Changing your UK driving licence for a Spanish one

Without a valid licence you shouldn’t drive Credit: Shutterstock

IN the event that Brexit occurs on or before January 31, then those considered residents in Spain will need to have taken action with regards to their UK driving licences.

There is something of a double edged sword in as much as if you have been living and working here for some time, your will be considered a resident even if you haven’t registered with your local council.

In order to swap your British driving licence for a Spanish one without taking a test, you have to show that you are registered officially as a resident.


Some DGT offices require that you make an appointment and others will accept people just turning up if they are not busy.

You should check in advance to see whether you need to take a medical or not as in some cases they are being requested although in other centres they are not required.

You need to take with you your current licence (card only), two photographs (which are smaller than UK passport size), your NIE number, your empadronamiento and residency papers and a copy of your passport.

You will then complete a form that is available at the centre and as many don’t accept cash, take a credit or debit card to pay the €28.30 exchange fee.

At this stage you don’t normally have to have to surrender your UK licence but you will receive a copy of the document you completed showing that you have made the application and have paid the fee which you can show to the police if stopped.

It takes about a month for the new Spanish licence to be ready and it is then that you will have to surrender your British licence.

In theory, there is supposed to be a nine month grace period following Brexit during which time you can continue to use a British photo licence whilst driving in Spain, but by the time that Brexit occurs, the regulation may have driving licence

Equally, if you don’t want to commit at this time, it should be possible to obtain an international driving licence valid for Spain from the DVLC in the UK but as a resident, that would only be good for six months.

Failing all of this, if you don’t make the exchange before Brexit then you will eventually have to take a Spanish driving test including the written section.

Should you return to the UK for a short period of time, it is perfectly acceptable to drive with a Spanish licence or if you return permanently, then you can exchange for a British licence without taking another test (but a wise precaution would be to keep a copy of the surrendered UK licence).



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