Spain Explained

What is a vado in Spain?

Last updated on September 13th, 2019 at 09:09 am.

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.

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Doreen Hassett

26 March, 2017 5:35 pm

if i obtain a vado to hang on
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

Suzanne O'Connell

28 March, 2017 8:08 am

Dear Doreen

Dear Doreen

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


21 May, 2017 12:07 pm

Actually I know of a few
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.

Suzanne O'Connell

23 May, 2017 7:20 am

Thank you Cass. That’s useful

Thank you Cass. That's useful to know. 

Rachel Bingham

21 May, 2022 8:04 pm

I made an appointment to apply for a Vado, but was told I could do it online through the torrevieja town hall website,I can’t work out how to do it.


30 September, 2023 4:04 pm

I found the comments above quite interesting, especially the rules regarding roundabouts. My question is, if you are supposed to drive around the roundabout in the right hand lane, why have 2 lanes?

When approaching a roundabout if you happen to be in the left hand lane are you supposed move into to the right-hand lane and not use the left hand-lane? If everyone did this it would create long tailbacks in the right-hand lane.

So my thinking on this subject is, if you do join the roundabout in left-hand lane you could spend a long time going round and round and getting no where.

Oscar Paoli

3 October, 2023 7:42 am

Dear Eve,

Thank you for your interesting observations and questions regarding roundabouts. I can understand the confusion, and I’d like to clarify how roundabouts work in many countries, including those with two lanes.

While it is true that, in some places, the right lane is designated for right turns and straight-ahead movements, and the left lane is typically for left turns and U-turns, there are scenarios where you might enter the roundabout from the left lane. The primary reasons for having two lanes on a roundabout are as follows:

1. Traffic Flow: In situations of heavy traffic, accidents or multiple lanes leading to the roundabout, both lanes provide flexibility and help to manage the flow of vehicles more efficiently.

2. Choice: Depending on the exit you intend to take, you may need to enter the roundabout from the left lane. For example, if you plan to make a left turn or a U-turn, it’s appropriate to use the left lane and then transfer to the right lane to exit when it corresponds.

Entering a roundabout in the left lane doesn’t necessarily mean going in circles endlessly. As long as you choose the appropriate lane based on your destination and safely navigate to your desired exit, you should be able to move through the roundabout smoothly.

I hope this clarifies some of your questions about roundabouts, and I encourage you to always drive safely and in accordance with local traffic regulations.

Best regards,

Ábaco Advisers


13 March, 2024 1:29 pm

I live in a gated community we have Vado and signs up at each end but resident still park in the street blocking private drives and problem getting in and out of our drive ways as it’s a community road the president says there is nothing he’s going to do does the Vado mean we can stop resident from blocking driveway or stop them parking in the street. or is there another law we can use to stop this from happening

Oscar Paoli

14 March, 2024 2:43 pm

Thank you for reaching out, if you have a Vado and someone parks blocking the entrance, you may call the police and have them take the vehicle.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Rosemary Freeman

4 June, 2024 7:09 pm

If I obtain a Vado to stop someone in particular blocking access to my driveway and garage am I able to park there myself and can anyone park there with my permission such as a builder or a visitor to my house?

Oscar Paoli

4 June, 2024 8:17 pm

Thank you for your inquiry.

The owner of a permanent Vado cannot park in the designated access area since the permit grants them the right of passage, but not ownership of the public roadway. The designated area must remain unobstructed at all times.

If you have any further questions or need assistance with the Vado application process, please feel free to contact us.

Best regards,

Ábaco Advisers