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When you buy a car from a dealership in Spain, the paperwork will be done for you, but it is a different matter if you purchase a car through a private sale. The process of changing ownership may differ considerably from the one you’re used to, so here is a guide to the basics.

Changing car ownership in Spain

Generally, completing the paperwork for the transfer and paying the transfer and road tax is the buyer’s responsibility. If you have time to spare and feel confident about speaking Spanish, you can do it yourself. Otherwise, paying a gestor to do the job for you is the method of choice for many overseas residents in Spain.

You will first need a sales contract, called a Compraventa privado and it should be in Spanish. This protects the seller from any further claims and it is the seller’s responsibility to notify the Traffic department (DGT) of the sale within 10 days.

The buyer has to take care of being registered as the new owner within 15 days and needs to make an appointment at the Jefatura de Tráfico in the relevant province: this link takes you to a complete list of them across Spain.

The buyer will need to take documentation with you, and please make sure you have every single item, copied in triplicate, to avoid having to return. You will find all the details here. The fee is €54 and you will need the sales agreement and your application form for change of ownership, plus the vehicle log book with ITVs, road tax receipts, copies of buyer’s and seller’s ID, and a receipt for the payment of transfer tax, which is about 4% of the value. You can get Form 620 from the tax authorities.

In theory, change of ownership is quite straightforward, but unless you are familiar with the Spanish bureaucratic system, which is more intricate than that of some other European countries, getting the help of a gestor is often money well spent.

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