Import a car to Gran Canaria

Importing a car to Gran Canaria

A comprehensive guide on importing a car to Gran Canaria, shipping a car to Gran Canaria and all the paperwork and cost involved in importing your car to Gran Canaria.

When you see the prices of second hand cars in Gran Canaria you will probably think about importing a much cheaper car from mainland Europe or the UK. Whilst overall it can be cheaper importing a car there are many costs involved in importing a car to the Canary Islands and you need to consider them carefully before bringing your car here.
The first thing you need to know is that when importing goods into the Canary Islands the Canary Islands are not considered part of Spain, therefore any advice taken from Spanish companies will not be applicable to Gran Canaria, this is particularly important for importation tax. In Spain for some goods you are not liable to pay import tax, for the Canary Islands you are.

Important points on importing cars to Gran Canaria from the EC:

  • If you have owned the vehicle for less than six months you will be taxed heavily.
  • If you have had a Spanish ID number (NIE) for more than 6 months, again you are liable to be taxed the import duty. This is 9-13% of the value of the car in Spain. To find the value of your car see this table and multiply by the age of the car from this table.
  • However if you have owned the car for some time and you are a new resident in the Canaries you are allowed a one-off importation of your goods and import tax is not payable. However, you will need to obtain a document from your local authority in your origin country before you leave to demonstrate that you have been living there. This, along with local documents (see ‘customs clearance’) will prove your exemption from import tax.
  • There are additional charges once you arrive, these include matriculation and putting the car through the ITV. These can be up to 200€.

If you are confused have a look at the Agencia Tributaria website for the latest information however this can be often be even more confusing so if in doubt get in contact with a shipping agent such as Migrate Global Canarias.

N.B. Once you bring a car to the Canary Islands you are allowed to drive it here for up to 6 months before putting it on Spanish plates, if you don’t re-register it here in the Canary Islands within 6 months you are liable to pay extra charges, however if you take it out within 6 months you don’t have to pay anything.

You may have noted that used cars in the Canaries are not always good value for money. However, you should bear the above points in mind when deciding whether to ship your vehicle to Gran Canaria.

Getting your car to the Canary Islands

Driving your car into Gran Canaria

One alternative is to pack up your car, drive down to Cadiz and use the ferry service. This can be an economical way of shipping a car and all your belongings to Gran Canaria, although it is not without cost and the sailing is 3 days/ 2 nights so overall it is quite a journey.  Many people enjoy the adventure, though, and if you already have Canarian residency documents you are entitled a large discount on the ferry cost.

Shipping your car to Gran Canaria

Shipping vehicles to Gran Canaria, without actually driving them, is also common practice. From some parts of Europe and mainland Spain there is a roll-on, roll-off service, whereby you put your vehicle on the ferry at one end and collect it at the other end. Currently the only option available directly from the UK or Ireland is containerized shipping, which can be costly, but which is very safe and also offers you the option of moving personal/ household goods in the same container. The usual procedure is for you to deliver the vehicle to a nominated warehouse near your UK or Ireland address, where it will be loaded on a container, secured for sea transit and shipped here for you. If you are combining this with a household removal, that side of it would be carried out as normal, with a packing service if necessary, a collection, followed by  loading together with the car at the warehouse.

Customs Clearance

All unaccompanied goods travelling between the Canaries and the rest of the world, including Europe and mainland Spain, have to clear customs. This is usually a paper-based procedure, although some containers are opened and inspected, but the important thing to know from the outset is the documents you will be asked for, which are NIE and certificado de empadronamiento (see ‘Paperwork’). If you have used a door-to-door removals or transport service you will simply be required to provide these documents and customs clearance will be carried out on your behalf. Otherwise you will need to appoint a customs agent to represent you and you will have to sign some further documents and provide an inventory of contents.

This guide was written in 2009 – the facts were correct when the article was published. If you are considering importing a car please contact a professional as the proceedure and costs may have changed.

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23 thoughts on “Import a car to Gran Canaria

  1. I am moving over to gran canaria in 1 month. I will be driving over with my family and pet dog in my van.
    My MOT expires at the end of august. Should I just get the ITV done in gran canaria rather than paying for an MOT over here. seems pointless to get both done if I have to do the ITV over there anyway.

    Would I need to pay import tax for my van? I have owned it for 5 years and it is a 2007 reg/plate.
    I have heard you need to get a letter from your council in the uk to say that you have lived abroad as proof to avoid paying import tax on vehicles. Is that true?

    how much would the itv, registration and changing of plates cost? where do I need to go to do all of these things?
    An asner to all of these questions would be very much appreciated 🙂
    Thank you very much for taking the time to help! x

    • Hi, we’ll ask around as it’s been a while since we moved a car to Gran Canaria. We’re pretty sure you’ll need a valid MOT or ITV to bring the car in. As far as we know, the rules haven’t changed so if you are bringing an old car to the island as a new resident, you won’t have to pay import duty. You need proof that you have lived in the UK.

  2. Hello does anyone know how i can get in touch with the english school in vencindario to send my CV As newly qualified TEFL teacher that’s looking for work as i’am moving over soon

  3. Getting your car to the Canary Islands

    Driving your car into Gran Canaria

    One alternative is to pack up your car, drive down to Cadiz and use the ferry service. This can be an economical way of shipping a car and all your belongings to Gran Canaria, although it is not without cost and the sailing is 3 days/ 2 nights so overall it is quite a journey. Many people enjoy the adventure, though, and if you already have Canarian residency documents you are entitled a large discount on the ferry cost.

    Shipping your car to Gran Canaria

    Shipping vehicles to Gran Canaria, without actually driving them, is also common practice. From some parts of Europe and mainland Spain there is a roll-on, roll-off service, whereby you put your vehicle on the ferry at one end and collect it at the other end. Currently the only option available directly from the UK or Ireland is containerized shipping, which can be costly, but which is very safe and also offers you the option of moving personal/ household goods in the same container. The usual procedure is for you to deliver the vehicle to a nominated warehouse near your UK or Ireland address, where it will be loaded on a container, secured for sea transit and shipped here for you. If you are combining this with a household removal, that side of it would be carried out as normal, with a packing service if necessary, a collection, followed by loading together with the car at the warehouse.

    Customs Clearance

    All unaccompanied goods travelling between the Canaries and the rest of the world, including Europe and mainland Spain, have to clear customs. This is usually a paper-based procedure, although some containers are opened and inspected, but the important thing to know from the outset is the documents you will be asked for, which are NIE and certificado de empadronamiento (see ‘Paperwork’). If you have used a door-to-door removals or transport service you will simply be required to provide these documents and customs clearance will be carried out on your behalf. Otherwise you will need to appoint a customs agent to represent you and you will have to sign some further documents and provide an inventory of contents.

    This guide was written in 2009 – the facts were correct when the article was published. If you are considering importing a car please contact a professional as the proceedure and costs may have changed.

  4. Hi guys,

    I will live int Lanzarote, and I’m already a resident (since the end of Jan.). At Martch I’d like to bring my car (and other belongings) to the island. The only porblem is that, I don’t really understand the rules 🙂 So if I’m a “new” resident thank I’m allowed for a one time free importation ? But eaven I have to pay this registration (up to 200€) ?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    • Hi, you have a window ( we think a year) to ship in a car as a new resident. You have to show that you owned it for a while before you became a resident. And ys, you do have to pay to register it here and will have to do an ITV.

  5. Hi
    I am dutch,but live in pl many years and have a pl driving licence and residence.I live now half half and will get my gc residence in some weeks.I do not want to change my driving licence for a es one as this will be a problem in pl.as I am a pl resident also can I do so? And do I have a option to import a car without tax that is only 3 months mine on pl registration? I saw somewhere that for this you also need a es driving licence what sounds unlogic to me but there many unlogics in gc…

  6. How long can I have a uk registered vehicle in GC if I decide to drive there to take some items ,then if I feel it would be better to drive it back to the UK rather then register it there etc etc ,how long do I have ? Also because it’s a very powerful Jeep can anyone recommend an insurance company that could give me a quote please ?

  7. Hi, if driving down to Cadiz to catch the ferry with a car is having an NIE number for over 18 months enough to get discount on the ferry to Las Palmas ?

    • Hi, no it isn’t because the discount is only valid for Canary Islands residents. You need to be empadronado in a Canarian municipality and have a valid certificate issued by them that states that you are a Canarian resident.

  8. Hello there. Would really appreciate some help with my question. We are planing to buy a motorhome from Germany next month and bring it to Spain. One of us is Spanish nationality. We will bring it to Cadiz and do all the paper work for the Spanish plate. Then we are planing to move to canary island, las palmas. Will we be taxed heavily for this? How can we avoid this high tax? Should we go to Canary Islands and become residents 1st to avoid this tax? We have 2 vehicules to bring including the motorhome. Please help. Thank you.

    • Hi, you’d need to check this, but we think that new vehicles do get taxed as they are classed as an import rather than a personal posession.

  9. This might seem a stupid question, but im rather confused now. What if i buy a spanish car, already registered to Spain with ITV till 2019 (which i am thinking of buying) and drive that across, would i still need to pay importation tax or as the car is registered already in spain on spanish plates, its therefore okay?

  10. Hi, we are planning to move from Belgium to Gran Canaria. The plan is to drive by car to Cádiz and from there take the boat to Gran Canaria. Can we bring our car without paying taxes? It’s not a new car and we will become new residents of Gran Canaria. In that case i suppose we don’t have to pay taxes, correct? What do we have to do to avoid import taxes? Thank you for your advice!

  11. Thinking of driving my motor home over not sure on the tax and fees only had my 7 year motor home for 2 months and am thinking of staying to live if posible please as much information would really help us out.

    • Hi, you can bring it over for a few months but please check with a specialist driving forum as we aren’t sure of the detail and tax implications.

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