How to get the Emissions Sticker for your car!

by Lorraine Williamson
emissions sticker

MADRID – All cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants will have to introduce a low-emission zone (LEZ) this year. All drivers in these areas must display an Emissions Sticker on their vehicle while circulating within these zones.

Large cities such as Barcelona or Madrid already have them to combat air pollution. Furthermore, about 25 million people will be affected by the measure. 

In advance of all such areas in Spain putting their processes in place, and determining their LEZs, it is a good idea to obtain an Emissions Sticker for your car. It is also better to have it in case on a road trip, you inadvertently enter one of these zones.

What is the Emissions Sticker?

Municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and island territories will adopt sustainable urban mobility plans. This will introduce mitigation measures that make it possible to reduce emissions derived from mobiity.

The Sticker, or Environmental Badge, corresponds to one of the following categories published by the DGT;

Vehicles with zero emissions (blue sticker)
  • Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV)
  • Extended Range Electric Vehicles (REEV)
  • Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) with a minimum range of 40 km
  • Fuel cell vehicles
ECO (green and blue sticker)
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles with a range of less than 40km
  • Non-plug-in hybrid vehicles (HEV)
  • Vehicles powered by natural gas
  • Vehicles powered by natural gas (CNG and LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
C (green sticker)
  • Non-plug-in hybrid vehicles (HEV)
  • Vehicles powered by natural gas
  • Vehicles powered by natural gas (CNG and LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
B (yellow sticker)
  • Gasoline passenger cars and light vans registered from January 2001
  • Passenger cars and light diesel vans registered from January 2006
  • Vehicles with more than 8 seats and heavy, both gasoline and diesel, registered from 2006

The inclusion of a vehicle in one of the categories is determined by the fuel used and the level of emissions recorded in the Vehicle Registry of the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT)

Where do I display my Badge?

The location of the environmental badge should be on the lower right hand corner of the windscreen (as you look out) if available or in any visible place of the vehicle.

In this way, the relevant authorities will be able to easily identify the environmental category to which your vehicle belongs. Furthermore, where appropriate, it may allow you to enjoy an advantage or incentive provided at any time. For more information, visit the DGT website.

How do I get my Emissions Sticker?

There are various physical places and online that you can go to to get your Emissions Sticker, but the process is the same. Here we look at how to buy it from Correos (the Spanish post office).

Visit your local post office and ask for the Distintivo Ambiental (Emissions Sticker). You will need to provide your vehicle registration number, and show your personal identification number, and the permiso de circulacion (permission to circulate) green document which is given when your car passes its ITV (MOT).

The process takes a few minutes, and €5 later, you can leave with your new Emissions Sticker.

Emergency Beacon (V16)

While at the post office, you may also consider purchasing an Emergency Beacon (V16).

Currently, it is a requirement for drivers to ensure they carry the emergency warning triangles in their vehicles to use in case of breakdown or accident on the road. However, soon this will be replaced by an emergency beacon.

The emergency beacon is seen more clearly than the triangles. Moreover, it has the added advantage of not having to leave your vehicle while placing it. Every year, there are many people run over while placing the triangles outside their vehicle.

The DGT states that with the purpose of advancing in the field of road safety and the reduction of accidents, the V16 device was born. It is a small yellow beacon that is equipped with connectivity and can emit a high intensity 360º light intermittently and continuously for at least 30 minutes. It incorporates a cell or battery with a useful life of a minimum of 18 months, regardless of whether it is rechargeable or not.

Cogesa Expats

The beacon must be carried in the glove compartment of your vehicle. And, in the event of a breakdown or accident, it can be activated it in a matter of seconds. Preferably it should be placed on the roof of the vehicle. At that time, in addition to issuing the warning light, those beacons with geolocation, will connect to the DGT 3.0 platform to transmit its location in real time and notify other road users of the situation.

Currently, you can use the emergency triangle or a basic V16. However, the connected V16 will be the ONLY legal hazard warning device from January 1, 2026.


The DGT sets out the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Emergency Beacon

Where should it be kept?

The device should be stored in the glove compartment, accessible and charged.

Where should it be placed?

In the highest possible part of the immobilised vehicle to guarantee its maximum visibility. The specifications on its design require that it can be kept stable on a flat surface; but, if due to the height it is not possible to access the roof of the vehicle, the V16 device must be equipped with some means, such as a magnet, that allows it to be placed on the driver’s door.

Does the V16 have to be connected with DGT 3.0?

Since January 2023, connected lights have started to be sold, however, connectivity will not be mandatory until January 1, 2026. Until then, the traditional triangles or basic V16 beacons can continue to be used without connecting.

Why is it better to buy a connected V16?

Models with and without connection can currently coexist. However, the objective of connectivity is to communicate the activation, deactivation and geopositioning of the signal to the national access point in terms of traffic and mobility. This information will be sent every 100 seconds until the deactivation communication is sent. Therefore, buying a connected device from the outset has several advantages:

In the event of an accident or breakdown, the DGT will be able to receive the coordinates of your position. That will help them protect you by informing approaching vehicles that  there is an accident ahead.

How will other drivers know that I have had an accident?

The light beam will make you visible from 1 km away. In addition, if the beacon is equipped with connectivity, the rest of the vehicles will receive the information on the accident or breakdown through browsers, mobility applications or on-board computers. For their part, drivers of old vehicles or those without this type of technology will be able to find out about the incident through the Variable Message Panels on our roads.

How do I pay for connectivity? How many years of connectivity do I have?

The device will integrate inside its casing all the elements necessary for its operation, including communications, without having to resort to external elements such as mobile phone applications or similar. Regarding the duration of the service, the legislation establishes a minimum connectivity availability of 12 years, the cost of which is already included in the sale price of the V16. Therefore, you will not have to pay any type of additional fee. Of course, it is important to observe the expiration date. you will find printed both on the packaging and on the device itself.

Are all V16s that are advertised as connected really connected? Are they valid?

No. Only the brands and models published in the Certified Brands and Models section are those that have passed the certification process in designated laboratories and, therefore, comply with the provisions of ANNEX XI “SIGNS ON VEHICLES” of Royal Decree 2822/1998, of December 23, which approves the General Vehicle Regulations. Keep in mind that the V16 danger pre-signaling devices will be used exclusively for the visibility of the accident vehicle and the referral of its location to the General Directorate of Traffic, so that they cannot incorporate additional functionalities.

The post office has an offer to include a basic beacon and the Emissions Sticker

BASIC de 3e complies with current security regulations and, in addition to receiving it with a free battery, if you buy it through the Post Office network you will get a discount voucher with which you can recover 100% of what you paid (VAT not included) when you purchase the future mandatory GEOLOCATED Beacon.

By purchasing the BalizaBasic through the post office, the purchase amount can be recovered (with the exception of the VAT) when future geolocatable beacons are available. To do this, you must access the Baliza website and enter the data request on the form that will appear on the screen. The Baliza Basic Postal invoice includes the necessary data to complete the registration correctly.

Then, when the new geolocated beacon is available, an email will be sent to you with a discount voucher so you can purchase it at the best price.

The cost of the Emissions Sticker and the basic Emergency Beacon (V16) from Correos (post office) is €24.90. Prices elsewhere may vary slightly.

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