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NAVSTA Rota Menu


FDNF Rota - Moving to Rota Q&A

Preparing to Move - Frequently Asked Questions

Q1:      What is the process for obtaining an overseas drivers license?
A:         Applications for Spanish driver’s licenses will be made at the Pass and I.D. section of the NAVSTA Rota Security Department; Applicant is at least 18 years of age. You will need a valid stateside driver’s license.  You will obtain a regular Spanish driver’s license at no cost to you.  It takes approximately two weeks to get the Spanish license.  You and your family members may drive legally in Spain by obtaining an official Spanish translation of your stateside driver’s license from the Security Department.

Q2:      Will the Navy pay to ship my vehicle back to the U.S. when I transfer from DONALD COOK or separate from the NAVY?
A:         Yes, but only one, and you cannot ship a European spec car back to CONUS.

Q3:      How does the process for shipping vehicles work? How long will I be without a car in the US and how will I receive my vehicle in Rota?
A:         The process of shipping a vehicle from Virginia to Rota should start through the VPC (Vehicle Processing Center) in Norfolk. Estimated time of shipping a vehicle from the US to Rota is 45 days.

Q4:      Do I need to keep Euro on me in case I get a ticket out in town?
A:         Yes, if you get a ticket out in town you must pay in Euros (other option is paying the ticket using a credit card).

Q5:      What kind of tags/registration is needed?
A:         You will need Spanish tags/registration. Security Department will help you in the process to change your US plates by Spanish plates.

Q6:      How does auto insurance work in Spain
A:         You can buy POV insurance from legally established Spanish or U.S. companies in Spain after your arrival.  If you wish to retain your current insurance, contact your insurance agent before you move.  You’ll need an International Certificate of Vehicle Insurance (green card). Please note: Spanish companies require you to pay for the year not month-to-month

Q7:      How much does a Spanish insurance company require in order to be insured?
A:         Vehicle owners must have a third-party liability insurance policy with the following coverage to either operate or register a vehicle: bodily injury, liability minimum of €450,000.00 per accident and property damage minimum of €150,000.00 per accident.

Q8:      Do you use base stickers?
A:         Gates are maintained by Spanish marine security and require use of special identification, plus a vehicle pass, to enter and exit.

Q9:      How many vehicles can I get passes for?
A:         No limitation. You will obtain vehicle passes for all your vehicles properly registered with the Security Department.

Q10:    I heard I have to buy an EU vehicle as my second car, if I buy a car made in Germany, does that count as my second vehicle or does it count as an import?
A:         If you buy a car made in Germany, it will be your second vehicle, it is not considered as an import. The only prerequisite is that you MUST buy the vehicle IN SPAIN thru a Spanish official car dealer.

Q11:    Do I have to pay a transfer fee if I buy a vehicle in Spain?
A:         Yes, you have to pay a transfer fee if you buy a vehicle in Spain. The amount of the fee depends on the kind of vehicle you are buying. The price can range from €60 to €150.

Q12:    Our vehicle is registered in both our names with and between our names, do I need it to be changes to or?
A:         Import vehicles in Spain can be registered ONLY under the sponsor’s name, so, if the sponsor’s name corresponds to one of the names included in the US registration it is not necessary to change anything in the US registration.  

Q13:    Do I need a special power of attorney to pick up my vehicle?
A:         Yes, you will need a general power of attorney (if you are a family member) to pick up your sponsor’s vehicle.

Q14:    My car is new and does not have a license plate yet, can I ship it to Spain?
A:         Yes, a vehicle without a license plate can be shipped to Spain. However, vehicles arriving directly from the United States with a current stateside registration and license plates are issued a 45-day import permit (referred to as a “conduce”) by Spanish Customs, which will legalize the operation of the vehicle in Spain while a Spanish registration is processed. Vehicles with either expired “conduces,” no registration document, expired or invalid registrations or expired plates will not be released to their owners, nor operated until Spanish registration is obtained.

Q15:    I’m coming from an area where they took my license plate, will I have any trouble driving my car in Spain without a license plate? If so, what do I need to do before I arrive?
A:         Your vehicle must have a license plate, not the dealer plate, in order to ship it here.  If you are moving from another overseas installation and no longer possess your license plate you must request a new plate.  If you purchased a new vehicle or previously relinquished your license plate you must obtain a license plate to drive the vehicle here in Spain. It can take two to four weeks for you to be issued a European license plate. Please contact your motor vehicle facility in the state of your vehicle registration to obtain a license plate prior to arriving in Spain.

Q16:    What types of cars are primarily available?
A:         Small with manual stick shift transmissions.  Mainly cars manufactured in Spain: Ford, Renault, Peugeot and Seat.

Q17:    Do I have to parallel park everywhere?
A:         It depends on the area. In some of them you can find parallel parking and in others angled parking.

Q18:    Are there parking garages?
A:         Yes.

Q19:    I heard you can’t drive down most of the streets in Spain unless you own a tiny car, is that true?
A:         Most streets you will not have a problem driving down but in older parts of towns the roads are narrow so a large dully truck or Hummer may have a hard time.

Currently there are more than 4K vehicles registered in Spain to U.S. service members. Among others, we have the following makes and models registered in Rota Naval Station: Chevrolet Silverado, Kia Sorrento, Jeep Grand Cherokee and as far as we know, their owners have not any problems driving these vehicles in Spain.

Q20:    I want to bring my truck, can I? If so, will I be able to drive it off base?
A:         Yes, you are authorized to import ONE vehicle from the US, it doesn’t matter the body style of the vehicle, in fact, there are a lot of different trucks registered on Base, such as: Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Silverado, Hummer H3, Dodge Dakota, Ford F150.

Q21:    Is there a lemon lot on base: common known as a resale lot. The purpose of the Lemon Lot is to help the military buy or sell their vehicles within the military community with no hassles, scams, or fraud.
A:         Yes.

Q22:    Can I buy a used vehicle off base? If so, do I need anything special to buy one?
A:         Yes, you can buy vehicles off base. You will need your Spanish driver’s license and the NIE: The NIE Number is issued by the National Police of Spain and in accordance to Spanish law is required for the purchase or sale of any real estate, vehicle, or boat within Spain

Q23:    What is a NIE?
A:         An NIE (foreigner identification number) is required for many different reasons such as: renting a house, opening a Spanish bank accounts, utilities hook up, registering a Spanish second-hand vehicle, contracts for cell phones or Internet at home.  This number is assigned to all requestors by Spanish National Police.  Request and obtain this through NAVSTA Rota’s security department.


Preparing to Move - Q&A

Q1:      Are passports and Visas needed for the move to Rota?
A:         Active duty military are not required to have a passport, however, travel to other locations in Europe and Africa requires a passport. Dependents and civilians are required to have a no fee passport, unless planning to make private/personal trips, then you will need a tourist passport.
For additional questions on clearances, visit:

Q2:      How long does it take to apply AND receive my passport/visa?
A:         Passports are processed by the on base passport agent then sent to Madrid for issuance, the whole process takes 4 - 6 weeks.

Q3:      How will I move all of our personal items to Rota?
A:         You will setup a pack out using the DPS system.  A company will receive a contract to pick up your HHG and express shipments, and you will have an option of putting some items into non-temporary storage (NTS).

Q4:      What types of pack outs are available (HHG, UB, NTS)?
A:         Household Goods (HHG), Unaccompanied Baggage (UB), Agreement on Defense Cooperation (ADC), Housing Service Center (HSC) Non-temporary Storage (NTS), and American Forces Network (AFN).

Q5:      What if I arrive in Spain and don’t have enough space for my stuff, will the government store it for me?
A:         If you live on base, yes.  If you live out in town, no.  Single E-4 and below are not to ship HHG as they will live on-base.

Q6:      How can we be assured that our personal belongings will arrive safely in Rota and will be kept in safe storage until we are able to get a place of our own? 
A:         The process is a proven one that is highly reliable and successful.  Your items should arrive safely and will be kept safe until you secure quarters.   There are instances, in rare cases, when items are missing or damaged.  Should any of your items be damaged during packing, shipping or storage, there is a process for filing claims.

Q7:      What storage options are available off base?
A:         There are private company storage options off base, but they vary in cost and must be secured and paid for by the member.

Q8:      How long does it take for my household goods (HHG) to arrive?
A:         It will take approximately 50 - 60 days to receive your personal property from the East Coast of the United States.

Q9:      How long does it take for my Unaccompanied Baggage (UB) to arrive?
A:         Transit from the East Coast takes approximately 30 days.

Q10:    Can household goods be shipped in plastic totes? 
A:         Yes, you can put items in totes, but they will be boxed and shipped with the rest of the HHG.

Q11:    If I put something into NTS and later decide I want it, can I have it shipped here?
A:         Yes, but it must be received no later than six months after arrival in Spain.

Q12:    How many months should I plan ahead?
A:         Six to eight months.

Q13:    Is there a suggested timeline to complete household goods/housing paperwork?
A:         Start as soon as the Homeport Certificate is available and you know what dates you want to ship your HHGs.  A few months ahead of pack out are always a good rule of thumb. 

Q14:    How long does it take to fly to Rota/are there any direct flights?
A:         Commercial flights from Norfolk, Va. to Madrid, Spain are about six and a half hours. A connecting flight to our closest airport, Jerez de la Frontera is about one hour.  Military AMC Patriot Express flights are seven hours from Norfolk, Va. directly to Naval Station Rota, Spain. The Patriot Express arrives once every two weeks.

Q15:    Do we have to pay for our own transportation to Rota/what airlines do we use?
A:         NAVPTO will prepare all flights and charge it to the transfer orders.  Taxis are paid by the traveler but claimed on the travel claim when filed.

Q16:    If my PRD doesn’t meet the requirements, can I pay for moving my family over to Rota on my own? 
A:         You could technically, but this would be cost prohibitive in most cases.  And it would not mean your family members would be command sponsored or not. That is a separate issue.

Q17:    How long will HHGs be placed in temporary storage while we find a place to live? 
A:         90 days, with another 90 days being available upon request.  Generally, it will not take that long to secure a place to live.

Q18:    How do I get a sponsor?
A:         One will be assigned to you by your chain of command.

Q19:    What pet breeds are allowed?
A:         Dangerous dogs in Spain include the following breeds and cross breeds: Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, Argentino Dogo, Fila Brisilerio, Tosa Ina, and Akita Inu. On base German Shepherds, Chow Chows, Boxers, any wolf hybrid and any dog with these breeds in their lineage (crosses) are considered dangerous. Rules for dangerous animals are 1) License them and 2) register them.

Q20:    I understand the rotator doesn’t have a lot of pet space, how many slots are there?
A:         Pet space on this flight is shared between the four serviced locations; the maximum pet allowance is 10 in cargo spaces and three in the cabin. If living in on-base housing you are limited to a maximum of two pets (defined as dogs and/or cats) with no limit on size.

Q21:    What is the average cost to ship my dog/cat to Spain commercially?
A:         The price varies between airlines and shipping companies. On the AMC Patriot Express the price to ship a pet is between $115 and $350 per pet depending on weight.

Q22:    What kind of vaccinations do our pets need, if any at all?
A:         A 10 digit or 15 digit microchip, certificate of health for the EU, and rabies shots (Parts V, VI or VII).

Q23:    What kind of quarantine regulations does Rota have?
A:         There is no quarantine regulations.

Q24:    Can I take my vehicle AND motorcycle with me?
A:         No, it is not possible.  All active duty military personnel and DoD civilian employees in receipt of PCS orders to Spain are entitled to import one privately owned vehicle (POV), free from all Spanish duties and taxes, and a motorcycle is considered a vehicle.

Q25:    Do I need different/special driver’s license for my vehicles?
A:         U.S. military, DoD civilian employees and their family members assigned to Spain on PCS orders MUST be in possession of a Spanish driver’s license to operate and/or register a vehicle in Spain.


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