If you are resident in Spain, you must exchange your UK driving licence for the Spanish equivalent. If you have not yet done so, your UK licence will continue to be recognized until October 31st 2021.
UK nationals who registered with DGT before December 30th 2020
UK nationals who were legally resident in Spain before January 1st 2021 and have already registered their details with the DGT before the closing date of December 30th 2020 should make an appointment with the DGT to complete the exchange by October 31st 2021. Proof of residency will be required at the appointment. After handing over your UK licence, you will be issued with a temporary permit – ‘Autorización Temporal Para Conducir’ – which will remain valid until your Spanish licence is processed. This permit can only be used in Spain, it is not valid for any other country, including the UK.
UK nationals who did not register with the DGT before December 30th 2020
UK nationals who did not register their details with the DGT or moved to Spain after January 1st 2020 will need to follow the process for non-EU nationals which includes taking a driving test. (The UK government is in discussion with the Spanish government on future driving licence exchange without the need for a practical test; we will update this page if there are any changes to the rule.)
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.
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 completed application form [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.
Proof of Residence
The originals of one of the following documents:
- 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.
On the official application form, the applicant can authorize the DGT to electronically verify the registration address and IAE. However, if the DGT don’t obtain valid information, the applicant must provide the necessary documentation.
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.
Proof of Payment
The cost of exchanging a driving licence is 28.30 euros. This must be done in advance and can be realised online via the DGT portal [external link] using a digital certificate or electronic ID, in person at any Trafico office using a valid credit or debit card only, or at any bank, etc. either by cash or by bank transfer and, in this latter option, the applicant must use a self-assessment form (Modelo 791).
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 – available in English] 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.
- Appointment Request for Office Procedures (in Spanish)
– Select: “Alicante/Alacant”.
– Select: Canjes de Permisos de Conducción.
– Select: “Reino Unido”.
- Royal Decree 818/2009 – General Regulations for Drivers (in Spanish)
- DGT – Exchange, Registration, Renewal and Substitution of EU and EEA Permits (in Spanish)