Changing your UK driving licence to a Spanish one

by Lorraine Williamson
Changing your UK driving licence to Spanish

There has been much confusion over using a UK driving licence while living in Spain in the last few years. However, since Brexit, the situation has been made very clear.

If you are resident in Spain and still retain a valid UK driving licence, you will not be able to use this after June 30. The period from January until the end of June, is simply a period of grace. If you wish to continue driving after this date, you must obtain a Spanish licence.  

Spanish driving test

For those that started the exchange process prior to Brexit at the end of last year, you should make an appointment with Trafico (DGT) prior to the end of June. However, if you had not registered with the Spanish Traffic Authority before the end of 2020, you must now follow the same process set out for other non-EU nationals. This means you must take a Spanish driving test.

The process for your new driving licence

If you had already started the process prior to the end of December 2020, then you can continue the application to exchange your licence. There are various documents you will require to provide for your appointment. These may include;

Cogesa Expats
  • A completed exchange request declaration form
  • NIE/TIE (the green certificate or the new Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero)
  • Passport
  • Your existing UK driving licence.
  • Proof of payment
  • A photograph for your licence in the required size

However, you will require to make a prior appointment. Due to the situation with Covid-19, walk-in appointments can no longer be guaranteed. This can be done online initially or via the official app. Otherwise, you may prefer to pay a gestor to make the application on your behalf.

Temporary driving licence

While you are waiting for your new driving licence, you will be provided with a temporary certificate (autorización temporal para conducir). This is acceptable should you be stopped by the police, but it is only valid for use in Spain. Once you receive your official Spanish licence, it can be used if you are in the UK on holiday or for short breaks. However, if you decide to become resident in the UK, you will then require exchanging your Spanish licence for a UK one.

For further information and updates on driving in Spain, visit the official UK government site.

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