FURTHER UPDATE – Resident in Spain with a UK driving license?

by Lorraine Williamson
UK driving license

UPDATE – If you have been resident in Spain before January 1, 2022, but still use a UK driving license, from May 1 you have no longer be able to drive.  If you do and are stopped by the police, you will be fined. Also, your insurance will not be valid as you are considered to be driving against the law. Furthermore, for those who became residents after the first day of the year, your UK driving license is only valid for 6 months.

The UK and Spain have still not yet reached an agreement over being able to exchange a UK driving license for a Spanish one without having to retake a driving and theory test. However, negotiations are still ongoing.

Advice from the UK Embassy in Spain

Hugh Elliot, British Ambassador to Spain and Andorra has confirmed negotiations have continued, and he is hopeful that an agreement will be reached within the coming weeks. However, he stipulates that he cannot make any guarantees. Therefore, in the meantime, if you must drive, the advice is to sit the test. Although, he appreciates that in some areas there is a long waiting list for this. 

Who does this apply to?

As Elliot pointed out on Twitter that questions had been asked if the negotiations were only for those who were residents before the transition period. He answered this by saying, “No. The agreement that we are working towards now, will enable UK license holders whenever they arrived in Spain, or arrive in the future, to exchange their UK license for a Spanish one without needing to take a practical or a theory test”.

InSpain.News will continue to keep you updated as talks develop. However, in the meantime, you can also check the Ambassador´s official Facebook page.

Spanish driving test

There are many DGT-approved driving schools that are owned by Expats or have English-speaking instructors. This is the most common way to apply for your test, as the driving school will do it on your behalf. However, you can apply directly

Theory test

The DGT will require you to know the various traffic rules and signs, and you must be able to demonstrate road safety awareness. Therefore, theory classes can be taken face to face or online. They will include the following;

Cogesa Expats
  • The importance of road safety and awareness
  • Documentation
  • Traffic and lighting regulations
  • Signaling
  • Speed
  • Preventive and efficient driving
  • Maneuvers
  • Vehicle mechanics and maintenance
  • Security
  • Procedure in the event of an accident

The DGT has mock exams on their website for you to practice with, in advance of your test.

Practical driving test

On the day of your practical test, the examiner will take notes to form his report. There are specific areas the examiner will be looking at. Your instructor will advise you of these, but if you want to find out more, the DGT lists the key points.

On passing your exam, you will be given a provisional driving license. This is sufficient should you be stopped by the police. Your full license will be issued to you by post. 

Points on your UK driving license

Any points you may have on a UK driving license will be transferred to the Spanish one. However, do not be alarmed if you had no points, and suddenly see 12 points on your new Spanish license. In Spain, points are deducted instead of added if you commit a traffic offense. Although, this may be less if you have been driving for under 3 years.

Blue badge

Furthermore, for those using the UK issued Blue Badge, this is no longer valid in Spain. You must return this to the UK and apply for a Spanish Disabled Parking Card. You can do this through the town hall.

Related article: What to do if you receive a traffic fine in Spain

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