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.  

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 (full details follow below)

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


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


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).

Your valid UK driving licence:

This is one area where there will be variation as normally an expired licence cannot be exchanged, however for those people who moved to Spain between 2020 and now there has been a special dispensation made because their licence may have expired during the period in which they were unable to make an exchange due to the ongoing negotiations.

New arrivals will need to present a valid (in date) licence.

Valid residence card.

Valid passport.

Proof of not residing in Spain when the permit to be exchanged was obtained:

As above there will be a special dispensation for this because although a licence renewed in one country by a person resident in another is normally not valid (because that is a fraudulent renewal) this should be accepted from UK nationals who renewed their UK licence during the negotiation period – i.e. some people renewed their UK licences whilst living in Spain because they didn’t know what else they could because the UK had constantly told them the agreement was “imminent” but it didn’t appear.

If this fraudulent renewal took place whilst the old exchange process was in place (i.e. pre December 2020) that licence is likely to be rejected for exchange because that would have been a deliberate fraudulent exchange - we should know for sure when the BOE is released

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.


We don't know which categories can be swapped yet but if you have motorcycle categories ensure that that is made clear when you do your paperwork so that motorcycle gets added to your Spanish licence. Other categories (C and above) may not be transferrable without taking a theory &/or practical test, that is currently unknown but should be clarified when the BOE is released.

Generally licence exchanges can be made at any DGT office in the country however it seems that some offices are being restrictive (a rule they are applying themselves) – these are presumably the offices that get pretty busy themselves so don’t want to end up as overrun as their neighbouring colleagues. Offices in areas with less migrants from UK are likely to be happy to allow UK licence holders to use them instead. We should know more about this as the weeks go on. Some areas struggled hugely at the end of 2020 when they were swamped with the rush of new arrivals plus those that hadn’t bothered exchanging in a timely manner previously. Special dispensations were made that time but aren’t guaranteed this time around so if you have the opportunity to use a different office and get exchange completed more quickly then do so. Six months seems like a long time but it soon passes.

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.


This post was written prior to the BOE being released so exact details for UK licences aren't known but we have released this post in advance in order for members to get an idea of the process involved. Once the BOE is released we will update the post as soon as possible but until that update is carried out (it will say “Updated to BOE” at the top) treat this post as a rough guide.
The DGT pages actually provide all of the information for doing this task and it’s all available in English, so even if this guide isn’t fully accurate you should NOT need the assistance of a paid “professional” to carry this process out but instead follow the information that the DGT will put on it’s page for licences issued by the UK.

Living in Spain Official information. 


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