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These are the documents you should always have in your car: fines of up to 3,000 euros if you don’t have them

Road Traffic Law
Documentos que debes llevar en tu coche, y así evitar multas de hasta 3.000€

Tyres in good condition, lights in perfect working order, seat belts not damaged… and the car papers always present. One of the most fundamental aspects in a vehicle is to carry all the documentation available. Before setting off on any journey, it is important to make sure that you have the obligatory papers for both the driver and the vehicle. The Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) reminds us that failure to carry them is punishable by fines.

The driver’s licence, the vehicle registration certificate, the vehicle technical inspection card (ITV) and the compulsory insurance. These are the four papers that every driver should always carry in their vehicle, whatever type of vehicle it is. They are available for any procedure, from filing a report to being summoned by a traffic officer, but not carrying them or falsifying them is considered a serious risk to road safety.

On any journey, whether in town or on the road, it may be necessary to show officers the vehicle documents required to drive in accordance with the law, for example, at a police checkpoint or after an accident. It is also required if you are not the owner of the vehicle or if it is a rental vehicle.

There are documents that are always compulsory (driving and circulation licences), another that will depend on the age of the vehicle (Technical Inspection Card) and some that it is advisable to carry to prove that you are driving safely and in accordance with the law (insurance).

Different fines depending on the document

Always in original format, so they cannot be scanned or falsified.

Driving licence: This is the driver’s personal document and must always be in current form when using any motor vehicle. It must be valid and suitable for the corresponding category (A, B, C, D and E). Failing this, the provisional authorisations issued by the DGT when the definitive licence is obtained, lost or renewed are also valid. Failure to carry it will result in a fine of 10 euros (this can rise to 100 euros, but is very unusual), while having it with incorrect information, such as the address, will result in a fine of 80 euros. If it is out of date, the fine is 200 euros, and if you are not authorised to drive, due to a previous serious offence, it is considered a criminal offence with six months in prison and community service for one to two years.

Vehicle registration certificate. Also known as the vehicle registration certificate or registration certificate, this is the European-wide document that certifies the vehicle’s details (date of registration, characteristics, intended use and the owner’s ownership). Like not having a licence, not having a vehicle registration certificate is punishable by a fine of 10 euros, while having the wrong information is punishable by 80 euros. Driving without a licence or with a withdrawn licence carries a fine of 500 euros.

Since last year it has been possible to carry both licences (driving and circulation) digitised on your mobile phone, thanks to the free application miDGT which, in addition to other services, allows you to download them. It should be noted, however, that their recognition is only guaranteed in the case of Guardia Civil officers who report to the DGT; in the case of other law enforcement agencies, such as municipalities, their acceptance will depend on the willingness of the officer.

ITV. This is exclusive to the vehicle (the owner’s name does not appear) and reflects its homologation characteristics (manufacturer, model, identification number, cylinder capacity, power, emissions, etc.). Also known as the Ficha Técnica, it is compulsory to carry it from the moment the vehicle passes its first inspection (from the age of four years in passenger cars), together with the sticker of the corresponding period of validity attached to the vehicle’s windscreen. With the authorised report and the corresponding sticker, failure to carry the first of these aspects entails a fine of 10 euros. Not having the sticker on the vehicle is more extensive, as the fine is 100 euros, and the officer can check at any time whether the vehicle has passed the inspection or not. Lastly, driving with an expired ITV or after having been refused a pass is punishable by 200 euros.

Compulsory insurance. Although third party insurance is compulsory for any vehicle, since 2008 it is no longer necessary to carry the policy and the receipt of the last payment in force, as the agents can consult this information telematically. However, it is useful to have them in case you need to take any action in the event of an accident. However, driving without insurance or with expired insurance is punishable by fines ranging from 601 euros to 3,005 euros, as well as immobilisation of the vehicle.

If you lose your car papers for any reason, you must go to a police station to report it and avoid the consequences of fraudulent use. You will then have to apply for duplicates of the original at the Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico (Permiso de Circulación) and at the ITV (Tarjeta de Inspección).

Can you drive in Spain with a foreign licence? The quick answer is yes. You can drive a car in Spain with a foreign licence, although only for a limited period of time, as the validity of a non-Spanish or EU licence is only 6 months from the date of arrival in the country for residents.

Please note: The content of this article is purely informative. Each case must be examined individually, taking into account the regulations in effect at the time.

Do not take any risks, always consult a lawyer. All practising lawyers in Spain must be registered with a Bar Association. For your security, you can check this at:

Nathalie Zanolie Lawyer -Attorney  (Inscrita en Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Tenerife con nº de colegiada 3.033)



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