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Car ownership in Mallorca

A car can be important when living on the Island, but you need to understand the rules and requirements of car ownership in Spain to ensure you are safe and complaint.


Below is our guide to car ownership and driving in Mallorca, whether you bring your car over or buy one here. Review the basic requirements for all drivers, the guide to registering your car and how to obtain a Spanish driving license.

A car can be essential on the Island, depending on where you live.  If you are within the EU, it is simple to take your car with you and register it here. However, this is not always possible and you may need to buy one locally.

Below is our guide to owning a car on the island, what to do if you are bringing a car with you and the requirements if you want to buy here. You can also contact us for recommendations on vetted and trusted dealerships 

Importing your car

For more information click here

For EU residents it's entirely feasible to simply bring your car with you to the Island. You need to ensure that you register your car with the Provincial Traffic Headquarters within 30 days of your arrival.

If the car was purchased more than 6 months before transport and has been driven more than 6,000 KM, no VAT is due.  If the car was bought less than 6 months before departure and has been driven less than 6,000 KM, it is considered new (even if it is second hand) and VAT will need to be paid in Spain. (VAT can be claimed back from the original purchase).

If you are importing a car from outside of the EU, you will likely have to pay import taxes, but not VAT at the customs office before your car is released.  Contact us for more information

Getting your driving lisence

What you need & where you need to go

If you are 18+ and a holder of an EU (+ Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway) driving license you are entitled to drive in Spain and on the island already. Just remember if your driving license does not have a photo of you on it, you will also need to bring along your passport when driving.  For long term stays, you are also required to register with the traffic authorities within 6 months (Registro Central de Conductores e Infractores).

For non-EU residents, the same rules apply, but you will also need an International Driving Permit.

Driving without these items can lead to a 500Euro fine, so be aware.  However, there is a 50% discount for immediate payment.

After 2 years in Spain, all drivers must exchange their old licence for a Spanish one.  For EU residents it's a simple exchange of your old one for a Spanish one.  You will need to visit the Provincial Traffic Headquarters (ITV) along with the following information:


  • Application form

  • Valid passport or national I.D

  • Proof of residence (Certificate of Registration in the Central Aliens Register i.e. your NIE number)

  • Valid driving license to be exchanged (original and photocopy)

  • Two recent photographs (32x25mm)

  • Declaration in writing that you have not been banned or suspended from driving

  • Declaration in writing that you do not hold another driver’s license of the same class in another country


The Spanish driving license must be renewed every 10 years up to the age of 65 and every 5 years after.

The rules for exchanging driving licenses from non-EU countries vary by country.  Feel free to get in touch for help with your specific country before arrival.

Basic driving requirements

What all drivers must do in Mallorca

  • Drive on the right in Spain

  • Look up how to drive around a round-about in Spain before attempting to circulate

  • You must carry 2 warning triangles, spare bulbs, fuses, wheel and the tools to change them

  • Reflective vests are mandatory if leaving your car on the road

  • Keep your license, vehicle logbook, and vehicle inspection (ITV) documentation with you

  • You can only use mobile phones with a hands-free set

  • If you need glasses, you must ensure you carry a spare pair in the car

  • Seatbelts are mandatory

  • It is prohibited to drive barefoot or in flip flops

Your rights when buying a car

You have protection under the law even when buying second hand

  • Articles 1461 & 1484 state that "the seller is obliged to deliver and repair the object of the sale" meaning that buyers are protected when buying a second-hand car from issues like hidden faults, or hidden defects that occur prior to the purchase.

  • The faults or defects referred to in these articles are those that make it unfit for the use to which it is intended or reduce its use so that, if known, the buyer would not have purchased the vehicle or paid less for it

  • If a buyer makes a purchase from another individual, if any hidden defects or faults are identified within 6 months, the seller is liable for the repair costs providing there is proof that the defect occurred before the time of sale.

  • If the purchase is made from a professional dealer, the seller is liable for the repair costs for up to 2 years from the date of purchase, providing there is proof that the defect occurred before the time of sale.

  • It is highly advisable that the buyer requests to the seller a part of damage or other documents that proves that the car has been repaired during those first 2 years. This acts as evidence that they have been taking the car to the car dealer to repair it several times.

How can we help?

White Cars

How can we help

At Mallorca Expats, we have vetted a number of car dealers and leasing companies to ensure you are able to buy or lease a quality car at a good price.  Feel free to get in touch to find out more and we can help with an introduction too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  Should I import my car to Spain?

A. In some cases (especially when importing from outside of the EU) you could be liable to pay around 40% or more of the value of the vehicle in taxes!  If you feel that the taxes are not too much of an issue and you decide to import your vehicle regardless of these, you may want to hire the services of a gestor. Another thing to consider is the safety of the vehicle. Vehicles in Spain are left-hand drive, which means that driving a right-hand drive vehicle on Spanish roads presents dangers. Many accidents each year on Spanish roads involve RHD vehicles as there are visibility issues, especially when attempting to overtake and when driving on winding roads.

Q.  Do I need to own a property to register a car in Spain?

A. No, you don't need to be a property owner in Spain to be able to import / re-register a vehicle to Spanish plates, just a proof of Spanish address, such as rental contract, or property deeds (escritura). You'll also need to have an NIE certificate.

Q.  How long does it take to register my vehicle?

A.  Once your vehicle has passed it's ITV test it will take about 7 days to complete registration - although you will still be able to use your vehicle during this time. Do, however, allow for local and national fiesta days.

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