We would like to make an expended trip to Spain with our car and caravan. We had hoped to stay in Spain for 1 year traveling to different areas.

I have been reading on this forum that you can take a UK registered vehicle to another EU country for only 6 months. Is there anyway around this so that I can stay in Spain for 1 year?

I'm not moving there, I just want to holiday there for an extended time. Is the 6 month rule in any year or any 12 month period, in other words, could I go for the last 6 months of 2016 and continue into the first 6 months of 2017?

As a retired couple we were looking forward to exploring Spain for a year with our car and caravan.

  • 2
    One year probably counts as moving for most purposes (taxes, etc.) whether you want to see it that way or not.
    – Gala
    Dec 24, 2015 at 12:21
  • Random thought, what if you go to Gibraltar? It's down south, alright, but, hey, you're planning a 12 months stay :)
    – brasofilo
    Mar 17, 2016 at 2:07

2 Answers 2


You've got bigger problems than the vehicle. As an EU citizen, making an extended stay in Spain:

  • after three months in Spain, you are considered resident (Spanish-only, I'm afraid). You must apply to be included in the Central Register of Foreigners before the three months are up.
  • after six months, you must have imported your car, which can be expensive because they charge you according to their tables of what that model and year should be worth.
  • and you will also be resident for tax purposes. Spanish tax years match calendar years, so you'll want professional advice about how the double-taxation treaty between the UK and Spain affects the January-April overlap of tax years.
  • after three months outside of the UK, you will no longer be entitled to receive treatment for pre-existing medical conditions with your NHS EHIC, although in your case of a long holiday you would be able to resume NHS coverage on your return to the UK.

Of course, many British expats in particular choose to ignore some or all of the above, and in general they seem to get away with it. It's up to you whether you want to take the risk.

  • 1
    (+1) Are you sure about the mandatory driving license exchange? It's possible I guess but it would be a blatant breach of EU law…
    – Gala
    Jan 5, 2016 at 23:18
  • @Gala, thanks for calling me up on that. I wrote that part from memory; it may or may not have been accurate before, but it changed about a year ago. Now the requirement to replace the driving licence applies two years after acquiring residency if the licence is for 15+ years and for vehicles of class(es) AM/A1/A2/A/B/BE; or 5+ years and class(es) BTP/C1/C1E/C/CE/D1/D1E/D/DE. Jan 5, 2016 at 23:36
  • Also there is a high chance that your UK car insurer will not insure you properly for a whole year
    – SztupY
    Jan 6, 2016 at 14:52

Peter Taylor is correct. However please note that, in Spain, both your car and caravan need to be registered. So, let's say you do import/register your car in Spain, you can't simply tow your UK caravan; you will need to get that registered as well.

Since Brexit, the Spanish authorities have really started to clamp down on UK cars. In the past, it was mainly in the over populated ex-pat areas that the police/Guardia would check how long your vehicle had been in the country. Now, it is advisable to follow the law wherever you live. The six-month rule means that for 6 months out of any 365 days, not from one year's end to the start of the next.

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