Spanish Car Registration Plates & Historic Plates

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Vehicle registration plates are the mandatory number plates used to display the registration mark of a vehicle, and have existed in Spain since 1900. Most motor vehicles which are used on public roads are required by law to display them. The government agency responsible for the registration and numbering of vehicles is the Directorate General of Traffic.

Colour plates

There are other plates with different background colours for trailers and the so-called “touristic plates”, provisory plates that allow foreigners to use a vehicle bought in Spain before registering it in their country. The trailer plates begin with the prefix R signifying remolque, the Spanish word for trailer, caravan or literally “on tow”. The tourist plates begin with the prefix P signifying provisional, usually issued to vehicles for export or until the registration process has been completed. They are sometimes seen on manufacturer’s prototypes. An additional series exists for historic vehicles with the prefix H followed by four numbers and four letters, making a nine-digit plate which can be difficult to fit onto some historic vehicles. Mopeds and microcars with cylinders under 50 cc were not required to have a national plate and town and city administration tax them and issued their own yellow plates.

Code Signified as Colour
C Mopeds and microcars Black on yellow
E Agricultural Red on white
H Historical Black on white
P Provisional White on green
R Remolque Black on red
S Temporary plates White on red
T Tourist plates Black on white
V Vehicle dealers White on red


Historic Plates


  1. Exemption from road tax
  2. ITV based on the characteristics of the vehicle. Inspection period adjusted for the age of the vehicle.
  3. The ability to keep the vehicle as manufactured by applying exemptions (Control emissions, noise etc.)
  4. Keep both the original registration and new Spanish plates.
  5. Low cost Insurance.

Car Requirements

  1. Cars that are 25 years old (From date of manufacture) Their components must be original (or as close as possible)]
  2. NIE/DNI
  3. Certificate of ‘Empadronamiento.’
  4. Money and lots of patience- (especially in August)


Limitations: – There are not limitations for a car registered after 40´s or 50´s. Some people think that historical plates may limit the use of a vehicle in Spain. That´s not correct. A classic or vintage car is limited only when it´s not able to be driven following traffic regulations. For example- “Imagine a vintage auto from the 20´s era with wood wheels and 50 kilometres per hour maximum speed. This kind of car is not ready to be driven in a highway, and if it hasn´t lights it´s not qualified to drive at night”.

If your car meets any of these requirements you may request the following documentation:

1.The previous inspection in an official laboratory accredited by the competent engineer appointed from the Junta (de Andalucía-or equivalent)

  1. Favourable resolution of the vehicle as historical documentation, issued by same relevant authority.
  2. Technical inspection prior to registration at a vehicle inspection station of the province of domicile of the applicant.
  3. And historic vehicle registration in the Provincial Traffic domiciled.






One thought on “Spanish Car Registration Plates & Historic Plates

    Derek Morgan said:
    28th November 2021 at 16:45

    Can a historic vehicle that is registered in Spain on a H plate, it was originally imported from Germany, be changed legally to a normal Spanish registration ?

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