2022 Driving in Spain with a UK licence update

2022 Driving in Spain with a UK licence update

If you are resident in Spain and have a UK driving licence, you can no longer exchange for a Spanish driving licence

British citizens with a UK driving licence, residents in Spain, cannot exchange their driving licence for a Spanish one. 

The last date for Spanish residents with a UK driving licence to register their intent to exchange for a Spanish licence was 30th December 2020. If pre-registered, you then had until 31st December 2021 to actually make the exchange

So what is the current situation? 

On the Facebook page, Brits in Spain HMA Hugh Elliot from the British Embassy in Madrid has published on the 29th of April 2022 a video stating that from the 1st of May 2022, if you have been resident in Spain for more than 6 months and you are currently driving on a UK licence and do not have a Spanish licence. Your UK licence is no longer valid, and you cannot drive using it. 

The UK government website has been updated on the 30th of April 2022:

If you have a valid UK driving licence

From 1 May 2022:

  • if you were living in Spain before 1 January 2021, your valid UK driving licence will no longer be valid for driving in Spain
  • 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

Ever since the end of the Transition Period, the UK Government has been trying to broker a deal with the Spanish Government and traffic authority the DGT to allow UK citizens to exchange their licence for a Spanish one when taking residency in Spain. HMA Hugh Elliot has stated that they are ‘accelerating negotiations’ early next week and the British government website states that:

”The British and Spanish governments continue to negotiate on long-term arrangements for exchanging driving licences without needing to take a practical test”

Let’s hope that the ‘accelerated negotiations’ are more productive than the other 346 working days (since the time of updating this article) have been. 

So what happens if you have come to live in Spain on a visa or as a family member of an EU citizen after 1 January 2022? 

You can drive on your UK licence for six months from the time you take residency, which is the start date on your TIE card. If you want to continue to drive in Spain after those 6 months, you will need a Spanish licence, which means taking a Spanish driving test. 

If you are coming on holiday, you can continue to use your UK licence without the need for an international driving permit for visits of up to 3 months. 

So what can you do if you’re a resident and still have a UK driving licence? 

Currently, you have two options, you can: 

Start the process of taking a Spanish test:

Not easy but can be done as demonstrated by our client Ruth in this article 

On this link, you can find a list of authorised driving schools in Spain. 

Wait for the outcome of ‘accelerated talks’ between the UK and Spain: 

HMA Hugh Elliot normally provides updates on the British Embassy Facebook Page

Getting about without a driving licence

Public transport in Spain is generally good, Renfe has a great website in English to book trains nationally and Alsa also offers a good bus service. 

Normally you can find a taxi to run you about the town, also Uber and Bolt offer online app-based transport bookings in many towns. 

Spain currently has an agreement with 28 non-EU countries for licence exchanges, here’s the list

***This article has been update on the 30/04/2022***

Share this page on social media