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Andorra - Driving and Transportation

As in most European countries in Andorra traffic circulates on the right hand side of the road. You will need an EU or international driving licence and insurance green card. Car hire is available through local firms e.g. Avis & Hertz. A regular and inexpensive bus service of "clipols" connect the main towns and villages. Regular coach and jeep excursions are run to beauty spots throughout the Principality.

Once a foreigner has obtained a residencia and has registered with his Comú, he may import and register in his own name any number of cars. The first car he imports must be under 5 years old and thereafter any other cars must be under 3 years old. He must have been registered with the Comú for at least six months. An import duty of 7% of the book value of the car is payable when the car is officially "imported" and registration, plates etc. add another 130 Euros to the costs. New car prices must incorporate EU VAT charges if applicable, this affects Japanese and US cars. There is an annual licence fee which varies with the power (CV) of the vehicle. For non-residents MT (tourist) plates can be purchased.

As a foreigner here on a visit, that is without a residencia, you cannot register a new vehicle nor purchase a vehicle already registered, on regular Andorran licence plates, neither can you apply for an Andorran driving licence. However, you can register a car on Andorran tourist plates (see below) and until your residencia has been approved you may drive your foreign registered car in Andorra provided it is insured.

Your old insurance policy is probably not suitable for Andorra. Many insurers cover you on a green card but their nearest representatives are normally in Barcelona or Toulouse and can sometimes take up to six weeks to come up to Andorra to examine your damaged vehicle, during which time you cannot use the vehicle or start repairs. Also, foreign insurers are chary about giving permanent green cards (British Composite Insurers particularly so) and may decline a claim if you have not been entirely honest with them e.g. concerning your place of residence. The disadvantage is that the local insurance rates are considerably higher than in other countries due to young persons in high powered BMWs, Golf GTIs etc. Previous no-claims bonuses are not accepted here. There is no problem with insuring a foreign registered vehicle in Andorra.

Those who cannot wait to have a vehicle registered on Andorran plates have two alternatives. The first is to register under MT (tourist) plates. This is expensive as you have to pay 7% import duty on acquiring the plates and another 7% when you switch to normal plates and on top you pay 60 Euros per annum fee to the government. The second is to register the vehicle in the name of an Andorran company.

If you have a residencia your car can be registered in your own name but the vehicle must not be more than FIVE years old; or if you have a 'vintage' car it must be over THIRTY years old. This may be a car that you have purchased here or one that you bought in your previous place of residence. You must have owned the vehicle for at least six months prior to being granted your residencia. When registering the car there is an initial 7% import duty payable on the book value of the vehicle and the licensing department charges 176.13 Euros for the yellow card (log book). The registration plates are purchased separately from the Andorra Automobil Club for a one off cost of 35.50 Euros. The yellow card has to be renewed annually and the charge is 24 Euros per year until such time as you have been resident ten consecutive years when you no longer have to renew your yellow card or carta groga.

Some tax-free export countries such as Denmark, Belgium & Holland can offer better prices on some cars than those available in Andorra. However, you must allow for a 10% VAT charge payable to the French customs as well as the Andorran duty of 7%. The 10% VAT can be reclaimed provided the car originates from within the EU, i.e. Japanese and American manufactured cars are not exempt.

The Andorran duty payable on any new registration is 7% of the invoice value, or book value if not a new car.

Please note that caravans, trailers and other tractable units have to be registered separately.

When arranging the registration of a motor vehicle the vehicle must be tested (TVI), the documentation completed with the customs and registration department and the number plates have to be collected from the Automobile Club and fitted.

As far as driving any vehicle in Andorra is concerned, you are permitted to drive those vehicles for which you are licensed in your country of origin (or where you hold your current licence) IN MOST CASES, in other words any signatory country of the International Convention 1949. A glaring exception to this rule is the United States, so if you hold one of these licences you will need to clarify your position. This rule will continue to apply for as long as you stay in Andorra, unless you apply for a residencia.

Persons holding a residencia are obliged to apply for an Andorran Driving Licence which will be exchanged for your current Driving Licence. You must do this within six months of obtaining the residencia permit (NOT the receipt for the application). We recommend that before you do this, you apply for a copy of your current driving licence. It is always useful to have two licences! A brief medical test is required but normally you will not be required to take a driving test.

If you are driving in Spain and France in a vehicle which is not registered in your name you must have a Permit signed by the owner. This is obtainable from the Andorran Automobile Club. You must also check that you have a valid green card for the country in which you are touring; Morocco and Tunisia carry restrictions for Andorran card holders.

You are warned that on the spot fines are imposed in Andorra. Common offences are: crossing a continuous white line, speeding, having faulty lights and not carrying spare bulbs, and not having headlights on when passing through the La Massana tunnels.

Public Transport To/From Barcelona

1. Share-Taxi Service

There are a number of private taxis operating a daily service, except Sundays and public holidays, to and from Barcelona. Broadly speaking there are two types of service, the schedule service and the special service. The schedule service operates Mon-Sat incl. and departs Andorra and Barcelona simultaneously at 8am returning at 3pm. Each taxi takes four passengers plus limited luggage (1 suitcase + 1 hand-bag). The base charge is 25 Euros. The trip takes 3 hours depending upon clear roads. The driver will pick you up at your home/hotel (central location only) and deposit you in central Barcelona. The 8am service from Barcelona is provided by Spanish taxis which operate a complimentary service. There is an additional charge for delivery to the airport for example, or pick-up from outlying areas in Andorra e.g. El Serrat or Soldeu. Extra baggage must be declared on booking and an additional charge may be made. The taxis will not pick up from the airport on the schedule service. The special service is available for people who wish to travel outside schedule times and are prepared to take the whole taxi for themselves. They can also designate pick-up and drop-off points and take as much luggage as they wish. The cost is 150 Euros.

2. Novatel Mini-Bus Service

This company operates daily services, including Sundays and holidays, from Andorra la Vella to Barcelona airport. Cost is 28 Euros per person (30 Euros for pick-up or drop-off at La Massana/Ordino). You must book in advance.

Depart Andorra for Barcelona 5am, 8am, 12.30pm and 3.15pm.

Depart Barcelona for Andorra 10.30am, 1pm, 5pm and 5.45pm.

Pick-up point is 50m north (turn right) on leaving Terminal "A" building or north (turn left) from Terminal "B". Take your trolley.

A new Andorra-Toulouse (Blagnac) Airport service has been launched and operates twice daily, leaving Andorra 5.30am and 2pm, leaving Toulouse 10am and 6.30pm. 28 Euros single and 54 Euros return.

3. Schedule Bus Service

ALSINA GRAELLS S.A.: This company runs a bus to Barcelona daily from the depot in Avenida Tarragona, Andorra la Vella. The trip takes 4 hours. The cost of a ticket each way is 15 Euros. Departure from Andorra is at 7am and 2:30pm from Avenida Tarragona Bus Station. Departure from Barcelona is 6:30am and 3pm from Estacio del Nord, Carrer Ali Bey.

Please note that the above times shown are subject to change without notice.

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