-resident for a maximum of 6 months - I don't see why.

Things are COMPLETELY different if you stay here longer than 90 days in one chunk or are here for more than 183 days per year. In those cases you should register as resident and then the car ownership situation changes totally.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

I think it is right that the car isn't the problem, it can stay as long as you want it to (if legal in home country), it the the human that owns/drives it that is.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

That has always been my understanding of the situation. The sealing procedure only applied to non EU residents staying in Spain. I'm not sure that it still applies.

It's not a very common situation. Most non residents who wish to keep a car in Spain buy Spanish cars. If they have a UK reg car it is likely to be an older car and that means it is most likley to need an MOT so that creates a problem. Not many people would wish to keep a fairly new car at their holiday home.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

See Article 3

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-cont...LEX:31983L0182
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 4:09 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Originally Posted by missile View Post
I am not sure you are correct? Police often have purges where foreign registered cars are impounded. Good luck convincing them your car is "legal".
Cars are not much more expensive than in UK, particularly after one factors in the extra expense in owning and inconvenience and safety of driving a RHD car.

What car do you own?
What extra expense, inconvenience and safety issues??? I bought my car over from the uk, put it onto spanish plates and drove it for 11 years. Never had any work done that cost more because it was RHD. Only time it ws a little inconvenient was when entering a car park and being the only person in the car. In actual fact driving on campo tracks or narrow roads I found RHD safer as it is far easier to judge ehere the track stops and the drop down the mountain begins.

I think youll find second hand cars are way cheaper in the UK. Like for like often one half to two thirds of the cost in Spain and normally with far far lower mileage/kilometerage. You will however have to matriculate it and pay import duty which goes some way to evening up the cost, but still way cheaper. Of course it will be worth less when you ultimately try to sell it.

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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 4:11 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Yep, read that.
Read all of it.
Many times - to try and understand it, also needing to refer to Article 1 and an Annex - nope, don't get it.
Don't get if it is relevant to countries other than EU countries or not, or does, or maybe.
As far as I can read it, if I bring my six year old's kids bike to Spain and leave it at my holiday home, I need to pay tax on it after six months.

I'm sure that's going to happen.
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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 6:17 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Originally Posted by Fred James View Post
That has always been my understanding of the situation. The sealing procedure only applied to non EU residents staying in Spain. I'm not sure that it still applies.

It's not a very common situation. Most non residents who wish to keep a car in Spain buy Spanish cars. If they have a UK reg car it is likely to be an older car and that means it is most likley to need an MOT so that creates a problem. Not many people would wish to keep a fairly new car at their holiday home.
I did some digging as I have an interest in this sealed (precintado) option.

The legislation was written before Spain joined the EU, here it is:

https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.ph...OE-A-1985-7824

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Old Dec 2nd 2019, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Having a car officially sealed (precintado) by Customs or Guardia Civil

Originally Posted by Notdunroamin View Post
This also dates to before Spain joined the EU. And more importantly, before the Schengen Zone. Without land border controls it's hard to enforce such rules. Also look at article 9 point 1 which says "Member States may maintain and/or introduce more liberal arrangements than those provided for in this Directive. In particular, they may, at the request of the importer, permit temporary importation for a period longer than those referred to in Articles 3 and 4". So in other works member states can relax the rules.
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