UK Gov/Consul

Driving licence confusion

In response to enquiries regarding the future status of UK expats using UK Driving licences who registered an application before 30th December 2020 to exchange their UK Driving licence for a Spanish licence or have arrived since 1st January and have 6 months to make arrangement to take a Spanish driving test the following information is available from official sources:-

The Spanish National DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico – Director General of Traffic) state:-

-From January 1, 2021 the permits issued by the British authorities will enable you to drive in Spain until October 31, 2021, they will not be valid to drive in our country from that moment. Being applicable from this announcement as indicated in the Article 21 of the General Regulations for Drivers.

-For holders of a British driving licence who have applied for redemption, replacement or renewal before 31 December 2020 it is recalled that they will be processed provided that they have been verified by the UK authorities before 1 January 2021. Applications submitted as of December 30, 2020 will not be processed.

-If you did not apply for the redemption before December 31, 2020 you will have to obtain a new Spanish driving licence by taking the relevant Spanish driving test.

-UK licence holders arriving after 1st January have 6 months from the date of their arrival in Spain to arrange for a Spanish driving test.

Yet in the British Government webpage “Living in Spain” under the “Driving in Spain” section the third paragraph states:

“Negotiations are underway between the British and Spanish Governments to agree long-term arrangements for exchanging driving licences without needing a practical test.”

As this information seems contradictory and the October deadline is looming the Camposol Fact Crusader contacted the British Consulate asking for clarification, the following reply has been received (24/09/2021):-

The information you reference is the latest official information we have.

The issue, as you correctly say, is that we are approaching the deadline of end of October so people have to make the choice of waiting or starting to take steps to re-take their test. This is an individual decision and may depend on people´s individual circumstances.

If no agreement is reached by the end of October either Spain will agree to extend their recognition of UK licences or people will be left in a situation where they have to arrange a test and cannot legally drive until they do so.