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Advice on importing from Spain

R4fanatic

Enthusiast
Messages
6
Location
Milton Keynes
#1
Hi there. I have an opportunity to realise my dream and purchase a Renault 4 F4 van privately in Spain. I found it advertised whilst on holiday there over Xmas and (using Google Translate!) communicated with the seller to confirm it’s still available. I live in Milton Keynes, UK. My question is, how do I buy this vehicle and bring it over here?
I can find lots of information on how to import a vehicle I already own from Spain to the UK, plus how to buy a vehicle in Spain as a UK citizen with a property or an official ID document in Spain, but not any info on how to buy a Spanish vehicle from here, or go over there, buy it and legally drive it back. Yet I regularly see cars advertised as “fresh Spain import” so it must be possible.
Please, can anyone give me some solid advice? Don’t want to lose this opportunity. Quite prepared to fly there and drive it back but need to know what’s required from a paperwork point of view. Many thanks!! Regards to all you fellow R4 fans. And always looking out for a perfect R4 van so keep me in mind! Thanks. Andrew.
 

malcolm

& Clementine the Cat
Staff member
Messages
4,160
Location
Bedford UK
#2
When I bought one from France I contacted UK classic insurers until I found one who was prepared to insure the car on the chassis plate rather than a UK registration plate. I explained what I was doing and they agreed to insure it for 2 weeks while I brought the car home, and would allow me to use it in the UK only after I had a UK plate and MOT.

It's only really insurance that is an issue. If the car passes requirements in it's own country and is safe to drive it is OK to drive it back to the UK. You need whatever paperwork you normally get when you buy a car in Spain. In France you get a registration document - Carte Griz. In most countries you get at least part of a registration document that should show the first registration date, chassis number etc and you'll need that to register the car in the UK.

Once you get back home you have a short time to send a nova1 form to customs and excise (no import tax this year), and when you apply for UK registration (which will need an MOT even if the car is old) they send the old registration document forms back to Spain to confirm the export.
 

laxeian

Enthusiast
Messages
252
Location
Galicia
#3
To drive a Spanish vehicle legally as a Uk citizen you do need a spanish NIE number to register it to drive legally ( temp. or permanent residency card will give you this number), going through the various offices to register yourself ( all appointments) can be time consuming and frustrating, going through a ‘ Gestoria ‘ is easier, I did this with my F6 here (Spain), but the logbook took 1month to arrive at my address here, paperwork from the gestoria being proof of legality up to that point, this will add 100-200€ to cost price + ins. unless seller states transfer fees are inclusive in price, if the car is road legal all good, but beware if it has been off the road and untaxed, once in your name you are liable for all backtax to make road legal, it is not as simple as France or Germany ( for example) to fly-ins.-drive.
Think you will find that most fresh imports on spanish plates make it back to the UK via trailers or transporters to avoid above complications and time.
All above info is pre -brexit:whistle:
 

Lobster

Screw loose
Messages
1,102
Location
Lancashire
#4
Its the insurance thats the problem. I wanted to do similar with a Twingo last year - buy it in France / Spain / Italy, fly out and drive home. Contacted every insurance company and whilst most would insure against the chassis number once it was in the UK, none would have anything to do with insuring a UK citizen driving a foreign registered car in a foreign country.

That said, I know of someone who has just done this very thing (bought car in Germany though) and driven back. Insurance was with Adrian Flux so might be worth having a talk to them to get started!

Good luck.
 

R4fanatic

Enthusiast
Messages
6
Location
Milton Keynes
#5
To drive a Spanish vehicle legally as a Uk citizen you do need a spanish NIE number to register it to drive legally ( temp. or permanent residency card will give you this number), going through the various offices to register yourself ( all appointments) can be time consuming and frustrating, going through a ‘ Gestoria ‘ is easier, I did this with my F6 here (Spain), but the logbook took 1month to arrive at my address here, paperwork from the gestoria being proof of legality up to that point, this will add 100-200€ to cost price + ins. unless seller states transfer fees are inclusive in price, if the car is road legal all good, but beware if it has been off the road and untaxed, once in your name you are liable for all backtax to make road legal, it is not as simple as France or Germany ( for example) to fly-ins.-drive.
Think you will find that most fresh imports on spanish plates make it back to the UK via trailers or transporters to avoid above complications and time.
All above info is pre -brexit:whistle:
Thank you laxeian. If I read you correctly, I am OK to take the car back on a trailer which I could bring over with my own car from the UK, I simply put the Renault 4 on said trailer and drive my (UK-registered) car with the trailer / Renault 4 attached back to the UK -- for this scenario, I don't need to be a resident of Spain? The next question then: is it possible for the Spanish owner of the Renault to sell it to me (legally transfer ownership) without me having a Spanish address or residency?
 

R4fanatic

Enthusiast
Messages
6
Location
Milton Keynes
#6
Its the insurance thats the problem. I wanted to do similar with a Twingo last year - buy it in France / Spain / Italy, fly out and drive home. Contacted every insurance company and whilst most would insure against the chassis number once it was in the UK, none would have anything to do with insuring a UK citizen driving a foreign registered car in a foreign country.

That said, I know of someone who has just done this very thing (bought car in Germany though) and driven back. Insurance was with Adrian Flux so might be worth having a talk to them to get started!

Good luck.
Lobster, I think you've helped me here before sometime as I remember your brilliant Abraham Lincoln quote! Thanks very much. I may call upon you or your friend for advice. It looks like I may have to trailer the Renault 4 back to the UK so my next step would be to find out how to arrange that... my daily driver (VW Passat) has no towbar but I'd get one added if it means I can get this Renault 4. I suppose I can hire a trailer... anybody?
 

R4fanatic

Enthusiast
Messages
6
Location
Milton Keynes
#7
When I bought one from France I contacted UK classic insurers until I found one who was prepared to insure the car on the chassis plate rather than a UK registration plate. I explained what I was doing and they agreed to insure it for 2 weeks while I brought the car home, and would allow me to use it in the UK only after I had a UK plate and MOT.

It's only really insurance that is an issue. If the car passes requirements in it's own country and is safe to drive it is OK to drive it back to the UK. You need whatever paperwork you normally get when you buy a car in Spain. In France you get a registration document - Carte Griz. In most countries you get at least part of a registration document that should show the first registration date, chassis number etc and you'll need that to register the car in the UK.

Once you get back home you have a short time to send a nova1 form to customs and excise (no import tax this year), and when you apply for UK registration (which will need an MOT even if the car is old) they send the old registration document forms back to Spain to confirm the export.
Thank you Malcolm. That all makes sense, it's just the buying part that I am now concerned about. I am now wondering though if I (as a non resident) can legally buy a car in Spain? It seems to be a more complicated exercise than it might be in other countries. I've seen lots about this NIE number, etc. which of course I don't have. If anyone reading this has advice specific to Spain I'd be grateful!
 

Lobster

Screw loose
Messages
1,102
Location
Lancashire
#8
Trailer hire should be easy enough, loads of places doing car transporter trailer hire.

Get the Importing a Vehicle pack from DVLA / HMRC and it tells you what you need to do but as long as you have some Spanish paperwork (registration document etc) then it should be relatively straightforward.
 

laxeian

Enthusiast
Messages
252
Location
Galicia
#9
The seller should have no problem with you trailering the van away back to the UK, as Lobster states its the insurance here, to get insurance you need to register it, the NIE scenario to register, it is a different system to France and Germany, Germany being a doddle from my own experience in the past with transfer plates etc. all at the same office.
Seller will have documentation, but as you will be trailering it without change of ownership make sure you get a receipt of sale seperate to this documentation ( sorry to state obvious), two copies one for seller one for buyer, both copies identical, this together with van docs. will be proof at any borders or stops should you have any on the return journey, it will also help and be required that it is indeed your van, it will also make the UK registration process easier UK side.
Good luck and happy trailering.
( ps. from personal experience Google translate is fine if you use short concise sentences, but can interpret quite a lot the total opposite to what you wanted to say, leading to confusion on both sides)
 
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