You will need to produce certain documentation when buying a car in Spain. This includes confirmation of your address such as the ‘escritura’ (property deed) or rental agreement for where you live in Spain as well as your N.I.E number.
If buying a new car in Spain from a dealer they will normally organise all of the paperwork for you but you will have to pay any transfer tax and fees. If purchasing a second hand car in Spain then you need to ensure all the paperwork is handled correctly to avoid incurring fines.
The seller should provide you with the ‘impuesto sobre la circulación de vehiculos’ (car tax) and transfer contract. Most people will use a Gestor to organise the paperwork for them although this will incur a fee. We would recommend taking a note of the vendors NIE number or copy or ‘tarjeta de residencia’ or passport for your own peace of mind and it can also be used to check signatures. You should also ensure the ‘inspeccion technical de vehiculos’ is current (ITV). This is the Spanish equivalent of the UK MOT and all cars over 4 years old must have an annual test. There is a time limit of 15 days to register the car in your name.
If you have an EU license such as the full UK license then you can use that to drive a vehicle in Spain. You cannot obtain a Spanish driving license without a residence number (NIE). Whilst it is not necessary to obtain a Spanish license, strictly speaking you should carry a translation of your license in Spanish in case you are stopped by the police. This can be obtained from the Real Automovil Club de España. Alternatively, you can obtain an international driving license from your home country before leaving for Spain.
If you decide to become a resident of Spain, you should change your license to a Spanish one. You can arrange to show your current EU license and your NIE number to the relevant trafico office and complete the relevant form.