Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence

Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence

Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence - This can be a complex subject to work through.  

8th August - A reminder that if you are a resident in Spain and still not exchanged your UK driving licence you can only drive on your UK licence here until 15 September. Thereafter, you will still be able to exchange it but not permitted to drive here until you have the Spanish licence.

Not to be confused with those of you who have arrived since Brexit because you are allowed to drive on your UK licence for 6 months from your date of arrival

There are still a few appointments available in some DGT centres so get yours now.

Do not be fooled into thinking your IDP will suffice, it will not! It is not a stand-alone document, it must be accompanied by a valid UK licence.

Now that the process for you to exchange your driving licence is in place, please don’t forget the deadline. If you have a UK or Gibraltar licence, you can exchange your driving licence for a Spanish one without taking a practical or theory test. You should do this within 6 months from 16 March or within 6 months of the date you obtain your residence, whichever is later. After this your UK or Gibraltar driving licence will no longer be valid for driving in Spain. However, you will be able to exchange it for a Spanish one.

15th March 2023 - It’s finally happened, the driving exchange has been agreed according to an official interior ministry press release but DOESN’T come into force until the 16th so DON’T start driving yet.  Official permission comes into force after confirmation has been published in the state Bolletin (The B.O.E)

Automatic translation

“The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday the agreement by which Spain and the United Kingdom will proceed to the reciprocal recognition and exchange of driving licenses as well as the exchange of information on traffic offenses in terms of road safety.

This agreement puts an end to the successive extensions applied to the exchange of permits between the two countries that had been applied since the end of the transitional period provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

From now on, holders of a valid and current driving license issued by either of the two States may request the exchange of their equivalent driving license where they have established their residence, without being subject to any additional requirement of practical test or theoretical and according to the equivalence tables between the categories of permits from both countries.

The agreement establishes that all valid permits or licenses of current residents issued prior to its entry into force may be exchanged, while for permits issued after said entry into force it will be an essential requirement to access the exchange that the permits have been issued in the country where the applicant had his legal residence.

With this pact, those British citizens residing in Spain who had not had their driving license recognized before Brexit, nor in the successive extensions granted, will be able to do so as of Thursday, March 16th.

To facilitate administrative processing at the provincial traffic headquarters, a period of six months has been granted during which British citizens can circulate in Spain with their original permit while they process the exchange.

In addition, Spain and the United Kingdom undertake to provide each other with information on the data of the vehicles and their owners for the purpose of investigating traffic offenses related to road safety, especially in cases of speeding, not wearing a seat belt, failure to stop at a red light, driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs, not wearing a crash helmet, driving in a prohibited lane, or illegal use of mobile phones”

Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence

Process in brief 

Take the psicotécnico test at a local testing centre (where they test eyesight, coordination and take a verbal survey of your general health, a more in-depth survey of your health is likely for those over 65 or exchanging higher categories).

Make an appointment at DGT under the appointment category for UK licences (Reino Unido), you will need to provide details of your UK driving licence, NIE, address etc

The DGT will contact DVLA to check your licence's validity. Once that comes back with a reply from DVLA then you will be able to proceed to DGT at the appointed time to continue the process.

You will need to take the appointment, at minimum: your Psicotécnico test result certificate, your TIE/residency certificate, passport, your old UK licence card, the application form, plus a Spanish size passport photograph, full list below.

Payment can be made by card at the DGT on the day. The payment can also be made prior to the appointment by the methods given via the link on the DGT page (see below).

You will hand over your UK licence and be given a temporary paper "cover note" in lieu of a licence. This is only valid for driving in Spain so bare that in mind if you plan to drive outside of Spain in the intervening period.

Your new licence card will be sent to you through the post or can be sent back to the DGT and be collected in person.

This link currently takes you to the page about UK licence exchanges, hopefully they will update this page with the new instructions and retain the same link so that it will still work once the updates have been made:

The process in full, with tips and details

Who can change a licence?

Any resident in Spain with a driving licence that has been issued in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The request for exchange must be made by the permit holder or any person authorized on his behalf.

To authorize another person acting on your behalf, you can appoint a representative through our Register of powers of attorney.

You can also appear as long as you have the original DNI and a document signed by the interested party authorizing you to make the request, and where you express your free nature. To do this, download and fill in the DGT authorization model "Granting of representation".

If the procedure is going to be carried out by another person on your behalf, at the time of requesting the appointment at 060, you must indicate the ID of the interested party and also that of the authorized person


This test is required every time a new licence is requested, so every 10 years for “ordinary” licence holders and more often for those with “professional” categories (PSV, HGV etc), for those over 65, and anyone with medical restrictions that mean their card has to be renewed more often.

The Psicotécnico test can be carried out at any testing centre that offers this service, search Psicotécnico on Google maps to find the ones nearest you (there are thousands of them in Spain). Generally speaking the closer you are to a DGT office the more expensive the test will be – and the more likely you will need an appointment. The test is normally around 25-35 euros.

At the test you will need to present your ID and residency card and make the payment.

The test includes the following:

Eyesight tests – if you wear glasses the test will be done first without glasses and then with glasses;

The coordination test - this involves controlling a pair of dots between two pairs of moving lines (“roads”) on a screen with a pair of joysticks. At the start of the test the lines move simultaneously but eventually the roads take different paths so you need to move each dot independently of the other. Much like the old wire and bell “steady hand test” found at village fairs, each time a dot hits the line a buzzer sounds, and that lowers the person’s score;

Questions about your current health – you will need to declare any medical conditions you may have and any medications taken. For those over 65 or those taking the test for professional level categories you may have a more in depth medical appraisal.

It is possible to still retain a licence even if you may have some types of incapacities as the licence can be limited to account for particular conditions – so for example a person may be prohibited from using motorways or from driving after dark.

Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence


If you normally wear glasses take them off while you wait for your appointment so your eyes can adjust a bit before taking the “without” glasses eyesight test.

Learn the Spanish alphabet as you will need to say the letters you see on the test card (it will only require the 26 “standard” letters of the alphabet, not the extra ones). However also note they usually have a test card for those who cannot read that have U shapes instead of letters. The “U”s that have the open side pointing either up, down, left or right, so if you are struggling to sound the letters they may move you on to that one – then you need to know just four words – up, down, left, right. Failing that you can point in each direction.

If you fail the coordination test it’s likely you’ll get additional tries at it – especially if this is the first time you have done one as they realise that this process is unusual for most non-Spaniards.

If you are wanting to change multiple categories then ensure that the examiner knows this as they may need to make a note of the categories you wish to swap over. The Psicotécnico test is the same for Categories A & B (motorcycle and car), known as a Group I test, but if you want your motorcycle category moving on to your Spanish licence just mention this at this test appointment (and definitely raise it at the DGT) otherwise it may not get added to the paperwork and so not appear on your new licence. The Psicotécnico test for the higher categories (a Group II test) is more complex so make sure that you are tested correctly for whatever categories you are going for or the certificate won’t be of any use.

The certificate is only valid for 3 months so bare that in mind for timings.

Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence

What you should know

The driving licences of residents in Spain that have been issued in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland can be exchanged for an equivalent Spanish licence, when a series of administrative requirements are met:

  • The driving license is not exchangeable if you have obtained it in your country of origin while already legally resident in Spain.
  • Nor will it be exchangeable if you have obtained the permit after the signing of the agreement as a legal resident in Spain.
  • Yes, it is exchangeable if the permit is expired after your entry into our country.

Driving licences issued by the authorities of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland shall be valid for driving in Spain for a period of six months from:

  • 16 March 2023, the date of provisional application of the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the mutual recognition and exchange of national driving licences and on the exchange of information on road safety-related traffic offences or
  • the entry of its holder in Spain or
  • The date of obtaining your legal residence in our country.

At the time of completing the procedure, the original permit will be withdrawn and a provisional permit will be given to you. In a period of approximately one month and a half you will have your final permit. You don't have to worry about going to your Traffic Headquarters or Office, it is sent to your home.

Before the day of the appointment at the headquarters, you must access the following web pages to obtain the verification code of your permit. This code must be communicated at the headquarters where you carry out the procedure so that its validity can be verified. If your permit has been issued by:


In person, delivering all the documentation in any Traffic Headquarters or Office

  • Must Request an appointment online or by calling 060.
  • When requesting your appointment you must indicate in "Type of procedure" the option "Office procedures", once there select as processing area the option where the procedures referred to drivers are covered.
  • We will not be able to assist you if you request an appointment in any other way.

Information about how to make an appointment for each foreign licence can be found by following this link, and selecting Reido Unido (or United Kingdom if you have the language selected to English – note that the order in the drop down list doesn’t change when translated so United Kingdom is up where the “R”s would be, not down at the very end)

Appointments can be made here (from Thursday 16th March onwards):

From the first drop down you will need to select the office you wish to make the appointment at, from the second select the type of appointment (which for UK licences should be “Canjes de permisos de conducción”). Finally you will be able to request the licence issuing country (Reino Unido) – at this current time that selection isn’t possible as there is no canje system for UK licences, but Reino Unido should be added to the list as soon as the BOE is released.

Once you have selected this it will move on to collecting your information, which, although we don’t know exactly at the moment, logically should be things like basic ID and contact information such as: NIE, first name, surname, (and second surname if relevant), UK driving licence number, and possibly an email address, postal address and Spanish phone number. I’ve attached an image of the form to this post that is commonly used for licence exchanges and it’s likely that if you have all the information for that form then you will have everything you will need for the appointment booking process.

Once you have submitted this initial information and request for an appointment information you will then need to wait for DGT to contact DVLA to get confirmation that you can proceed with the exchange.

Check the status of your request to exchange here. 

This page should give you one of three results:

PENDING (pendiente): the applicant's country has not yet responded to the request for information made, continue waiting.

ANSWERED (contestada): the applicant may now go to DGT for their appointment to complete the application process (contestada doesn’t guarantee the licence will be granted, only that you may proceed with the process)

REJECTED (rechazada): the applicant's country has said it has no data for your licence, there should be information along with that rejection to let you know how to proceed if you get this result.

If you get a Contestado result then the system should offer a a selection of dates and times for you to choose from for you to travel to your selected DGT to present the required documentation.

The completed form which is probably the one other countries use for this or will be similar:

(the blank one can be found here:, the image attached to this post should help you fill it in. This form includes a declaration that the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds is not deprived by judicial decision and that they do not hold another EU or EEA license of the same class as the one requested, or that the licence has been restricted, suspended or annulled.

There are three boxes you can tick on this form (see red note on my image) – if ticked these give DGT permission to verify that you are on the padron, check your ID, and check you are correctly registered with immigration through their own channels. However, even if they are ticked DGT might not be able to get valid info so you might still need to provide documents to prove these (the second two are included in this list anyway but if you have a padron certificate available it’s always worth taking with you to any official appointment in Spain).

What will you need.

  • Request exchange completed on official form, which includes a declaration that he is not deprived by a court decision of the right to drive motor vehicles and mopeds and that he does not hold another EU/EEA licence of the same class as the one applied for or which has been restricted, suspended or annulled.
  • Identification of the interested party: Original in force to prove identity: DNI, residence card (foreigner's identity card), or valid passport.
  • Accreditation of residency: Original of the DNI or residence card (foreigner's identity card) or certificate of registration in the register of EU citizens and any other document requested by the Headquarters where the exchange application is processed. In the official form you can expressly authorize the DGT to check electronically your registration address and the IAE. However, if the DGT does not obtain valid information, you must correct it by providing the documentation.
  • Foreign driving license to be exchanged in force or expired if the validity date is later than the date of entry into our country. In the Provincial Traffic Headquarters you may be asked for the reports that, in view of the circumstances, are deemed appropriate in order to verify the authenticity, validity and validity of the driving license, in addition to compliance with the rest of the requirements.
  • Verification code of your permit: Before the day of the appointment at the headquarters, you must access the following web pages to obtain the verification code of your permit. This code must be communicated at the headquarters where you carry out the procedure so that its validity can be verified. If your permit has been issued by:
  • Psychophysical fitness report, issued by a Authorized Driver Recognition Center.
  • Number or proof of payment of payment 2.3.
  • Current original photograph of 32 x26 mm. in colour and with a smooth background, taken from the front with the head uncovered and without dark glasses or any other garment that may prevent or hinder your identification.
    • If because of your religion you wear your hair covered, photographs with a veil will be accepted, but the oval of the face must appear completely uncovered from the hairline to the chin, so that it does not prevent or hinder your identification.

Psicotécnico aptitude report:

If the exchange does not require any theory and practical driving test - this is generally the case for exchanges of classifications A and B (Motorcycle and car) - a Group I Psicotécnico aptitude report is required.

If the exchange requires carrying out any theory &/or practical test (this may include those wanting to change categories C and D for UK licence holders although this is cannot be confirmed until BOE is released) it’s a Group II Psicotécnico aptitude report that is required.

Evidence that you have already paid the fee, or a debit/credit card to make the payment at the time of the appointment:

Payment - Fees to be charged:

Rate 2.3 (€28.87) for exchanges that do not require a theory or practical test (“straight swap”) – will cover car and motorcycle categories for certain. It MAY cover other UK categories as well, but we won’t know that until the BOE comes out.

Rate 2.1 (€94.05) for redemptions that require additional testing. In general, those foreign permits that include authorizations to drive type C and D vehicles - trucks and buses .

Current original photograph:

Passport size (32 x26 mm), in colour and with a plain background, taken from the front with the head uncovered and without dark glasses or any other item of clothing that could prevent or hinder your identification.

If, due to your religion, your hair is covered, photographs with a veil will be accepted, but the oval of the face must appear totally uncovered from the hairline to the chin, in such a way that it does not impede or hinder your identification.

Changing your UK Driving Licence to a Spanish Licence


If you are then granted a Spanish driving licence then at the end of this appointment you will be given a temporary cover note in lieu of your licence. This is only valid for driving in Spain so bare that in mind if you plan to drive outside of Spain in the intervening period. If your licence application is rejected for any reason you should be informed of your next steps at that point.

Your new licence card will be sent to you through the post or can be sent back to the DGT and be collected in person. It may be back in a few days or may take weeks, this is region dependent.


Your new licence should have 12 points on it (points work downwards here, i.e. they are taken off you for misdemeanours), after 3 years clean driving you will get 2 more points and after a further 2 years a final 15th point.

You can easily check details of your driving licence my downloading the MiDGT app as this will show all the details of your licence – the categories, points, the expiry date etc and the app also shows all your registered vehicles, insurance, ITV dates etc. It can be used to carry out a number of DGT process without having to go to the office. The MiDGT app is valid for police checks in Spain – i.e. you do not need to carry your licence and vehicle documents if you have the app and the vehicle is registered to you.

Frequently asked Questions and Answers

How long can it take for the new permit to get home?

The normally about a month and a half after the completion of your procedure you have your new permit already at home.

Until I get my new licence, can I drive?

Yes, for 3 months you can drive with the provisional permit. This provisional permit is delivered at the time of the procedure. In the case of duplicates, we will deliver it ourselves when we attend you at the window. If it is a renewal, it will be done by the medical center where you made the recognition and for issuance of new permits, it will be your driving school that facilitates it.

Can I drive outside Spain with the provisional permit?

No. With the provisional license you can only drive within our borders. If you are going to drive abroad you must apply for the International Permit, at any Traffic Headquarters or Office. In this case, you need Request an appointment online or by calling 060.

What do I do if I don't get the new permit?

After a reasonable time of the procedure we advise you to go to the Headquarters or Traffic Office where you did the procedure to inform us of the incident to see what has happened and send it back if necessary.

What is meant by normal residence?

The normal residence is the place where a person habitually stays, that is, for at least one hundred and eighty-five days for each calendar year.

Normal residence is understood as the permanence in Spain in a regular situation that must be duly accredited, in accordance with the provisions of the Organic Law 4/2000, of 11 January, on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration.


Please note much of the above information has been translated from Spanish to English, some information/details may be slightly lost in this translation. 

This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Spanish authorities.  Benidorm Seriously is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Living in Spain Official information. 


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