What is a vado in Spain?

Spanish Law Thu, 25 Sep 2014
What is a vado in Spain?

You’ll have seen the signs on the outside of walls - a circle with a line through it that seems to appear at every spot where you want to park. The ‘Vado’ sign is usually found outside garages, entrances to drive ways and other places where, if you parked, you would block access.  

The ‘vado permanente’ includes a municipal licence number and means that parking is prohibited. Vehicles parked in front of one might be towed away. Vados are generally respected, the threat of paying to have your car released from the local pound acts as a powerful disincentive.

What you might not realise is that the vado isn’t just a public service notice.

Applying for a vado

In order to obtain a vado you must pay a fee annually to the local council. In order to ensure that your garage or entrance is free from obstruction, it’s a good idea. It also allows you, officially, to cross the pavement in order to drive your own vehicle into your driveway.

However, here is where some problems have been encountered.

Crossing the pavement

There have been situations in the past where ramps onto the main road were built by the property developer. For years residents may have been blissfully unaware of the possibility that they might be required to have a ‘vado’ until receiving a letter from the town hall.

This letter informs the property owner that they must pay for a vado annually because they have access to the road over a pavement. Where this is the case then the town council are within their rights to require payment for this privilege. In some cases back payments have also been demanded for the years when home owners have not been paying.

What happens if you don’t pay?

In some areas, people have been warned that if they do not purchase a vado officially then the council will replace the ramp with a higher pavement and charge the home owner for the pleasure.

In practice this has not always happened. There are areas where some home owners have chosen to pay for a vado and others have not but no pavements have been raised in either case.

There are also other examples where the council, during rejuvenation of an area, has replaced pavements at a higher level than previously.

The result being that those not in possession of a vado have found themselves unable to enter their driveway. Some home owners continue to take the risk and have ignored the warning letters whilst others have paid.  

In the meantime, whether you need a vado personally or not, remember to stay well clear of the places where they’re positioned if you don’t want to have your vehicle towed away.


if i obtain a vado to hang on my gate in front of my driveway is it possible for me to park in front of my gates if I should say be popping in the house for an hour or so - will the police if they see me parked there just tow me away or do they only tow away if I report a car blocking my drive. thank you

Dear Doreen

It is possible that they might do this but it is very unlikely unless you have called to report the car. 

Actually I know of a few people who've been caught out by this. I don't know how long they were parked there for but they parked in front of their own Vado, didn't report a thing, and their car was towed.

Thank you Cass. That's useful to know. 

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