INFORMATION FOR UK CITIZENS
On March 14th 2023, the Spanish Government approved an Agreement in which holders of a valid driving licence in the United Kingdom and Spain may request an exchange in the country in which they are legally resident without the need to take an additional practical or theoretical test.
UK citizens who didn’t exchange their UK driving licence for a Spanish equivalent before Brexit or during the successive extension periods granted by the Spanish government, can now do so from March 16th 2023. A period of six months is granted during which UK citizens legally resident in Spain can drive on a UK driving licence to allow for delays caused by the backlog of applications but this doesn’t mean that you have six months to apply; you must do so immediately and without delay.
The Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) has updated its website with detailed information on the exchange process here.
The UK Government has also updated its page on Living in Spain with regards to driving and driving licences for British citizens legally resident in Spain.
The Agreement also provides for the exchange of information on vehicles and their owners with regards to traffic offences committed in either the UK or Spain. These are related to road safety and include speeding, failure to wear a seat belt, failure to stop at a red light, driving whilst intoxicated, driving whilst under the influence of drugs, not wearing acrash helmet, and the illegal use of a mobile phone.
Your Spanish Licence
You can use a Spanish licence for driving in the UK for short trips. If you move back to the UK on a permanent basis, you can exchange your Spanish licence for a UK equivalent without taking a test.
Remember: If you are resident in Spain, you cannot renew your UK driving licence with the DVLA. If your licence expires (or is lost or stolen), you will have to apply to the DVLA for a ‘Certificate of Entitlement‘ to be able to apply for a Spanish driving licence.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR UK CITIZENS
The completed application form TRÁMITES DE PERMISOS DE CONDUCCIÓN DEL REINO UNIDO [PDF – external link] on which the applicant must sign a statement that they are not deprived by court order of the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds and that they do not possess another EU or EEA permit of the same class as the one requested or that has been restricted, suspended or cancelled.
The fees are as follows:
- Fee II.1 – €94,05 when the person will need to take a practical driving test.
- Fee II.3 – €28.87 when the person does not need to take a practical driving test.
Three methods of payment are available:
- online at the DGT website here;
- by bank card at the offices of the Jefaturas de Tráfico in Alicante;
- by direct debit from a bank account or in cash using Modelo 791, which is also available from the DGT office in Alicante.
Proof of Residence
The originals of one of the following documents:
- Valid Passport
- Tarjeta Identificación Extranjeros (TIE) – the Foreigner’s Identity Card
- Authorisation for Temporary or Permanent Residence (the green certificate). A passport will also be required as proof of identity.
- Receipt of Application or Renewal of TIE. A passport will also be required as proof of identity.
Medical Fitness Test
This is carried out at an Authorised Drivers Check Centre. In Xàbia, this can be taken at Policlínica CUME in Carrer de Salvador Salvà (Google Maps) on Mondays between 5.00pm and 8.00pm and on Thursdays between 4.30pm and 9.00pm. The price starts at 40 euros, the test takes about 20 minutes, and the results are valid for 90 days.
The UK driving licence to be exchanged.
It must be valid and the licence will be verified as such with the DVLA in the United Kingdom. You must also provide a photocopy.
It must be 32mm x 26mm in size, in colour and with a plain background, taken from the front with the head uncovered and without sunglasses or other garment that could prevent or hinder identification.
The DGT have launched a new system for processing driving licence exchanges for UK nationals resident in Spain.
It is a two-step process:
- The APPLICATION PROCESS.
This can be done through the online DGT portal [external link] if you have a digital certificate/CLAVE, by telephone on 060, or in person by submitting an application form at any Trafico office.
- The EXCHANGE PROCESS will always be done in person, which means requesting an appointment using the online DGT portal or by telephone on 060. Appointments can be requested three business days after submission of the application. All requested documentation must be presented as well as verification that the application for exchange was made within the required time. Requests made after December 30th 2020 will not be processed.
The application process can be made by any person authorized on your behalf, but this person must be a recognized power of attorney registered with the DGT.
You could also seek advice from companies or individuals who are able to guide you through any tricky red tape processes in Spain. We recommend Carmen Alesanco for her professional assistance in such matters.
You can check the status of the exchange process via the DGT link given below. You’ll need your NIE and date of birth.
DRIVING IN SPAIN
Driving a car which is not your own
You can drive any car, including one which is not your own, so long as the vehicle has all the correct documentation, such as the Permiso de Circulación, a current ITV, and valid insurance, and that you, as the driver, possesses a valid driving licence. However, it is recommended that the vehicle owner contacts their insurance company for any particular regulations that might affect your policy, such as if the driver is under the age of 26 or if their driving licence is a non-EU one, which could attract additional costs in the case of an accident.
The DGT provides an option for a vehicle owner to inform them that someone else will be regularly using their car for continuous periods of more than 30 days, for example, if they don’t live in Spain and a friend or neighbour uses the vehicle on a regular basis. This is beneficial in that any driving infraction that is committed by this person whilst driving your car is automatically sent directly to that person which means that they will be able to deal with any fines, etc. immediately.
This can be achieved through this link which opens an official DGT page – COMUNICACIÓN DEL CONDUCTOR HABITUAL – through which you, as the vehicle owner, can inform the authorities of a regular user of your car as well as modify the details at any time. It is also important that the owner contact the DGT when the person stops using the vehicle on a regular basis so that notifications of any possible infractions revert back to the owner.
If someone else was driving your vehicle when an infraction occurred and the paperwork was sent directly to you as the owner, you can contact the DGT to request that they notify that person directly using this link.