Barcelona Low Emission Zone: Everything You Need To Know

The Barcelona Low Emission Zone (Catalan: Zona de Baixes Emisions) was introduced in 2020 to reduce the adverse effects of vehicle emissions on the health of Barcelona residents.

Access to the Barcelona Low Emission Zone is restricted from Monday to Friday between seven am and eight pm. During this time, vehicles entering the area must have an environmental label issued by the DGT. Owners of foreign-registered vehicles must register their vehicles with the AMB before arrival.

Older and more polluting vehicles can apply for a temporary permit valid for twenty-four hours. Drivers who enter the ZBE in a vehicle that doesn’t have an environmental label or hasn’t registered correctly may be fined up to €200. The only exceptions are the main Barcelona ring roads which are exempt.

Cars, vans and trucks on Barcelona's ring roads
Barcelona’s ring roads are exempt from the ZBE restrictions

How the ZBE Low Emissions Zone works

The idea of the ZBE is to improve the city’s air quality and improve the health and quality of life of residents. This is done by restricting the movement of older and more polluting vehicles using a system introduced by the DGT (the Spanish transport ministry), whereby vehicles are issued with an environmental label corresponding to the levels of exhaust emissions that they produce.

Vehicles manufactured after the year 2000, in the case of gasoline cars and motorbikes, and 2006, in the case of diesel cars and vans, are issued with one of four labels based on European emissions legislation. Lorries, trucks, buses, and coaches manufactured from 2006 onwards also have similar labels.

Older vehicles that haven’t been issued with an environmental label can not enter the ZBE from Monday to Friday between seven am and eight pm, except for public holidays*.

Foreign registered vehicles must register with the ATM (Municipal Transport Authority) before arrival in Barcelona using this form. It currently costs €7 to register a car. The permit may take up to fifteen days to be processed, so you should apply at least three weeks before arrival.

Once registered, gasoline cars that comply with Euro III emissions regulations, Diesel cars, vans and lorries which comply with Euro IV emissions regulations and motorbikes which comply with Euro II emissions regulations are allowed to enter the ZBE at any time.

*Older and more polluting vehicles can apply for a one-day pass to enter the city, which costs €5 or €6 depending on the type of vehicle. A vehicle may only be issued with a maximum of ten one-day passes per year.

Left it until the last minute?

If you will be arriving in Barcelona within the next few days and have only just heard about the Low Emissions Zone, you should go ahead and register your vehicle using the link above.

Once registered online, you can get the registration approved immediately by calling the ZBE Helpline on +34 930 333 555; lines are open from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 2 pm.

The line is initially answered by a recorded message in Catalan which asks you to select Catalan, Spanish or English by dialling 1, 2 or 3, respectively.

Once you’ve dialled 3, you will be put through to an English-speaking operator who will manually check and approve your application so that you can drive in the Low Emissions Zone straight away.

Map of the ZBE, Barcelona Low Emission Zone

Map of the Barcelona Low Emission Zone
Map of the Barcelona Low Emission Zone, courtesy of l’Ajuntament de Barcelona

Barcelona Low Emission Zone FAQs

Which towns are included in the ZBE?

The Barcelona Low Emissions Zone or ZBE covers an area of approximately ninety-five square kilometres, which includes the entire city of Barcelona plus L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Sant Adrià de Besòs and parts of Espluges de Llobregat and Cornellà.

How much does it cost to enter the Barcelona ZBE?

Unlike the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone, there is no fee to enter the Barcelona Low Emissions Zone. Vehicles that don’t meet the relevant emissions regulations or haven’t applied for a special permit simply aren’t allowed to enter at certain times of the day.

Foreign vehicles must register with the local transport authority, which costs €7.

Does the ZBE Low Emission Zone apply to foreign vehicles?

Both Spanish and Foreign registered vehicles must comply with the Barcelona Low Emission Zone restrictions.

Spanish-registered vehicles are issued with a so-called DGT Environmental Label, which is displayed on the vehicle’s windscreen.

Foreign registered vehicles must register with the AMB before arriving in the city. The fine for non-compliance is currently €200.

How can I register my vehicle for the Barcelona ZBE?

You can register your vehicle on the Metropolitan Transport Authority website here.

During the registration process, you are asked to provide documental proof that your vehicle complies with the relevant emissions legislation, as well as proof of ownership and your home address.

If your vehicle doesn’t comply with the emissions limits, you can still apply for a one-day pass. The passes cost €5 or €6 per day, depending on the type of vehicle.

If you prefer, you can apply by post using this form.

Which vehicles are affected by the Barcelona Low Emission Zone?

When the ZBE is in effect, all vehicles entering the city must either have an environmental label or be registered with the local authorities as described above.

Generally speaking, gasoline cars and motorbikes registered after the year 2000 and diesel cars, vans, RVs, lorries, coaches and buses registered after 2006 are allowed to circulate in the Barcelona Low Emissions zone at any time.

Older vehicles must apply for a special permit that will enable them to drive in the city for twenty-four hours.

Vehicle displaying the environmental label for entering in the Barcelona ZBE Low emission zone
DGT environmental label

How much is the fine for driving in the ZBE in a vehicle that isn’t registered?

The fine for driving in the Barcelona Low Emissions Zone in a vehicle that doesn’t have an environmental label or hasn’t been registered with the ATM is €200. This can typically be reduced to €100 if you pay within twenty days of receiving the fine.

Which vehicles are exempt from the ZBE Low emissions zone?

Vehicles that have been adapted for transporting people with reduced mobility, as well as emergency services vehicles and hearses, can apply for an exemption here.

Are rental cars exempt from the ZBE?

The ZBE regulations apply to rental vehicles. However, since rental cars are seldom more than one or two years old, you will not have to pay anything to drive in Barcelona when renting a vehicle in Spain.

Suppose you visit Barcelona with a vehicle you rented in another European country. In that case, you should contact the rental company to see whether they will register the vehicle as described above. Most rental companies charge extra if you want to drive their cars in another country.

Can lorries and coaches drive in the Barcelona Low Emission Zone?

Lorries, coaches and camper vans based on a C1 truck chassis that meet Euro IV emissions legislation are allowed to circulate in Barcelona when the ZBE is in effect, Monday to Friday between seven am and eight pm.

Foreign-registered vehicles must register online at the AMB website before arriving in Barcelona. Spanish-registered vehicles are required to have an environmental label which is issued by the DGT.

Older vehicles may apply for a one-day pass which costs €6.

Is Barcelona Ferry Terminal within the ZBE?

Barcelona’s ferry port is inside the ZBE Low Emissions Zone. If you are travelling in a foreign-registered vehicle, you should register it with the local authorities before arrival.

My vehicle has an environmental sticker issued by my home country. Do I still need to register?

Yes, all foreign registered vehicles need to be registered with the AMB before arrival in Barcelona, as described above. This includes vehicles which have a sticker that allows them to drive in LEZs in the country where they are registered.

In 2023 the Spanish traffic authority, the DGT, announced that they recognize equivalent environmental stickers issued by other EU member states. They even went as far as to publish these tables, which correlate the Spanish labels with stickers issued by other countries. However, when I called the ZBE Helpline, they told me that even if a foreign-registered vehicle has a sticker which is recognised by the DGT, it still needs to be registered before driving in the ZBE.

I’ve registered my foreign vehicle to drive in Barcelona, am I entitled to drive in the LEZ in other Spanish cities?

The official ATM website states the following:

To facilitate the unification and access of foreign vehicles in other low-emission areas of Spain, it has been agreed with the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) to share the database of foreign vehicles that authorize it. In this way, users will be able to access the ZBE that is established in coordination with the DGT if they have authorized the AMB to communicate their data.

So it seems that as long as you authorise the AMB to share your data, once your vehicle has been registered in Barcelona, you are OK to drive in other Spanish cities which have a Low Emission Zone. Having said that, if I were you, I’d contact the other cities’ transport authorities to make sure.

Have I missed anything? If you’ve any questions relating to the Barcelona Low Emission Zone, leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Categorised as Tips


  1. Hi, if I have a car rental which was rented in Madrid by Sixt, can it enter the ZBE or do I still need a permit? I’m driving to Barcelona tomorrow and will stay for 4 days.

    1. Hi Rosemari,

      You don’t need to worry about this, all Spanish-registered rental cars are already registered with the DGT and can drive in the ZBE. You don’t need to do any paperwork or apply for a permit.

  2. Heroic work Richard, trying to fill the gaping holes left by the AMB when it comes to “foreigners”. Allow me to add my experience, maybe to help your other readers.

    The AMB site suggests that if you’re in a hurry (<15 days), it's best to register as a "user" and then claim 24 hour slots. That's the first thing I tried, and it had me banging my head against the wall for 45 minutes. Even supposing you are successful in registering (which I was not), you should then log in with your foreigner identification number or some such nonsense. NO WAY has AMB tested this process with an actual (non-Catalunyan, non-Spanish) foreigner at the table.

    So I was stuck. But after reading here about other people being recently successful registering their vehicles, I went the other route and registered for a permanent exemption. And indeed, that works flawlessly — if you ignore the residence fields that stick to Spanish towns. Paid my 7 euros and got an (illegible) confirmation mail. I will be going into Barcelona within a week, so here's hoping that the rest of the bureaucratic AMB wheels have managed to process my application by then. :-)

  3. Hello, I’m visiting Spain with both my motorbike and car this year in June, and I’m travelling by ferry from Italy. The bike is an old (2002) Yamaha Dragstar and the car is a 2020 Kia Picanto. Provided that the planned ferry is due in Barcellona not before saturday 9 p.m. (and according with the article “Older vehicles that haven’t been issued with an environmental label can not enter the ZBE from Monday to Friday between seven am and eight pm, except for public holidays) and I’m not planning to drive in Barcelona but drive directly to Lleida, is it still necessary to register to obtain permission? Thanks.

    1. Hi Roberto,

      The ZBE doesn’t apply at the weekend.

      If your ferry arrives on Saturday, and you leave Barcelona before seven am the following Monday morning, then you don’t need to register either of your vehicles.

  4. Hi there, We are travelling from New Zealand, and will have a Peugeot lease car which we are collecting in Paris on 5th June, we will not know the rego plate number until then, we are planning on staying 2 nights in Barcelona in late July, how do we go about getting the required “sticker” or permission to be in Barcelona on those days, Cheers Glen

    1. Hi Glen,

      As mentioned in the article, although approval may officialy take up to fifteen working days, several readers have confirmed that if you call the ZBE Helpline, they will approve your application straight away (the number’s in the article).

      So if I were you, I’d register the vehicle online while you’re in the rental comnpany’s offices when you pick up the vehicle. That way you’ll be sure that you have the right documentation available. Then call the ZBE Helpline to get the registration approved before setting off.

      It might be worthwhile asking the hire company whether they have any vehicles which have already been registered to drive in Barcelona because, in theory, it’s the vehicle owner who should register the vehicle and, once registered, a vehicle remains in the database.

  5. I find that France is also mentioned at the DGT site. Does this mean that it is only to drive in Barcelona also with the French sticker (Classement 2 jaune) in the window?
    Do I need to pay anything in Spain even if I already have a sticker that is mentioned in table in the DGT website link?

    1. Hi Klas,

      I checked this with the ZBE Helpline this morning. They told me that even though your vehicle has a sticker which is recognized by the DGT, you are still required to pay to register it with the ATM as described in the article above.

  6. Hi, thanks for the article.
    I have subaru 2007 gasoline with euro 4 and from what i’ve read I am eligible to enter the low-emission zone. Should I anyway register as it is foreign vehicle? Also, do you have a further information about the next year and if there would be some changes?

    1. Hi Borislav,

      All foreign-registered vehicles have to be registered with the ATM before driving in the ZBE during the times mentioned in the article.

      Since your vehicle is Euro IV, you will only have to register it once and won’t have to pay the additional daily passes which are required for older vehicles.

      I don’t know whether any changes are planned for 2024.

      1. thanks for the quick response! In your opinion how do the fines work, as I already went once through the zone? Anyway, now I have registered it and waiting for approval.

        1. Hi Borislav,

          If I were you, I’d call the ZBE Helpline on the number in the article above, explain the situation and ask them to approve your registration. I don’t know whether they can do anything about any fines which may have already been issued, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, and at least you will be sure that you won’t get any more fines.

  7. Hi Larrie,
    I just heard about this and I’m driving to Barcelona tomorrow for a one week stay. If I call the phone to register my car (from France), how long is the registration good for? Is the 7Euro a daily fee, or is it good for the entire week that I’ll be in town? I need to drive to the garage of the hotel and I don’t want to get fined for driving into the hotel.

    Thanks so much

    1. Hi Marie,

      You only have to pay the registration fee once, and your vehicle is then permanently in the database.

      Once that’s done, you don’t have to pay a daily fee unless you have an older vehicle (pre-2006 for diesel, pre-2003 for gasoline).

      If your vehicle is newer than that, then there’s nothing else to pay.

  8. Hello,
    I want to visit Spain this year for a month. I want to visit most important citesc: Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilia, etc. I am from Romania and i have a car euro6 from 2020.
    If i register here for Barcelona and i approve to send information to DGT, it will be ok for all citire
    Thank You.

    1. Hello Albert,

      That’s an excellent question. Until now, only Barcelona and Madrid had Low Emission Zones, and they implemented their own systems for registering foreign vehicles. The information in this post only applies to Barcelona. If you register your car on the pages I have linked to, you are registering with the ATM, Barcelona’s local transport authority, not the DGT.

      As you are no doubt aware, this year, other cities across Spain are also implementing similar LEZs.

      I’ve been reading the DGT website, and it seems that they don’t contemplate issuing environmental stickers for, or registering, foreign vehicles. So it looks like it isn’t possible to register your vehicle at a national level for Spain.

      Having said that, the DGT website states that they do recognize equivalent environmental stickers issued by other EU member states. So it seems that if your vehicle is registered in another EU state which issues environmental stickers, you should, in theory, be able to drive anywhere in Spain, as long as your car has a sticker proving that it complies with the Euro III (gasoline) or EURO IV (diesel) regulations. However, there’s no information about this on the official ATM website, so I’m going to check and make sure. As soon as I have some reliable information, I’ll update the article.

      This page on the DGT website lists the other EU countries which have a similar system, and shows the correlation between their stickers and the equivalent sticker issued by the DGT. Unfortunately, at the moment, it seems that only cars registered in Germany, France, Austria and Denmark are covered.

      1. Hi Albert,

        Bad news, I’m afraid! I checked this with the ZBE Helpline this morning. They told me that even if your foreign-registered vehicle has an emissions sticker which is recognized by the DGT, you will still have to register it with the ATM before driving in the ZBE, as described in the article above.

        I’ve now updated the article to include this information.

  9. Hi, I registered online for my friends 2015 Land Rover Defender. Filled out their details, uploaded a copy of their V5 doc and then received an email saying I needed to pay 7€ which I did. I’ve not received any more info. I never had to say what date they were travelling (17th June) – do I need to book nearer the time or are they already covered? It didn’t really explain the process! Thanks

    1. Hi Larrie,

      From what you’ve said, it sounds like you’re good to go.

      After you uploaded the documents and paid the seven euros, your application should have shown as pending, or words to that effect. The application now has to await approval, which may take up to fifteen days. After this, if you log back into your account, it should show that your application is approved. Once that happens, you’re ready to go. Your friend’s car is only eight years old, so you don’t need to apply for the daily passes.

      1. Thanks Richard really helpful! I’ve just realised his vehicle was originally registered in Spain in 2012 and the re-registered in the UK in 2015 (English Plates). This will make it 11 years old – does that changes things? I might need to update the details on the ZBE system? Thanks

        1. Hi Larrie,

          Eleven years old isn’t a problem; it’ll still be allowed into the ZBE. If I were you, since it sounds like you might have submitted some incorrect info, I’d call the helpline using the number shown in the post and ask them if they can update and approve your application for you.

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