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The MOT or Ministry of Transport test is an annual technical inspection for car safety and exhaust emissions, which is applicable to most vehicles over three years old in the United Kingdom.

The equivalent to the MOT in Spain is the ITV (Inspección técnica de vehiculos).

The law is different in England and it says that a car which is out of the country for more than 12 months has to be imported into that country. The Spanish law stipulated that if you are in Spain for more than six months then you have to import your car and get Spanish plates.

The British law also says that your vehicle, if registered in the UK, must be taxed and MOT’d for the period that it is out of the country (up to 12 months).  Foreign ITV will not be accepted in the UK.  If your MOT runs out while you are abroad, then you must go from the port of entry directly to the nearest MOT centre when you return to the UK.

Spanish law says that the ITV is for vehicles registered in Spain.

It is EU legislation that says that a vehicle has to be MOT’d and insured in the country where it is registered.

A car registered in UK which is in Spain and has not been imported that has no MOT is not legal.  Any insurance company should ask to see the MOT/ITV certificate before insuring your vehicle.  There are insurance companies who will insure your vehicle registered in the UK and with an ITV certificate, but this is not legal and you could find that the insurance company will not pay out if you should happen to have an accident.  You should check your insurance that you have in your country of origin as being a tourist may only apply for a period of three months.

If you are driving your Spanish registered car and do not have a current ITV sticker then you can be fined 150 euros, you can also have your license taken away and confiscated until you have proof that your vehicle has passed the ITV within the following 10 days.

Whether you have a British registered vehicle or a Spanish registered vehicle you must have the following in your possession and in the vehicle.  Again if you fail to have these items/documents you can be fined.

Original documentation relating to the vehicle

  • Valid insurance
  • Current passport (this must be valid until after you return to the UK)
  • Current driving license
  • Two EU approved red warning triangles
  • Approved reflective jackets
  • Set of spare lamps/bulbs for your vehicle and the tools to change them
  • A spare pair of glasses if you need them for driving
  • EU number plate or a sticker with your country code (e.g. GB)

The reflective jackets are relatively new addition to the items that you should have at all times in your vehicle.  They should be able to be seen from outside the vehicle and in a place that is easily reached as they must be put on before you get out of the vehicle at the side of any highway without street lights whether it be day or night.

The ITV in Spain is for all Spanish registered vehicles, as previously mentioned.  The vehicles need to be tested depending on the kind of vehicle and the date it was first licensed.  The list below will show how often the test needs to be carried out:

Motorcycles Up to 5 years, EXEMPT – More than 5 years, Every two years
Private vehicles up to 9 seats including the driver Up to  4 years, EXEMPT – from 4 to 10 years, Every two years – more than 10 years, ANNUALLY
Caravans towing over 750kg Up to six years, EXEMPT – more than 6 years, Every two years

The price for your ITV depends on the vehicle and where you get it done, it can vary from around 20 euros up to 40 euros.

You can find more information at the ITV page in the Spanish Ministry of interior web page:http://www.mir.es/SGACAVT/trafico/trafitv/ (in Spanish).