Changing your driving licence for a Spanish one - Guide
Updated: May 2
This guide is aimed at UK nationals, those who hold UK driving licences, and at others who hold EU licence, who live, or are planning to live in Spain. If you hold a driving licence for another country and want to know more about the regulations for your situation, please do not hesitate to contact our Infoline for more information.
You will find information on the following:
1) UK Licence Holders
2) EU Licence Holders
1) UK Licence Holders
For holders of UK driving licences, to drive in Spain as a resident in Spain, after the end of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement transition period (December 31, 2020), it is necessary to change your UK driving licence for a Spanish one. You cannot use an International Driving Permit (IDP) instead. Current regulations mean that a UK-issued driving licence is valid for 6 months after arrival in Spain.
UK driving licence validity in Spain (30 April 2022)
If you moved to Spain after 1 January 2021, your valid UK licence will be recognised for 6 months from the date you obtained residence, or until 30th April 2022, whichever is later. Previous temporary extensions to the exchange period have ceased.
From 1 May 2022, if you have been resident for more than 6 months and have not exchanged your UK licence for a Spanish one, you will no longer be able to drive using your UK licence.
For example, if you became resident in Spain before November 2021 your UK driving licence will not be valid from 1 May 2022 onwards. You need to pass the Spanish theory and practical dirving test before you can legally continue to drive in Spain.
If you did not request the licence exchange with the DGT before December 30th 2020, the current process is that you will still have to take a practical and theory driving test in order to obtain a Spanish licence. Spanish and UK authorities confirm that they are still in negotiation for further recognition of UK and Spanish driving licences in both countries. Please feel free to contact us on our infoline, to register for updates on the situation.
You can find out more about the process of applying for a Spanish licence on the DGT site, where the information is also available in English: https://sede.dgt.gob.es/es/permisos-de-conducir/obtencion-renovacion-duplicados-permiso/permiso-conducir/index.shtml.
You can take the theory test in English , but the practical is only available in Spanish.
You can still use your Spanish licence in the UK for short visits, or you can exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test. You will be able to drive in the UK with your EU driving license until it expires, you reach 70, or until three years after you become a UK resident again.
Please note: You cannot renew or replace your UK, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man licence if you live in Spain.
2) EU Licence Holders - Presenting documents at a DGT office
You will have to request an appointment at a DGT office. The type of procedure is "Trámites de Oficina" and then the "Área Conductores" section.
You will need to provide the following documents (always provide the original document and a copy):
Exchange request completed on the official form.
Personal ID and residence card: residence card and a valid passport.
Your current and valid driving licence to be exchanged.
Medical certificate/examination. Find here a directory of the centres.
Recent personal photograph of 32x26 (ID photograph).
Proof of payment of the tax 2.3 (28,30 euros). You can pay online here. It is also possible to make the payment when carrying out the procedure itself at the Traffic Office (only by card).
The documents must be presented to any Headquarters of the Traffic Office -Jefatura u Oficina de Tráfico- together with a driving medical certificate. It is necessary to request an appointment through their online system, and select the option “Trámites de Oficina”. Finally, on the next page, you need to select the Área of conductores. After the appointment, a provisional permit will be handed with a validity of 3 months. It is not possible to drive outside Spain with the provisional permit. The definite permit will be sent by post at the address provided during the application.
If you are bringing your vehicle into Spain from another country, you might also be interested in: https://www.ageinspain.org/post/registering-your-vehicle-in-spain