Must you carry ID when driving a car


Q. Can you clear up the issue of what documents you must carry with you in your car and produce when required by the Guardia Civil?

I have read that a driver in the Valencia region was stopped by the Guardia Civil and received a multa (fine) for not having his UK Passport and his Spanish Certificate of Residence in the car.

This means the original documents, not photocopies. I have not heard of this before. Is this indeed the law?

I now comply by carrying the documents but I must remove them when I return home as I don’t like to leave them in the car. And of course there are times when I forget.

R.W. (Costa del Sol)

A. The short answer to your question is that you must indeed carry with you at all times your passport and your Certificate of Registration as a foreign resident in Spain.  Let’s look at the issue by points.

1.  All Spanish citizens and foreigners are required to carry on them official identification.  For a Spaniard, this is his National Identity Document.

For a foreigner, it is the passport.

If the foreigner is a resident, he should present his Certificate of Registration, even though it is not sufficient identification on its own.

2.  The Spaniard cannot be fined for not carrying his DNI and the foreigner cannot be fined for not having his passport with him.

However, the police can require that the unidentified person accompany them to the police station to await proper identification.

3.  The Valencia driver was not fined because he did not have his passport.  He was almost certainly fined for not identifying the driver of a motor vehicle.

This is a provision in the traffic law because the radar photo devices on highways produce only the image of the vehicle’s licence plate.

When the fine is received in the post, the owner must identify the driver at the time of the infraction.

The Guardia Civil in the Valencia case were surely pushing it a little to fine the man in person.

And, no; a driving licence does not constitute official identification.



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